Class of 2019

Diego Alvarez

Diego Alvarez

  • Areas of Study: Finance
  • Hometown: San Salvador, El Salvador

Diego is the president and lead-founder of the Shoeing International Movement, a program that incentivizes high school students to donate their used shoes to children in low-income communities. Since its inception in 2012, Shoeing International has donated over 20,000 pairs of shoes to children and families in communities with scarce resources in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States.

For his Social Justice summer, Diego worked with SABMiller on solving micro-finance issues in his home country of El Salvador. He also assisted the corporate social responsibility team in crafting the annual sustainability development report and contributed to multiple ideas in regards to improving low-income businesses' micro-finance.

During his Global Inquiry Summer, Diego interned at JPMorgan Chase & Co. under the Asset and Wealth Management division by assisting the Latin American Team. His roles within the internship rotated between the banking, investing, and credit analyst positions.

Diego is returning for his Professional Venture Summer to JPMorgan Chase & Co. to work with the Alternative Investments Specialists Team under the Solutions Division of Asset and Wealth Management.

"What drives me? The possibility that my actions might one day make a positive impact in thousands of lives, and the slight chance that they already have. I feel blessed to have The Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program as a platform where I will have the opportunity to help diverse communities in a wide range of ways."

Kristin Andrejko

Kristin Andrejko

  • Areas of Study: Science-Business
  • Hometown: Cary, NC

Kristin is driven to create innovative solutions to global and public health challenges.  She spent her Social Justice summer with One Sun Health in HaMakuya, South Africa, collecting and analyzing data about the effectiveness of a Malaria Education Campaign. Kristin spent her Global Inquiry summer interning at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. While at WHO, she worked on a systematic review of on the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) and collaborated with international colleagues to help the WHO update global PCV dosing, schedule and catch-up policy. Kristin will spend her final summer interning at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, interning in the Division of Parasitic Diseases & Malaria on a systematic review evaluating the use of Malarone in pregnancy.

At Notre Dame, Kristin has continued her work studying the epidemiology of malaria in Dr. Achee’s entomology lab. She received a grant from the Nanovic Institute at Notre Dame to travel to Switzerland and research the RTS,S Malaria vaccine. She has also been closely collaborating with Partners In Health on a project to enhance the organizational wide understanding of the value of accompaniment.

Serving as student council president in high school led Kristin to pursue involvement in Student Government at Notre Dame. She represented her residence hall on Senate, and she was a member of FUEL during her first year. Additionally, Kristin serves as President of “The Shirt," a student-led charity which sells 150,000 t-shirts annually and has raised over $11 million to support student groups on campus. She also works with Undergraduate Admissions as a Student Recruitment Coordinator for the Reilly Spring Visit Program.

Kristin was a competitive jump roper for ten years, and excelled at national and international jump rope competitions, placing third in the nation at the U.S. Jump Rope Grand National competition in 2014. She is the founder of Notre Dame Jump Rope, one of ND's newest club sports, and has performed and collaborated with other college jump rope teams at various events in South Bend.

Bennett Auwaerter

Bennett Auwaerter

  • Areas of Study: Finance; English
  • Hometown: Lutherville, MD

A graduate of the Gilman School, inducted into the Cum Laude Society junior year, Ben’s extracurricular activities included serving as Yearbook editor-in-chief, peer writing tutor, Chess Club president, Senior Retreat leader, and broadcast anchor for Gilman TV. As an Eagle Scout, Ben worked on many community improvement projects and taught tennis to disadvantaged children. An avid sports fan, Ben interned with the Baltimore Orioles, writing for their magazine and social media websites.

Ben, a Finance and English double major, has used his time as a Hesburgh-Yusko scholar to investigate different areas of education and academia across various countries. He served as an assistant teacher at the South Bend Center for the Homeless during his Social Justice Summer and was a volunteer tutor at the Robinson Community Learning Center. In the summer of 2017, he voyaged to Bristol, England and served as a research assistant, analyzing the alterations to bank valuations after the 2008 Financial Crisis.

Ben has a passion for writing and has penned many articles for the University of Notre Dame's Athletics website. He has covered the university's baseball team for three years and will continue his senior year. His work pertaining to the Student International Business Council has led him on trips to Chicago and San Diego. He has given presentations to representatives from companies such as Morningstar and GTCR. He is currently a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an honor society for business students.

Ben will be working as an analyst at Antares Capital in Chicago during his upcoming Professional Venture Summer.

