Notre Dame News https://news.nd.edu/ Notre Dame News gathers and disseminates information that enhances understanding of the University’s academic and research mission and its accomplishments as a Catholic institute of higher learning. en-us 2018-04-23T21:22:37+0000 May https://news.nd.edu/news/may/ news_86169 2018-04-23T14:40:00-0400 Carol Bradley The University congratulates those employees celebrating significant work anniversaries in May, including:   40 years Bob J. Widawski, Office of Director, Maintenance   30 years Peter H. Bauer, Electrical Engineering Melanie E. DeFord, Notre Dame Research   25 years Shelly A. Goethals, Physics Linda L. Klaybor, Development…

May

Carol Bradley

The University congratulates those employees celebrating significant work anniversaries in May, including:

 

40 years

Bob J. Widawski, Office of Director, Maintenance

 

30 years

Peter H. Bauer, Electrical Engineering

Melanie E. DeFord, Notre Dame Research

 

25 years

Shelly A. Goethals, Physics

Linda L. Klaybor, Development

Charles L. Konopinski, Infrastructure Services

Michelle A. Whaley, Biological Sciences

 

20 years

Sheila M. Britton, Hesburgh Libraries

William P. Gaffney, Food Services, North Dining Hall

Rachel L. Karnafel, Mendoza College of Business

Kimarie Merz-Bogold, Global Health Masters

Kristal A. Tinkham, Athletic Administration

 

15 years

Theresa M. Dockery, Office of Human Resources

Yen T. Hoang, Food Services, South Dining Hall

Tracy L. Kijewski-Correa, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences

Tosha L. McComb and Donna R. Minarik, Hesburgh Libraries

Heladio Mota, Morris Inn

Tracy A. Weber, Office of Chief Information Officer

 

10 years

Charles S. Barbour, IT Service Delivery

Jeanine M. Dziak, Development

Brian L. Flaherty, Graduate School

Jeanne A. Flanagan, Alliance for Catholic Education

Sean C. Kassen, College of Science

Zhong Liang, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Thomas A. Loomis, College of Engineering

Andrew J. Sama, Planning, Design, and Construction

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March 2018 New Employees https://news.nd.edu/news/march-2018-new-employees-2/ news_86170 2018-04-23T14:00:00-0400 Carol Bradley The University welcomes those employees who began work in March:   Rachel A. Arndt, Customer IT Solutions Andrew J. Bevevino, Kevin P. McMannis and Darius A. Walker, Development Alice M. Brown, Cheryl Ewing-Jobe, Susan M. Holdren, Kenneth A. Jones and Kaili McGhee, Custodial Services Jeffrey M. Clark, Turbomachinery Facility…

March 2018 New Employees

Carol Bradley

The University welcomes those employees who began work in March:

 

Rachel A. Arndt, Customer IT Solutions

Andrew J. Bevevino, Kevin P. McMannis and Darius A. Walker, Development

Alice M. Brown, Cheryl Ewing-Jobe, Susan M. Holdren, Kenneth A. Jones and Kaili McGhee, Custodial Services

Jeffrey M. Clark, Turbomachinery Facility

Anthony W. Cuminale, Biological Sciences

Chaochao Dun, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Eric J. Fiedeldey, Utilities—Operations

Michael B. Fletcher and Andrew B. Tourlas, Executive Education

Scott C. Ford, Office of the Executive Vice President

Kelly J. Haley, Holy Cross College Retail

Sabina K C and Yenha N. Sidor, Data Science Online

Erin F. Klawitter, Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program

Keith A. McIndoo and Matthew E. Smith, IT Service Delivery

Misty D. Metherd, Morris Inn

Lawrence R. Milks and Erik A. Simon, Graduate Career Services

Vitumbiko Munthali, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Scott D. Myers, Campus Work Control Center

