Why do you do what you do? This deceptively simple question faced Notre Dame students Bright Gyamfi and Madelynn Green when they arrived at the 2013 Public Policy and Leadership Conference (PPLC) at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government this February.
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“If you are interested in Arabic, sate your curiosity,” urges Notre Dame Arabic studies major Owen Cox. “It’s really rewarding. I love it.” In addition to developing solid speaking, reading, and writing skills, students in the Arabic program take a wide selection of courses delving into Arabic literature, history, religion, and culture.
Catherine Reidy, a University of Notre Dame senior majoring in psychology with a minor in anthropology, has been awarded a Clarendon Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oxford. Reidy, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, will use the scholarship to study for her master’s degree in African Studies starting in October.
What role should government play in society? In religion? These enduring questions are at the heart of Opera Notre Dame’s upcoming performance of The Dialogues of the Carmelites, April 25-28 at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
Luke Pardue says he was looking for a “sense of family” when considering which college to attend. He found it at Notre Dame through the John and Barbara Glynn Family Honors program. “The opportunities that the honors program offers—from smaller seminar-style classes to summer research funding—made the opportunity to study at Notre Dame that much more attractive,” says the junior economics major.
Notre Dame senior Breanna Stachowski recently placed third at the International Housewares Association (IHA) Student Design Competition, which recognizes excellent industrial design in the housewares industry and provides a venue for the winners to network and sell their finished products.
As a senior in high school, Allan Joseph did not want to go to Notre Dame. That changed in spring 2009 when Joseph attended Reilly Weekend, an on-campus event for high-achieving students, and was invited to join the John and Barbara Glynn Family Honors Program if he chose to enroll at the University. “The honors program wasn’t a huge factor in my mind at first,” Allan says. “Then I went to Reilly Weekend, got to meet the people in the program, saw the opportunities—and just fell in love with the whole thing.
Since the fall of 2010, Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, through a joint faculty appointment, are extending student learning into the Latino community on South Bend’s west side. “Community-based learning brings the curriculum to life,” says Notre Dame senior Michael Thomas, a Spanish and finance major. “It’s an opportunity to put a face to the knowledge and the content that you gain in the classroom.”
University of Notre Dame Assistant Professor David Hernández recently received a trio of research awards: a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), a Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and a fellowship from Harvard’s Loeb Classical Library Foundation. “I am honored and thrilled to receive this tremendous help for my research,” says Hernández, who is a faculty member in both the Department of Classics and the Department of Anthropology.
“The classes were so interactive and small, I thought this intimate setting is exactly what I would want for a major,” says Elise Murray, a sophomore German major from Lancaster, Penn. “You formulate friendships and partnerships which are so vital, I think, for an undergraduate education.”
From a very young age, junior Marielle Hampe loved to read books. Her very first memory, in fact, is of her mother reading her a story on the porch of their house. It wasn’t until after her first year in the Notre Dame’s Glynn Family Honors Program, however, that she realized she wanted to make a career out of reading and writing—and teaching others to do the same.
When senior economics major and peace studies major Melissa Maggart began looking for a summer internship last year, she sought to combine her academic interests with her personal desire to help alleviate poverty. Her search brought her to a new program at the University of Notre Dame—the Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO).
University of Notre Dame senior Taylor Thomas says she chose to major in psychology because it can help bring order to things that seem incomprehensible. “I’m interested in the ways we can explain systematically the very chaotic aspects of life.” In pursuing this interest, Thomas spent last summer studying how mothers who have experienced trauma engage their children in conversation.
Notre Dame students looking to investigate some of the pressing issues facing our country today can get support for their research through the American Dream Summer Grant program. Offered by the College of Arts and Letters’ Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the grant is available to both undergraduate and graduate students to conduct an original research or creative project exploring some aspect of the “American Dream.”