Bryce Badura

Bryce Badura

  • Areas of Study: Computer Science; Engineering Corporate Practice
  • Hometown: Midlothian, VA

During his freshman year of high school, Bryce established the Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins 5K Run, a race benefitting the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, and as its President for four years, Bryce’s main focus was heightening the community’s awareness of childhood cancer. To date, the annual event has raised over $250,000, was named one of “America’s Top 10 Food-Fueled Races,” and is the reason for Bryce's commitment to empowering and connecting communities. 

While at Notre Dame, Bryce is studying Computer Science and minoring in Engineering Corporate Practice. For his Social Justice summer, Bryce spent 10 weeks in Villa Allende, Argentina, working with schools to improve education and promote the presence of STEM education in the curriculum. On campus, he has served as Director of Campus Technology in Student Government through April 2017, and then as an officer in the Entrepreneurship Society during the 2017-2018 school year.

After his sophomore year, Bryce worked for Facebook, exploring data analytics and data engineering and how it can be used to achieve Facebook's mission of “Bringing the world closer together.” Having been immersed in the tech-capital of the world, he then participated in the new Silicon Valley Semester where he worked and lived in the heart of Silicon Valley in the Spring of 2018. Bryce will be returning to Facebook this summer in Menlo Park, CA, where he will be working on an Integrity Team, focused on making Facebook a safe, “fake news” free platform.

Braeden Benedict

Braeden Benedict

  • Areas of Study: Electrical Engineering
  • Hometown: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Braeden Benedict, a 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholar, National Merit Scholar, and Valedictorian, is passionate about scientific research and developing technology to positively impact people’s lives. As a high school freshman, he won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for his invention of a low-cost impact indicator for concussion detection, was named “America’s Top Young Scientist,” exhibited at the White House Science Fair, and was included in Popular Science’s 2012 Ten High School Inventors. He studied concussions in youth for three years and won numerous awards at science fairs.  He also volunteered at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, studying Sanfilippo syndrome, an orphan disease.

Braeden is studying Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Biosystems and served as president of the First Year Engineering Council. As a member of the Notre Dame Men’s Rowing team, he has competed in regattas across the country and currently serves as Senior Alumni Officer. He has conducted undergraduate research, which has included developing a paper analytical device for early detection of sepsis. He spent his Social Justice Summer volunteering with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Stout Street Health Center in Denver, CO. During his Global Inquiry summer, he worked at the Blue Brain Project in Geneva, Switzerland to model ion channel dynamics in neurons. He will spend his Professional Venture summer working at the Neuromodulation Division of Boston Scientific in Valencia, CA.

Astrid Brakstad

Astrid Brakstad

  • Areas of Study: Economics; Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics; Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Hometown: Oslo, Norway

Engaged in youth politics since pre-high school, Astrid has served as vice president for her local Youth Council and as a board member for the Central Youth Council of Oslo, working with educational matters as well as projects regarding inequality among youth. During her junior and senior years Astrid attended UWC Red Cross Nordic, where she served as Head of Communications for a student run NGO aiming to fund education in underprivileged areas. After graduation from high school, she worked for one year as an investment researcher for Formuesforvaltning, the largest privately-owned wealth management firm in the Nordic area.

Astrid spent her Social Justice summer working with SIMAfunds aiming to expand access power in rural off-grid areas of sub-Saharan Africa with solar energy, and her Global Inquiry summer with similar, smaller scale projects in Yangon, Myanmar. She is spending the 2017-2018 academic year studying at University of Oxford, UK.

At Notre Dame, Astrid is pursuing a major in Economics with a supplementary major in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, and a minor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She spends most of her time outside academics training as a varsity athlete on the Notre Dame women's rowing team and has raced in regattas in various parts of the country. She has also competed in London, as well as intra-Oxford racing, representing New College Boat Club. Outside her athletic commitments, she is a member of the Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion aiming to improve financial equality in the South Bend community.

Sofia Carozza

Sofia Carozza

  • Areas of Study: Neuroscience & Behavior; Theology
  • Hometown: South Bend, IN

Sofia is passionate about research at the intersection of neuroscience with the humanities. At the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, she has worked on interdisciplinary projects in in history, theology, and physics. During the summer of 2017, Sofia was an Amgen Scholar at the National Institutes of Health, where she conducted a neuroscience research project and was trained in the use of social policy to reduce public health disparities. She is now a research assistant in the Development and Psychopathology lab, where she is beginning her senior thesis on maternal maltreatment and intergenerational trauma.

