News » Archives » July 2012

Notre Dame Echo program graduates honored at Mass

Author: Jenny Monahan

Echo Faith Formation seventh graduating class

A Mass of blessing and missioning for the seventh graduating class of the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life Echo Faith Formation Leadership Program was celebrated Saturday (July 28) in the Holy Cross Chapel of Stanford and Keenan residence halls.

Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, emeritus archbishop of Galveston-Houston, presided at the Mass for the 12 members of the “Echo 7” cohort, who were joined by families and friends to celebrate their completion of requirements for master of arts degrees in theology while serving as catechetical apprentices in parishes nationwide.

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Kroc Institute publishes updated research on women in Afghanistan

Author: Joan Fallon

Three Afghan women meet to discuss plans for social services

After more than a decade of war, U.S. troops will begin returning home from Afghanistan. What will this mean for Afghan women? Will their modest but important gains be lost?

A newly updated edition of the report “Afghan Women Speak: Enhancing Security and Human Rights in Afghanistan,” just published by the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, reflects the complex situation of women and girls in Afghanistan.

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Thomas E. Bear appointed executive director of student financial strategies


Dome and Clouds

Thomas E. Bear, formerly vice president for enrollment services at the University of Evansville, has been appointed executive director of student financial strategies at the University of Notre Dame, effective July 30.

In his new role, Bear will oversee financial aid and student accounts in the Office of Student Financial Services.

“We are pleased to have found a talented leader to advance the research and development of strategies and practices aligning Notre Dame’s considerable financial aid and merit scholarship resources to improve our ability to attract the most robust profile of gifted students,” said Don Bishop, associate vice president for undergraduate enrollment.

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Political scientist Monika Nalepa wins second book prize

Author: Kate Cohorst

Monika Nalepa Monika Nalepa

University of Notre Dame Assistant Professor Monika Nalepa has won the American Political Science Association 2012 Leon D. Epstein prize for “Skeletons in the Closet: Transitional Justice in Post-Communist Europe” (Cambridge University Press).

The book examines the strategies behind decisions on whether and how to penalize members of the former authoritarian regimes in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic as they transitioned to democracy, as well as the origins of the political parties that emerged in those newly democratic countries.

This is the second win in two years for Nalepa. “Skeletons in the Closet” also won the 2011 Best Book Award from the APSA’s Comparative Democratization section.

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Institute for Church Life to host Seed of the Church conference

Author: Jenny Monahan

Institute for Church Life

The Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame will host the upcoming Seed of the Church conference from Nov. 4-6. The event, to be held at McKenna Hall, is open to the public. Registration is now under way and is required for all participants. Conference registration is free.

Keynote speakers include Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States, and John L. Allen Jr., senior correspondent at the National Catholic Reporter and senior Vatican analyst at CNN. The conference will bring together bishops and lay experts from around the world — including Egypt, China, India and Pakistan — testifying to the landscape of Christian persecution in their respective contexts.

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Christian Smith honored by American Sociological Association

Author: Joanna Basile

Christian Smith Christian Smith

University of Notre Dame Professor Christian Smith has won the 2012 Distinguished Career Award from the Altruism, Morality and Social Solidarity section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). The accolade, presented at the ASA’s annual meeting in August, recognizes a senior scholar who has made significant contributions to the section’s areas of focus over an extended period of time.

Smith, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, is a concurrent professor in the Department of Theology and director of both the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Center for Social Research.

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ND Expert: Obama may have broken mold of Dems as 'war wimps'


Michael Desch Michael Desch

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is banking on the traditional Republican advantage in defense to help him defeat Democratic President Barack Obama this November.

This Republican strategy of painting Democrats as soft on defense has a long pedigree in American politics. It certainly seems to have worked in the past. But will it still?

“In my view, Romney shouldn’t bet on it this time,” says University of Notre Dame Political Science Professor Michael Desch, who specializes in foreign and national defense policies.

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New book edited by ND international law expert defines war

Author: Joan Fallon

Mary Ellen O’Connell

What is war? The question is more than academic, says international law expert Mary Ellen O’Connell. Without a clear definition of war or armed conflict, governments can simply claim they are at war in order to justify actions — killings, arrests, detentions — that otherwise would be condemned and prohibited by international law.

O’Connell’s new edited volume, “What Is War? An Investigation in the Wake of 9/11,” just released by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, “makes concrete the fact that armed conflict is legally defined as ‘war’ only when there is actual fighting by organized groups at a certain level of intensity on the battlefield,” O’Connell says.

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Research into oaks helps us understand climate change

Author: Gene Stowe

A live oak tree Research will help us understand how the trees adapted to climate changes.

Jeanne Romero-Severson, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, and her collaborators, are tracking the evolution of the live oaks of eastern North America, seeking to understand how the trees adapted to climate change during glacial periods.

