Brock Switzer ’13, a film, television, and theatre (FTT) major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, began taking dance classes at neighboring Saint Mary’s College during his sophomore year. It was there that he learned of the influence of dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. Using Graham’s techniques, Switzer planned to choreograph a dance for his senior thesis project. With the help of an American Dream grant from Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, he attended the Summer Intensive program at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in 2013.
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Archbishop Kelvin Edward Felix, emeritus archbishop of Castries, Saint Lucia, who will be made a cardinal by Pope Francis next month, is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Archbishop Felix, who enrolled at Notre Dame in 1965, studied sociology and earned a master’s degree from the University in 1969.
“You can never go wrong having the Great Books of the Western world sort of in your hip pocket in terms of making decisions,” says Tom Franco ’74, a graduate of Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies and a partner at Clayton, Dubilier, and Rice, LLC (CD&R), a private equity investment firm based in New York City. “A lot of business is making judgments and having the context to do that, so I would say that a liberal arts background is a welcome addition to the investment decision making process.”
“The skill set that I developed in a liberal arts context is still the skill set that I use,” says Bryan Samuels, a 1989 graduate with a degree in economics. “There’s a big part of economics that’s about statistics and analytical methods, and ultimately I found a great affinity to them.” Samuels is the executive director of the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. He is the former commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
During the spring of 2012, Dr. R. Joseph Shonkwiler ’04 reached a crossroads in his career. In a few months he would graduate with a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University, and he needed to decide his next step. Shonkwiler could return to clinical medicine and finish his surgical residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital, or he could pursue a new career in the public policy field.
Breaking into the political world of Washington, D.C. brings its own set of challenges. “How do you talk to someone who is not of the same political slant you are?” asks Anita Rees, a career exploration specialist in Notre Dame’s Career Center. “What do students need to know to find a job in D.C.? How is the protocol there different from other cities?” Thanks to the Notre Dame D.C. Mentoring Program, students can find answers to these questions and get valuable career advice from successful Notre Dame graduates who were once in their shoes.
It’s no secret that Notre Dame alumni go extraordinary places with their degrees. A select few have even made it to the highest echelons of the United States government—working within the White House to support the president himself. Graduates of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters work in the Situation Room, with the Department of Justice, on national security, and as the deputy chief of staff to President Barack Obama.
Molly Hayes, a 2008 graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been awarded a 2014 George Mitchell Scholarship. Hayes, who studied English and Arabic while at Notre Dame, will use the Mitchell Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in Irish literature at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. She is the first Mitchell Scholar from Notre Dame since 2007.
Laura Miller ’08 grew up in a big, loving family, but her research at Notre Dame focuses on children who were less fortunate. A new faculty hire in the Department of Psychology and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Miller says her work integrates the quantitative and qualitative evaluations of children’s reactions to traumatic experiences, including exposure to violence.
“After graduating Notre Dame, would I have ever said, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a TV writer in Hollywood?’ Never in a million years,” says Linda Gase, a Notre Dame graduate with a degree in English. She is currently co-executive producer of Switched at Birth, a one-hour drama on ABC Family. Gase has also written for ER, The District, Crossing Jordan, and Army Wives. She credits her strength as a writer to the time she spent at Notre Dame developing her critical thinking skills and examining her point of view. “The biggest challenge of a writer is to trust your voice, and I feel that at Notre Dame, I really honed my voice.”
“I felt like my background at Notre Dame could not have prepared me better,” says Constance Barker ’73, a commissioner for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C.
Timothy J. Roemer, former U.S. ambassador to India, will give a lecture titled “Twitter, Buffett, and Darwin: India and the United States Relationship,” at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13 in the Jordan Auditorium of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. The event is free and open to the public. The lecture, which is co-sponsored by the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, is part of the Liu Institute’s Distinguished Speaker Series and Notre Dame International’s International Education Week.
When Caitlin Myron ’13 first came to Notre Dame she had an interest in the Irish culture from her childhood, but never imagined it was something she would have the opportunity to study. Four years later, she is beginning a master’s degree in Modern Irish at the National University of Ireland.
“My liberal arts education has really been a blessing in many ways,” says Chris Down ’93. Down is vice president of design for Mattel, Inc., a toy manufacturing company headquartered in El Segundo, Calif. He feels that the design education he received from Notre Dame prepared him in a way that set him apart from other designers.