Sofia is dedicated to using this scholarship for social change. She won a fellowship from the Kellogg Institute to spend the summer of 2016 in Paraguay volunteering with Fundación San Rafael, a community-based organization that serves the marginalized of Asuncion. There, she worked with children suffering from developmental disorders and PTSD. Here in South Bend, she has been involved in educational initiatives and volunteer work at the South Bend Juvenile Justice Center. Also, she has volunteered with Ready to Grow Saint Joe, a network of local early childhood education and health care providers. Finally, she is trained to provide mental health counseling through MindRight, a high-tech startup nonprofit.

In the summer of 2018, Sofia worked for ChildWise, a non-profit in Helena Montana dedicated to improving the lives of children who have suffered trauma. Additionally, she spent part of the summer studying theology at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, as well as participating in a seminar at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton.

On campus, Sofia is a leader of a Catholic student group and an officer in the Progressive Student Alliance. She was also an actor in Show Some Skin, a student-run production exploring identity and diversity on campus. Finally, Sofia is a Sorin Fellow, a Dean’s Fellow of the College of Arts and Letters, and a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program.

In her free time, Sofia enjoys boxing, reading classic literature, backpacking through foreign countries, and playing the harp.

Roberto Elosua Gomez

Roberto Elosua Gomez

  • Areas of Study: Finance; Statistics
  • Hometown: Monterrey, Mexico

Driven by a passion for community service, Beto dedicated much of his time throughout high school to local engagement. As president of the National Honor Society, Beto and his team team raised sufficient funds to build a library at a local public school, where he regularly tutored and engaged with children. Beto helped to build several homes in rural communities in Latin America as a volunteer with TECHO, “a non-profit led by youth volunteers…working in slums across Latin America with a focus on community development, the search for political advocacy, and the promotion of social action. As a senior, Beto served as the CFO of Global Issues Network conference at his school, a gathering of approximately 300 people focused on addressing significant global issues.

Beto spent his Social Justice summer volunteering with Huellas que Trancienden, an organization that works to combat poverty by helping indigenous women in Chiapas, Mexico, use their talents for income.

He Later spent his Global Inquiry Summer doing an independent research project on Electronics Recycling in California and Monterrey, Mexico.

For his Professional Venture, Beto interned at Bain & Company in Chicago and hopes to continue a career in Consulting going forward.

Furthermore, Beto intends to finish degrees in Finance and Statistics during his last year at Notre Dame, and hopes to manage or own a business during his professional career.

Catherine Etchart

Catherine Etchart

  • Areas of Study: Economics; Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics; Glynn Family Honors Program
  • Hometown: Helena, MT

While attending St. Paul’s School as a Frank Hervey Cook Scholar, Catherine actively sought opportunities to explore her passion for community development.  In her boarding school community, she served as a Student Admissions Officer, House Prefect, Model United Nations Co-Chair, and was awarded the Gillespie Medal in recognition of her integrity and desire to improve the School. Catherine also interned with the Montana Supreme Court and Churchill Law Office.

Because of the opportunities she has pursued through the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program and the University of Notre Dame, Catherine has been inspired by the potential integration between economics, business, anti-poverty efforts, and community development, and consequently chose to pursue a degree in Economics and Applied & Computational Mathematics & Statistics with a minor in the Glynn Family Honors Program.  During her Social Justice summer, Catherine interned with TechnoServe’s Enterprise Development Division in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Research opportunities with the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities led to an Economics Research Assistant position for her Global Inquiry summer, a role in which she continues to serve.  Catherine will work as a Deloitte Consulting Strategy & Operations intern for her Professional Venture.

On campus, Catherine was elected Economics Club President 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, is an active member of the Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion, and serves on the Student Advisory Board for Undergraduate Enrollment and Community Conduct Case Review Board.  Additionally, through her participation in the Student International Business Council, she was on the winning team of a case competition in Beijing, China.

Justin Garrard

Justin Garrard

  • Areas of Study: Computer Science; Hesburgh Program in Public Service
  • Hometown: Lebanon, IN

Justin is fascinated by technology and its ability to serve and protect people. The summer after his junior year of high school, Justin interned with the Office of Naval Research conducting experiments into methods for waveform analysis to address issues posed by large data analytics. During the summers of 2015 and 2016, he has further pursued his interest in large data analytics through civilian internships with the Department of Defense in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area.

