News » Archives » March 2013

Notre Dame researchers using new technologies to combat invasive species

Author: William G. Gilroy

testing for invasive species

A new research paper by a team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI) demonstrates how two cutting-edge technologies can provide a sensitive and real-time solution to screening real-world water samples for invasive species before they get into our country or before they cause significant damage.

“Aquatic invasive species cause ecological and economic damage worldwide, including the loss of native biodiversity and damage to the world’s great fisheries,” said Scott Egan, a research assistant professor with Notre Dame’s Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics Initiative and a member of the research team. “This research combines two new, but proven, technologies — environmental DNA (eDNA) and light transmission spectroscopy (LTS), to address the growing problem of aquatic invasive species by increasing our ability to detect dangerous species in samples before they arrive or when they are still rare in their environment and have not yet caused significant damage.”

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Carnegie Endowment president to deliver Hesburgh Lecture in Ethics and Public Policy

Author: Renée LaReau

Jessica Tuchman Mathews

Jessica Tuchman Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, will deliver the 19th annual Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Lecture in Ethics and Public Policy at 4 p.m. April 16 (Tuesday) in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium at the University of Notre Dame.

Mathews’ lecture, “Can America Still Answer to History? What’s Gone Missing and How to Get It Back,” is free and open to the public.

Mathews will address the growing weakness of the United States in the international community, discuss the costs of its diminished role and offer recommendations for strengthening the U.S. government’s position abroad.

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Notre Dame researcher is studying role small dams play in pollution control

Author: William G. Gilroy

small dam

Sometimes, little things can add up to a lot.

In short, that’s the message of a research study on small dams, streams and pollution by Steve Powers, a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI).

“Small dams, reservoirs and ponds trap water pollution, which provides an important benefit to water resources,” Powers said. “This is especially relevant in agricultural lands of the Midwest U.S., where there are lots of small, but aging, dams.”

Powers and his fellow researchers showed in detail how a small, aging dam, which was more than 100 years old and located in agricultural Wisconsin, trapped water pollutants associated with fertilizer and manure runoff. They also showed an increase in downstream transport of nutrient pollution after the dam was removed, which occurred because of concerns about the dam’s safety.

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Inside-Out: Rethinking crime and justice

Author: John Guimond

Rethinking Crime and Justice

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In spring 2012, the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns added a new course, “Rethinking Crime and Justice,” as part of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, a national program based in Philadelphia that creates a dynamic partnership between an institution of higher learning and a correctional facility.

Many Inside-Out practitioners see the program as a creative link between two of the largest and most highly funded institutional and social structures in our country: universities and prisons, structures oriented respectively toward the most privileged and underprivileged people in our society. Through their classes, they attempt to deepen the conversation about those structures and transform student thought and attitude regarding crime and justice issues.

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Notre Dame researchers scoring a win-win with novel set of concussion diagnostic tools

Author: William G. Gilroy

Christian Poellabauer Christian Poellabauer

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From Junior Seau, former San Diego Chargers linebacker, to Dave Duerson, former Chicago Bears safety — who both committed suicide as a result of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have been making disturbing headlines at an alarming rate. In the United States alone, TBIs account for an estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports injuries every year, with approximately 300,000 of those being diagnosed among young, nonprofessional athletes. But TBIs are not confined to sports; they are also considered a signature wound among soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The potential impact on the health and well-being of individuals with brain injuries are numerous. The effects of brain injuries are most devastating when they remain unrecognized for long periods of time. This is where Christian Poellabauer, associate professor of computer science and engineering; Patrick Flynn, professor of computer science and engineering; Nikhil Yadav, graduate student of computer science and engineering; and a team of students and faculty are making their own impact.

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Notre Dame ranked No. 4 'dream college' for parents for second year in a row

Author: Shannon Chapla

Main Building in the spring

For the second year in a row, the University of Notre Dame is the No. 4 “dream college” among parents of college applicants, the Princeton Review reported in its annual “College Hopes and Worries” survey.