When the ice advanced, the oaks retreated. When the ice retreated the oaks advanced, spreading from tropical to temperate zones, up from Central America and Mexico into the Piedmont Carolinas. The researchers expect the study of live oak migrations and phylogeny will provide clues to the success of the oaks that range up into northern Ontario in Canada.

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International outreach means busy classrooms for Notre Dame business programs

Author: Carol Elliott

Fudan University Students touring Better World Books Fudan University students attend a talk by Jamie O’Brien, an accountancy professional specialist at the Mendoza College.

For the 22 undergraduate students from Fudan University in Shanghai, the July visit to the University of Notre Dame was a crash course in the American education system.

Their two-week stay was arranged through Notre Dame Executive Education, which is located in the Mendoza College of Business. They arrived on campus July 13.

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ACE Commencement honors graduates for service and leadership through teaching

Author: William Schmitt

University of Virginia President Dr University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan speaks at the 2012 ACE Commencement.

The University of Notre Dame awarded 104 graduate degrees July 14 (Saturday) to the next generation of Catholic school teachers and leaders who completed their periods of formation with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).

ACE’s annual Commencement exercises, held at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, drew encouragement from keynote speaker Teresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia, who praised the graduates’ “ethic of service.” A good teacher-student relationship is the basis for transforming lives, she said, regardless of how much technology or pedagogical theory might change.

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Notre Dame to host national student affairs conference

Author: Karen Kennedy

Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities

The University of Notre Dame will host the 2012 Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASACCU) Conference July 24 to 27 (Tuesday to Friday).

Founded in 1999 and affiliated with the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, ASACCU membership includes student affairs professionals from 149 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. ASACCU promotes an understanding of the Catholic intellectual tradition and its relevance for student affairs professionals working at Catholic colleges and universities. This annual conference provides opportunities for professional growth, networking and increased collaboration and communication among staff from member institutions.

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Schmid recognized for manufacturing contributions

Author: Nina Welding

Steven Schmid Steven Schmid

Steven R. Schmid, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, has been named an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation Swanson Fellow and assistant director for research partnerships in the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO), which is hosted at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The Swanson Fellowship is designed to provide a unique opportunity for experienced engineers to serve in the federal government. Selected fellows, such as Schmid, devote a year of work and research, providing technical advice to policymakers in Congress and various executive branch offices and agencies. In this way each fellow can apply his or her expertise toward solutions to technical issues. In short, a Swanson Fellow engages with professionals in the public policy arena to make practical contributions on the most effective use of engineering in federal decision-making while strengthening his or her understanding of the intricacies of policymaking.

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ND Expert: Defections not enough to cause fall of Syrian president


Michael Desch Michael Desch

Despite the defections of two high-ranking Syrian officials in the past week and the apparent unraveling of Syria’s government, the fall of President Bashar al-Assad still is not imminent, according to University of Notre Dame Political Science Professor Michael Desch.

“There’s no doubt that the Assad regime is under siege, as Wednesday’s defection of the Syrian ambassador to Iraq once again highlights,” says Desch, an expert on international relations and homeland security.

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New Notre Dame research raises questions about iris recognition systems

Author: William G. Gilroy

Iris biometrics image 2008-2011 Top: Sample iris image acquired with LG 4000 iris sensor in March 2008. Bottom: Sample image of same iris acquired with LG 4000 iris sensor in March 2011.

Since the early days of iris recognition technologies, it has been assumed that the iris was a “stable” biometric over a person’s lifetime — “one enrollment for life.” However, new findings by University of Notre Dame researchers indicate that iris biometric enrollment is susceptible to an aging process that causes recognition performance to degrade slowly over time.

“The biometric community has long accepted that there is no ‘template aging effect’ for iris recognition, meaning that once you are enrolled in an iris recognition system, your chances of experiencing a false non-match error remain constant over time,” said Kevin Bowyer, Notre Dame’s Schubmehl-Prein Family Chair in Computer Science and Engineering. “This was sometimes expressed as ‘a single enrollment for life.’ Our experimental results show that, in fact, the false non-match rate increases over time, which means that the single enrollment for life idea is wrong.

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ND theologian Rev. Daniel Groody, C.S.C., receives Catholic Press Association honors

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C.

Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at the Institute for Latino Studies, has received two awards for recent publications from the Catholic Press Association (CPA).

The awards, one for Father Groody’s book “Gustavo Gutierrez: Spiritual Writings,” and another for an article titled “A Theology of Migration,” which Father Groody wrote for America magazine, were announced last month at the CPA’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.

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Economist Joseph Kaboski receives 2012 Frisch Medal

Author: Kate Cohorst

Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski, winner of the 2012 Frisch Medal

University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski has been awarded the 2012 Frisch Medal for a paper evaluating the impact of microfinance, widely used as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries.

First awarded in 1978, the Econometric Society presents the Frisch Medal biennially for the best empirical or theoretical applied paper published in the journal Econometrica within the previous five years.

The Frisch medal is not only one of the top three prizes in the field of economics, but also the most prestigious “best article” award in the profession, says Rich Jensen, Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics at Notre Dame and chair of the Department of Economics.