At Notre Dame, Justin plans to explore his passion for service through technology by majoring in Computer Science with an interest in big data analytics and network data. Influenced by his experience with the United States Senate Youth Program, Justin is also participating in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service minor curriculum.

During his Global Inquiry summer Justin researched and worked within transnational security organizations, involved in the planning, research, and implementation of new technologies and strategic partnerships. In addition to interning with the Department of Defense, Justin spent his Social Justice summer volunteering in Baltimore STEM education programs. He spent his Wilderness Leadership Experience backpacking and canoeing in the White Mountains in Maine.

Alongside the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, Justin is also a Lilly Endowment Scholar and a Coca-Cola Scholar. He was the 2015 National Winner of the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award.

Alexis Green

Alexis Green

  • Areas of Study: Anthropology; Pre-Health; Poverty Studies
  • Hometown: Brownsburg, IN

As an aspiring physician, Lexi is always working to integrate her interests in anthropology, science, and policy. Her passion for health equity was sparked her freshman year by her involvement in Dr. Nicole Achee and Dr. John Grieco’s research lab. Lexi spent her first undergraduate summer as a research assistant for the Eck Institute for Global Health in Belize, where she collected data on the resources available for persons living with HIV/AIDS and partnered with the Belize Ministry of Health to evaluate a bed net campaign to guide future bed net distributions. Using the research skills she acquired in Belize, Lexi traveled to Thailand during her next summer to research knowledge, attitudes, and practices surrounding malaria interventions. She was able to present her findings in Boston at the 2018 ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference.

Lexi’s strong interest in how policy shapes health outcomes led her to participate in and then co-lead the CSC spring break seminar “U.S. Healthcare: Policy and Poverty” to meet with members of congress, research groups, and healthcare stakeholders in Washington D.C. On campus, Lexi enjoys being a member of the executive board of GlobeMed, on the CSC Seminars Task Force, and volunteering in South Bend at the Center for the Homeless and AIDS Assist.

This coming summer, Lexi will return to D.C. with an internship as a Global Health Officer in the U.S. Department of Human Services’ Office of Global Affairs, and she will begin the medical school application process.

John Grogan

John Grogan

  • Areas of Study: Political Science; Philosophy
  • Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Jack was president of his school's speech and debate team, competing nationally against many of the finest policy debate teams in the United States. He and his debate partner were two-time Pennsylvania state champions and attained a third place overall ranking in the country. Jack was an enthusiastic trombone and piano player in his high school jazz and pep bands.

During his freshman year at Notre Dame Jack was involved in local politics as an intern for the Pete Buttigieg for Mayor campaign and the Lynn Coleman for Congress campaign. He also served as a volunteer at the Robinson Community Learning Center. For his Social Justice summer Jack worked as an intern for Catholic Charities USA in their refugee resettlement division in Camden, NJ, and Washington, D.C.

Jack spent his global inquiry summer studying at the Notre Dame Global Gateway in Jerusalem and interning for the Mayor of South Bend, Peter Buttigieg. Jack studied abroad in both London, England and Washington, D.C. While in D.C. he interned in the Political Department of the Democratic National Committee. He will remain in D.C. for his Professional Venture summer where he will work in the office of Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-13). Finally, Jack was elected President of the Notre Dame College Democrats for the year 2018-19.

Najmeddine Harrabi

Najmeddine Harrabi

  • Areas of Study: Film, Television, and Theatre
  • Hometown: Sfax, Tunisia

Najmeddine, recipient of the "Francis Deng Young African Thinker Award” at ALA, was invited to participate in the 2012 Youth Leadership Program, a conference that selects young leaders from Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. He was actively involved with the Access Leadership Program, the North African Model United Nations, the English Access Micro-scholarship Program, and the Young Arab Voices. Following the Tunisian revolution, Najmeddine founded WeYouth in 2015, an organization “committed to empowering the Youth sector’s participation in decision making, leadership education, and social and civic engagement." WeYouth implemented several projects and initiatives in collaboration with prominent NGOs and institutions such as UNDP, ActionAid, and MEPI. In his first year at ALA, he founded a student enterprise focused on improving education through the use of affordable technology. Najmeddine also served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Sanyu Productions, ALA’s student-run media production initiative. He attended the DOHA goals conference in Qatar and interned for Coca Cola in South Africa where he executed a successful marketing campaign.