Released Thursday (March 21), the rankings are, in order, Stanford University, Harvard College, Princeton University, Notre Dame, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, New York University, Brown University, Columbia University and University of Michigan.

The Princeton Review surveyed 9,955 prospective students and 4,170 parents for the results. Respondents from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and abroad filled out the 15-question survey.

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Notre Dame to host open house for new Center for Arts and Culture

Author: Brittany Collins

An artist's rendering of the front of the Hansel Center

The University of Notre Dame will host an open house for its new off-campus Center for Arts and Culture on March 27 (Wednesday). Tours of the center will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.

The center, located in the former Hansel Center building, houses the University’s Community Relations department, its Crossroads Gallery of Contemporary Art and the Segura Arts Studio. The fine art studio, led by commercial print artist Joseph Segura, will operate through collaboration with various artists, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups.

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Genetic analysis saves major apple-producing region of Washington state

Author: Arnie Phifer

Rhagoletis indifferens Rhagoletis indifferens

In August 2011, researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were presented with a serious, and potentially very costly, puzzle in Kennewick, Wash. Since Kennewick lies within a region near the heart of Washington state’s $1.5 billion apple-growing region, an annual survey of fruit trees is performed by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to look for any invading insects. This time the surveyors discovered a crabapple tree that had been infested by a fruit fly that they couldn’t identify.

“In one of the world’s leading apple-growing regions, a great deal of produce and economic livelihood rested on quickly and accurately figuring out which one of the flies was in that tree,” says Jeffrey Feder, professor of biological sciences and a member of the Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative (AD&T) at the University of Notre Dame. “And for these flies, it can sometime turn out to be a difficult thing to do.”

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Notre Dame and Catholic Charities USA join forces to reduce poverty in America


Catholic Charities USA

An innovative partnership between the University of Notre Dame, the nation’s preeminent Catholic university, and Catholic Charities USA, one of this country’s most influential social service networks, was announced recently. The formation of the collaboration, called the Alliance, was driven by the two institutions’ common belief that helping those in need is a core element of the Catholic faith.

“I’m so proud of Notre Dame’s partnership with Catholic Charities USA,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame. “By bringing together one of our nation’s preeminent social service networks with a great Catholic university, we are able to live out our mission of putting learning in service to justice by addressing the root causes of poverty in our country.”

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Notre Dame’s Mendoza College makes it a four-peat: No. 1 again in Businessweek survey

Author: Carol Elliott

Mendoza blue banner reads: University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business

The Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame took the No. 1 spot for the fourth year in a row in the just-released Bloomberg Businessweek 2013 “Best Undergraduate Business Schools” ranking.

“There is so much that goes into the educational experience of being part of the Mendoza College of Business, including the spirit of the students, faculty, alumni and University as a whole,” said Roger D. Huang, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College. “The ranking is a wonderful opportunity to thank all of those who make this a special place.”

Mendoza’s undergraduate studies ranked first in student satisfaction and fifth in employer satisfaction — the two main ranking criteria. The College also earned scores of “A+” for teaching quality, facilities and services, and job placement.

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Center For Social Concerns to host international experts on peace and justice

Author: John Guimond

Peace Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Celebrating 50 Years of "Pacem In Terris"

The University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns will host leading international scholars in the Catholic Social Tradition on campus March 21-23 (Thursday-Saturday) for a conference titled “Peace Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Celebrating 50 Years of ’Pacem In Terris.’” The conference will kick off with a viewing of the film “Monseñor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero” at 7 p.m. March 20.

The conference will explore the thematic peace and justice issues that have been addressed by modern Catholic social thought, especially those within Pope John XXIII’s encyclical “Pacem In Terris” including human rights, political structures, ecumenism and environmentalism. Speakers from around the world, who represent the international and interfaith approach to peacemaking and promotion of human rights that has profoundly affected Catholic teaching and practice, will address the weaknesses or gaps that exist within “Pacem In Terris” as well as how the Church of today can move forward in the promotion of peace and justice in our pluralistic world.

