Notre Dame senior Joseph Strasz made the most of his study abroad experience by participating in the Rome International Scholars Program—a unique opportunity for students interested in conducting research, completing an internship, and participating in extensive service learning in Rome. “I am exceptionally glad that I chose to do this. It has been 100% worth it,” said Strasz, an Italian studies and Greek and Roman civilizations major.
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A Notre Dame undergraduate and a master’s degree student have been awarded the Dante Society of America’s two top student essay awards. Dale Lobo ’16, a science pre-professional major and theology minor, won the Dante Prize for best undergraduate essay related to the life or works of the renowned Italian poet. Thomas Graff, who received his master’s in Italian studies at Notre Dame this spring, won the Charles Hall Grandgent Award for best essay on Dante by a graduate student.
Even during fall break, College of Arts and Letters students were hard at work. They toured Latin America to perform sacred music. They gathered to collaborate on senior thesis projects and dissertations. And they traveled to major cities across the U.S. to explore career options and network with Notre Dame alumni.
Four students from Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters have been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study or intern abroad during the spring 2017 academic term. This is the most Gilman Scholars Notre Dame has had selected in a single competition.
The Institute for International Education ranked the University of Notre Dame fourth among doctorate-granting universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad during the academic year 2014-15. This represents a significant increase from the University’s ranking of #10 last year in the annual Open Doors report.
Through intensive language coursework and daily interaction with native speakers, the Summer Language Abroad experience allows students to rapidly enhance their command of a foreign language—be it Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, or Swahili. About 60 participated in the 2016 SLA program through Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures.
Notre Dame senior Sienna Wdowik knows exactly the type of job she wants after graduation. Her two majors in the College of Arts and Letters and multiple international experiences, internships, and research projects will help her land it. “It’s really important to me to find a position where I can serve my country and use the knowledge that I have to do counterterrorism work,” she said. For Wdowik, majoring in political science and Arabic was the perfect way to prepare for that.
Watkins, a native of Blacksburg, Virginia, and Doyle, of Los Altos, California, are two of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected from a pool of 882 candidates who had been endorsed by their colleges and universities. They are Notre Dame’s 18th and 19th Rhodes Scholars and will commence their studies at Oxford University in October.
The public has lots of questions about refugees, and William Evans and Danny Fitzgerald have come up with some answers. Evans, chair and Keough-Hesburgh Professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Economics, and Fitzgerald, a senior economics and mathematics major, have been analyzing a quarter-century of data to determine the economic impact of refugees who enter the United States. They will present their findings to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday (Nov. 15).
King Fok, a a junior majoring in sociology and Arts and Letters pre-health with a minor in international development studies, has been awarded the 2016 Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship for his semester of study at Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway. Launched by the Association of American Study Abroad Programmes (AASAP/UK), the Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship rewards a “deserving student” who “demonstrates an understanding and appreciation of the value of an international educational experience.”
Senior Ann Gallagher won the 2016 Monteverdi Prize through Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies (PLS), allowing her to spend the summer as a scholar-in-residence at Monteverdi Tuscany, an Italian hotel and center for the liberal arts founded by PLS alumnus Michael Cioffi ’75. The Monteverdi Prize, a scholarship created by the Cioffi family for PLS majors, also includes research funding for the summer and $10,000 toward the recipient’s university student account.
When honors medieval studies major Karen Neis ’16 took a class on Charlemagne, the unusual story of the emperor’s prized elephant resonated with her. She recalled that story when it came time to choose a senior thesis, ultimately leading her to produce an illustrated children’s book, Abul Abbas, The Elephant. The book recounts the journey of the elephant a caliph gave as a gift to Charlemagne around the year 800. In the story, a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim all work together to transport the elephant 3,000 miles from Baghdad to Aachen.
A documentary by two Notre Dame student filmmakers has been featured in 12 film festivals across the country and won numerous awards. It's the latest success story for documentarians from Notre Dame, a line that extends from How to Die in Oregon director Peter Richardson to The Great Alone’s Greg Kohs to Wordplay director Patrick Creadon. That tradition of excellence extends to 2015 graduate Dylan Parent, whose short documentary on a Holocaust survivor screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival, and Erin Zacek ’11 and Dan Moore ’11, whose film was chosen for the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Notre Dame announces the launch of the Latino Studies Scholars Program (LSSP). The merit-based scholarship and accompanying curriculum for undergraduate students is designed to attract and shape leaders working to support and empower Latino communities. The scholarship was created by the University’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) as part of its mission to advance the understanding of the fastest growing and youngest population in the United States and the Catholic Church.
Notre Dame theology major John “Jake” Grefenstette ’16 has been named a Yenching Scholar at Peking University in Beijing. The globally competitive award provides Grefenstette with a full scholarship and stipend to pursue an interdisciplinary master’s degree in China studies. He is one of just 125 students—from 40 countries and more than 80 universities worldwide—to join the second cohort of Yenching Scholars.
