Class of 2021

Lidya Abreha

Lidya Abreha

  • Areas of Study: Mechanical Engineering
  • Hometown: Amhara, Ethiopia
  • High School: African Leadership Academy

In high school, Lidya served as a school representative for Let Girls Lead, a global movement to empower girls through advocacy, policy and education. During summer 2016, Lidya and two fellow Ethiopian Students organized an entrepreneurship camp for 30 refugees residing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At the African Leadership Academy, Lidya served as the Committee Chair of the Pan-African Parliament at the ALA Model African Union conference held in March 2017.

At Notre Dame, Lidya is a member of SWE (Society of Women Engineers) Notre Dame chapter and was recently chosen as the Director of Mentorship for the 2018/2019 school year. Lidya acknowledges that with opportunities come responsibilities and she is deeply passionate about creating equal educational opportunities for girls in Ethiopia who have not been granted the opportunities that she has been blessed with. In pursuit of establishing equal opportunities for girls in Ethiopia, Lidya is planning launch a summer STEM tutoring/ mentorship initiative for underprivileged girls in Ethiopia during this upcoming summer of 2018 as part of her summer enrichment program. She aspires to see this project achieve milestones in the upcoming years as she continues to pursue her education here at Notre Dame.

Lidya was also recently chosen to be part of the upcoming International Ambassadors cohort for the 2018/2019 school year.


Khesa  Borotho

Khesa Borotho

  • Areas of Study: Finance
  • Hometown: Leribe, Lesotho
  • High School: African Leadership Academy

Khesa knew the fields of finance and education were intertwined, but he experienced the relationship firsthand when he began an agriculture initiative in his hometown. By growing and selling produce to local stores, he was able to use the proceeds to cover school fees for a teenage orphan.

His finance experience deepened as the CFO of SAFCorp, a student-run enterprise that provides financial consultation services, and as an intern at Metropolitan™, a leading finance firm in Lesotho. At ALA, Khesa was the director of administration in the school’s Model African Union conference, where he helped recruit 175 students from across the African continent.

After spending his Wilderness Summer backpacking, rafting and canyoneering in Utah, Khesa continues to hone his finance skills at Notre Dame. He serves as the Treasurer for the African Students Association and is also an active member of the Corporate Finance Club and National Association of Black Accountants. He further engages with the local community by volunteering weekly at LOGAN Center, an organization that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For his Social Justice Summer, Khesa will go back to his hometown in Lesotho to launch Ahanang Mentorship Initiative, a program that will connect students from single-parent households to adult mentors.

Olivia  Castello Eaddy

Olivia Castello Eaddy

  • Areas of Study: Finance
  • Hometown: Sea Girt, NJ
  • High School: Ranney School

As part of her aspiration to serve those who are oppressed and less fortunate, Olivia founded Friends In Learning, a summer enrichment curriculum to help bilingual students progress in their studies. With the help of a social innovation scholarship, she also started Enchanted Gardens, a business which helps women in domestic violence shelters rebuild their lives.

At the Ranney School, Olivia was a member of student government, president of the National Honor Society, AP Scholar, two-time recipient of the citizenship award, founder of a local chapter of Girls Who Code, a varsity member of the fencing team, and a participant in the performing arts.

As a double major in finance and political science, Olivia plans to focus on social impact investing in third world countries to help women in the Middle East and North Africa gain more opportunities in the corporate world.

Chad Cocco

Chad Cocco

  • Areas of Study: Computer Science
  • Hometown: Hershey, PA
  • High School: Hershey High School

When Chad realized his technological skills could be used to serve his community, he became the Downtown Hershey Association’s first student director and board representative. In that role, he managed the community’s website and established The Wrapper, a weekly newsletter.

As president of Hershey High’s National Honor Society, Chad enlisted the support of The Hershey Company and other local organizations to develop a service awards program which inspired a 25% increase in chapter volunteerism. He served as captain of Hershey High’s three-time national champion memory team, was a founding board member of an adolescent mental-health awareness organization called Over the Moon Advocates, and he competed on Hershey’s conference champion varsity soccer team. Chad is a National Merit Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction.

As a Hesburgh-Yusko scholar, Chad plans to study computer science with the goal of developing machine-learning based and transformational solutions to societal challenges. At Notre Dame, Chad has been involved in the App Club, working with the Bowman Creek Group to help revitalize South Bend through the use of technology.

