It was a New Year’s Eve celebration that Mary McGraw '17 will never forget. McGraw was ringing in the new year with eight Benedictine nuns at Kylemore Abbey in Galway, Ireland. This intimate moment isn’t something that most study abroad students get to experience while in Ireland. In fact, most people will never know what it’s like to see these nuns behind closed doors. It took several months in Kylemore for McGraw to develop trust with the nuns and, ultimately, a relationship that allowed her to gain a unique perspective into their everyday lives. A studio art major with a photography concentration, McGraw was able to pull back the curtains and capture even more intimate moments through her camera lens — a project that led to her senior thesis.
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The unit recently relocated to Hammes Mowbray Hall, home of the Notre Dame Security Police department, to provide the county with expanded working space and greater access to a larger group of student interns. The Notre Dame students chosen this year are studying in a variety disciplines including economics, political science, and film, television and theater, as well as computer science and information technology management. Four of the students also have a minor in the Arts and Letters interdisciplinary Idzik Computing and Digital Technologies Program.
For the second summer in a row, students and faculty from Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters converged with madrasa (Islamic seminary) graduates from India and Pakistan for two weeks of intensive teaching and dialogue in Dhulikhel, Nepal (an hour outside of Kathmandu). Drawn by Notre Dame’s Madrasa Discourses project, the July 1-14 summer intensive featured conversations about citizenship, religion, and society in a pluralistic and rapidly changing world.
Notre Dame has launched an interdisciplinary minor in musical theatre — a collaboration between the Departments of Music and Film, Television, and Theatre — which can be customized for students interested in performing, songwriting, directing, conducting, or scholarship. The program begins at a time when dramatic, music-based performances are thriving on campus, including Opera Notre Dame’s recent productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and a world-premiere operatic version of As You Like It as well as FTT musicals such as Cabaret and Little Shop of Horrors.
Rising juniors Jahlecia Gregory, an AnBryce Scholar, and Stefania Pulido will participate in Notre Dame International’s Puebla program in Puebla, Mexico, while Armando Sanchez, another AnBryce Scholar, will participate in NDI’s London Program.
Emily Vincent, a 2018 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, will pursue a one-year master’s degree in China studies at the Yenching Academy of Peking University this fall as one of 114 Yenching Scholars.
Sara Abdel-Rahim ’17 found her voice in the liberal arts — and she amplified it through research, internships, and leadership roles on campus. As a first-generation American citizen, the political science and Arabic major wants to battle against cultural and religious discrimination.
Economics major Francis Brockman and political science major Daniel Rottenborn, are working for Annunciation House, a Catholic organization that gives shelter to refugees in El Paso. As part of the Summer Service Learning Program through Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns, they live and work in a facility called Casa Vides, where asylum-seeking migrants spend a few days in between their release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention and continuing their journey to a sponsor somewhere in the U.S.
Rachel Ganson’s path in the College of Arts and Letters led her to China, India, Iceland, Italy, and Spain. And to exactly where she is meant to be. “Visiting these places challenged me and helped me grow — intellectually, spiritually, emotionally,” she said. “When you experience different cultures and talk with people from different backgrounds, you start to figure out what you’re most passionate about and what you hold dear.” For Ganson ’17, who majored in political science, that passion is global food security and sustainability.
When Kacey Hengesbach began her undergraduate career at Notre Dame, she didn’t imagine that it would include traveling 8,000 miles to Ahmedabad, India. But thanks to a new course created by Neeta Verma, she had the chance to spend three weeks there last summer, working collaboratively with students from India’s National Institute of Design. Hengesbach and the other students in Verma’s Social Design course continued their partnership with the NID students throughout the fall semester, hosting them for a two-week visit to Notre Dame in September and communicating via Skype and email for the remainder of the course.
One visit to the Hesburgh Library’s medieval manuscripts collection, and Luke Donahue ’17 was hooked. “I saw them and thought, ‘This is it.’ This is what I want to study,” Donahue said. “I was intrigued that there are all these manuscripts from the Middle Ages that no one has researched, and I was determined — I wanted to help fill that intellectual gap.” While he initially planned to study physics, Donahue decided to major in theology and German and add a minor in medieval studies.
Notre Dame philosophy professor Meghan Sullivan has received an $806,000 grant from the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to expand her popular God and the Good Life course and adapt it into a curricular model used by faculty across the country. The three-year award will allow Sullivan to build a network of professors interested in developing or refining their own courses that teach philosophy as a way of life. It will also spur the expansion of God and the Good Life to four to five sections per year — encompassing 600 to 700 students, or one-third of the freshman class.
When he got to Notre Dame, Corey Robinson ’17 didn’t know what to major in — because he wanted to major in everything. He met with advisers in more than 20 departments, considering everything from Arts and Letters pre-health to Irish language and literature to aquatic biology. And he still wasn’t sure. That’s when his advising dean suggested the Program of Liberal Studies.
