Class of 2022
Olivia Balcer is a Business Analytics major with an intended minor in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service and coursework in Neuroscience. Currently, she is researching the ethical responsibilities of businesses who operate on a global scale, with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry. In past summers, she has worked as a research intern at Eli Lilly and the Indiana University School of Medicine, and she hopes to use these experiences to inform future research into improving market access to medicines for patients in developing countries. On campus, she serves as an executive board member of Undergraduate Women in Business, the president of Calligraphy Club, and as a member of the Student Union Board's concert programming committee. She enjoys giving back by volunteering with MercyWorks and being involved in Pasquerilla East Hall Council. After graduation, she is considering graduate school in health economics or data science before eventually working in a healthcare-related nonprofit or company.
Alena Coleman is an English major with a supplementary major in Spanish and a minor in Education, Schooling, and Society. She is currently doing research on children’s response to race and racial depictions in fairy tales, and she hopes to continue research on reader response to children’s literature throughout her time at Notre Dame. Outside of class, she is a piccolo player for marching band and basketball band, and she plays the flute in concert band. She volunteers at the Early Child Development Center on campus and is the Vice President of Mustard Creative Writing Club. For the summer of 2019, Alena will be interning at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science in the Education Department, helping to develop educational programming for museum events. She currently plans to go to graduate school to pursue her interests in literature and pedagogy.
Ava Conklin is a Psychology and Pre-Health major and Sociology minor in the College of Arts and Letters. She is interested in research involving human ecology, specifically how the personality and health of children with disabilities are affected by the environment in which they live and whether there are any environmental links to autism. She is also interested in research through Notre Dame’s Boler-Parseghian Center in helping to find treatments for children with rare diseases. Outside of the classroom, Ava is a general manager of College Mentors for Kids, and she serves as Lyons Hall’s Student Union Board representative. This summer, Ava will be working as a therapy aide at a rehabilitation hospital. After Notre Dame, she hopes to either go to medical school to become a developmental-behavioral pediatrician or pursue a graduate degree in child psychology.
Danielle Corbin is an Architecture major and a Digital Marketing minor in the Mendoza College of Business. On campus, she is involved with the Shirt Project, the Student Association of Women in Architecture (SAWA), and the traveling club tennis team. She also works as a graphic designer for the Notre Dame football recruitment team. Danielle is interested in studying sustainable urban planning. She wants to examine the New Urbanist strategies of city walkability and mixed-use development and understand how they contribute to both the reduction of a city’s carbon footprint and a healthier way of life for the city’s inhabitants. During the summer of 2019, she will attend a US-UK Fulbright Institute at the University of Strathclyde and the Glasgow School of Art to learn more about the role of technology and innovation in planning the cities of tomorrow.
Julia French is a Philosophy and Peace Studies double major and is considering a minor in Theology. Julia is currently working as a digital research assistant for the Philosophy Way of Life project under the direction of Professor Meghan Sullivan. This summer she will be traveling to France to study French at the Institut de Touraine. Outside of the classroom, Julia is a member of the Notre Dame women's rowing team, works for the Fighting Irish Media group, and will be an undergraduate TA for the God and the Good Life philosophy class next Fall.
Brigid Harrington is double-majoring in Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) and Political Science with a minor in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service. Brigid has been acting professionally since the age of seven, performing as Jane Banks in Mary Poppins on Broadway and Koko in the hit animated Disney Channel television show Chuggington, along with movies and commercial work. At Notre Dame, Brigid is able to receive artistic training while challenging herself academically. Her two passions of acting and politics inspire her community engagement with arts education. Through her community arts outreach program Broadway ArtsReach, Brigid and her sister travel around the community, performing entertaining and educational sets of songs and stories for elementary schools, nursing homes, and more. Brigid intends on researching arts education and the other unique ways in which her two passions intersect throughout her time at Notre Dame and next spring semester when she will be studying in DC with the Washington Program. On campus, Brigid has been able to share her talents, voicing the 2018 Notre Dame national television commercial and performing as Myrtle Wilson in FTT’s departmental production of The Great Gatsby. After performing with legendary rockstar Todd Rundgren in the Notre Dame “Play Like a Champion” concert in the fall of 2018, Brigid’s arts outreach program formed a partnership with Rundgren’s Spirit of Harmony Foundation. Next semester, Brigid looks forward to serving as the Vice President of the College Democrats and the Welsh Family Hall liaison to ND Votes. For more information about Brigid, visit http://www.brigidharrington.com/ or https://www.broadwayartsreach.org/.
Robert Koniuta is a Computer Science major with an interest in pursuing a concentration in bioinformatics and a minor in bioengineering. He conducts research in the Baker computational biology lab at the Harper Cancer Center, with a focus on investigating the peptide-MHC complex, and how an enhanced knowledge of this interface might lead to novel immunotherapy solutions for cancer patients. Robert also enjoys service work, especially with organizations that endeavor to address educational inequality. He is a Matriculate college advisor, where he mentors low-income high school students on writing college applications, developing interviewing skills, and resume building. Robert is also working with the St. Adalbert School in South Bend to develop a STEM learning program for their middle school students for the 2019-2020 school year.