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ND Expert: Sentencing of former Congo warlord not enough

Author: Shannon Chapla


The International Criminal Court on Tuesday (July 10) sentenced former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in prison for using children as soldiers in his rebel army — the first sentence handed down by the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal.

“The criminal prosecution of Lubanga does not go far enough for international justice,” according to Daniel Philpott, associate professor of political science and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame.

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ND Expert: 'Mexican Spring' student movement won't have lasting impact

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

Mexican flag

Every six years, Mexicans go to the polls to elect a new president, and students erupt in protest, says University of Notre Dame historian and Kellogg Institute Faculty Fellow Jaime Pensado.

An expert on Mexican youth culture and student movements, Pensado says this year has been no different, as tens of thousands of students organized through social media took to the streets in the “Yo Soy 132” movement.

“The movement started as a critique of Mexico’s lack of media transparency, but it soon evolved into an anti-PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) protest,” says Pensado.

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Robinson Center I-Robotics team goes to Germany in a trip students will 'never forget'

Author: Brittany Collins

The Robinson Center LEGO I-Robotics team poses at a castle in Germany in June 2012 The Robinson Center LEGO I-Robotics team poses at a castle in Germany in June 2012.

The Robinson Community Learning Center LEGO I-Robotics team earned a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Germany from June 1 to June 10 to compete in the FIRST LEGO League Open European Championship. Sixty-six teams from more than 40 countries participated in the three-day event.

The robotics team, which comprises 10 students ages 10-15 from South Bend area schools, flew to Munich a few days before the competition to sightsee. The students toured Munich; visited two castles — including Neuschwanstein, the one that inspired Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom — and a Mercedes museum; took a trip up the Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest peak; and spent time visiting Dachau, a concentration camp.

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Tryggvason to receive fluids engineering award

Author: Nina Welding

Gretar Tryggvason Gretar Tryggvason

Gretar Tryggvason, the Viola D. Hank professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering and department chair at the University of Notre Dame, has been named the recipient of the Fluids Engineering Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The award is conferred annually upon an individual for outstanding contributions over a period of years to the engineering profession and, in particular, to the field of fluids engineering through research, practice or teaching. Tryggvason is being honored for “remarkable contributions to the art, science and practice of computation in fluids engineering and for outstanding leadership in mechanical engineering education.” Presentation of the award will take place during the Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting, which is being held in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, July 8 through 12.

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Engineering faculty receive DURIP grants for defense research

Author: Nina Welding

Debdeep Jena, left, and Thomas Pratt From left to right: Debdeep Jena and Thomas Pratt

Two faculty from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, associate professor Debdeep Jena and research associate professor Thomas Pratt, have each received Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) grants from the Department of Defense for 2012, totaling more than $650,000.

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Notre Dame researchers are participants in hunt for the Higgs boson

Author: William G. Gilroy

A candidate event for the Higgs boson decaying to two photons (thick red lines) detected by the CMS detector A candidate event for the Higgs boson decaying to two photons (thick red lines) detected by the CMS detector.

Scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest atom smasher, are expected to announce Wednesday (July 4) that they have evidence that the elusive Higgs boson particle exists.

Notre Dame researchers have long been involved in the search for the Higgs boson, the final piece of a model proposed four decades ago laying out the basic building blocks of matter in the universe.

The July 4 announcement by researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, which operates the LHC, isn’t expected to say that the Higgs boson has actually been “discovered.” Rather, CERN is expected to announce that the massive amount of data it has obtained represents the footprint of the Higgs.

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Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival presents ShakeScenes

Author: Chuck Gessert

2012 Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival

The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival opens with performances of ShakeScenes at the University of Notre Dame’s historic Washington Hall at 2 p.m. July 14 and 15 (Saturday and Sunday). During the course of one weekend, more than 100 actors and directors from throughout the Michiana community take to the stage in two different performances, each offering a series of 10-minute scenes taken from the plays of William Shakespeare.

This year’s line-up includes troupes from Robinson Shakespeare Company, The Acting Ensemble Stage Company, St. Matthew’s Cathedral School, South Bend Civic Theatre, Trinity School at Greenlawn, LaSalle Academy and The Player’s Guild at Indiana University South Bend.

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Anne García-Romero invited to National Playwrights Conference

Author: Kate Cohorst

Anne García-Romero Anne García-Romero

Anne García-Romero, an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, has been accepted to the prestigious Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference this summer.

One of just eight playwrights selected out of nearly 1,000 applicants, García-Romero will spend the month of July at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, working with acclaimed theater professionals to workshop her play “Provenance.” Also among the honorees is Notre Dame English alumna Theresa Rebeck, class of 1980, an award-winning playwright and creator of the television show “Smash.”

The Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference is one of the top playwriting development programs in the nation and is known for “developing new American plays that often go on to have a successful trajectory in the U.S. theater,” García-Romero says.

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