Student government changes hands

first_imgWhen outgoing student body president Grant Schmidt and vice president Cynthia Weber entered office a year ago, the duo was determined to enact initiatives to make student government relevant to the student body.“We didn’t take on personal preferences,” Schmidt said. “Students were constantly giving us feedback. It made our jobs a lot easier.”The administration soon found the best way to find out what students cared about was not through formal student surveys, but just by talking to students.“A lot of it is informal,” Weber said. “If you want to get the real opinions of students, you just need to be a real student.”From large programs ranging from the restructuring of commencement and the introduction of Transpo Route 7A to small things like having baskets of mints outside the dining halls, Schmidt and Weber said they attempted to focus their agenda on improving everyday student life at the University.“The student body at Notre Dame is on its toes,” Weber said. “They care about everything.”Weber said by taking care of the everyday essentials of student life, student government was able to boost its credibility in tackling worldwide social justice issues through programs such as the Global Water Initiative.“Things like Transpo, which did get a lot of exposure, allowed us to use the support for other programs,” Schmidt said.Schmidt, who described his administration as “responsive,” said he was forced to tackle issues that arose at the last minute, such as improving off-campus safety after two Holy Cross students were abducted in September and sponsoring aid initiatives following the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.Another goal of the Schmidt-Weber administration was to improve student government’s relations with the University administration.“Student government is right now and hopefully will be consulted before every major decision,” he said.Schmidt said there were not any major initiatives he wished his administration could have tackled, although he said he wished the changes in du Lac, the student handbook, had been enacted during his term and the University had not chosen to move the pep rallies to Irish Green.In addition, Weber said student government needed to become more involved in the academic side of the University in the long term.When asked what advice they had for the incoming administration of sophomores Catherine Soler and Andrew Bell, Schmidt and Weber said the focus needs to be on the students.“Be present and energetic, and love the honor of serving the students at Notre Dame,” Weber said.Furthermore, Weber said the pair should continue to foster close ties with the administration but also stand up for what is needed.“The ability to respectfully disagree is key,” she said.Schmidt said the pair should also be aware of the complicated dynamics of community relations in the city of South Bend.“We currently have a very good footing with the city of South Bend,” he said. “But community relations is not something that just stops.”Ultimately, Schmidt and Weber feel their time in student government has been productive and personally fulfilling.“We wanted to be present throughout Notre Dame,” Schmidt said. “And we feel we positively changed the brand of student government.”Schmidt, who is a senior, plans to attend law school next year, while Weber, a junior, said she wants to focus on her studies and become “informally involved in the University.”“It really has been a privilege to serve in student government, especially at Notre Dame,” Schmidt said.last_img read more

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Senate discusses USC game expectations, sexual assault