Najmeddine spent his Social Justice summer volunteering for Al-Jil in Tunis, Tunisia.

Saskia Hennecke

Saskia Hennecke

  • Areas of Study: Economics; Film, Television & Theatre
  • Hometown: Tampa, FL

A Cum Laude scholar and University of Rochester Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award winner, Saskia started the Developing Nations Club in high school and launched a laptop drive to collect used laptops to donate to a rural Ghanaian school she had visited on a service trip. With the help of Citrix Systems and faculty at the Ghanaian school, Saskia provided more than 800 children with access to laptop computers.

During her social justice summer, Saskia interned for the Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, Rwanda. It was here that her interest in visually documenting stories flourished, and upon returning to campus, she added Film as a second major to Economics. In her global inquiry summer, Saskia worked in production with the Academy Award winning documentary company, Fictionless, in New York City, as well as Build Films in Churchill and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

She went on to work for C-SPAN as a part of Notre Dame’s Washington semester program, before spending a semester studying in Prague, where she researched and documented the impact of the communist regime on the Czech feminist movement.

Within the Notre Dame community, Saskia is on the Figure Skating team; she works with the KiND Club, and she is the Chief Portfolio Manager for JIFFI: a non-profit which provides low interest rate loans for the impoverished South Bend community. Saskia is majoring in Economics and Film with a minor in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service, and she is excited to work as a multimedia intern for ReWire.News in DC for her professional venture summer.


Meredith "Mary Grace" Henry

  • Areas of Study: Program of Liberal Studies; Peace Studies
  • Hometown: Harrison, NY

Mary Grace Henry is the founder of Reverse The Course, a social enterprise dedicated to increasing girls’ access to education. To date, Reverse The Course has sold more than 19,000 hair accessories and raised over $200,000, which has supported the education of 115 girls primarily in Kenya and Uganda.

For her Social Justice summer, Mary Grace worked with the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization that provides entrepreneurial programming to students from low-income, urban communities. While at NFTE, Mary Grace assisted with summer program development, management of volunteers, and had the opportunity to work directly with high school students starting their own businesses.

Mary Grace spent her Global Inquiry summer as Assistant Producer and Editor at Four Corners Media (FCM), a small, independent documentary filmmaking company. With FCM, Mary Grace traveled to Lesvos, Greece to interview government officials, international NGOs, independent volunteers, and refugees in order for a feature–length documentary about the crisis.

Over the course of her junior year, Mary Grace worked for a start–up called WorkWell. WorkWell is dedicated to enhancing the wellbeing of social sector employees. Thus far, she has assisted the start–up by conducting benchmarking research, calculating market estimations, and gaging value propositions. Mary Grace is excited to continue working for WorkWell for her Professional Venture summer.

At Notre Dame, Mary Grace is a Project Leader in the Consulting Division of the Student International Business Council and served as a Co–President of the Club Squash team.

Audrey Immonen

Audrey Immonen

  • Areas of Study: Psychology; Environmental Science
  • Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Audrey, a National Merit Finalist and AP Scholar with honor, cultivated a love for the environment by serving with the Student Conservation Association to build trails in Alaska’s Denali National Park and on the Appalachian Trail. Audrey was a varsity athlete in track and cross country. She spent her Wilderness Expedition with Outward Bound in the Sierra Nevadas in California. 

At Notre Dame, Audrey is a co-director of Outdoor Events for GreeND and the spirituality commissioner for her dorm. For her Social Justice summer, she researched freshwater pollution issues (particularly anthropogenic micro plastics) in the local St. Joseph's River and around the Great Lakes with a Notre Dame biology professor.

“I'm thrilled to be a part of a community that moves the world, particularly because my interest in the environment has such a global scope. The Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars program is a fantastic way for young leaders like me to develop our ideas and to become truly transformational leaders.”

Delaney Lenaghan

Delaney Lenaghan

  • Areas of Study: Pre-Health Studies; Psychology
  • Hometown: Massapequa, NY

In high school, Delaney, was awarded as an Intel Science semi-finalist, as a result of her internship for two summers in a biomedical laboratory where she engaged in research related to metabolic disorders.  She was actively involved with Operation Smile, a member of the league champion varsity lacrosse team and served as president of the Leadership Team at her high school.  She was also an active member of several clubs and Honor Societies as well as an AP Scholar with Distinction.