Shannon R. O’Brien, University Health Services

Laura Stipic, Off-Campus Programs

Stephanie M. Washington, Alumni Association

Mark A. Westendorp, Risk Management and Safety

Colleen M. Wilcox, Notre Dame International

 

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Oxford vice-chancellor Louise Richardson to speak at Graduate School Commencement https://news.nd.edu/news/oxford-vice-chancellor-louise-richardson-to-speak-at-graduate-school-commencement/ news_86166 2018-04-23T13:00:00-0400 Nora Kenney The Graduate School’s annual Commencement Ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. May 19 (Saturday) in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

Oxford vice-chancellor Louise Richardson to speak at Graduate School Commencement

Nora Kenney

The University of Notre Dame Graduate School’s annual Commencement Ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. May 19 (Saturday) in the Compton Family Ice Arena.

 

During the ceremony, the University will confer 286 doctoral degrees and 500 master’s degrees, as well as present several awards to distinguished members of the Graduate School community.

 

Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of Oxford since 2016, who is receiving an honorary degree from the University, will deliver the ceremony’s commencement address. The first woman to lead Oxford, Richardson is an Irish political scientist specializing in international terrorist movements. She previously served as the University of St. Andrews’ first female principal and vice-chancellor, following a tenure as the dean of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and several professorships at Harvard from which she holds her doctoral degree.

 

“Dr. Richardson embodies the Graduate School’s core conviction, ‘Your Research Matters,’ as her zeal and curiosity for international studies have positioned her to offer concrete steps against terrorism and toward peacebuilding. Moreover, she is a role model for female leadership in academia,” said Laura Carlson, vice president, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “I am delighted that her example, in concert with those of our admirable awardees, will launch our graduate students from the University into the world, where they’ll have their own opportunities to propel research that matters in powerful and unique ways.”

 

The Graduate School awards recipients are as follows:

 

  • Mimi Beck is the winner of the second-ever Dick and Peggy Notebaert Award. The founding director of Notre Dame’s Office of Graduate Student Life, Beck has demonstrated tireless devotion to graduate students in the process of creating and implementing a broad and strategic vision that promotes their success and well-being. Beck’s efforts support the Graduate School’s commitment to fostering a holistic research environment.
  • Stephen Walker is the winner of the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Walker was named the 21st director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in November 2017. An undergraduate and doctoral graduate of Notre Dame’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Walker is recognized for his public service career dedicated to advancing U.S. hypersonic flight and space access.
  • Edward Maginn is the winner of the James A. Burns, C.S.C. Award. The Dorini Family Professor of Energy Studies and Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Maginn is recognized for a sterling reputation as a leading scholar in the field of molecular simulation, and his deep dedication to advising and classroom instruction.
  • Curtis Franks is the winner of this year’s Director of Graduate Studies Award. An associate professor in the Department of Philosophy specializing in philosophies of logic and mathematics, Franks is recognized for innovative restructuring of the doctoral program and for fostering a welcoming departmental environment for graduate students.

 

In addition, the ceremony will honor the recipients of the Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards, which recognize the top graduating doctoral students in the divisions of engineering, the humanities, social sciences and science.

 

  • Paige Rodeghero, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in engineering. A scholar of software engineering, Rodeghero is recognized for her excellent research on content extraction and program comprehension, as well as for her caring approach to teaching and mentoring. Rodeghero will assume a tenure-track position at Clemson University in the fall.
  • Joshua Noble, Department of Theology, is the Shaheen Awardee in the humanities. A specialist of Christianity and Judaism in antiquity and a gifted linguist, Noble is recognized for his exceptional scholarship, which argues for the reliance of the Acts of the Apostles on the Greco-Roman Golden Age myth. Noble currently serves as a tutor at Thomas Aquinas College.
  • Samantha Anderson, Department of Psychology, is the social sciences’ Shaheen Awardee. Anderson is a widely published quantitative psychologist whose work addresses replication methodology and data analysis. Anderson is recognized for her excellent academic record, brilliant scholarship and effective teaching, for which she previously received a Kaneb Center Outstanding Student Teacher Award. Anderson will begin a tenure-track position at Arizona State University this fall.
  • Leandro Lichtenfelz, Department of Mathematics, is the Shaheen Awardee in science. A specialist of the Euler and Navier-Stokes equations, Lichtenfelz is an accomplished researcher with a strong publication record. He is also an outstanding instructor, and a favorite among his department’s honors undergraduates. In the fall, Lichtenfelz will begin a highly coveted postdoctoral appointment at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

