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.
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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.
Imagine you’ve got one arm tied behind your back to help understand what the daily life of an amputee feels like. How would you squeeze toothpaste out of a tube to brush your teeth? Assistant Professor of Design Ann-Marie Conrado’s first- and second-year course Design Matters, a gateway course to the Department of Art, Art History & Design’s new Collaborative Innovation Minor, considers questions such as this and looks for solutions.
On April 15, four students participating in the College of Arts and Letters and Notre Dame International’s Kennedy Scholars Thesis Seminar were invited to present their research proposals at Durham University, before a jury of faculty members and graduate students. With constructive feedback from the jury and new insight gathered from Durham’s world-renowned libraries and archives, the Kennedy Scholars will hone their senior thesis proposals and apply for Kennedy Family Undergraduate Research Fellowships through the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts.
Sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries and the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), the ULRA competition honors those who conduct original research and draws focus to the extensive sources and methods of scholarly inquiry that modern-day research libraries offer today’s students.
Notre Dame seniors Teresa Kennedy and Connor Hayes have been selected to receive the 2016 Yarrow Award from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Kennedy, an anthropology and peace studies major from Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and Hayes, a political science and peace studies major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will accept their awards at the Kroc Institute’s undergraduate recognition ceremony on May 13.
Twenty-four Notre Dame students who study in the College of Arts and Letters have received 2016-17 grants from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, offering students grants to conduct research, study, and teach abroad. The total number of finalists from Arts and Letters alone surpasses the previous University-wide Fulbright record of 17, set last year. In all, 30 Notre Dame students were named Fulbright finalists for 2016-17.
Abby Davis, a political science major from Avon Lake, Ohio, has been named valedictorian of the 2016 University of Notre Dame graduating class and will present the valedictory address during the 171st University Commencement Ceremony on May 15 at Notre Dame Stadium.
Two juniors in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, Caleb “C.J.” Pine and Christa Grace Watkins, have been named 2016 Truman Scholars. Established in 1975 as a living memorial to President Harry S. Truman, the prestigious scholarship includes $30,000 in graduate study funds, priority admission and supplemental financial aid at select institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities within the federal government. Just 54 college juniors have been selected as Truman Scholars this year from a pool of 775 nominees. Six Arts and Letters students have received the Truman Scholarship since 2010.
When Elizabeth Troyer began diving into her senior thesis research, she wasn’t alone. She was one of 17 seniors in Notre Dame’s Department of English honors concentration—all of whom participated in a colloquium as they embarked on their senior thesis projects. Students in the class discussed their thesis research in small groups, offered feedback, completed outlines and bibliographies, and shared presentations on their main ideas with the class. It’s just one example of how faculty members have worked to build a sense of community in the department and in the honors concentration.
The University of Notre Dame’s Division of Student Affairs honored five students—Maggie Skoch, Colleen McLinden, Preston Igwe, Meredith Fraser, and Maggie Bowers—from the College of Arts and Letters at its 30th-annual Student Leadership Awards Banquet on April 7. These annual awards recognize current students who have made exceptional contributions to the Notre Dame community.
About 28 percent of recent Notre Dame sociology majors go on to graduate or professional school, according to data from The Career Center’s First Destination reports. Some pursue advanced degrees in law or medicine, but others—like Annalise Loehr ’09 (Indiana University) and Maryann Erigha ’07 (University of Pennsylvania)—enroll in prestigious sociology Ph.D. programs. It’s a trend that continues with the Class of 2016, as sociology majors Shannon Sheehan (University of Michigan) and Nicolette Bardele (Harvard University) plan to begin graduate programs in sociology this fall.
Notre Dame junior Allison Emeott didn’t just study Korean this summer. She was immersed in it. “You get to use what you learn and talk to people,” she said. “It’s really inspiring because when you’re surrounded by people speaking a language, you want to learn more and you just want to become a part of the community." Emeott, an applied mathematics and Asian studies major, spent the summer of 2015 intensively studying in Seoul, South Korea. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures in the College of Arts and Letters, she received a grant from the Summer Language Abroad program, which provides funding up to $5,500 for individual summer foreign language study abroad.
“Studying Chinese opens the doors to different ways of thinking,” said junior John Fox. “It helped a lot to be able to come here and study abroad this summer and to experience such a great city.” Fox was one of several Notre Dame students to participate in the 2015 China Summer Language Program through the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures in the College of Arts and Letters. Students honed their Chinese language skills at Peking University in Beijing, both in the classroom and one-on-one with an instructor. Students in the program typically advance the equivalent of one full year of study in just eight weeks.
For the first time ever, the University of Notre Dame will host the world premiere of an opera—a commissioned production of As You Like It, the classic Shakespearian comedy. The four-show run is a highlight of “Shakespeare: 1616-2016,” a yearlong series of campus events commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Given the location of its premiere, the production features numerous Notre Dame touchstones.
The neuroscience and behavior major is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Science. Students combine coursework in psychology, chemistry, biology, and other fields to study the nature of mind, brain, and behavior. The interdisciplinary approach prepares neuroscience majors to pursue medical school, graduate school, lab work, or clinical research. “Neuroscience really allows you to explore your options, and you certainly have a lot of them,” said junior Maureen Tracey.
Entries are now being accepted for the 7th annual Undergraduate Library Research Award competition sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries and the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement. Established in 2010 to promote critical thinking, intellectual discovery, and the advancement of lifelong learning, the ULRA recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate excellent research skills by their broad use of library expertise, resources, collections, and services in their scholarly and creative projects. Last year’s winners included three students from the College of Arts and Letters. A total of $3,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to six 2016 winners.
Fourteen University of Notre Dame students have been awarded Fulbright grants in the 2015-16 program, placing the University among the top-producing universities in the nation. The Fulbright program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. It awards a one-year postgraduate fellowship for research, study or teaching English abroad. During their fellowship, scholars will work, live and learn in their host country.
Two recent undergraduate courses in the Department of Political Science have done away with the traditional classroom experience, instead opting for immersive participatory experiences. Whether designing, administering, and analyzing their own opinion poll or creating a mock Congress, students in these courses gain real-world experience that enlivens learning and can even give them an edge in the job market.