At Notre Dame, she is studying Psychology and Pre-Health with a Poverty Studies minor.  During the school year, she is on the board of the Notre Dame Make-A-Wish club, is a part of the Center for Social Concerns Seminar Leadership Team where she led a seminar on ethics, justice, and health this past spring, and is a commissioner for her hall council. She also works in an infectious and vector-borne disease lab on campus.   In addition, she enjoys tutoring at the Robinson Community Learning Center and engaging in the Music and Memory program at a local specialized care facility.  

For her Wilderness Leadership summer, Delaney backpacked through the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. She spent her Social Justice summer conducting research on malaria prevention efforts in Belize through the Eck Institute for Global Health in partnership with the Ministry of Health. For her Global inquiry summer, she is continuing global health research on vector-borne diseases at the Pasteur Institute in French Guiana in collaboration with the Eck Institute again.

Yutong Liu

Yutong Liu

  • Areas of Study: Biological Sciences
  • Hometown: Beijing, China

In high school, Yutong was the co-founder of the English Debate Club of his high school. During the summer of 2013, he interned at Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY. The following year, Yutong researched different testing methods for fatty acids in intestinal tissues at China Agriculture University. He joined the Network Poverty Alleviation Program during the summer of his junior year, and conducted field investigations of the status quo of poverty in Zhangwu. Entering Notre Dame, Yutong was selected as the 2015 Li Ka Shing Foundation Greater China Scholar.

Over his freshman year at Notre Dame, he was able to conduct research on zebra fish renal-regeneration and facilitate the construction of a smart phone based palliative care data collection system in Uganda. Over his sophomore year, Yutong worked with the St. Joseph County Health Department, local community organizations, and a small team of faculty and students to tackle problems surrounding lead source testing, reporting, and abatement. During the spring of 2018, Yutong organized and implemented a community mulching event across 10 blocks in the near northwest neighborhood aimed at lowering environmental lead exposure.

Today, Yutong serve as a student manager and team leader for the Take Ten program, which endeavors to empower children and adults with resolution skills. He is also a member of the Senior Leadership Committee of the biology department, serving to improve the biology major. His current research focuses on antiviral strategies for Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika viruses, and community level palliative care in Uagnda and China.

Tyrel  London

Tyrel London

  • Areas of Study: American Studies; Film, Television, and Theatre
  • Hometown: Lakeside, AZ

Tyrel is a double major in American Studies (AMST) and Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT), with a concentration in Theatre. He is currently working on a joint AMST/FTT honors thesis: a full length drama about the friendship and lives of two elderly women of color.  Like his thesis, Tyrel’s time at Notre Dame has been characterized by art, academics, and the merging of the two.  His roles in theatre have included The Producer in Six Characters in Search of an Author (Fall 2014), Smirnov in The Bear, Andrey in Afterplay, Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (Spring 2016), and Frank Butley in Native Gardens (Spring 2018).  He had his professional and assistant directing debut in the ensemble of Journeying La Divina Comedia: The International Dante Project (Fall 2016) under the direction of Anton Juan and will join the Professional and Touring Companies of the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival (Summer 2018).

Starting in the spring of 2017, Tyrel has worked with the American Indian Catholic Schools Network (AICSN) to provide the best possible opportunity to students and staff at five American Indian Catholic schools around the country. During his time there, he has interned as Assistant Director, helping the AICSN team coordinate a budget of $750,000, focus narrative efforts, establish college reach programs, and manage media presence for the Network.

Tyrel spent his Summer Wilderness experience mountaineering in Colorado's Gore Mountain Range, his Social Justice summer volunteering for the Mamelodi Initiative outside of Pretoria, South Africa, his Global Research summer across the United States doing original research on the impact of Native American boarding school curriculum on identity, and his Professional Venture summer as an acting apprentice with the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival.

Winnie Mang'eni

Winnie Mang'eni

  • Areas of Study: Film, Television, and Theatre
  • Hometown: Mombasa, Kenya

As the CEO of the second Teen Entrepreneurship Summit (TES 2014), Winnie brought 45 students from all over Kenya to participate in a leadership camp, all while interning full-time with Equity Bank in their Mentorship Program. As the CEO of the Junior Achievement Company Program (JA 2013), a not-for-profit that runs school-based enterprise clubs as a means of providing children with opportunities to develop critical professional skills, she received the Best CEO Award for profit maximization with 200 shareholders. Winnie served as a Peer Counselor (PC) at the African Leadership Academy for the 2014-2015 school year. In this role, Winnie acted as a mentor and big sister to new students, helping them with their transition to ALA. She was actively involved in the International Relations Council and participated in a Model United Nations conference in Doha, Qatar. She was an integral member in the planning of ALA’s flagship Model African Union conference and served as the Director of Logistics for the 2015 conference.

