Junior Economics Major Finds Home in Honors Program

Author: Chris Milazzo

Luke Pardue

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,” he says.

The Glynn program provides special seminars, field trips, and mentoring opportunities for 100 of the most promising scholars in each incoming class. It also provides summer funding to conduct original research.

Now a junior economics major, Pardue says his experience in the program has lived up to all his expectations.

“My friends in the Glynn program are some of the first friends I made at Notre Dame. Our common first-year classes allowed us all to get to know each other, creating a community of passionate students. And even as these common classes stopped, the community of the honors program remained,” he says.

Experiences to Remember

Glynn Scholars fulfill most of their University requirements in small honors seminars during their first two years. As they begin to pursue their majors, their courses still tend to be small, discussion-based classes. The Glynn program then culminates with a senior thesis: a yearlong research or creative project in which students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor.

Along the way, says Pardue, he has been able to form close relationships with Glynn faculty members, such as Paul Weithman, professor of philosophy and director of the interdisciplinary Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) minor. Pardue is also pursuing a PPE minor.

“The first class I had at Notre Dame in the fall of freshman year was Introduction to Philosophy, taught by Professor Weithman,” he says. “Because the class was less than 20 people, I was able to develop a close relationship with him. He is someone I have taken several more classes with and still talk to when I need advice.”

Outside of the honors program, Pardue is involved with Hall Government, First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL), and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies’ Scholars Program, which pairs students with faculty fellows as research assistants. He is also currently spending a semester abroad at Oxford University.

Plans for the Future

Luke Pardue

After graduation, Pardue says he would like to pursue a Ph.D. in economics, in part because of research he did last summer.

With funding from Kellogg, he went to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to study economic development and work with BRAC, an organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor

“I spent part of my time helping to apply rigorous economic analysis to different anti-poverty programs, evaluating these projects to gain a better understanding of their effects on those involved,” he says. “It opened my eyes to a reality I had only read about. I realized how complicated issues which look simple enough in a textbook can be in real life and that there are no simple solutions to the problems of global poverty and international development.”

His experiences in Bangladesh will also play a large part in his honors thesis, Pardue says, adding that the honors program overall has taught him to look in new and unexpected ways at all sorts of complex problems.

“My favorite course at Notre Dame so far was the Contemporary Political Philosophy class offered to sophomores in the honors program,” he says. “It showed me that philosophy is a discipline with applications not just for questions about truth and existence but also for practical questions.

“The course forced me to develop analytical skills in ways I didn’t think I could.”

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