first_imgStudent Senate discussed preparations for the upcoming USC football game, sexual assault and its relation to alcohol and the “4 to 5 Movement” at its meeting Wednesday night. Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick spoke to the Senate about students’ actions and behavior during the USC night game on Oct. 22. Swarbrick said one of the reasons Notre Dame has not hosted a night game in 21 years is because of the incidents that frequently surrounded the games. However, he hopes that will change after this game. “We want to have the opportunity to do future night games because it allows us to promote the University so much more effectively,” Swarbrick said. On a game day against a popular rival with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff, approximately 2.5 million people watch the game on NBC. With a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, between 5 and 6 million people will watch, giving Notre Dame a much larger audience for its commercials, Swarbrick said. Swarbrick, who also spoke in both dining halls during the lunch hours Wednesday, said students should arrive at the Stadium “game ready,” fresh and alert. “We want to have a spectacular evening a week from Saturday when we play USC,” he said. “We want a stadium full of noise and excitement that helps us win an important game. It should be a day that celebrates Notre Dame and its values.” In order to encourage intelligent decisions before the game, Swarbrick said the University will hold more activities around campus during the day, including additional musical acts and opportunities to interact with the players. Director of Game Day Operations Mike Seamon said all post-game Masses are going to become pre-game Masses. The Mass in the Basilica will be held at 4:30 p.m. For students who are returning to campus after fall break on Saturday, Seamon said NDSP would send an email to the student body detailing the procedures for driving onto campus. “The only thing I can say is don’t come back late. If you’re coming back that day, come back early,” he said. “As the day goes on, with 100,000 people traffic is always the biggest circumstance.” Although Seamon is predicting around 105 to 120 thousand people will be on campus, he said there will be close to the normal amount of ushers and University personnel around Notre Dame. “You won’t see a noticeable increase in [Stadium personnel], but we’ll have enough there to handle the situation,” Seamon said. Seamon said the focus of the day should be keeping an eye on friends. “Our biggest network is the people around you who can take care of you,” he said. “Be a network for your friends.” He recommended the use of Notre Dame’s help line. On a game day, Seamon said students and visitors can text “Irish” to 69050, along with their location, and University personnel will be sent to that area. “If there’s an issue, anything at all, whether it’s medical or you’re a visitor and need directions, or there’s someone who’s bothering you,” he said. “It comes straight to the command center and we can dispatch resources to you right away.” Although senators inquired about the proposed student “green-out,” Swarbrick said the University is not endorsing the wearing of a particular color. Following the game day discussion, Dr. G David Moss and Sr. Sue Dunn, co-chairs of the Committee on Sexual Prevention, called on students to become more active in the fight against sexual assault. Moss emphasized the close connection between alcohol abuse and sexual violence. “On this campus last year, every incident of sexual assault that was taken to ResLife involved alcohol on the part of one or both of the parties,” Moss said. Moss said alcohol has ingrained itself in campus culture, a fact that inevitably brings up the issue of sexual assault. “When you have alcohol consumption and a physically permissive culture bad things can happen,” he said. “You have a very slim line between what is sexual aggression and sexual violence.” Dunn said the key to combating these issues is to hold discussions on the connection between alcohol and sexual assault. “What we’re really challenging people to do is to engage in honest conversation certainly among closest friends first, and then to start to mix it up,” Dunn said. The effort to raise awareness needs to come directly from student leaders, Moss said, for they are the greatest influence on their peers. “It’s going to take a lot of effort, a lot of sacrifice and a lot of you stepping up and saying we’re going to change this culture, we’re going to change this environment,” Moss said. Alex Coccia, co-president of Progressive Student Alliance (PSA), then brought up another concern of the student body — the “4 to 5 Campaign.” Coccia and members of PSA recently launched their “4 to 5 Campaign” on campus. The name comes from the statistic that four out of five people aged 18 to 30 support gay rights. Coccia said another statistic that might affect more Notre Dame students is that among all ages nationwide, 73 percent of Catholics are opposed to discrimination. “However, the problem is that when polled, those same people believe only one-third of others agree with them,” Coccia said. The goal of the movement, he said, is to move from four out of five people who support gay rights to five out of five. Coccia said the organization is currently working on the ally movement and attempting to show people that being an ally makes them part of the majority. The next steps include a larger campus awareness plan and broader awareness such as addressing the nondiscrimination clause. “You might think that in years past there have been petitions and they do this every year and it’s never successful,” he said. “But we have had some big changes in the last year.” These changes include an on-campus office for the Core Council and changes to the sexual harassment clause. “This is going to be a constant push,” Coccia said. “There’s going to be an event every week, I guarantee it, even if it’s a small event it’s just to get the word out there.”last_img read more

