Throughout the past year, the world witnessed widening gaps of inequality in all aspects of our society due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even today, the pandemic continues to further inequality at all levels — including education, poverty, and public health — disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations. Building off of last year’s conference theme, The Future is Now: Innovative Responses to Global Adversity, the 2022 conference seeks to shed light on the continued need for interdisciplinary innovation and our responsibility as global citizens for collaboration during these times of widespread disparity.

Our Global Responsibility aims to explore inclusive growth beyond an economic sense by encompassing a person-centered approach in the pursuit of equality, sustainable global development, and resilience in the face of widening inequality.

HDC Team


Maria Teel - Conference Co-chair

Maria is a senior studying Political Science, French, and International Development Studies. On campus, she conducts education research in the International Education Research Lab and supports development projects as a program assistant at the Pulte Institute for Global Development. She also has experience in social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship consulting through internships with the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the South Bend Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program, and Sustain Micro Enterprise. This summer, she conducted independent research on language and education in Senegal. She was the co-chair of the Abstracts Committee for HDC 2021 and is looking forward to creating an engaging and educational conference for HDC 2022! 



Stella Eunseo Cho - Conference Co-chair

Stella is a senior and Stamps Scholar majoring in Neuroscience and Spanish, with a minor in the Glynn Family Honors Program. As a first-year student, she received the Kellogg Institute's Experiencing the World Fellowship to volunteer at a public health clinic in Patzún, Guatemala for two months while staying with a local host family. Growing from this experience, she became avidly involved on the HDC team, with specific interests in global public health. On campus, she is also involved in the Notre Dame Folk Choir, Asian American Association leadership board, and undergraduate research for Dr. Cody Smith's zebrafish lab. Outside of campus, she dedicates herself to volunteering at the local Elkhart General Hospital and Cardinal Nursing Home. In her free time, she enjoys writing music, reading, trying new foods, traveling, and spending quality time with friends! She is so excited to help create an amazing HDC 2022 experience and is looking forward to working with all of you!



Liaisons Co-chair: Hannah Reynolds

Hannah is a junior from Rumson, New Jersey, majoring in Economics and Global Affairs with a concentration in International Development. She is interested in economic development, especially for women and how education plays a role in this development. This past year she has had multiple experiences with female economic empowerment through a winter term VSLA project in Jinja, Uganda and her ISSLP which worked with female farmers in Banjul, The Gambia. In addition, she works with the Pulte Institute for Global Development on the Strong Beginnings: Developing the Whole Child in Haiti project. Outside of the classroom she loves reading, baking with friends, and competing for Notre Dame’s triathlon team. Hannah is excited to join the HDC team and is looking forward to a great conference this spring.


Liaisons Co-chair: Maura Hogaboom 

Maura Hogaboom is a junior at Notre Dame from Arlington Heights, Illinois studying Economics and Pre-Health with a minor in Poverty Studies.  She is also a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program.  This summer, Maura took part in the International Summer Service Program and remotely interned with Child Family Health International in Bolivia, learning about and researching adolescent pregnancy and mental health care in Bolivian populations.  Previously, Maura has been involved in public health work in Chicago’s underserved communities with Esperanza Health Centers, but she is excited to learn more about healthcare in a global context as a part of HDC 2022 and throughout the rest of her education.  Additionally, Maura spends time volunteering with La Casa de Amistad in her favorite city of South Bend and loves serving the Notre Dame community as a part of the Social Concerns and Sustainability departments of student government.



Logistics Co-chair: Ana Tisa 

Ana Tisa is a senior from Jacksonville, Florida majoring in Psychology and Global Affairs, with a concentration in Peace Studies and a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. Her interest in women's and children's empowerment – especially in response to gender-based violence – has grown since working at a domestic violence center this summer where she trained as an advocate and worked in fundraising, direct services, and community education. This summer she also interned for the YALI program through the Pulte Institute for Global Development where she communicated with and learned from social entrepreneurs across Africa. Her classes and experiences with empowering people through viable work inspire her capstone and current work at an impact investing fund. Ana is happy to be a part of the HDC team again and is looking forward to an in-person conference!