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Notre Dame scientists announce new results on the Higgs boson

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Notre Dame high energy physicists, left to right, Mitch Wayne, Kevin Lannon, Colin Jessop, Randy Ruchti, Mike Hildreth and Nancy Marinelli (not pictured) worked with a number of international collaborators on the search for the Higgs boson

On Thursday (March 14), at the Rencontres de Moriond conference in La Thuile, Italy, the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) presented preliminary new results that further elucidate the particle discovered last summer.

“In July of last year, we presented compelling evidence for the discovery of the Higgs boson, observing its decays to vector bosons, but had insufficient data to confirm that it behaved exactly as we thought it should and to measure all of its possible decays,” says Colin Jessop, professor of physics and team leader of the Notre Dame group that is part of the CMS collaboration. “Now we have two and a half times more data, which has allowed us to confirm the existence of predicted decays to fermions, and to measure the spin and parity of the Higgs. We can now say with some surety that the new particle behaves exactly as a Higgs boson should.”

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Alumnus astronaut Kevin Ford returns from space

Author: William G. Gilroy

Kevin A. Ford Kevin A. Ford

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After 144 days in space, University of Notre Dame alumnus and NASA astronaut Kevin Ford returned to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) Friday night (March 15).

Ford and two Russian cosmonauts were scheduled to depart the ISS on March 14, but bad weather delayed the return.

Ford arrived Oct. 25, 2012, at the International Space Station (ISS) to begin a five-month tour of duty as commander of the station. He brought a variety of Notre Dame memorabilia with him into space, including a sign that reads “Explore Like a Champion Today.” He spoke with Dennis Brown, Notre Dame’s spokesman, from the ISS in December.

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Notre Dame celebrates new pope; Father Jenkins offers prayers

Author: Dennis Brown

Pope Francis Pope Francis

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The bells at the University of Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart rang in celebration this afternoon (March 13) as white smoke appeared from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, signaling that a new pope had been chosen.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, offered his prayers for newly elected Pope Francis. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by the College of Cardinals today in Rome as the 266th pontiff of the Catholic Church.

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Renowned sociologist Robert Bellah to visit Notre Dame


Robert Bellah

Sociologist Robert Bellah will visit the University of Notre Dame on March 19 (Tuesday). The Elliott Professor of Sociology emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, Bellah will present a lecture titled “The Modern Project in Light of Human Evolution” at 4:30 p.m. in the Notre Dame Conference Center at McKenna Hall, to be followed by a public reception in the atrium at 6 p.m. On March 20 (Wednesday), the University will host a public discussion and breakfast with Bellah at 9 a.m. also in McKenna Hall.

“Bob Bellah is an international celebrity,” says Lionel M. Jensen, associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and concurrent professor in the Department of History.

“He is a living exemplar of the sociology of religion as a discipline, one whose current work is in dialogue with the earlier founders of the discipline — (Emile) Durkheim and (Max) Weber.”

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Notre Dame named with distinction to 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

Author: John Guimond

President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll

The University of Notre Dame has been named with distinction to the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in recognition of its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

“Notre Dame students and employees play a vital role in solving community problems and achieving meaningful, measurable outcomes in communities around the world,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “Community service is an integral component of our mission to educate the heart and the mind, which we see borne out in our record of placing students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.”

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Notre Dame to join ACC beginning in 2013-14 seasons

Author: Dennis Brown

Atlantic Coast Conference

The University of Notre Dame will join the Atlantic Coast Conference for athletic competition in all sports except football and hockey beginning with the upcoming 2013-14 seasons.

Notre Dame has been a member of the Big East Conference in most sports since 1995. The University announced Sept. 13 it would leave the Big East to join the ACC.

With the departure of the seven current non-football institutions — DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova — effective July 1, Notre Dame and the Big East jointly agreed that it would be best for Notre Dame to depart at the same time.