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Fulbright awards 12 Notre Dame grants

first_imgNotre Dame is one of the top-producing institutions of Fulbright awards in the nation, according to a recent announcement by the Fulbright Program. Twelve Notre Dame students received Fulbright grants for the 2011-12 academic year, placing the University among the top 15 schools in the nation to receive the award. Roberta Jordan, assistant director of National Fellowships for the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), said Notre Dame students are strong candidates for the Fulbright awards. “Our applicants generally have a higher than national average win rate,” she said. “About 25 percent of our applicants are offered awards each year.” Jordan said the application process for these grants and scholarships can begin as early as the spring semester of junior year. The deadline to apply for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the 2012 -13 academic year was Oct. 18. “The CUSE Fellowships office holds information sessions at which we explain what the award is and ask juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing this to submit a statement of interest or a resume,” she said. “We then follow up with a pre-application prompting students to narrow their focus, identify one country and define their projects.” Jordan said preparation to compete for such awards can begin as early as high school for some candidates. “Experience is very important, so the more experience applicants can draw from, the better, whether we’re talking about research, graduate study or teaching English,” she said. “That’s not to say that students with a limited background in what they want to pursue are automatically excluded.” Jordan said students choose to different ways to use their rewards. “For English teaching assistantships, the age of the students and type of placement vary by country,” she said. “For research and study grants, the opportunities are endless because the applicants propose their individual projects.” Andrew Mrugala, a 2011 Notre Dame graduate, was awarded a Fulbright Research and Study grant, which provides a year of funding for study and research abroad. “The application process is pretty involved,” he said. “The great thing is that CUSE is right there with you through the whole process, and they offer all kinds of help with getting started, staying on schedule and putting together a solid application.” Mrugala is currently in Poland investigating the effects of healthcare reform on the mining workforce. “Luckily my area of research is not very cost-intensive and my living expenses are low, which leaves me a significant amount of grant money to partake in extracurricular stuff,” he said. “This part of the world is a little bit more remote than Western Europe, so I’ve been trying to make the most of my time over here by working and experiencing as much as I can during the short time I have.” Mrugala said he valued the help from the CUSE office when he applied for his Fulbright grant. “It is encouraging to know that you really do have a chance to get the scholarship if you stick with CUSE and work with their office to put together a solid proposal,” he said. “The staff and faculty at school really helped to create an environment where applying for national-level fellowships wasn’t anything out of the ordinary or anything to be intimidated by.”last_img read more

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Student reports assault

first_imgNotre Dame Security Police (NDSP) is investigating a sexual assault that occurred on campus over the weekend, according to an email sent to students Wednesday afternoon. The reported sexual assault occurred in a dorm during the early hours of Sunday morning, police said. The victim knew the person who allegedly committed the assault. “Sexual assault can happen to anyone,” the email stated. “College students are more likely to be assaulted by an acquaintance than a stranger. This means that the person perpetrating the assault could be part of the campus community.” In the email, NDSP reminded students to be aware of their safety and watch out for friends to reduce the chances of a sexual assault. Information about sexual assault prevention and resources for survivors or sexual assault can be found online with both NDSP and the Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention, the email stated.last_img read more

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Students intern at Cannes Film Festival