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Grad students to compete for prize money in annual Shaheen Three Minute Thesis competition https://news.nd.edu/news/grad-students-to-compete-for-prize-money-in-annual-shaheen-three-minute-thesis-competition/ news_86084 2018-04-20T12:00:00-0400 Erin Blasko Eight University of Notre Dame graduate students will compete for $4,500 in prize money at the annual Shaheen Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at 5 p.m. Monday (April 23) in the Jordan Auditorium at the Mendoza College of Business.

Grad students to compete for prize money in annual Shaheen Three Minute Thesis competition

Erin Blasko

Eight University of Notre Dame graduate students will compete for $4,500 in prize money at the annual Shaheen Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at 5 p.m. Monday (April 23) in the Jordan Auditorium at the Mendoza College of Business.

Developed by the University of Queensland, Australia, 3MT is an academic competition that challenges Ph.D. students to explain their research in a language appropriate to both specialists and non-specialists in three minutes or less.

The competition provides an opportunity for undergraduates, alumni, industry partners, various on-campus departments/institutes and the community at large to learn about high-level, cutting-edge research at Notre Dame.

“The Shaheen 3MT competition lies at the heart of our conviction that ‘Your Research Matters.’ It gives Notre Dame graduate students a platform for promoting their research and communicating its importance to a broader community beyond their disciplines,” said Laura Carlson, vice president, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School.

“Graduate students play a pivotal role in our institution’s research advances,” Carlson said. “During the 3MT competition, we are able to celebrate these contributions while challenging our students to hone the professional development skills required for articulating a dissertation via a single, static slide and three-minute oration.”

In addition to Carlson, judges for this year’s competition include Bryan Ritchie, vice president and associate provost for innovation at Notre Dame; Lisa Michaels, associate director of career services, Mendoza College of Business; Lionel Pittman, assistant professor, Chicago State University; and Karen Bailey, process TD engineer, Intel Corp.

Randy Kelly, head of school at Montessori Academy Edison Lakes, will emcee the event.

This year’s finalists are Jonathon Gondelman, political science; Matteo Bianchetti, philosophy; Sarah Lum, chemistry; Whitney Liske, math; Elvin Morales, biology; Mark Summe, chemical engineering; Diya Li, chemical engineering; and Xunzhao Yin, computer science and engineering.

For more information, visit 3mt.nd.edu.

Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127, eblasko@nd.edu

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Notre Dame to implement clear bag policy for reserve-ticketed events https://news.nd.edu/news/notre-dame-to-implement-clear-bag-policy/ news_86062 2018-04-20T11:00:00-0400 Dennis Brown The new policy is effective Sept. 1 for the first football game of the 2018 season.

Notre Dame to implement clear bag policy for reserve-ticketed events

Dennis Brown

In line with best practices at major entertainment and athletics venues, the University of Notre Dame will implement a clear bag policy for all reserve-ticketed events at Notre Dame Stadium, Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center and the Compton Family Ice Arena, effective Sept. 1 for the first football game of the 2018 season.

“Safety and security on campus is our highest priority,” said Mike Seamon, vice president for campus safety and event management. “This new policy will be a significant addition to the many safeguards we already have in place.

“Many stadia and arenas nationwide have adopted this policy in recent years, and it has proven to enhance safety and, because it reduces faulty bag searches, expedite fans’ access through the gates and into the venues.”