Alexander Kuptel is double-majoring in Economics and Philosophy with a concentration Philosophy, Science, and Mathematics. He plans to explore what similarities there are between social and natural patterns, how the philosophy of mathematics and system theory may explain those similarities, and those explanations’ metaphysical implications. He’s also interested in global cultures and development, especially how the Catholic Social Teaching of Authentic Human Development is linked with system theory. In addition to being a Sorin Scholar, Alexander is the Sophomore Vice-President of Notre Dame’s Quiz Bowl Team, has traveled on Student International Business Council projects, and hosts a weekly music show on WVFI student radio. This semester he’ll work as an intern modeling megacities for a Department of Defense project and as a TA for Intermediate Macroeconomics with Prof. Ben Pugsley. In the future he hopes to go to graduate school for economics to focus on development.
Drew Langford is a physics major and plans to complete concentrations in astrophysics, applied aerospace, and advanced physics. His astrophysics research consists of studying and observing cataclysmic variable stars and under the guidance of Dr. Peter Garnivich and Colin Littlefield. In the summer of 2019, Drew worked in Dr. Sergey Leonov’s Center for Flow Physics and Control Laboratory studying scramjet technologies. He is also an undergraduate TA for descriptive astronomy and is a member of the Notre Dame Rocket Team. Outside of academics, Drew enjoys playing on the Notre Dame Club Tennis Team and his interhall hockey team, FEAR. After graduation, Drew plans to pursue a PhD in astronautical engineering specializing in astrodynamics or propulsion.
Chris Mercadante is an economics and Spanish major with an intended minor in peace studies from Garden City, New York. He hopes to combine these academic interests by researching the economic causes and potential solutions to modern day separatist movements, particularly in the Catalonian and Basque regions of Spain. He plans to travel to these affected areas to perform hands-on research and gain an understanding of local perspectives on the sociopolitical conditions surrounding these independence movements. On campus, Chris serves as the Vice-President of Fisher Hall, a student-manager on the men’s varsity soccer team, and a volunteer tutor at St. Adalbert’s Elementary School in South Bend. After Notre Dame, Chris hopes to one day graduate from law school and practice international human rights law.
John Sayut is a Mechanical Engineering major and intends to earn a minor in Bioengineering. John is passionate about research in biomechanics, a field that involves everything from medical implants to soft tissue mechanics. Currently, he does research with Dr. Maria Holland in the CoMMaND Lab, investigating the cortical thickness of primate brains and the soft mechanics of cortical folding. After class, John fixes robots on the Robot Football team and talks politics at BridgeND. He also performs with the theatre group PEMCo and works as a stagehand at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. After graduating, John plans to pursue graduate study in mechanical or biomedical engineering, hopefully to innovate in both academia and private industry.
Kathryn Strimbu is a Biological Sciences and English double major and Data Science minor in the College of Science. She has previously conducted research on the success of short peripheral catheters based on dwell time. She hopes to eventually pursue a career in the field of epidemiology and would like to study the unique barriers to healthcare faced by urban communities. She is a current member of Dr. Perkins’ lab here at Notre Dame, a lab which generally looking at the transmission and control of infectious diseases through mathematical modeling. Outside of academics, she serves as Liturgical Commissioner for her dorm, takes pictures and designs costumes for PEMCo, and plays clarinet in ND’s Hockey Band.
Allie Verhey is an Architecture major with a minor in Digital Marketing. Additionally, she has a passion for languages and learning about and experiencing other cultures. In her five years at Notre Dame, Allie plans to use future research opportunities to combine her interests in both architecture and world culture to analyze the meanings of monuments and memorials and discover how they differ between societies. Outside of the classroom, Allie is a member of both the Notre Dame Dance Company and the Student Association for Women in Architecture (SAWA), and she is a tour guide for the University’s Office of Admissions. After graduation, Allie hopes to pursue a career in residential architecture.
Evan Wellman is a Finance and Economics double major. Concerned about child development and passionate about fiscal and economic policy, he plans to explore the various effects of fiscal and economic policies on stimulating parental participation in the development of their children. This summer, he is interning at Northwestern Mutual in Springfield, Illinois. On campus, he is a Keough Hall government commissioner, as well as a member of the Investment Club and Alexander Hamilton Society, which discusses and debates US foreign policy. Outside of academics, he plays on Keough’s interhall hockey and soccer teams.
Renee Yaseen is double-majoring in International Economics and Arabic with a minor in Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE). Renee serves as Co-Director of Training for the ND Model United Nations Team and is Co-President of the Arabic Club. She recently finished writing a research proposal to study the relationship between religious secrecy and sociopolitical marginalization of minority religious groups in the Middle East. This summer, she will research in the lab of Professor Laura Miller-Graf, a Psychology professor in the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Renee is also passionate about protecting our planet; this year, she collaborated with Hagerty Family Cafe to implement her loyalty card system for reusable cups, which seeks to benefit coffee-lovers and the environment alike. Next year, Renee hopes to expand the use of this structure to more campus and local locations. In her free time, Renee enjoys dancing, drawing, spoken-word poetry, being in nature, and playing music with friends. She sings and plays the guitar and piano.