first_imgThis story has been updated to accurately reflect the genesis of the idea for the documentary and the full list of organizations that provided grant funding.  A team of eight Notre Dame film, television and theatre students lived a filmmaker’s dream this summer when they documented the Cannes International Film Festival as a part of the American Pavilion’s internship program. Nicole Timmerman, a senior film, television and theatre major, was one of the students accepted into the American Pavilion’s program. She said after the group heard the news, film, television and theatre professor Aaron Magnan-Park came up with the idea to produce a documentary about the Cannes experience. “Notre Dame professor and executive producer Aaron Magnan-Park was the central developer and producer for this documentary opportunity,” Timmerman said. “He came up with the idea behind the project after consulting various members of the American Pavilion staff, and spent several months knocking on every plausible door to find enough funding in order to make this idea a reality for eight lucky Notre Dame students and alumni.” She said attending the premieres was the highlight of her Cannes experiences. “We got to sit in a theater with Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy,” she said. “It was surreal.” Collin Erker, a senior film, television and theatre major and arts and letters pre-health major, said the research and fundraising involved helped him understand what independent filmmaking is like. “Very few people actually get to go there due to financial constraints,” Erker said. “We got to go and see the festival while creating a short documentary we feel the University can be proud of.” The students went through the typical internship experience at the American Pavilion while they made their documentary. “They taught us how to get the most out of our Cannes experiences. The key was networking,” he said. “You have you to put up your very best effort to meet different filmmakers and meet each other, since we’re all going into film.” Erker said they worked 10- to 12-hour workdays on top of their regular internship activities. “We definitely had a higher workload a lot of the other interns, but we all managed to work it out,” he said. “We still got to go to films, dress up and go out. We really did get to experience the city.” The group also celebrated Erker’s birthday during the festival. “It was a lot of fun being able to put on a tuxedo, go on the red carpet and see a French film, go to a nice French dinner and experience the Cannes nightlife,” he said. “I got to experience what the Cannes festival is all about, which is work hard, play hard. Seeing celebrities was [also] a lot of fun. Maybe one day I’ll be walking on the carpet in the same sort of fashion.” Zuri Eshun, a junior film, theater and television major, said the group had to reach out to several organizations to get enough funding for the project. “Just that experience [of] preparing to go made you realize how much goes into producing a film or a documentary,” Eshun said. “It makes you want to do it … Finally hearing that you have enough to go makes it all worth it.” For Eshun, one of her favorite memories came on Erker’s birthday. “We were eating desserts, and even in the midst of everything that was going on, even with all the shooting we had to do and staying up late and going to premieres and logging footage it felt like it was centered,” she said. “And it’s really hard to feel centered at Cannes, it was nice to feel like a center point at which you can feel at home on the French Riviera.” Producing the documentary made Eshun more focused on her major and her career, she said. “When you’re stressing about editing something and it’s 5 a.m. and you haven’t gotten anywhere, having done my own film, it kind of fuels the drive,” she said. “This is an actual industry that you can be successful in if you work hard. You have to love what you do to be successful in these majors.” The team had a number of supporters at the University, including Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the Nanovic Institute, the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Research, the Center for Creative Computing, the College of Arts and Letters, Campus Ministry, the First Year of Studies, Multicultural Student Programs and Services and the Film, Television and Theatre department. “There were so many we can’t even keep track of them,” Erker said. “We owe thanks to a lot of these organizations.” He said the film should be released soon on the American Pavilion website and will be part of their programming for future interns. “The American Pavilion will be traveling to multiple colleges and universities across the US and will be showing the documentary to other filmmakers,” he said. “It allows interns to see what the Cannes experience is really like.” The project helped spread Notre Dame’s name in the filmmaking world. “We became known as that Notre Dame group,” he said. “[Among] all these other students from typical film universities, like USC and UCLA, they said, ‘Oh there’s a Notre Dame presence in the international film market?’” Erker said the Cannes experience solidified his choice to enter into the entertainment industry. “I knew I wanted to be in film or television in some aspect, but [I] have been too afraid to take the jump,” he said. “But now that I’ve had this Cannes experience I know people make it and get to have these great experiences in their life and I want to be a part of that.”last_img read more

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Students study, research abroad in Cambridge