Winnie is a feminist passionate about entrepreneurship. During her freshman year, she won a Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) grant to study the effects of micro-finance on women in Guatemala. She spent her Social Justice summer working on a pig farm that she founded in Kenya, which helps women become financially stable by providing them with loans to purchase pigs.

Debora Mulokozi

Debora Mulokozi

  • Areas of Study: International Economics; French
  • Hometown: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Debora Mulokozi, an alumna of the African Leadership Academy (South Africa), majors in Economics and French with a minor in International Development Studies. She is passionate about access to education for street children in Tanzania.

At Notre Dame, Debora works as a Research Assistant under the International Scholars Program analyzing the institutionalization of poverty in refugee camps in Kakuma, Kenya. 

In 2016, Debora volunteered in Uganda with COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa. She collaborated with a team of 5 to design a mentorship program for refugee-run initiatives and organized a two-day entrepreneurial leadership workshop in Kyangwali refugee settlement as a pilot program. Debora then organized a two-day Teen Entrepreneurship Camp that hosted 65 high school students in Dar es Salaam.

In 2017, Debora received a grant from Exploring The World Fellowship to research the history of street children in Tanzania. She studied municipal records in the Tanzanian National Archive on the conditions of street children and interviewed people working in 6 different street children centers and board members of government and non-government organizations. Debora also worked with Dalberg as an Analyst Intern. She evaluated the structure of activities and support to be offered to players in the education and technology ecosystem for a MasterCard Foundation project. She also proposed a structure for the market research associated with identifying potential partners and target end-users.

This summer, Debora will be interning with Dalberg in Dar es Salaam and researching the importance of psychological support for runaway Qur’anic students in Senegal.

Maria Palazzolo

Maria Palazzolo

  • Areas of Study: Political Science
  • Hometown: Springfield, IL

As a senior in high school, Maria found her true passion in Key Club International, the largest teen-led service organization in the world, and served as the 2014-15 Key Club International President. One of her proudest accomplishments was leading over a quarter of a million members to raise $1.5 million for the Eliminate Project, a partnership with UNICEF to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus. She was honored to visit Cambodia to witness the results of Key Clubbers' fundraising efforts.

Maria spent her Social Justice summer serving as an intern for Illinois' 18th Congressional District in Washington, D.C. Additionally, her Global Inquiry summer was spent interning for UNICEF USA in Chicago. For Professional Venture, Maria plans to intern with the Illinois Supreme Court.

Throughout her time on campus, Maria has served as Freshman Class Council Representative, Senator, and Vice President for McGlinn Hall. As Senator, Maria chaired a group that organized Notre Dame's first ever Mock Presidential Debate during the 2016 Presidential Election, bringing together over 200 students to increase political discourse on campus. Currently, Maria is the Director of University Affairs within Student Government, focusing primarily on student safety, student finances, and administrative efficacy.

Kathleen Ryan

Kathleen Ryan

  • Areas of Study: Economics; English
  • Hometown: Hingham, MA

Summer of 2014, Kathleen co-founded Justice Theatre Company and produced the adaption of the memoir Shakespeare Behind Bars, donating proceeds to the Prison Book Program in Quincy, MA. Kathleen used theatre as a medium for social justice, raising awareness of the need for education in prison. Her involvement inspired her high school senior thesis examining the lack of education in prison. Kathleen also started an initiative to collect lip balm for the Boston-area homeless, sang in her school’s two choirs, and choreographed for the drama program and school’s fundraiser, Dancing with the Fontbonne Stars.

Kathleen spent her Wilderness Leadership summer backpacking in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. For her Social Justice summer, Kathleen interned at Reading for Life in South Bend, IN. Kathleen worked with juveniles in the Juvenile Justice Center in reading groups while observing and learning about the prison system. During her Global Inquiry summer, Kathleen participated in an SSLP in Waukegan, IL working at a parish with a large Hispanic community. Kathleen taught ESL and citizenship classes in Spanish, in addition to volunteering in their food pantry. Kathleen will work at CARECEN in Washington, DC for her Professional Venture summer, working with latino immigrants in legal and citizenship services.