This summer, Chad will spend eight weeks in Washington D.C. working with Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA). In this role he will work with data and analytics to help influence public policy in the field of health and nutrition, while developing a new data-collection model for CCUSA to use in their future social-justice investigations.

Conal  Fagan

Conal Fagan

  • Areas of Study: Political Science
  • Hometown: Derry, Northern Ireland
  • High School: St. Columb's College

Conal, a member of the prestigious Sutton Trust US Program, was highly active prior to starting at Notre Dame. As Student Body President, he led a Youth Pilgrimage to Lourdes, France and also volunteered for his local council in their bid for European Youth Capital 2019. A distinguished sportsman, Conal captained the U15 & U16 Northern Ireland soccer squads and walked on the Varsity Practice Squad within his first month at Notre Dame. He changed his trajectory and joined the cheerleading team before going one step further and becoming the first Irish Leprechaun in the university’s history.

His passion for soccer has been channeled through his devotion to improving the lives of others. In his hometown, he helped establish the Oxford Bulls, a soccer team for children with Down Syndrome. In the Fall of 2018, he will embark on his mission to establish a partner club in the local South Bend area, with Soccer Shots Northern Indiana. During his Spring Break of Freshman year, he traveled to Immokalee, FL to partake in a Social Concerns Seminar centered around Migrant Experiences. As part of his Social Justice Summer Enrichment program, he worked with Ubuntu Football in Cape Town, South Africa, where he coached disadvantaged children and taught them as part of their ‘Football Forward’ program.

A passionate Political Scientist, Conal seeks to utilize the resources of the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program to enhance his studies and focus his interests around development issues.

Regis Isirahenda

Regis Isirahenda

  • Areas of Study: Financial Econometrics; Management Consulting
  • Hometown: Bujumbura, Burundi
  • High School: African Leadership Academy

Regis is passionate about economics and politics and the role they can play in transforming his home country. At the African Leadership Academy , Regis served as the chairman of the honor council and captain of the basketball team. He also participated as a delegate at the 2016 African Leadership Academy Model African Union.

For his Wilderness Leadership summer before he joins Notre Dame, Regis spent three weeks sailing on the Coast of Maine. In January 2018, Regis attended the Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, STEM Summit where he got the opportunity to experience first-hand the potential of science and mathematics in innovating and improving the world of finance. Regis is currently enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters and he is currently pursuing a major in Economics and Mathematics.

Patrick  McCabe

Patrick McCabe

  • Areas of Study: Political Science
  • Hometown: Vienna, VA
  • High School: George C. Marshall High School

As a scholarship recipient of the U.S. State Department's National Security Language Initiative for Youth, Patrick spent the summer of 2015 studying Arabic in Amman, Jordan, and after graduating high school spent a gap year living in Rabat, Morocco. Through these experiences, Patrick reached an advanced level of Arabic proficiency in classical Arabic and local dialects. He also had opportunities to meet with policy leaders, work with an organization for West African migrants and conduct research on Morocco's approach to countering violent extremism.

During Patrick’s youth in the Dominican Republic and Panama, he found a passion for international development work by volunteering at Alcance Positivo centers for youth at risk of joining gangs. As editor-in-chief of his school newspaper, Patrick developed a partnership with the ESOL program to publish articles in Japanese, Farsi and Spanish. He also worked to lead a voter registration drive through the Inspire Virginia campaign to register 85 percent of his senior class to vote.

At Notre Dame, Patrick is double-majoring in Political Science and Arabic and is involved as a member of Student Government’s Department of Community Engagement and Outreach and a peer mentor for visiting international students.He is excited to continue pursuing his passions for global affairs and peace studies as a Hesburgh-Yusko scholar.

Grace McDermott

Grace McDermott

  • Areas of Study: American Studies; French
  • Hometown: Chicago, IL
  • High School: Walter Payton College Prep

During high school, Grace developed a passion for journalism and became editor-in-chief of her school newspaper and a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune’s teen newspaper, The Mash. Her reporting efforts on the subject of mental health education led to her being named the McCormick Foundation's 2017 Chicago High School Journalist of the Year and the 2017 Northern Illinois High School Journalist of the Year. Grace also devoted much of her time to service. Throughout high school, she was involved in many volunteer organizations including the Chicago Public Libraries’ Summer Reading Program, National Honors Society, and her parish’s Youth Group.