first_imgGraduate students in the Italian program in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures have the opportunity to work with leading academics at the University of Cambridge. Zygmunt Baranski, Emeritus Serena Professor of Italian at the University of Cambridge, joined the Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters faculty in 2011 as its first Notre Dame Professor of Dante and Italian studies. “The Italian sections are relatively small and this partnership with Cambridge ensures that students have contact with a broader range of professors, libraries and resources,” Baranski said. Every year, one Notre Dame student goes to Cambridge and one Cambridge student comes to Notre Dame for a semester. This program is aimed exclusively for PhD students who are already writing a thesis in Italian. They will have an advisor who will help them with their research and they will maintain a link once they have gone back to their host institution, Baranski said. Damiano Benvegnu, a current Ph.D. candidate in the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Literature Program at the University of Notre Dame. He was the first Notre Dame graduate student to participate in the exchange. His dissertation research, “Primo Levi and the Question of the Animal,” investigates the animal imagery in the work of the Jewish-Italian writer Primo Levi, focusing on how his literature operates when the human/animal divide is at stake. He will defend his dissertation in May 2013. “In this research I compare what has been considered the hyper-humanistic literary production of Primo Levi with the post-humanistic trend in contemporary philosophy,” Benvegnu said. “This comparison helps us to rethink not simply Levi’s literature and his Holocaust testimony, but also both the ethical and epistemological complexity of the human/animal divide(s) and the crisis of traditional humanism in the second half of the twentieth century.” Benvegnu spent the 2011 Michaelmas Term (September to December) at Cambridge and was part of Trinity Hall College. “I had the opportunity to work at the fantastic University Library there and to have almost weekly meetings with Professor Robert Gordon, head of Department of Italian at the University of Cambridge, and one of most prominent scholars in modern Italian literature,” Benvegu said. “The opportunity to work with him not only was incredibly enjoyable and stimulating, but helped me to better frame my own research and ideas.” Beatrice Priest, a Cambridge student, came to Notre Dame last year. “I learned a great deal from the graduate research seminars, made extensive use of the libraries, including the special Dante collections, and had many stimulating discussions with professors, post-docs, and other graduate students about Dante, the Middle Ages, and beyond,” Priest said. “Additionally, the opportunity to teach American undergraduates Italian language was tremendously rewarding. I would thoroughly recommend the exchange program to anyone thinking of participating in it.” Baranski stressed the importance of international partnerships. “I believe that in academia there is a need to have international ties,” he said. “Since there is a limited number of faculty, we need to teach students the importance of collaboration so that there remains a healthy and proper exchange of ideas.” Contact Charitha Isanaka at [email protected]last_img read more

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Morris Inn completes expansion

first_imgAfter a $30 million, nine-month renovation process, Notre Dame’s Morris Inn reopened to the public Friday for the first time since the project began in October. The building expanded from 72,000 to 137,000 square feet, with 150 guest rooms, new ballrooms and meeting rooms, a fireside outdoor terrace and a separate entrance on the north side. Director and general manager Joe Kurth said the Inn, known as “the living room of the University,” will serve as an “economic engine” for Notre Dame. “What many will remember as the old twin bed rooms now have plush king beds and double queens, and the bathrooms … are now spacious and comfortable,” Kurth said. “The rooms themselves went from an average of 260 square feet to 375 square feet, and the white tent outside was replaced with a beautiful ballroom, so we can now host those January weddings a little more comfortably.” Although the hotel was closed during the nine-month construction process, no employees of the Inn were laid off during the past year, Kurth said. “At Notre Dame, we talk about both what we do and how we do it. The construction team worked double shifts from 7 a.m. to midnight every day, essentially doing an 18-month project in nine months,” he said. “Not a single associate lost his job. “In corporate America, that wouldn’t be a possibility, but at Notre Dame, it was 50-plus people placed in jobs around campus, and as we reopened, they had the option to return with us.” With the expanded property, the hotel now employs over 150 associates compared to the 65 before, Kurth said. As part of the renovations, the Inn combined business operations with McKenna Hall, home of the Notre Dame Conference Center. “Our core business is hosting academic conferences and supporting the University in its entire academic mission,” he said. “Having options in both buildings provides us with a lot of flexibility, and we’ve been tasked with returning profits to the academic mission since the University spent over 30 million [dollars] on renovation work.” Kurth said the public open house held last week brought many students into the building for the first time, and he hopes the renovations will help the Inn partner with the University overall to improve life on campus. “It was amazing how many students came in to the open house like ‘Wow, are we allowed to be here?’ We want to be a good partner to the University, which means connecting with students,” Kurth said. Megan Akatu, director of sales for the Morris Inn, said the new space will have several points of interaction with student life. “Our restaurants are open every day from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and we accept Domer Dollars everywhere in here,” Akatu said. “There’s a small gift shop which is part of the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, and when your parents are in town it’s a great place to dine with them. As far as student functions go, the ballrooms would be an ideal space for dances too.” Other new services include valet parking for day and night events and iPad technology in each room. Kurth said the Inn is seeking LEED Silver certification from the United States Green Building Council as well, partnering with Notre Dame’s Office of Sustainability to include features such as a “green roof” for storm water management and improved air quality, LED lights throughout the building and single stream recycling. The original donation for the 2012 renovation came from Ernestine Morris Carmichael Raclin, according to Kurth. She is the daughter of Ernest and Ella Morris, who made the 1952 version possible, and Kurth said her contribution was the starting gift that was joined by donations from other benefactors. Contact Ann Marie Jakubowski at [email protected]last_img read more