The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, offering students grants to conduct research, study, and teach abroad.
Gabriel Said Reynolds greets his students on the final day of his Introduction to the Quran course. He is in a small classroom on Notre Dame’s campus. His students are in Orlando, Colorado, Canada, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and beyond. Such arrangements are not uncommon in the world of massive open online courses (MOOCs), but this one is different. It breaks new ground in the online learning space by bringing students participating in the MOOC around the world together with undergraduate and graduate students that Reynolds teaches in a traditional course at Notre Dame.
When Sydney DeVoe came to Notre Dame, she was convinced she would be pursuing a career in broadcast journalism. But after various, wide-ranging internships at 21st Century Fox — focused on production, editing, marketing, finance, and legal work — and a valuable experience working in London with a Member of Parliament her junior year, DeVoe is encountering a problem that many students may envy. She has too many career paths she could pursue after graduation.
Congratulations to the Class of 2018! This video, screened at the Arts and Letters Diploma Ceremony, features several seniors reflecting on their time at Notre Dame and in the College of Arts and Letters. In it, the new graduates discuss how a liberal arts education helped them develop skills, shaped their minds, and opened up a world of possibilities for their futures.
Over spring break, nine students in a new class in the Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy, traveled to Houston to do ambitious reporting, learn about the journalism industry, and help with a service project. Led by Richard G. Jones, a former New York Times editor and director of the program, the course exemplifies how hands-on training is preparing a new wave of journalists who can tell the stories of tomorrow.
College of Arts and Letters senior Brittany Ebeling has been named the recipient of the Kroc Institute’s 2018 Yarrow Award. The award is given annually to undergraduate students who demonstrate academic excellence and commitment to service in peace studies.
This annual award is earned by students who demonstrate exemplary research skills and utilize a breadth of library services, resources, and expertise for their research or creative projects.
Now in its third year, the College of Arts and Letters' Idzik Computing and Digital Technologies Program is helping students supplement their education with technological and programming skills. The program was endowed and renamed this year in honor of its generous benefactors, Paul and Ruth Idzik. Designed to help students obtain skills needed for success in the modern digital world, the CDT minor can be extremely appealing for prospective employers who are already attracted to the communication, organization, and analytical skills honed through the liberal arts.
Andrew Grose, who majored in Spanish and preprofessional studies, has been named valedictorian. Harisa Spahić, a biochemistry major with minors in anthropology and science, technology and values, is salutatorian.
With renowned musicians on the faculty, new opportunities to participate in student-led music groups, and a beautiful new home for the department in O’Neill Hall, it is an exciting time for piano students at Notre Dame. The program is full of extremely students who possess not only exceptional performance skills but also outstanding intellectual ability and a strong desire to pursue the balanced blend of performance and scholarship that makes the Notre Dame music major distinctive.
Crystal Avila's senior documentary, Beneath the Trees (Debjao de los árboles), recounts her grandfather's journey from his small village in Mexico to the United States border and his time in Yuma, Ariz., where he got a job picking cotton for 35 cents a day. The film premiered in February at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, where it was one of 10 films selected for the fest's Oscar-qualifying competition. It will screen this weekend at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, where it is nominated for best short documentary film and Avila is up for the best female filmmaker award.
In anthropology, “snowball sampling” refers to growing the number of participants in a research study by asking subjects to refer friends and acquaintances. For senior Candice Park, it was her research experiences at Notre Dame that snowballed, as each opportunity led her to the next — culminating in her senior thesis for the Department of Anthropology.
Throughout the month of March, students in the Moreau First Year Experience course have been visiting the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being to try out a new board game created by Carly Hagins, an MFA student focusing on industrial design. “Quad: A Game of Conversations” works to spark discussion between players about social life at Notre Dame, in the hopes of breaking down the initial misperceptions that often lead to unhealthy drinking habits.
It started two years ago with a handful of Notre Dame undergraduates and a desire to share their love of music. Today, that passion has resulted in two thriving student groups — the Classical Music Club and the Composers’ Consortium — with more than 200 members.
Four alumni of Notre Dame’s international economics program returned to campus in March to speak to current students about their experience with the major, valuable classes they took, and the skills they developed that are now paying dividends in the real world
When King Fok was 6 years old, he suffered from an orthopedic condition that caused him to spend two years on crutches. Uncovered by his health insurance, the condition was Fok’s first glimpse into how socioeconomic status impacts health care. That childhood experience informed his decision to major in Arts and Letters pre-health at the University of Notre Dame. As a future physician, he hopes to make medical care more efficient, inclusive, and accessible to all. A sociology class his freshman year helped him discover a perfect major to pair with pre-health.
The College of Arts and Letters is launching a new, interdisciplinary minor in data science. Housed in the Department of Sociology with support from the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the program will be open to students in any college. “Data science impacts every industry today,” said Sarah Mustillo, professor and chair of sociology. “It is becoming increasingly important for solving problems and making decisions."