For a talented group of students and young alumni from Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, the dream of having their film screened at a Los Angeles film festival was realized this summer. The showcase, hosted by the College of Arts and Letters, was held at the Directors Guild of America Theatre this summer. It featured six student films and a short documentary from the “First Time Fans” series, directed by alumni filmmakers.
After spending part of an undergraduate study abroad trip working with struggling teen mothers in Chile, Lauren Antosz ’16 left with the nagging feeling there was more she could do. She’ll get the chance with a grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, helping to develop a program that supports at-risk youth achieve higher outcomes. Antosz, who majored in Spanish, is one of a record 29 Notre Dame Fulbright Scholars for the 2016-17 year.
From the first flicker of life in Frankenstein’s monster to the spark of unexpected connection between two high school students, the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre’s 2016-17 theatre season features an array of diverse, compelling productions. The department will present two student-written plays, In Paradisum and The Pink Pope, followed by an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Lauren Gunderson’s I and You, and Christ’s Passion: Medieval Mystery Plays.
Arts and Letter junior Emily Vincent discovered Chunmiao Little Flower on a service trip during high school in 2013. There, she learned the extent of China’s issue with orphaned and abandoned children. There are an estimated 600,000 abandoned children in China—98 percent of whom have disabilities. That first experience at Chunmiao Little Flower set the course for Vincent’s future—and, ultimately, led her to choose Notre Dame, inspired by the University’s devotion to human solidarity and concern for the common good.
Notre Dame's sustainability program, open to all majors, seeks to inspire students to cultivate practices and ways of living that preserve natural resources for future generations. The minor is housed in the College of Science, but it has proven to be an ideal way for Arts and Letters students to connect their interest in science with their passion for the humanities.
Notre Dame alumna Ray’Von Jones ’16 wants to make a difference in the world of education. And her sociology and Spanish majors are going to help her get there. “Education doesn’t only happen inside schools,” Jones said. “It happens in communities and in neighborhoods. So it’s important for me to have a larger understanding of what’s going on in our country in terms of racial climate, what different communities look like, and how they interact.
Congratulations to the Class of 2016! 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. "The College of Arts and Letters has really given me this great base that has allowed me to think and critically reflect on what kind of life I want to live," said Seamus Ronan, a political science and peace studies major. "I feel prepared for whatever life brings my way."
Notre Dame student Stephen “Pete” Freeman, a sociology and gender studies major, has been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study or intern abroad during the 2016-2017 academic year. Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go.
Claire O’Donnell has long been interested in researching education in developing countries, and her international economics major gave her the tools to do it. A 2016 Notre Dame graduate from Arlington Heights, Illinois, O’Donnell presented her senior thesis research this spring at the Undergraduate Research Paper Competition at the Midwest Economics Association’s annual conference. O’Donnell, who also completed a supplemental major in applied mathematics and a concentration in financial economics and econometrics, has accepted a position as a management consultant with PwC in Chicago.
“The focus of your education should be on trying to open your doors to a more international understanding of the world, and I think the Spanish major does an amazing job in preparing us for that,” said Nick Nissen ’16, a Spanish major in the College of Arts and Letters. Studying Spanish at Notre Dame provides students with the skills needed to fully experience the Spanish-speaking world. Students learn the language while also studying literature and culture to better understand the historical and social contexts of the 400 million native Spanish speakers around the world.
Seven students in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have been awarded graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for 2016. Another six have been recognized with honorable mentions. The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) honors and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social science disciplines. The award provides a stipend, tuition support, and research funds for three years.
Maggie Skoch, a 2016 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, was recognized as this year’s Jerry Greenspan Student Voice of Mental Health Award recipient at The Jed Foundation’s annual gala in New York City on June 7. The prestigious annual award honors a student who has reduced prejudice around mental illness, raised awareness of mental health issues on campus, and encouraged help-seeking among their peers. Skoch, an Arts and Letters pre-health and theology graduate from Mentor, Ohio, will attend the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago to pursue a career in psychiatry.
Abby Davis, a political science major from Avon Lake, Ohio, was named valedictorian of the 2016 University of Notre Dame graduating class and gave the valedictory address during the 171st University Commencement Ceremony on May 15 at Notre Dame Stadium. See the video or read the transcript of her speech here.
Michelle Kim, a philosophy major, has won a 2016 Naughton Fellowship, which allows students with a background in, or aptitude for, STEM fields to experience international research and educational opportunities through a funded exchange program involving the University of Notre Dame and some of Ireland’s leading research universities. With the award, Kim will complete undergraduate research at Trinity College Dublin.
Twenty-four members of the Class of 2016 who study in the College of Arts and Letters have won major national and international fellowships and scholarships, from prestigious institutions such as the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program and the National Science Foundation.