During her Wilderness Leadership summer, Grace spent two weeks at the Hurricane Island Outward Bound school sailing off the coast of Maine. In her freshman year at Notre Dame, she worked as a research assistant in the Theology department, specifically studying the theology of migration in the early church. She was also a staff writer for the campus newspaper, The Observer, and worked as a tour guide in the Eck Center. For her Social Justice summer, she will be volunteering at Media Monitoring Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, an organization devoted to researching and promoting ethical media practices and press freedom.

Ryan Mullin

Ryan Mullin

  • Areas of Study: Mendoza College of Business; Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
  • High School: St. Ignatius High School

While in high school, Ryan served on his school’s student senate for four years, and as a senior acted as student body president. He was also a four-year member and two-year student leader of the St. Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry to the Homeless, an organization that reaches out to the impoverished in the area.

Ryan also spearheaded the effort to make his high school Fair Trade Certified. He and a team of three other students tackled the two-year process in a mere seven months, making their school the second Jesuit high school in the country to earn the certification. He was also one of twelve distinguished high-achieving students by Cleveland magazine for his work with these various projects.

At Notre Dame Ryan is involved with Student Government, JIFFI (Jubilee Initiative for Financial Inclusion), SIBC (Student International Business Council), Judicial Council Peer Advocacy Program, and FUEL (First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership). Additionally, he is a Student Ambassador at NDListens, the phone center on campus.

For his freshman summer, Ryan spent two weeks in the Oregon wilderness on a rafting and mountaineering journey. While there he had the chance to summit Three-Fingered Jack, one of the most rigorous and technical mountains to climb on the entire East coast.  For his sophomore summer, Ryan will travel to Indonesia, where he has partnered with local agencies to work on sea turtle conservation. These efforts include short term efforts such as turtle rehabilitation, as well as long term efforts, like waste reduction, and providing habitats that young turtles can thrive in.

Catherine O'Leary

Catherine O'Leary

  • Areas of Study: Theology
  • Hometown: Irmo, SC
  • High School: Chapin High School

Catherine is a graduate of Chapin High School, where she ran cross-country, served as team captain for two years, and was the valedictorian of her graduating class. A passionate outdoorsman and environmentalist, she founded the CHS Outdoor Club, focused on memorable adventures and preservation projects.

Moved by the experience of a close friend and confronted with South Carolina’s deplorable domestic violence statistics, Catherine became a committed activist. After considerable research, she developed a model lesson for middle school students, which produced statistically significant changes in awareness of dating violence. In addition, with the support of the National Honor Society, she organized several clothing and supply drives to benefit a local women’s shelter – a project that NHS will continue to sponsor.

Catherine is currently pursuing a Theology Pre-Professional studies degree at ND. She hopes to pursue a medical degree in the future, while continuing to combat domestic violence and related social problems in her own home state.

Augustine Pasin

Augustine Pasin

  • Areas of Study: International Economics; Chinese
  • Hometown: Winnetka, IL
  • High School: YK Pao School

At 16, Augustine left his family and home in Chicago to pursue Chinese studies. He enrolled as the first Western student at a Shanghai boarding school where he helped his Chinese classmates write a school constitution, create the school’s first student council, and propose the “student voice” position to which he was later elected. He combined his passion for service and foreign cultures by co-founding an organization that tutors local Chinese university students in English. He was captain of his school’s basketball team and a member of the swim, soccer, and track teams. Augustine was named co-valedictorian of his graduating class. Keenly interested in technology and science, he co-founded his school’s robotics team and placed first in Tongji University’s Hack-a-thon. Back home in Illinois, he also spent a summer researching melanoma antigens through Loyola Medical Center.


Augustine is currently studying international economics, Chinese, German and computer science. He has worked as a member of student government and other student organizations to improve cross-cultural relations at Notre Dame. The summer of his sophomore year, Augustine will study German in Berlin and serve as a research assistant for a German philosophy professor in Heidelberg. As a Hesburgh-Yusko scholar, Augustine intends to work within China to improve cross-cultural and economic relations between the United States and China.