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Panel to discuss innovation in K-12 teaching

Author: Notre Dame News


An upcoming panel discussion titled “Innovation in Education: South Bend Area Perspectives” will focus on innovative approaches to teaching pioneered in South Bend K-12 classrooms. The free event will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. March 19 (Tuesday) in McKenna Hall on the University of Notre Dame campus.

The panel is sponsored by Notre Dame’s interdisciplinary minor in Education, Schooling and Society and students in the University’s EduClub, whose purpose is to bring Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College and Holy Cross College students and departments together to learn about and discuss education policy, reform and opportunities, and to help foster and enhance the growing interest in education on the Notre Dame campus.

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Notre Dame to host multidisciplinary climate conference

Author: Rachel Novick

Climate Change and the Common Good

The University of Notre Dame will host “Climate Change and the Common Good,” a national conference addressing the multifaceted challenges presented by our changing climate, on April 8-10 (Monday-Wednesday). The event will engage nationally recognized scientists, ethicists and strategists in conversation with students, faculty, administrators and members of the broader community.

“We know that climate change will disproportionately impact the poor and vulnerable, those who have contributed the least to our present energy and environmental crisis,” said Rev. William M. Lies, C.S.C., vice president for mission engagement and church affairs at Notre Dame. “By coming together as a community to learn about these challenges and the paths to solutions, we can better answer God’s call for us to be stewards of the finite gifts of our planet.”

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Three professors earn NEH awards; ND leads nation for past 15 years


National Endowment for the Humanities

Three University of Notre Dame professors have been awarded National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowships for 2013-14, bringing Notre Dame’s total number of NEH grants to 49 since 1999, more than any other university in the country. The University of Michigan is second to Notre Dame with 36 fellowships, followed by Harvard with 28, Princeton with 23 and the University of California at Berkeley with 21.

This year’s NEH fellowship recipients from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters are Stephen Dumont, professor of philosophy; Sandra Gustafson, professor of English and concurrent professor of American Studies; and Deborah Tor, assistant professor of history.

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Founders of SPRED, religious education network for people with developmental disabilities, to receive 2013 Laetare Medal

Author: Michael O. Garvey

laetaremedal Laetare Medal

Sister Susanne Gallagher, S.P.; Sister Mary Therese Harrington, S.H.; and Rev. James H. McCarthy, founders of the Special Religious Education Development Network (SPRED), will receive the University of Notre Dame’s 2013 Laetare Medal, the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics, at Notre Dame’s 168th University Commencement ceremony May 19 (Sunday).

“Sisters Gallagher and Harrington and Father McCarthy have summoned the Church to a crucial and too often overlooked ministry,” said Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “Insisting that a developmental disability neither tempers Christ’s invitation nor restricts one’s right to respond, they have ushered countless people to their rightful place at the Eucharistic table.”

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Peace scholars explore religion and nationalism

Author: Renée LaReau

Jason Springs and Atalia Omer

Peace scholars Atalia Omer and Jason Springs examine the interplay of religion and nationalism around the globe in a newly published reference book.

Religious Nationalism: A Reference Handbook,” recently released by ABC-CLIO, is the latest volume in the publisher’s Contemporary World Issues series.

Geared toward students of religious studies, sociology, political science and peace studies, the book challenges a commonly held assumption that secular nationalism is “good” nationalism (or not “nationalism” at all), while religious nationalism — typically blending religion and politics — leads to explosive conflict, says Springs, assistant professor of religion, ethics and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

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NDIGD partners with Eck Institute for evaluation of cholera in Haiti

Author: Notre Dame News


Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Haiti has asked the University of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) to assist in conducting the Year 2 final evaluation for its cholera prevention and treatment program in Haiti. NDIGD will partner with Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health to conduct the final evaluation of the program that will draw on the initial evaluation that was conducted by NDIGD Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Juan Carlos Guzman.

Guzman works with students from the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Global Health program administered by the Eck Institute. This academic program has provided students the opportunity to help conduct the initial baseline and midline evaluation in Haiti.