The 2013-14 season of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television and Theatre will feature four plays, beginning in October with On the Verge. The three remaining plays are Cabaret, November 13-17; Clybourne Park, February 20-March 2; and Blood Wedding, April 9-13, 2014.
A college campus is intended to be a place where exploration, dialogue, and debate are fostered. A prime example of this ethos is the Dean’s Fellows program in the College of Arts and Letters. The program’s mission is simple: provide opportunities and support so that students can become academic leaders on campus.
Each year, approximately 30 percent of seniors in the College of Arts and Letters complete a yearlong thesis project, working one-on-one with a faculty member or graduate student to make an intellectual contribution to their chosen field of study.
When tragedies strike, how do we recover? Last summer, senior psychology major Benjamin Pfeifer moved closer to an answer, thanks to a research grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
“People have this idea that Japanese is really hard, that it is difficult to speak” says Matthew Donley, a senior Japanese and psychology major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. “But it’s not as hard as you think.” Japanese is a rewarding challenge, says the Houston native.
Alex Coccia and Nancy Joyce, both juniors in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, have been elected undergraduate student body president and vice president for the 2013-14 academic year. Coccia, an Africana studies and peace studies major, and Joyce, an Arabic and economics major earning a minor in peace studies, will take office on April 1.
The University’s world-renowned fencing program brought student-athlete Alex Coccia to Notre Dame. By the end of his freshman year, the junior Africana studies major helped bring fencing around the world—specifically, to a group of schoolchildren in Uganda.
Jaehyun Jung spent the summer of her sophomore year interviewing Koreans who had lived through colonization, civil war, dictatorships, and democratization. It was not just a great academic experience, she says, it was also a personal journey. “I’m definitely even more proud of my heritage now.”
“I took a University Seminar in sociology and I really liked it—it fit my personality,” says Sam Lee, a Notre Dame senior from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. “Sociology shapes your lens and perspective and how you see people in a larger context and the social forces that shape people. It’s applicable to a lot of things.”
Researching, exploring, and seeking to understand other cultures are essential to anthropology—and a key part of a Notre Dame liberal arts education. Junior Greg Yungtum had the opportunity to do all of these things during a trip to Africa this past summer.
Over Fall Break 2012, 10 undergraduate students from the University of Notre Dame traveled to Israel as part of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land sponsored by the Department of Theology. Several of the travelers, led by Professor Todd Walatka, are Theology majors and minors. Two students from the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, accompanied the group in order to film the experiences of these Notre Dame pilgrims.
“What I love about the English major is that it challenges you in a completely unique way,” says Michael Fronk, a senior English and math major at the University of Notre Dame. “Just the critical dialogue that you’re able to have about these esteemed works of literature that have survived throughout the ages, discussing the human condition, and the way you’re required to just think critically about these and to form your own novel intelligent thoughts and formulate them into writing, has just been an experience that I’ve found tremendous and invaluable.”
Finding and publishing long-forgotten musical compositions by classical composers is usually a project reserved for Ph.D. and master’s students. But don’t tell Samantha Osborn that. Last summer the Notre Dame music and pre-med major spent two weeks in Rome at the Conservatory of Saint Cecilia, where she was able to locate and duplicate eight of Baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti’s handwritten cantatas. She will perform one of them this spring as part of her senior thesis recital.
Beginning in fall 2013, Notre Dame undergraduate students interested in pursuing international economics as a major can choose from among five new language options: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, German, and Russian. These are in addition to the three Romance languages—French, Italian, and Spanish—already available.
“I wanted to learn how to think and to challenge my beliefs and to learn about the world, and then learn how to engage that world when I got out of college—that’s what anthropology does,”" says Sarah McGough, a junior anthropology major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and a student in the Glynn Family Honors Program.
The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States has selected MurphyKate Montee as a Churchill Scholar for the academic year 2013-2014. Montee, a senior mathematics and music (voice) double major in the Glynn Family Honors Program, is one of just 14 students in the United States to receive this honor.