David  Phillips

David Phillips

  • Areas of Study: Biological Sciences
  • Hometown: Modesto, CA
  • High School: Central Catholic High School

Growing up on an apricot farm, David was immersed in the agricultural lifestyle of California’s Central Valley. This translated to a passion for the Future Farmers of America (FFA). He served as the Central Region FFA vice president, leading over 24,000 students from 12 counties. He also won multiple state championships in the organization. As 1 of 38 delegates chosen to represent California FFA at the 2017 National FFA Convention, David developed a proposal that allocated funding to agricultural science labs for classroom instruction.

David was the gold recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Youth Award, and he received the City of Modesto Mayor’s Top Teen Award for his community service, which ranged from tutoring students in mathematics to leading his church’s altar servers.

As a student at Notre Dame, David competes on the Mock Trial team and plays on the Siegfried Hall men’s volleyball team. David conducted an independent research project over Spring Break in which he and two peers were able to map Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein onto another Gothic tale, Goethe’s Faust. He will use his Hesburgh-Yusko enrichment experiences to investigate bioethical issues which arise due to economic inequalities and new medical advances. With this in mind, he spent his Social Justice Summer conducting bioethics and global jurisprudence research with Dr. Thana de Campos in Santiago, Chile. David hopes to become law professor and to contribute to the scholarly defense of human rights.

Ellen  Pil

Ellen Pil

  • Areas of Study: Pre-Health Studies
  • Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
  • High School: Fox Chapel Area High School

Ellen’s passion is advocating for increased cooperation between physicians and legislators. Throughout high school, Ellen explored this passion in her role as a board member of the Youth Research Advisory Board at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and through her involvement with annual campaigns to promote women in government through the Women and Girls Foundation.

Her notable high school accolades include Congressional Debate honors at the local, state, and national levels, being named as a National Merit Finalist, and receiving the President’s Community Service Award from former President Barack Obama.

At the University of Notre Dame, Ellen competes on Notre Dame’s Parliamentary Debate Team and serves on Student Government as the Vice President of Judicial Council. Ellen also volunteers for the First Aid Services Team as a first responder through Notre Dame’s Medical Outreach program and she serves as a member and residence hall liaison for ND Votes, a non-partisan campaign to promote voter education, registration, and mobilization and to foster conscientious student engagement in political and civic life.

For her Social Justice Summer, Ellen will travel to South Africa to intern as a Malaria Awareness Program Coordinator for One Sun Health, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable, locally driven solutions to public health challenges. In this role, Ellen will train home-based care workers in leading interactive malaria education workshops, conduct community-based research through the University of Pretoria, liaise with key government stakeholders, and coordinate expansion efforts into new regions.

After college, Ellen hopes to attend medical school. She plans to continue her mission to bridge the gap between medical professionals and the government by ultimately using her clinical and professional experience to pursue a career in healthcare policymaking.

Hind  Zahour

Hind Zahour

  • Areas of Study: Engineering competed science
  • Hometown: Casablanca, Morocco
  • High School: African Leadership Academy

Hind’s primary interests lie in the fields of computer science, political science and mathematics. During the summer of 2016, she participated in the Yale Young Global Scholars Program which helped her better understand the role of technology in modern terrorism and the ways in which cybersecurity can be used as a tool for defense and counterterrorism. After returning home, she built a partnership with the Moroccan Association Marcaine des Victimes du Terrorisme to introduce activities in Moroccan schools that would raise awareness about the dangers of technology and terrorist networks.

At the African Leadership Academy, Hind was involved in the International Relations Council and was eventually chosen as the chairperson of the African Commission on Science and Technology at Model African Union.

During her time at Notre Dame, Hind decided to pursue her dedication for counter terrorism by talking to various professors in the engineering computer science- department and got approved in doing research with Professor Chawla. Through her research, Hind would like to bring an understating of cyberterrorism and terrorist cyber-recruitment to the African continent and hopefully work on enhancing the existing policies and creating new strategies to solve this internationally perilous issue of terrorism.

Moreover, Hind decided to develop her passion for theater and comedy by getting involved as a performer with the show some skin production, a theatrical production with the mission of giving voice to unheard people and starting a dialogue about race, gender, sexuality, class, and other aspects of identify as a social justice movement. She also volunteered with Shakespeare program in the Robison Community center as a way of merging her two passions: education and theatre.

As part of her social justice summer program, Hind is planning to volunteer with a school in Tanzania and teach student English, Math and computer science in order to gain experience in the prospect on an east African education and with the hopes of perhaps starting one day a pan-African school in Morocco.

Hind has an online blog where she shares her thoughts about various topics: