Alumni Association honors distinguished students

Author: Shannon Chapla


Peter Quaranto, a senior from Franklin, Mass., and Mignon Montpetit, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology from Portage, Ind., have been selected recipients of the University of Notre Dame Alumni Association’s 2005-06 Distinguished Student Award and Distinguished Graduate Student Award.

A political science major and peace studies minor, Quaranto has compiled a 3.9 grade point average in the Universitys Honors Program and is a Notre Dame Scholar, National Merit Scholar semifinalist and national Coca-Cola Scholar.He received this years Yarrow Award for Undergraduate Peace Studies, and is one of 43 Marshall Scholarship winners for 2006.

After studying in Uganda last year, Quaranto founded the Uganda Conflict Action Network, an advocacy campaign working to bring peace to the war-torn country.As director of the organization, he has served as a commentator on BBC Radio and Chicago Public Radio and published editorials in several newspapers in Uganda and Kenya.In addition, Quaranto participated in an international summer service learning project last year in Cambodia, for which he organized peace building workshops and documented stories of children with HIV/AIDS.He also served as student coordinator for Notre Dames Center for Social Concerns program in justice education, and as a political columnist for The Observer, the Universitys student-run newspaper.

Quaranto, a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, is completing his senior honors thesis on the way U.S. policy interests in East Africa exacerbate internal conflicts.

A 2001 Notre Dame graduate, Montpetit received her masters degree from the University in 2004, and is honored for her exemplary accomplishments as a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology for which she has achieved ABD (all but dissertation) status.Her dissertation is titledThe Negative Affect and Stress: A Dynamical Systems Analysis.Recently, along with two theology graduate students, Montpetit received a course development grant from the Center for Social Concerns forIdentity, Social Ethics, and Psychology,a service-learning course that integrates developmental psychology and Catholic social teaching in an exploration of aging, migration and race relations.

Montpetit has devoted much of her time at Notre Dame to service, both on campus and in the community.She helped develop an interfaith initiative that established evenings of prayer from around the world, served on departmental and University committees to improve graduate school life, and chaired a committee for the Graduate Student Union. A past co-facilitator of the JustFaith program at Little Flower Church, Montpetit also coordinated weekly meetings focused on exploring the Catholic traditions perspective on world social justice issues.

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