Logistics Co-chair: Madeline Soiney

Madeline Soiney is a senior from New Berlin, WI majoring in Spanish and Global Affairs, with a concentration in Global Policy and a minor in Latino Studies. She is particularly interested in foreign policy related to Latin America, migration, and human rights. Since December 2020, Madeline has worked with Professor Aníbal Pérez-Liñán at the Notre Dame Reparations Design and Compliance Lab, co-authoring a paper analyzing the impact of domestic institutional reforms on Paraguay's compliance with international human rights law. This summer, she interned with the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Office of Andean Affairs, primarily working on U.S. foreign policy regarding Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. In her senior thesis project, Madeline is investigating the role that language has played in the Dominican Republic's denial of citizenship to Haitian migrants and their descendants. She is greatly looking forward to facilitating the planning and execution of this year's Human Development Conference!



Marketing Co-chair: Mariah Horvath

Mariah Horvath is a senior from Denver, CO studying Neuroscience and Behavior, with a minor in International Development Studies. On campus, Mariah works as a teaching assistant for International Development in Practice, a course centered around student advisory teams partnered with international organizations. Mariah is also involved with student government as the Vice President for the Class of 2022 and works with the Alumni Association Support Team. Currently, Mariah is working on completing her own capstone research project and is very excited to be involved with the Human Development Conference as a Marketing Co-Chair.


Marketing Co-chair: Ryan Murdock

Ryan Murdock is a junior studying Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (ACMS) and Global Affairs with a concentration in International Development Studies. He grew up just North of Chicago but comes from a large family of Notre Dame Alumni, so South Bend was always a second home growing up. He is particularly interested in using his experience in ACMS to analyze developmental progress in a research project that he will conduct through the Kellogg Institute next summer. This past summer, Ryan interned at the McKenna Center for Human Development and Global Business’ South Bend Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program where he was a consultant for local entrepreneurs seeking to grow sustainable businesses from adverse economic circumstances. He is very excited to use the experience he gained in marketing to work with the Human Development Conference for the first time this year!



Abstracts Co-chair: Matt Heilman

Matt Heilman is a junior studying Neuroscience & Behavior and Gender Studies, with a minor in Computing and Digital Technologies. He comes from Carmel, IN, so the chaotic Midwestern weather of South Bend is not too out of the ordinary for him. On campus, he works as an undergraduate research assistant in the BRAVE Lab with Dr. Laura Miller-Graff, and also as a visitor services associate at the Snite Museum of Art. Additionally, he is a member of the University of Notre Dame Folk Choir and a GRC Firestarter, and he is very involved with Student Government. Over the summer of 2020, he interned virtually at Badgers Academy in Cape Town, South Africa as a part of the Kellogg Institute's first ever batch of virtual interns, and he has stayed involved with the institute and its programming ever since. He cannot wait to serve as one of the Abstracts committee co-chairs this upcoming year!


Abstracts Co-chair: Diana Spencer

Diana is a senior from Dakar, Senegal majoring in Economics, Global Affairs, and Gender Studies. She is also part of the Glynn Family Honors Program and the Merit Scholars Program. With a concentration in International Development Studies, Diana’s research interests lie in the economic empowerment of women in developing countries. In 2020, she conducted a research project in Senegal to measure the influence of conventional microfinance and Islamic microfinance on the living conditions of women entrepreneurs. Diana is also interested in entrepreneurship and has had various international experiences in that field. Over the last two years, she worked with Ashoka in Brazil and interned virtually with Social Entrepreneur Corps (SEC) in Guatemala. On campus, Diana is involved with the Kellogg Institute, the International Student Advisory Board, and the African Student Association. Outside of class, Diana enjoys baking and photography.