Under the policy, fans will be allowed to bring with them a clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag that does not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or a one-gallon plastic bag (such as Ziploc or Hefty bags). The bags may have a logo no larger than 4 inches by 3.4 inches. Bags carrying a properly sized logo of other teams or venues are permitted.

Small clutches – 4½ inches by 6½ inches, or approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap – also can be taken into the stadium along with clear bags.

Clear Bag

Exceptions will be made for approved medical bags or equipment, which will be inspected at designated gates.

Prohibited items include, but are not limited to, purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, drawstring bags, luggage of any kind, computer bags, camera bags, binocular cases, diaper bags and bags larger than the permissible size. Items in such bags – including diapers, wipes and other supplies for babies and small children – should be placed in an approved clear bag.

Seat cushions measuring 16 by 16 inches are permitted, as are binoculars and cameras without cases. Blankets will be permitted but subject to a search.

Guests are encouraged to bring only necessary items into the venues, and all fans and their belongings are subject to inspection at the entrances. Express entry lanes for those entering without a bag will be available at all gates.

Guests carrying bags that do not meet the criteria will be asked to return them to their vehicles, hotel rooms or homes. In addition, a vendor will be available outside Notre Dame Stadium before football games to ship at cost bags or belongings that do not meet the University’s policies.

Approved bags are available for purchase at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore and game-day merchandise locations and through online outlets.

As always, fans can carry personal items in their pockets or jackets, including keys, makeup, feminine products, combs, phones, wallets and credit cards.

The new policy also will apply to non-Notre Dame events, such as concerts, professional games and other reserve-ticketed events.

The policy is available online here.

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Philosopher Robert Audi elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences https://news.nd.edu/news/philosopher-robert-audi-elected-to-american-academy-of-arts-and-sciences/ news_86096 2018-04-20T11:00:00-0400 Amanda Skofstad Founded in 1780, the AAAS is one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers.

Philosopher Robert Audi elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Amanda Skofstad

Robert AudiRobert Audi

Robert Audi, John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, has been elected to the 2018 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). He is the seventh living Notre Dame philosophy faculty member to be so honored and is to be inducted at an October ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Audi is among 213 members elected to the 238th AAAS class, which includes 44th president of the United States Barack H. Obama; Supreme Court Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor; NASA climatologist Claire L. Parkinson; author Ta-Nehisi Coates; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts chair Katherine G. Farley; actor Tom Hanks; and Netflix Inc. CEO W. Reed Hastings Jr.

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2003 — first as David E. Gallo Professor of Business Ethics and then as John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy — Audi holds a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a master’s and doctorate from the University of Michigan. His research focuses on moral and political philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of mind and philosophy of religion. Audi’s work has myriad applications for such fields as business, medicine, government and journalism.

The author of 20 books and numerous articles, Audi is the editor-in-chief of “The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy” and was awarded the 2016 Quinn Prize, the American Philosophical Association’s highest honor for service to the profession. He is a past president of the American Philosophical Association, a recipient of many grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the subject of two volumes of critical studies on his work.   

“I have learned immensely from my colleagues and students, and the work that earned this honor owes much to the value of our interactions over the years,” said Audi. “A great challenge ahead is to bring the results of good philosophical thinking to bear more widely on contemporary problems in and beyond higher education.”

Founded in 1780, the AAAS is one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. Convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world, AAAS research concerns higher education, the humanities and the arts; science and technology policy; global security and energy; and American institutions and the public good. AAAS has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th.

Audi joins 24 other AAAS members on Notre Dame’s faculty. Recent elections include Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.; Karl Ameriks, McMahon-Hank Professor of Philosophy Emeritus; R. Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global AffairsScott Mainwaring, Eugene and Helen Conley Professor of Political Science; George Marsden, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History Emeritus; Jean Porter, John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology; and Peter van Inwagen, John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Philosophy.