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Second ‘Justice Friday’ addresses LGBTQ issues

first_imgLast week, the Saint Mary’s Justice Education Department discussed issues facing LGBTQ students at its second “Justice Friday” event. Senior Eileen Cullina, president of the Straight and Gay Alliance (SAGA), said justice is an “enormous topic” affecting members of the LGBTQ community worldwide. “In 29 states … you can still be fired for being gay. That’s more than 50 percent,” Cullina said. “In 34 states, you can be fired for being transgender, and LGBTQ youth (under the age of 18) are seven times more likely to attempt suicide than youth in general.” Cullina said sharing this information can create positive change for LGBTQ students and the entire Saint Mary’s community. “I would hope for a response of awareness more than anything else,” she said. “There are a lot of people on campus who live in a bubble, who don’t think there are lesbians who live on campus, despite the stereotypes about girls’ schools.” Cullina said she knows of students on campus who are afraid of coming out about their sexuality, and many members of the LGBTQ community face aggressive discrimination from strangers. “There’s nothing like the feeling of knowing that someone is so angry that they want to physically hurt you, not because you said or did anything to them, but just because you exist and they have such a problem with who you are,” Cullina said. Although some people want to be open-minded about different kinds of sexuality, it can be difficult for them to be accepting when confronted with the issue face-to-face, Cullina said. “Something I think about every day is that the most important way to handle things is to never react negatively to comments and looks, but to always think about educating that person,” Cullina said. SAGA will participate inNational Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 and will host Ally Week at the end of October, Cullina said. During Ally Week, a panel of students, allies and professors will talk about what it means to be a LGBTQ student and what being an ally entails. “[Being] an ally means being someone who is LGBTQ-friendly and not being afraid to speak up – being a ‘super-friend,’” Cullina said. Cullina said allies play an important role in spreading awareness and informing others about the LGBTQ community, and SAGA will host ally training this school year. Cullina said she hopes SAGA’s events will help educate the entire Saint Mary’s community, even people who are already LGBTQ-friendly. “Although I think Saint Mary’s has a long way to go, I’ve met so many amazing friends and allies here at Saint Mary’s,” she said. Contact Angela Bakur at [email protected]last_img read more

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Doctor treasures Mother Theresa’s compassion