 Mixed Media Contest


Mixed Media Contest Chair: Anna Kulczycka 

Anna is a sophomore from Birmingham, Alabama studying Business Analytics and Visual Communications Design. She is a part of the Kellogg International Scholars Program and performs research under Professor Julia Kowalski, surrounding the difference between the terms “politics” and “social welfare.” She hopes to research abroad soon and work to learn more about her family’s Polish and Mexican heritage. She works on campus as a part of Strike Magazine and to grow her sustainable fashion project on Poshmark. This past summer she interned with several companies, including a fashion company she creatively directed a photoshoot for. She is so excited to bring her love for photography into being involved with HDC!

Graphic Design


Graphic Designer: Madison Wagner

Madison is a junior from Strongsville, Ohio, studying Management Consulting with minors in Data Science and Collaborative Innovation. She is interested in pursuing a career in marketing, specifically in brand management, and she serves as the marketing director of Strike Magazine as well as a research assistant for the marketing department at the Mendoza College of Business. Madison started her own graphic and website business, where she works with small businesses to create brand identities and other marketing materials. Madison is also the Chief Operating Officer of SIBC, a member of the Welcome Weekend Steering Committee, and recently interned with Sarah Flint. Inc as a Brand Ambassador Intern.



The Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, announce the 14th annual Human Development Conference.

For fourteen years, the Human Development Conference ​has provided a forum ​for undergraduate students from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines who are passionate about development to engage in dialogue about development research. ​

We are excited to announce the Call for Papers for the 2022 Human Development Conference (HDC). This year’s conference will be held between February 25-26, 2022 under the theme Our Global Responsibility: Seeking Inclusive Growth Amidst Widening Inequality. We hope to invite students from the tri-campus community (Notre Dame, Holy Cross College, and Saint Mary's College) and other universities to present their research. To comply with Notre Dame’s safety restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to increase accessibility to the conference, we anticipate offering both virtual and in-person presentation options. Students are able to indicate their preference on the application form. 

The conference provides an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to display their development-related research and engage with other students, faculty, and professionals as they explore human development themes. Building off of last year’s conference theme, The Future is Now: Innovative Responses to Global Adversity, the 2022 conference seeks to shed light on the continued need for interdisciplinary innovation and our responsibility as global citizens for collaboration during these times of widespread disparity.

Conference participants will be encouraged to highlight the need for inclusive, person-centered approaches toward human development and will be chosen to share global research from their time as an undergraduate student on topics such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Anthropology
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Environment
  • Foreign Aid
  • Gender
  • Governance
  • Global Health
  • Human Dignity
  • Human Rights
  • Infrastructure
  • Migration 
  • Peace/Conflict
  • Poverty
  • Public Policy
  • Religion
  • Sociology
  • Sustainability
  • Technology
  • Urbanization






To apply to present at the 2022 HDC, please submit a 250-word abstract (short summary) of your research. The HDC is open to presentations on research conducted both virtually or in-person. Guidelines and tips for writing abstracts are available on the HDC website. All abstracts must be submitted by Friday, November 12, 2021, at 11:59 PM EDT. To submit an abstract, please click here.

We hope that you will consider joining us by submitting an abstract!

Abstract Guidelines


A good abstract that will be considered for the 2022 Human Development Conference does each of the following:

  1. Briefly introduces the reader to the topic by providing relevant background information on global research performed in-person or virtually
  2. Clearly expresses the research question that was asked
  3. Provides concrete details about the methodology used (including where the study was conducted, how many participants were involved, recruitment method, and type of data analysis)
  4. Presents research findings that answer the proposed question

Abstracts must be no more than 250 words long. Sample abstracts that have been accepted to previous Human Development Conferences are provided below:

Sample Abstract 1

Sub-saharan Africa currently bears 24% of the global disease burden, yet is home to just 3% of the global health workforce (Anyangwe 2007). Despite this crippling disease burden, nearly 45% of graduating physicians in Uganda plan to emigrate upon graduation (Kizito 2015). Medical brain drain refers to this human resource crisis that plagues the healthcare systems of many developing countries, where newly graduated physicians choose to leave the country after receiving their formal medical education. For over a decade, public health leaders have attempted to meet this critical human resource shortage through an increase in the availability and efficacy of medical education (Akuffo 2014). Through in-depth interviews with over 40 medical students at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, my research attempts to uncover the complex push and pull factors that affect the emigration decisions of Ugandan medical students. While past research points to low pay and high overburden on health professionals as the impetus of the brain drain, my project identifies sociocultural factors that influence emigration like social ties, national pride and shame, socioeconomic background, as well as lived experience in the health system. These results provide tangible recommendations for public sector managers and policy makers in Uganda to help curb brain drain in their health system.

Sample Abstract 2

Although the Ministry of Health recommends yearly cervical screening through Pap tests, Nicaragua has one of the highest cervical cancer mortality rates in Latin America due to pervasive barriers that women face in accessing healthcare. One aim of this study was to explore strategies to mitigate these barriers in culturally appropriate and feasible ways, including primary prevention and secondary prevention through Human Papillomavirus (HPV) self-collection. HPV self-collection is an innovative and empirically based strategy shown to increase cervical cancer screening for women in lower resourced settings. Utilizing a collection brush, women can collect their sample in a setting of their choice and send the sample to get tested. We partnered with the Ministry of Health, a local human rights NGO and interprofessional collaboration in Bluefields (the largest city on the Caribbean Coast) to conduct a community-based needs assessment, key informant interviews (n=12), focus groups (n=25) and a systematic environmental scan, all guided by the socio-ecological model. We audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim all data. We analyzed descriptive statistics and through thematic analysis, we analysed qualitative data. According to our findings, the main barriers were: cultural obstacles, machismo being the main issue, misconceptions about prevention, and a lack of systematic and comprehensive sexual health education. If rolled-out under specific circumstances, HPV self-collection could increase access to cervical cancer screening for women in Bluefields and the surrounding rural areas by overcoming these barriers, thus empowering women to take agency over their health. More research is needed to pilot this intervention.

Sample Abstract 3

Dubbed as the worst country to be disabled by the British Broadcasting Corporation, 95% of people in Ghana have no access to rehabilitative services (Tinney 11-12). Without a systemic chronic disease policy, organizations and researchers have paid little attention to study amputees and invest in rehabilitative care despite their unprecedented growth. Although there are clear financial, logistical, and social barriers to receiving care, it is unclear what factors impact an amputee’s decision to be treated or whether a prosthesis is desired in the first place. The study aims to research the ability, choice, and desire to pursue prosthetic services from the viewpoint of amputees. Between July and August 2016, data was collected through 24 interviews with healthcare providers, amputees, and prosthesis-users in the Cape Coast and Accra region. Ethnographic research methods were used to analyzed key distribution and health facilities which found that (1) rehabilitative facilities in Ghana for prosthesis are severely under-resourced due to (2) the lack of priority funding in rehabilitative services. (3) The inability to access is compounded by the lack of information on prosthesis centers and their sparse distribution, and (4) in addition to financial barriers, social stigma and isolation may play a larger part in the amputee’s decision-making process. This study makes recommendations to healthcare organizations to address the plight of amputees in Ghana. As the number of amputees rise worldwide, a targeted approach in addressing the needs of amputees is invaluable for their reintegration into society and to address weaknesses within current healthcare systems.