At Notre Dame, Kathleen is a tapper for Notre Dame Dance Company and actively involved in her dorm, Badin Hall. Kathleen organized Badin’s Polar Bear Plunge her sophomore and junior years, raising funds for the HOPE Initiative in Nepal and St. Margaret's House in South Bend.

Meredith Soward

Meredith Soward

  • Areas of Study: Political Science
  • Hometown: Los Altos, CA

Throughout high school, Meredith implemented sustainable changes at her school and in her hometown. She successfully petitioned her town's city council to implement a plastic bag ban, lead her high school toward zero waste on campus, and started a regional environmental conference, Students for Green High Schools, to help other high schoolers implement similar changes at their schools. Meredith also founded STEM Inspire, where she planned STEM workshops, speakers, and camps to get low-income students excited about pursuing careers in math and science. She was involved in competitive swimming and theatre.

At Notre Dame, Meredith serves as a volunteer at Common Goods Co-op, Hall Sustainability Commissioner, and Marketing Director of the Not-So-Royal Shakespeare Company. Meredith spent her Social Justice summer working on a sustainable farm and teaching theatre outside of Kampala, Uganda. She spent Spring 2017 in Washington, DC, working as the Digital Media and Marketing intern at The Climate Reality Project. She then served as the International Campaign and Community Outreach intern at the Regional Environmental Centre in Hungary for her Global Inquiry summer. While studying abroad in London, she worked on post-Brexit environmental policies as a intern at the UK Parliament. She will be returning to Washington, DC for her Professional Development experience to work as a foreign policy and NGO operations intern at the Brookings Institution.

Justine Wang

Justine Wang

  • Areas of Study: Economics; Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics
  • Hometown: Andover, MA

Throughout Justine's time at Notre Dame, her interests have been closely tied to entrepreneurship and analyzing innovative solutions to social dilemmas, especially related to racial, economic, and environmental injustices. Justine's other pastimes include photography, traveling, community involvement, and learning new languages. During fall semester 2016, she studied in Washington, D.C., through Notre Dame's Washington Program, and interned for Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Justine spent two weeks rafting on the Deschutes River and mountaineering the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon during her Wilderness Leadership summer in 2015. She spent her following summer as a law clerk for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, learning about the difficulties that immigrants face within the justice system and working with survivors of domestic violence. As a recipient of a Summer Language Abroad grant from Notre Dame's CSLC, she also studied the French language at the Institut de Touraine in Tours, France. For her Global Inquiry summer, she interned at the World Bank in Washington, DC, and participated in the analysis of several WB projects being conducted in Eastern Europe. From experiences made possible through Hesburgh Yusko and Notre Dame, Justine hopes to ultimately understand how justice is affected by social and economic factors, and interpret the effects of law and public policy as tools for progress.

On campus, she is most involved with the Gender Relations Center as a GRC Relationships & Authenticity FIREStarter, helping start and facilitate campus-wide discussions on topics related to gender identity, sexual identity, interpersonal violence, and healthy relationships.

Benjamin Wdowik

Benjamin Wdowik

  • Areas of Study: Electrical Engineering
  • Hometown: Fort Collins, CO

As an electrical engineer, Naval ROTC midshipman, and passionate citizen of the world, Ben has spent the last three years of college engaged in engineering and service opportunities. During his Social Justice summer, he lived in Nepal for two months and worked for Empowering Opportunities, an organization that seeks to provide low-income children (particularly orphans) with opportunities for education. During this time, he assisted with fundraising, contributed to the day-to-day endeavors of several orphanages, helped kick-start a microloan program for women at a government deaf school, and spearheaded a Rotary leadership program for the residents of the orphanages.

During his Global Inquiry summer, Ben contributed to research at Duke University Medical Center on the utilization of spinal cord stimulation to counteract symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). He designed and built stimulation electrodes, surgically implanted them in mice, and developed a program to apply electrical stimulations to the implanted mice. Ben will also be conducting research this summer, remaining in South Bend to continue work on a DARPA-funded project investigating the properties of high electron mobility transistors (HEMTs).

At Notre Dame, Ben serves on the EE Student Advisory Group, participates on a brainstorming team for E2E, an organization that works with local citizens in Haiti to innovate empowering solutions to housing and sanitary problems, is an electrical engineering TA, and will be assuming the role of ND NROTC's Battalion Commanding Officer this coming spring. Upon graduation, he will commission as a Naval officer and begin work as a nuclear engineer at Naval Reactors in Washington, D.C.