“As a singer, I spend all my time dealing with texts. I sing poetry, I sing theatre, I’m singing in different languages, and all my training at Notre Dame helped me immensely for that,” says Paul Appleby ’05.
“I wouldn’t have traded my English major at Notre Dame for any other major,” says Greg Miller, ’87, a managing director at Greenhill and Company, an investment bank in New York City.
Donald and Marilyn Keough have made a $30 million gift to the University of Notre Dame to underwrite the construction of a new building for its international institutes. To be named in honor of Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the structure will be conjoined to Nanovic Hall, a recently announced facility to be built on Notre Dame Avenue south of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies.
Charles Leavitt, who received his Ph.D. in literature from Notre Dame in 2010, has accepted a position at the University of Reading as a lecturer in Italian studies—equivalent to assistant professor in the American university system. Located in Reading, England, the school is ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world.
It’s no secret that students in the United States lag behind their global peers in math. Nicole McNeil, ACE Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, believes the problem starts with basic arithmetic, where students develop a misunderstanding of the equal sign.
Robert S. and Elizabeth Nanovic of North Yarmouth, Maine, have made a leadership gift to the University of Notre Dame for the construction of a new social sciences building in the College of Arts and Letters. Nanovic Hall will be built on Notre Dame Avenue, south of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies, and will house the Departments of Economics, Political Science, and Sociology. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2015 and be completed by August 2017, prior to the start of the academic year.
Exposing Notre Dame history students to a diverse array of career options and connecting students to successful alumni are the goals of the Department of History’s successful “History 20/20” speaker series. “The alumni we invited back to campus represent well the wide spectrum of vocations pursued by history graduates: investment bankers, social entrepreneurs, lawyers, sports journalists, political consultants, and teachers—and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg,” says Director of Undergraduate Studies Daniel Graff, who launched the series in fall 2012.
“I’ve always been intrigued with the study of the human person and the way that we interact with others in society,” says Catherine Reidy ’13, a psychology major and anthropology minor from Greenwood Village, Colo. A Rhodes Scholar finalist, Reidy was recently awarded a Clarendon Scholarship for graduate work at the University of Oxford. She will use the highly selective award—covering full tuition, fees, and living expenses—to study for a master’s degree in African studies beginning in October 2013.
The 2013-14 Notre Dame Forum, titled “Women in Leadership” will include a variety of events focusing on the roles and realities of women who are leaders in their fields, beginning with an event this month featuring two leaders in the U.S. Department of Defense.
Notre Dame political science and peace studies alumnus Brian Klein ’08 not only served in the Peace Corps as a volunteer, he has made a career with the venerable service organization. In July 2013, Klein was appointed to a job as special assistant to Peace Corps Chief of Staff Stacy Rhodes.
Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters alumnus Peter Bevacqua ’93, was named Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of America in November. When Bevacqua considers the path that led him to a golf-lover’s dream job, the former English and film student credits his liberal arts education at Notre Dame, which gave him the freedom to let his career naturally take shape, he says.
As a policy officer for African Risk Capacity, Notre Dame anthropology and peace studies alumna Mary Boyer ’07 helps provide financial relief to African countries following drought.
Theresa Rebeck ’80 says she has a playwright’s brain. The critics and her peers apparently agree: Not only is she an a Pulitzer Prize for Drama nominee and National Theatre Conference Award winner, but Rebeck was also invited to participate in the prestigious Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference in summer 2012 to develop her new play, Fool. She was one of just eight playwrights selected out of nearly 1,000 applicants, an honor she shared with another participant from Notre Dame, Anne García-Romero, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre.
“As a freshman I was interested in psychology and history and English and anthropology and political science. I chose American studies because I’ve been able to take all of those while also studying issues of race and gender, religion, politics,” says Olivia Lee, an American studies and peace studies major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
“We study not only the pieces of music that these composers wrote but where they grew up, who they learned music from, and how previous composers influenced the type of music that they wrote,” says Samantha Osborn, a music major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. “You really can’t understand a piece of music until you understand the history, politics, art—all of the influences that helped create that piece of music.”
Justin Farrell, a Ph.D. candidate in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, is interested in how human values, morality, and religion impact our responses to environmental problems. His dissertation analyzes the cultural dimensions of environmental policy conflict in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The study is funded primarily by a three-year U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Graduate STAR Fellowship for Environmental Studies.