first_imgIt may come as a surprise that Mother Theresa had something to teach a cardiologist about medicine, but Dr. Paul Wright said that is exactly what happened. Wright, a prominent cardiologist and Notre Dame graduate, spoke at Hesburgh Library Auditorium Tuesday about his journey through medicine and how his experiences with Mother Teresa changed the way he practices medicine. Wright said at the beginning of his medical career his practice in California was grounded in his strong educational background. He said, however, his life and career lacked a sense of purpose, which ultimately left him dissatisfied and lost.   “The eternal question endured … Why are we here?” Wright said. Spiritually distraught, Wright sought out the wisdom of Mother Teresa, who was staying in a nearby homeless shelter at the time. Although Mother Teresa was incapacitated due to a recent heart attack, she agreed to meet with Wright. Wright said he was “brought to his knees” upon witnessing Mother Teresa’s insistence on humility and compassion despite her weak physical state. “In all my years as a physician, I had never seen anything as breathtakingly beautiful as Mother Theresa emanating compassion,” Wright said. Mother Theresa introduced Wright to the ideology of compassion, he said. Mother Teresa addressed Wright’s questions about the meaning of life by reducing his complex concerns to the simple practice of alleviating the pain of others. Wright said he was astounded by the clarity of her advice. “Something so unique, so special. … This compassion. Her compassion,” Wright said. Wright said he went forth from this meeting with the aim of adopting a new dynamic approach to his practice of medicine, one which reflected the self-giving of Mother Teresa and her fellow missionaries.  Wright said Mother Teresa told him to remain aware of the full spiritual import of his efforts to heal people.  “Don’t forget who you’re touching,” Wright said, quoting Mother Theresa. “You’re touching humanity. You’re touching Christ within humanity.” Wright said he continued to work with Mother Teresa, assisting in her efforts to initiate a medical clinic in Tijuana, Mexico and ultimately traveling with her to Calcutta, India.  Through his witness of the intense suffering of the poorest of the poor at the moment death and the Missionaries of Charity’s awe-inspiring response, Wright said he came to understand compassion in a way that he would not have been able to otherwise.  Wright said in this way Mother Theresa healed him spiritually. “She turned out to be my physician,” he said. Wright said all people have a human responsibility to attempt to alleviate the suffering of other people and, by doing so, manifest the example which Mother Theresa has provided. Most importantly, for Christians it is a matter of living out a faith identity, he said. “Christianity is being compassionate,” he said.last_img read more

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Professor wins engineering education award

first_imgThe American Society of Engineering Education recently featured Jason Hicks, assistant professor of chemical and bio-molecular engineering, as a “Leader in Engineering Education.”Hicks earned the recognition due to his contributions and dedication, both inside and outside the classroom to the engineering program, according to a press release.Hicks, a Kentucky native, attended Kentucky Wesleyan College and graduated with a B.S. in chemistry. He then attended Vanderbilt University to obtain a B.E. in chemical engineering and Georgia Institute of Technology for his graduate work in chemical engineering. He attributed his abilities as an instructor to several of his own professors throughout his education.“I had multiple remarkable instructors who inspired me to pursue a career in education,” Hicks said. “They were clearly dedicated to their students, and they spent a lot of time investing in me. They imparted knowledge, skills and passion for learning and being creative to me, and this career gives me the opportunity to regularly interact with students and pass these things along to them.”Hicks teaches several classes within the department of chemical engineering and conducts research on the synthesis and characterization of materials and catalysts for energy applications.“We are focused on developing new catalysts to generate clean liquid fuels,” Hicks said. “This includes removing sulfur from diesel fuels, converting [carbon dioxide] to liquids, producing biofuels from non-edible biomass feedstocks and producing chemicals from renewable resources.”Hicks said the feature was especially meaningful given his relatively short time as a professor.“This is my fourth year at Notre Dame teaching primarily senior undergraduate students, and I am very excited to be recognized as a junior faculty member,” Hicks said. “The [department of chemical and biomolecular engineering] has excellent educators, and I have had many opportunities to learn from my senior faculty.”Hicks said he receives his passion for engineering from its potential to enhance lives.“An engineering education provides students with skills needed to design, construct and operate processes that impact our society,” Hicks said. “Engineers are needed to develop technologies for energy, food, pharmaceutical, textile, manufacturing, transportation and computer industries.“I am passionate about engineering because we can use this knowledge to directly and indirectly enhance our lifestyles.”Tags: Leader in Engineering Educationlast_img read more

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