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VIDEO: Notre Dame students take the plunge

Author: Notre Dame News

Polar Bear Plunge

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In an annual rite of passage, a group of University of Notre Dame students took the plunge and jumped into the icy waters of St. Joseph’s Lake on the Notre Dame campus on Feb. 23, 2013. Not only was it a “bonding experience,” participants also were raising money for the HOPE Initiative, a charity in Nepal that promotes education and operates an orphanage.

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Cardinal Dolan to deliver 2013 Notre Dame commencement address

Author: Dennis Brown

Cardinal Timothy Dolan Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will be the principal speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree at the University of Notre Dame’s 168th Commencement Ceremony on May 19.

“Over the past several years, I have had the honor and pleasure of getting to know Cardinal Dolan,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “He is a man of great intelligence and personal warmth, and a dedicated shepherd of the Church. We were pleased to have him here in 2011 to give the inaugural lecture for the Notre Dame Project on Human Dignity, and we are grateful that he has accepted our invitation to join us in celebrating the achievements of our students and to provide them with words of wisdom as they set out into the world.”

Cardinal Dolan was named archbishop of New York by Pope Benedict XVI on Feb. 23, 2009, after serving for the previous seven years as archbishop of Milwaukee. He was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Nov. 16, 2010. Pope Benedict elevated him to cardinal on Jan. 6, 2012.

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Malawian inventor brings inspirational story to Notre Dame

Author: Marissa Gebhard

William Kamkwamba

William Kamkwamba, author of “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope,” will be speaking at 7 p.m. March 18 (Monday) at the University of Notre Dame Conference Center, following a special performance from African singing troupe Voices of Mercy. The event is free and open to the public.

Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where modern science was mystery in a land withered by drought and hunger. After being forced to drop out of school because his family could not afford tuition, he regularly visited his village’s library. There, he found the book “Using Energy,” and discovered an explanation of windmills. Kamkwamba dreamed of building a windmill that would bring his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water.

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Senior Kaity Veenstra to receive Gates Cambridge scholarship


venestra200 Kaity Veenstra

Kaity Veenstra, a University of Notre Dame senior majoring in architecture, has been awarded a Gates Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge.

Veenstra is one of only 39 students in the U.S. to be selected for the scholarship, which drew more than 700 applicants.

Established in 2001 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates scholars are identified by academics in their fields of study as exceptional researchers who have the ability to make a significant contribution to their intended disciplines. Award recipients also are recognized for their strong leadership skills and understanding of how their research can be applied to the challenges facing the world today.

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Roger Huang elevated to Gillen Dean of Mendoza

Author: Dennis Brown

Roger Huang Roger Huang

Roger Huang, interim dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, has had the interim label removed from his title and is now the Martin J. Gillen Dean of the college, according to Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University.

The Kenneth R. Meyer Professor of Global Investment Management at Notre Dame, Huang was appointed interim dean last year when Carolyn Woo became president and chief executive officer of Catholic Relief Services.

“Roger is an internationally respected scholar who during his time at Notre Dame has proved to be an equally accomplished leader,” Father Jenkins said. “His reputation in his field, administrative experience, strategic perspective and commitment to Notre Dame’s mission as a Catholic research university are extraordinary. I look forward to working closely with him as we continue to build a superb business school that serves the greater good.”

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MurphyKate Montee named 2013-14 Churchill Scholar

Author: Stephanie Healey

MurphyKate Montee

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States has selected University of Notre Dame senior MurphyKate Montee as a Churchill Scholar for the 2013-14 academic year. She will use the scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom for her master of advanced studies (part III) in theoretical mathematics with a focus on geometry and topology.

Montee, a mathematics and music (voice) double major in the Glynn Family Honors Program, is one of just 14 students in the United States selected for the scholarship this year. She is only the second student from Notre Dame to receive this prestigious award. Andrew Manion, who was also a double major in mathematics and music, won in 2009.

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