Sample Abstract 4

This study evaluated the impact and technical progress of the Sustainable COmprehensive REsponses (SCORE) for vulnerable children and their families’ project, as implemented by St. Francis Health Care Services (STFHCS), in the Nyenga and Wakisi Sub Counties during its original 5-year tenure. This study was initiated on June 6th, 2016 and was fully completed on July 22nd, 2016 with the submission of the final report. The motivation for this study was the need to identify the best practices and capacity gaps of the SCORE project in order to inform the project implementation of STFHCS and the SCORE project implementation for the 2 year extension. The data collection methods used in this study included home visits, vulnerability assessment tool review, project report review, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. Generally, the SCORE project has had a positive impact in reducing the vulnerability of beneficiaries in Nyenga and Wakisi Sub Counties. With the data collection methods, it was found that the economic strengthening (SCORE objective 1) activities were the most appreciated and praised by the beneficiaries. However, it was also the area of least reduced vulnerability. The area that saw the greatest reduction in beneficiary vulnerability was food security (SCORE objective 2). This success was attributed to the nutrition dialogues and urban horticulture trainings. The activities that were ineffective and/or in need of correction included the apprenticeships, bank linkages, farmer field schools, child friendly schools, and community skills trainings.

Past Conferences


The Future is Now: Innovative Responses to Global Adversity
February 26-27, 2021

Global development and collaboration cannot be halted due to COVID-19 or any other global adversity. The ways we approach integral human development must be adaptable to our ever-changing global environment. Oftentimes, new solutions are driven by unavoidable barriers and unexpected set-backs, and impressive innovations arise from times of crisis. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, creative adaptability is key to persevering in the mission of integral human development, which is to foster conditions conducive to flourishing for every individual and every community. So far, we have seen a contagious energy as new methods of communication and collaboration inspire hope for the achievement of this mission. In a time with added fear and uncertainty, social connectedness is truly the only way forward. From the bottom up, integral human development must be fueled by a commitment to social connectedness through inclusive discourse and collaborative innovation.


Development on the Move: Global Strategies Informed by Local Contexts
February 21-22, 2020
Development on the Move not only addresses the need to understand and address issues from a global perspective but also calls each of us to action.  This conference will emphasize shifts in both personal and collective action, focus on developing expertise in global issues, and spark conversations that lead to change.


Engaging with Empathy: A Preferential Option for the Poor in Development
February 22-23, 2019
In order to ensure that past historic injustices are not repeated and to promote the human dignity of all individuals, it is necessary to engage with empathy and to view research, problems, and policies from the perspective of those most affected by development challenges.


Decades of Development: Contextualizing the Past, Envisioning the Future
February 23-24, 2018
Human-centered approaches to development requires trust, compassion, and awareness in order to place the individual at the center of development.


Development with Dignity: A Human-Centered Approach to Progress
February 24–25, 2017
In order to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, the global community needs to shift from theory to practice – from policy to individuals – refocusing its efforts by placing humans at the center of the sustainable development agenda. Creating solutions to critical issues that afflict the world’s populations today requires not only a shift in scale but the recognition and continual affirmation that the dignity of peoples on all sides of the path to progress must be the central focus of development.


Re-Imagining Development: Pursuing Good in a Changing World
February 26–27, 2016
The conference focused on the transformative power of new ideas: how development paradigms that emphasize agency, inclusivity, and dignity can redefine success and challenge traditional methods in development. As the new Sustainable Development Goals illustrated, this evolution in development calls upon countries and citizens in both the developing and developed worlds to work together to overcome our shared challenges and ensure our interconnected prosperity.


Envision, Enact, Evaluate: Sustaining Momentum in Development
February 27-28, 2015


Transforming Development: New Actors, Innovative Technologies & Emerging Trends
February 28 – March 1, 2014

The theme of the sixth annual Human Development Conference, "Transforming Development: New Actors, Innovative Technologies & Emerging Trends," was inspired by the idea that development is an evolving process. A widening set of stakeholders and rapidly advancing technologies raise new possibilities for the field. The conference was a chance to reflect on both successes and failures in development, while analyzing opportunities created by these new trends.