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Father Jenkins extends condolences https://news.nd.edu/news/father-jenkins-extends-condolences/ news_86087 2018-04-20T09:00:00-0400 Notre Dame News University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., extended his deepest condolences to the families of Stephen Grady and James J. Durkin, officers in the Notre Dame Club of Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) who died Thursday (April 19) in a plane crash while traveling to the University.

Father Jenkins extends condolences

Notre Dame News

University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., extended his deepest condolences to the families of Stephen Grady and James J. Durkin, officers in the Notre Dame Club of Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) who died Thursday (April 19) in a plane crash while traveling to the University.

“All of us in the Notre Dame family are shocked and saddened by this tragic news,” Father Jenkins said. “My prayers are with Steve and Jim’s families. We grieve with them and ask for God’s blessings during this time of sorrow.”

Grady and Durkin, the president and treasurer, respectively, of the Notre Dame Club of Harrisburg, were flying from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to South Bend for a Notre Dame Alumni Association Leadership Conference this weekend. The crash occurred east of Altoona, Pennsylvania, according to media reports.

Grady graduated from Notre Dame in 1974. Durkin was a member of the club but not an alumnus.

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Idea Week kicks off https://news.nd.edu/news/idea-week-kicks-off/ news_86072 2018-04-20T08:00:00-0400 Sue Lister The University of Notre Dame, along with the city of South Bend, the city of Elkhart and various community organizations and businesses, will host Idea Week Friday-Sunday (April 20-29) to highlight strides being made in innovation and entrepreneurship in the region and to inspire creative energy for future success.

Idea Week kicks off

Sue Lister

The University of Notre Dame, along with the city of South Bend, the city of Elkhart and various community organizations and businesses, will host Idea Week Friday-Sunday (April 20-29) to highlight strides being made in innovation and entrepreneurship in the region and to inspire creative energy for future success.

The event will include a headliner concert by The Chainsmokers, workshops, speakers like “Mythbusters’” Adam Savage and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, a comedy performance by Gabriel Iglesias, the McCloskey New Venture Competition, a TEDx event and more. Events will be held at Notre Dame venues and in South Bend and Elkhart and will be open to the public. Many events are free to attend.

One of the primary goals of Idea Week is to introduce entrepreneurs, developers, makers, inventors, designers and investors to each other and to highlight the economic growth and innovation that is moving the region forward.

Register for or learn more about Idea Week events here.

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Lopez to receive honorary doctoral degree https://news.nd.edu/news/lopez-to-receive-honorary-doctoral-degree/ news_85698 2018-04-19T16:20:00-0400 kroc.nd.edu George A. Lopez, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of humane letters during the St. John Fisher College commencement ceremony on May 12 and will also deliver the keynote address. 

Lopez to receive honorary doctoral degree

kroc.nd.edu

George A. Lopez, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will receive an honorary degree of doctor of humane letters during the St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York, commencement ceremony on May 12. In addition, Lopez, a 1972 alumni of Fisher, will deliver the keynote address. 

“We are honored to have George return to Fisher and serve as our commencement keynote speaker,” said Gerard J. Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College. “He is a highly regarded authority on international diplomacy, and his work has impacted the globe. His lifelong commitment to peace studies is reflective of the college’s motto and mission, and to have an alumnus of his stature address the next generation of Fisher graduates is truly humbling.”

 

Lopez is a leading expert on economic sanctions, peacebuilding, human rights and the United Nations. Throughout his 40-year career, his work in these areas has taken him to 20 countries.

 

For nearly two years, Lopez served as the vice president of the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, D.C., and prior to that served on the United Nations panel of experts for monitoring and implementing U.N. sanctions on North Korea. He held a Senior Jennings Randolph Fellowship at USIP focused on new dimensions of sanctions policy and was a senior research associate at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs in New York City, where he assisted in the council’s post-9/11 public programming throughout the United States.

 

“I’m truly humbled by the invitation to speak to the graduates and to receive an honorary degree from Fisher,” said Lopez, who studied history while at Fisher and earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. “Every goal and any accomplishment I may have had as an academic or a practitioner comes from the personal, spiritual and academic growth that was cultivated in me at Fisher. Many times it became clear to me that goodness, discipline and knowledge are a combination that can go a long way to making the world a better place.”

 

More than 1,000 students will graduate during the commencement, which begins at 9:30 a.m. May 12 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.

 

Originally published by kroc.nd.edu at kroc.nd.edu on April 5.

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To be: Youth Shakespeare performer advances to national finals https://news.nd.edu/news/to-be-youth-shakespeare-performer-advances-to-national-finals/ news_86052 2018-04-19T11:00:00-0400 Erin Blasko Tiana Mudzimurema, a senior at John Adams High School and member of the Robinson Shakespeare Company, will travel to New York this week to compete in the National Shakespeare Competition at iconic Lincoln Center Theater in Manhattan.

To be: Youth Shakespeare performer advances to national finals

Erin Blasko

Tiana MudzimuremaTiana Mudzimurema

When Tiana Mudzimurema joined the Robinson Shakespeare Company at the University of Notre Dame Robinson Community Learning Center in 2010, she knew very little about William Shakespeare or his work — she was just following in her older sister’s footsteps.

“My mom was always pushing us to try new things,” Tiana said. “And one of the things I saw my sister do was Shakespeare, and I thought, ‘Well, if she can do it, I can do it.’”

But as Shakespeare himself wrote, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

And so, determined to blaze her own path, Tiana will travel to New York this week to compete in the National Shakespeare Competition at iconic Lincoln Center Theater in Manhattan.

Hosted annually by the English-Speaking Union of the United States, the National Shakespeare Competition helps students in grades 9-12 develop communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature through the study of English language arts and Shakespeare.

Tiana, a senior at John Adams High School in South Bend, advanced to nationals after winning the Indianapolis Shakespeare Competition in February with a performance of Juliet’s monologue from “Romeo and Juliet” and Sonnet 100 — “Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget’st so long to speak of that which gives thee all thy might?” — at Butler University.

In doing so, she bested defending state champion Chinyelu Mwaafrika of Indianapolis, who placed in the top 10 nationally last year.

“Even though he did great, I didn’t doubt I would win,” she said of Mwaafrika. “Not in a cocky way. I have great coaches and I’ve done this all of my life. And having negative thoughts wasn’t going to help me achieve my goal.”

“It was beautiful and heartbreaking and strong,” Christine Burgess, Shakespeare outreach director at the Robinson Community Learning Center, said of Tiana’s performance. “And when she took the stage, I loved it because she just took the stage. … She was a presence in the room and she looked fearless.”

Tiana Mudzimurema

Tiana’s success reflects her growth as a student and performer of Shakespeare over the past eight years, during which time she has portrayed a number of the bard’s most iconic characters — the alternately vile and sympathetic Richard III is her favorite — and developed a deep appreciation for his mastery of rhythm and language.

“He’s so intentional about what he writes and how he writes it,” she said.

Tiana was one of two students from this region selected to compete in Indianapolis.

“I don’t believe in acting competitions because they’re so objective,” said Burgess, who managed the selection process. “But I wanted (Tiana) to be able to prove to herself that she could do it.

“She’s going off to college next year, and I think that’s a time for a lot of self-doubt. Am I good enough? Smart enough? Talented enough? And we can tell her that all time, but it’s another thing to believe it herself,” she said. “And now she knows that it’s true.”

“I thought the last play I did was the end of it for me,” Tiana said. “But Ms. Christy gave me this opportunity.”

Since becoming the second Robinson Shakespeare Company actor to win state, Tiana has been busy preparing for nationals with Scott Jackson, executive director of Shakespeare at Notre Dame and Burgess’ husband, by studying from a book of more than 80 monologues.

