Caleb “C.J.” Pine has been named valedictorian of the 2017 University of Notre Dame graduating class and will present the valedictory address during the 172nd University Commencement Ceremony on May 21 at Notre Dame Stadium. Named a Truman Scholar and a Gilman Scholar while at Notre Dame, Pine is a member of the University’s Glynn Family Honors program and is a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar. A member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, he carries a 3.92 cumulative grade point average, and will graduate with degrees in Arabic and peace studies and a minor in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE).
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Irla Atanda and Abigail Awodele have been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study abroad during the summer 2017 term. Awodele will participate in the China Language Program and Atanda will study in South Africa.
Notre Dame junior Rebecca Blais, a political science major from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, has been named a 2017 Truman Scholar. Blais is one of just 62 college juniors to be selected for the prestigious scholarship this year, from a pool of 768 candidates nominated by 315 colleges and universities nationwide. Established in 1975 as a living memorial to President Harry S. Truman, the award 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.
The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate and graduating undergraduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and social science disciplines who are pursuing research-based degrees.
The College of Arts and Letters and the Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC) will launch a new certificate program in international security studies in fall 2017. Open to political science majors, the program will offer rigorous training for students interested in exploring career opportunities in international security and foreign policy. To earn the certificate, students must take the U.S. National Security Policy gateway course and two relevant electives, finish a two-semester senior thesis research project, complete an approved internship in the world of international security policy, and participate in NDISC’s seminar series and other events.
A trio of Notre Dame students and alumni have been named Yenching Scholars, a globally competitive award that provides a full scholarship and stipend to pursue an interdisciplinary master’s degree at China’s top university. Teresa Kennedy ’16, an anthropology and peace studies major from Wilbraham, Massachusetts; senior Jenny Ng, a political science major from Sai Kung, Hong Kong; and Dominic Romeo ’14, a political science and Chinese major from Turlock, California, were named to the third cohort entering the Yenching Academy, based at Peking University in Beijing.
Notre Dame senior Ash Smith wants to become a public-interest attorney in order to fight for justice for marginalized populations. And majoring in sociology has played a key role in preparing her for that future. “Sociology lets you study some of the bigger questions, like why we have a lot of the social issues we have today. ” Smith said. “If you’re interested in law school, sociology is a great way to study how these different groups are discriminated against, how the law can help, and how people work together to develop practical solutions.”
Twenty-seven University of Notre Dame students were awarded Fulbright grants in the 2016-17 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. Of the 27 students to receive Fulbrights last year, 24 were Arts and Letters students—which would place the College sixth in the nation among all doctoral institutions.
Notre Dame junior Katie Portman spent summer 2015 doing archaeological fieldwork while living on the M.V. Pitsiulak, a 50-foot longliner, off the coast of subarctic Canada. Despite weather issues, engine malfunctions, and permit-related delays, the experience caused her to fall in love with—and major in—anthropology. Since then, her research pursuits have taken her to Washington, D.C.; Canada; Ireland; and Russia, for projects including excavation of a medieval Christian pilgrimage site and a study of skeletons of monks from Byzantine Jerusalem.
Senior Dan Lopes’ project “Scoop Pet Food Dispenser” received a third-place award, and senior Erin Rice’s project “Lead Animal Control Cage” received honorable mention.
For Katie Paige and Laura Heiman, research hasn’t just shaped their undergraduate experiences—it’s shaped their futures, as well. The two senior psychology majors have both gained significant research experience throughout their time at Notre Dame, writing senior theses and working closely with faculty members as they study topics ranging from depression to childhood development.
“An internship abroad is a great starting point for a career abroad,” said Margaret Swinehart, a senior history major in the College of Arts and Letters. Swinehart spent the summer of 2016 interning at the United States Embassy in Rome, Italy. She worked in the non-immigrant visa unit of the consular section, collecting documents and helping applicants prepare for their interviews. Swinehart learned about the internship through the Notre Dame Career and Internship Fair hosted by the Career Center. “The internship started as just something I was intrigued about,” she said. “It has shown me that I would like to pursue a career in government.”
Why Berlin? “Berlin has so much to offer. It wildly exceeded my expectations,” said Taylor Seeman, a senior Program of Liberal Studies and sociology senior who participated in Notre Dame’s Berlin Summer Program. The Berlin Summer Program is a six-week, six-credit program where students can experience Germany’s capital city while learning about its history and culture. Led by faculty in the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures, the program is open to students from all majors, and no prior knowledge of German is necessary.
An interdisciplinary team of four Notre Dame students won second place Friday (January 27) in the Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition. Mark Davidson, Jessica Klouda, Erin Rice, and Madeline Zupan were honored for their project, “The Spirit of the Isle,” a manmade island where guests enter from behind a waterfall to experience an engaging amphitheatre, explore sweeping terraces, or venture into a cave beneath the falls, which can double as an ice-skating rink in winter.
Imagine bringing the magic of a Disney theme park to the Notre Dame campus. Students in Scott Shim’s Collaborative Product Development course recently took on that challenge—with great success. A team of four students from that class has made the finals of the Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition, earning an all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney Imagineering—the creative force behind the Disney parks, resorts, and attractions—in Glendale, California, this week.
Beginning Monday (Jan. 16), the University of Notre Dame will host a series of events to mark both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Walk the Walk Week. The observances celebrate the diversity that currently exists on the University’s campus and offer an opportunity to reflect on how each member of the campus community can take an active role in making the University more welcoming and inclusive.
Since it began in 2010, the Arts and Letters Summer Internship Program (ALSIP) has awarded over $600,000 in funding to more than 250 students who gain experience and explore career options in a real-world environment—anywhere from C-SPAN in Washington, D.C., to a product design firm in New York City, to a nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa.
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.
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.”
“Rome is just amazing. There’s no other city like it,” said Andrew Guinan, a senior Italian and accounting major at the University of Notre Dame. Guinan spent the 2016 spring semester in Notre Dame International’s Rome study abroad program, and he stayed through the summer to intern with the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission. A student of Italian since his first year at Notre Dame, Guinan found himself supported by Notre Dame's extensive resources in the city, based at the Rome Global Gateway.
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.