In the Field: Cultivating Collaboration and Innovation
February 8-9, 2013

The fifth annual Human Development Conference, “In the Field: Cultivating Collaboration and Innovation,” brought together more than 200 students, faculty members, and development experts from around the world, including keynote address speaker, Sara Sievers, the founding executive director of the Center for Globalization and Development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.  Over 70 students presented their own research, representing fieldwork from more than 30 countries. Topics addressed ranged from evaluating the perceptions of trust among Peruvian sexually abused victims to combating cancer in Samoa and implementing organic agricultural certification in India.


Faces Behind the Figures: Visions of Prosperity, Progress, and Human Potential
February 10-11, 2012

The fourth annual HDC, “Faces Behind the Figures: Visions of Prosperity, Progress and Human Potential,” took place during February 2012, culminating in a keynote address given by Not For Sale’s co-founder and executive director Mark Wexler. The conference featured 250 students, faculty and development experts from across the United States and beyond. Eighty-two students presented research on development-related topics conducted in over 35 different countries. Panels addressed topics ranging from food security and agricultural development to post-conflict transformation and the effectiveness of foreign aid. 


Unleashing Human Potential: Global Citizens in Pursuit of the Common Good
February 11-12, 2011

The third annual Human Development Conference, “Unleashing Human Potential: Global Citizens in Pursuit of the Common Good,” brought together 73 undergraduate and graduate student-presenters with research experiences in over 30 countries. The Ford Program also welcomed a group of two students and three faculty members from Uganda Martyrs University, the program’s partner university in on-site research and development projects. The two-day conference concluded with a dinner banquet and keynote address given by microfinance specialist David Roodman from the Center for Global Development.


People, Power, and Pragmatism: The Future of Development in Our Changing World
February 26-27, 2010

The second annual Human Development Conference, “People, Power, and Pragmatism: The Future of Development in Our Changing World,” was held in February of 2010. More than doubling in size from the previous year, the conference grew to 80 students with research experiences in 38 different countries. Thirty-eight colleges and universities from across the globe were represented. Ray Chambers, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, spoke on his commitment to the Millennium Promise and Malaria No More. The keynote address was delivered by Joseph Sebarenzi, the former speaker of the Rwandan Parliament, who spoke passionately about his experience as a genocide survivor and his efforts to create reconciliation, peace and development in Rwanda and the world.


Innovation in the Service of Human Dignity: A Human Development Conference
November 7-8, 2008

In November of 2008, the symposium grew into a full conference sponsored by the Ford program and co-sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns and the School for International Training.  The program's first annual undergraduate research conference, “Innovation in the Service of Human Dignity” featured graduate and undergraduate student presenters from 29 universities and representing 28 countries of research. The conference drew more than 250 participants, and moderators from around the country also attended the conference to facilitate panel discussions. Peter McPherson, the former head of USAID, delivered the keynote address.

Solidarity in Pursuit of Authentic Human Development
Saturday, February 23, 2008

In 2008, together with the Center for Social Concerns, the Ford Program sponsored a student research symposium entitled “Solidarity in Pursuit of Authentic Human Development.” Twenty-eight students presented at the event, including students from Uganda Martyrs University. Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, delivered the keynote address.

The Rev. Ernest J. Bartell, CSC, Prize for Undergraduate Research on Poverty and Development is conferred annually at the University of Notre Dame's Human Development Conference. Two $1,000 prizes recognize outstanding undergraduate student research on poverty and development. Each year one prize will be given to a student at the University of Notre Dame and one to a student from another university.

Undergraduate students invited to present at the 2022 Human Development Conference are eligible to apply for this award. Information regarding how to apply is included in the conference invitation. Students who wish to be considered must apply by Monday, January 10, 2022. Additional information and/or an interview may be required. Finalists will be notified in the beginning of  February.

Student research should address a specific aspect of poverty and development, whether in the United States or abroad. Research may be submitted from any field of study, including the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Students are encouraged to conduct original research and to consider programs and policies that could help reduce poverty.  A faculty committee will determine the award recipients, and prizes will be conferred during the Human Development Conference, February 25-26, 2022.


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