Should Tiana advance to the final round of the competition, she will be required to perform a monologue at random and with just 15 minutes of practice — what’s known as a “cold reading.”

“I have to learn a play every day and understand the context of each monologue. It’s pretty intimidating,” she said.

Fortunately, Burgess said, Tiana’s long history with the material, from “Richard III” to “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” means “there’s a lot of different plays she should already be familiar with.”

Tiana will spend five days in New York, leaving Saturday (April 21) and returning Wednesday (April 25). The competition will take place Monday (April 23). Her family and coaches will stay at a hotel. She will stay at a hostel with the other competitors.

The English-Speaking Union of the United States is paying for the trip.

“It’s always been a place that I wanted to go,” Tiana said of New York. “So I’m thankful that the Robinson Community Learning Center and Notre Dame have afforded me this opportunity.”

According to Burgess, Tiana’s skill as an actor stems from her “openness on stage,” her ability to “really share with the audience, to be vulnerable and be present and take the audience on that journey.”

“She has a certain charisma, that ‘it’ factor that is really rare,” said Jackson. “She comes onstage and you just want to hear what she has to say.”

And when she does speak, Jackson said, her simple approach to the text resonates on an emotional level and allows the words themselves to shine through.

But Tiana’s success is not limited to the stage.

Tiana Mudzimurema

She recently placed second in the Innovate WithIN 2018 Pitch Competition, a statewide business competition, with an idea for an Uber-like peer-to-peer tutoring app called NetWork.

And she will attend Northeastern University in Boston in the fall as one of 12 full-ride Torch Scholars — diverse, talented first-generation college students from across the U.S.

Upward Bound, a Notre Dame TRiO Program that equips local high school students to enter and succeed in higher education, recommended Tiana for the scholarship, which includes a full summer immersion program, intensive academic planning and assessments, in-depth peer and professional mentoring and a wide array of social events that foster group identity and camaraderie.

“Similar to the symbolism of a torch, Tiana has a fire within that will undoubtedly lead the way to greatness,” said Nijinsky Dix, assistant director of Notre Dame TRiO. “She has persevered despite personal and familial hardships, turned cultural barriers into doorways of discovery and exploration and utilized education as a platform to accessibility.

“With Tiana’s diligence, resilience, silver-lining personality and grit, I am certain her ‘torch’ will not only shine brighter at Northeastern University, but will also serve as a guide for those that will follow in her footsteps,” Dix said.

Northeastern, which oversees the Torch Program internally, surprised Tiana with the honor during what she thought was a final interview for the scholarship by online video chat from the Robinson Community Learning Center.

But with questions like “When was Northeastern founded?” and “What is the capital of Antarctica?” the true purpose of the “interview” soon became clear, Tiana said, and “tears just started running down my face. I just couldn’t get any words out.”

Tiana said she plans to major in international business, minor in the arts and act outside of the classroom at Northeastern. Ultimately, she said, she would like to travel and engage with other peoples and cultures as part of any future career.

In addition to family, friends and educators, she credited the Robinson Community Learning Center and Robinson Shakespeare Company for her development as a student and a performer over these past eight years.

“Being a part of Shakespeare has allowed me to find who I am with the people that I love, because it’s so safe and I’ve been part of it since such a young age,” she said. “Being around such loving people allowed me to develop my loving personality, my fearlessness.”

Burgess returned the compliment, describing Tiana as “thoughtful, empathetic, inquisitive, determined and talented.”

“Tiana is a joy to everyone who knows her,” said Burgess, who worked for the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre in Alaska before joining the Robinson Community Learning Center. “It has been a great privilege to watch her grow as a person and an actor.”

“Tiana is a doer,” said Jackson. “There’s very little that I’ve seen Tiana look to achieve that she hasn’t achieved and achieved in a first-class way. She has this indomitable spirit and this smile that brightens every room she walks into. But beneath that smile is this tenacity and fortitude of spirt that make me confident for her future.”

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