“People think that if you are given a problem, that you can have a successful outcome. However, what if you were solving the wrong problem?” asked Scott Shim, professor of industrial design at the University of Notre Dame. Shim’s research is in contextual application of design thinking, examining all the components of a specific problem by conducting in-depth studies of users, environments, and circumstances. His primary method of research is “co-creation,” where end users are directly engaged in the design process. Shim will invite participants to build with Legos or re-enact certain scenarios in order to develop new ideas.
The summer after his sophomore year, Notre Dame senior J.P. Bruno was packaging maple syrup, taking care of honeybees, and tending to an orchard on a biodynamic farm in Vermont. Three weeks later, he was sitting in the White House, interning for the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) as part of a semester in the Notre Dame Washington Program. These contrasting experiences provided Bruno, an economics and applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS) major, with an assortment of skills that eventually led him to developing his senior thesis and receiving a job offer in economic consulting at the beginning of his senior year.
Lessons from Breaking Bad: Why being an avid fan of the groundbreaking series inspired him to study negative representations of Latinos in popular culture.
Paloma Garcia-Lopez — an educator, nonprofit leader, and manager with more than 15 years of experience — has been appointed associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) at the University of Notre Dame. In her new role, Garcia-Lopez will manage and oversee all of the activities and staff of the institute. Garcia-Lopez will focus on enhancing annual programming, special events, communications, fundraising and budgeting. She will be a central figure in the development of a strategic plan to support scholarly initiatives in Latino studies as a key component of Notre Dame’s academic mission.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, a 1998 Notre Dame graduate, has won a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation — commonly known as a “Genius” Grant. Hannah-Jones, who majored in history and African American studies (now Africana studies), is an investigative reporter for The New York Times Magazine, covering issues of racial inequality, especially in education. In 2015, she produced three Peabody Award-winning radio stories for This American Life illustrating how school desegregation can lessen the achievement gap between white children and students of color, and her first-person article, “Worlds Apart: Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City,” won a 2017 National Magazine Award.
“We need to have much more proactive policies to include more women in the political process,” said Lakshmi Iyer, associate professor of economics and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Iyer’s research focuses on development economics and political economy. She is currently examining the consequences of electing women to political office in India as well as why certain minority groups there do not get into leadership positions.
The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economics Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame has received a nearly $350,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health in support of a major research initiative on homelessness prevention. The funding will support LEO’s efforts to measure the impact of emergency financial assistance on those at risk of homelessness. By studying the aid provided by homelessness prevention call centers, which process more than 15 million calls each year, LEO’s research will allow policymakers to make more informed choices in directing limited resources to the most effective programs.
Michelle Karnes believes imagination is the key to understanding medieval meditations about the life of Christ. When readers picture themselves holding Jesus as a baby or feeding him, it evokes powerful emotions, she said. “There are good cognitive reasons why imagining yourself participating in Christ’s life helps you engage with the narrative,” she said. “It causes you to invest yourself in a more profound way.” Karnes joins the faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters this fall as an associate professor of English, after eight years at Stanford University.
“What difference can faith make for morality when people today recognize that people of various or no faith can live a virtuous, honorable, moral life?” asked William Mattison, associate professor of theology in the College of Arts and Letters. Mattison is a Catholic moral theologian with particular interest in virtue. His latest book, The Sermon on the Mount and Moral Theology: A Virtue Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2017), examines the approach to morality that Jesus presents in Chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of St. Matthew and compares it to conceptions of happiness found in the works of classical philosophers such as Cicero and Aristotle.
New research from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Louisville shows that the number of men in the field has risen substantially since 1960, a marker of changing economic and social trends.
For Thomas Anderson, it’s hard not to be fascinated with Cuba. Anderson, a professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, has written two books on Cuban literature and culture and has published an edited volume of a leading Cuban author’s letters. Currently, he is working on a book that focuses on images of the U.S. civil rights movement in Cuban poetry. “I think for a lot of people, Cuba has always been seen as this forbidden country, and it’s something people are drawn to,” he said. “But it’s also a country with an incredibly rich literary and cultural history.”
The retreat was sponsored by the International Network for Comparative Humanities (INCH), an interdisciplinary group of literary scholars from across the U.S. and Europe dedicated to promoting comparative study. Co-directed by Notre Dame professor Barry McCrea and Maria DiBattista of Princeton University, the organization seeks to develop a new model for networking and scholarly collaboration in the humanities — one that stresses the importance of collaboration across generational, national, and institutional boundaries.
Nicholas J. Teh, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, along with London School of Economics colleague Bryan W. Roberts, was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study the nature of observables.
From the beginning, there’s an end in sight. For students in Notre Dame’s new Ph.D. in Italian and Ph.D. in Spanish programs — each of which launched in 2016 — the focus is on ensuring students complete their dissertations and earn their degrees within five years. The programs are attracting high-caliber students from around the world, helping to strengthen a flourishing community of scholars that includes students in successful master’s of arts programs already operating in each area.
In the past two years, 35 history majors in Paul Ocobock’s honors seminar have received more than $125,000 in funding to do original research around the world. And every student in his course who applied for funding received it — using the grants to explore archives in France, Ireland, Uganda, China, and South Korea, among other places. But to Ocobock, there is something even more important than his students’ 100 percent success rate in securing funding — the sense of community they develop as they plan their projects together, travel the globe to conduct research, then return to his classroom to begin work on their senior theses.
Looking through new lenses, a Ph.D. candidate and two recent alumni of Notre Dame’s Ph.D. program in history have developed innovative lines of research that are adding depth to the topics of British imperialism, comparative colonialism, and human connections to animals. All three have obtained either tenure-track faculty positions or fellowships, and two finished their degrees in five years — a lofty goal set by the department and College of Arts and Letters and incentivized through the 5+1 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.
An intellectual and cultural historian of modern Europe, Sarah Shortall joins the Department of History this fall as an assistant professor. She recently finished a junior research fellowship at Oxford University, is working on a book tentatively titled Soldiers of God in a Secular World: The Politics of Catholic Theology in Twentieth-Century France. The book examines the impact of Catholic theology on French politics after the separation of church and state in 1905, which she said is different from the separation of church and state in the United States.
Therese Cory, an associate professor of philosophy, has been awarded a Philip L. Quinn Fellowship by the National Humanities Center, a private institute of advanced study in North Carolina. Cory is one of 34 fellows chosen from among 630 applicants and the fourth Arts and Letters faculty member to receive an NHC fellowship since 2010. It will allow her to spend the year working on her book manuscript, Aquinas’s Metaphysics of Intellect: Being and Being-About.
This year’s report estimates poverty in the U.S. to be 12.7 percent for 2016, which is very close to the rate in 1980, suggesting little progress or change in the fight against poverty. However, the official poverty measure is flawed, according to James Sullivan, Rev. Thomas J. McDonagh, C.S.C., Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame, and Bruce Meyer, McCormick Foundation Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
In Notre Dame International's study abroad program in Puebla, Mexico, students can enroll in a unique pre-medicine track, taking classes on health-related topics at the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla. Participants in this track also shadow doctors twice per week in two Mexican public hospitals, learning about different specialties and gaining valuable clinical experience. They return with valuable language and cultural experience and a new perspective on health care, which they can apply to their future health professions at home or abroad.