HDC-Christian Abraham Arega


The Kellogg Institute is honoring our seniors by profiling one each day here and on Instagram, showcasing the work each has done through the Kellogg International Scholars Program, the International Development Studies minor, and other Kellogg opportunities. 

These posts are reproduced below, with the latest profile added each day until all Kellogg ISP and IDS seniors have been included. We hope in some small way this effort can help us maintain connections and a sense of community, while recognizing our seniors for the work they have accomplished.

Please check back daily for new additions!

Christian Abraham Arega

Biochemistry major and Kellogg International Scholar Christian Abraham Arega is interested in accessible health care as well as innovative ways to make health and wellness attainable for people in developing countries. She worked with Professor Catherine Bolten on her senior thesis looking at Disparities in Health Care Access for Undocumented Latino Immigrants in Indiana and Illinois. Christian’s work studies the effects that the different health policies instituted in these states have on immigrant’s access to healthcare and their health outcomes.

During her sophomore year, Christian worked with Professor Vania Smith-Oka and has conducted anthropology research on the medical uses of plants for Type II Diabetes in rural Mexico. She received an ISP conference grant to present her research at the annual meeting for the American Anthropological Association in San Jose, California in November 2018. This past summer, Christian took part in a Community Health Internship with the Indiana School of Medicine in South Bend and worked closely with community partners to better understand the many social determinants that play a role in determining health outcomes.

Godsee Joy

Kellogg International Scholar Godsee Joy is an economics and peace studies major. Her senior thesis, advised by Professor Bill Evans, uses the Alaska Permanent Fund (APF) dividends as a proxy for universal basic income to analyze the effects of that income shock on fertility and poverty. Godsee is assisting Professor Nilesh Fernando through ISP, quantitatively analyzing survey data from migrants from Sri Lanka who leave to find work in the Middle East. In particular, Professor Fernando is interested in understanding the mechanisms driving migrant choices of intermediary agencies and employers.

Godsee has participated in two summer study abroad programs (Germany and Brazil) and is very involved in and passionate about anti-poverty program evaluation research via the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO). She is interested in facilitating collaboration between the private and public sectors and academia to drive and scale social impact internationally. She thus also has summer experience with government consulting in Washington, D.C. and with international and social entrepreneurship projects in SIBC.

Mary Solokas

Mary Solokas is an environmental engineering major and a member of the Kellogg International Scholars Program. She is currently focused on improving access to clean drinking water in Haiti as part of an interdisciplinary team interested in the Engineering Grand Challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals. Through a human-centered design approach, Mary is involved with the brainstorming and conception of possible water treatment technologies subject to the design requirements and constraints of Haiti. Mary is evaluating climate change adaptations and current water treatment technologies, and will be involved in basic prototyping and validation of drinking water purification methods with the hopes of providing communities in Haiti with improved access to clean water.


Nicholas Ottone

Through the Kellogg International Scholars program, ACMS and political science major Nick Ottone assists Professor Michael Coppedge on his research concerning the effect of democratic changes in one nation on other nations within existing networks. Visualizing these changes through time on shifting maps will assist audiences and researchers on the impact of changes in polarchy on neighboring nations and allies.  In the past, he has assisted Professor Coppedge with editing and creating visualizations for his and his collaborators' forthcoming book on their groundbreaking Varieties of Democracy project, as well as preparing graphics for papers and presentations. His research interests include the American public education system, racial resentment, and democratic institutions. Nick has received a fellowship to Yale University, where he will pursue a PhD in political science.

Ignacia Ulloa Peters is majoring in economics and sociology and has a minor in international development studies. She spent nine weeks in Costa Rica in the summer of 2019 working with the International Organization for Migrants (IOM). With their support, Ignacia interviewed fifty immigrants migrating from, or in transit through, Costa Rica about the perceptions of their future journey in order to analyze variations in expectations and better understand the effect certain information sources (or lack thereof) have on the decision to migrate. This research informed her IDS capstone, “Studying Variation in Migrant Expectations: An Analysis of the Isthmus of America,” which she presented at the 2020 Human Development Conference.

Kyersten Siebenaler

Kyersten Siebenaler is majoring in international economics with Spanish and has minors in international development studies and energy studies. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has focused on understanding the intersections of environmental issues, community organizations, and development work, primarily in Central and South America. In the summer of 2017, Kyersten received an Experiencing the World Fellowship to work with Asociación Wiñak, an indigenously owned and operated chocolate company in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest.

Kyersten is involved with the Center for Social Concerns and its ISSLP, and engages with the local South Bend immigrant population by conducting research through the Institute for Latino Studies on transnationalism and volunteering in local community centers and working in citizenship classes. For her IDS capstone, “Environmental Activist Strategy Formation in Peru: Exploring Perceptions, Norms, and Agency,” she conducted in-depth interviews with environmental activists and participant observations of strategic meetings in Puno, Peru. Kyersten served as a co-chair for the 2020 Human Development Conference, which explored how dynamic issues such as climate change and migration necessitate shifts in development strategies and problem solving.

Yiran (Erin) Shang

Erin Shang is a Kellogg International Scholar majoring in finance and applied and computational mathematics and statistics. She works with Professor Emilia Powell in the political science department. Currently, she is assisting Professor Powell with her new book project on peaceful resolutions of territorial disputes and maritime disputes. Erin will gather data points from recent literature, interviews and other sources and conduct quantitative analysis on the collected data. In the past, she has assisted Professor Powell with her research on the effectiveness of constitutional courts in Islamic countries and the International Court of Justice’s jurisdiction on territorial disputes.

While at Notre Dame, Erin has received funding from the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies to conduct independent research in Tibet, China. Her research explored the funding procedure and legal loopholes for NGOs in the region. Being a passionate writer outside of academics, Erin writes a column for The Observer, and works as a writing consultant for the University Writing Center. Upon graduation, Erin will pursue a career in investment banking and join Bank of America in the Palo Alto office as an M&A analyst.

Elizabeth Steiner

Kellogg International Scholar Beth Steiner has worked on many projects under the direction of Professor Jaimie Bleck. Beth helped with the data collection for and the editing process of Professor Bleck’s most recent book, Electoral Politics in Africa Since 1990: Continuity in Change.  She also aided in drafting the midline report for Professor Bleck’s project studying small-scale governance and uniform distribution in Malawi for Catholic Relief Services. She is currently developing a website for one of Professor Bleck’s projects focusing on Malian music and artistic expression.

Beth participated in the Center for Social Concern’s International Summer Service Learning Program in Gulu, Uganda, where she lived with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and worked in a rural maternity clinic. She also spent the summer of 2019 working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as an intern in the Office of Sudan and South Sudan Programs within the agency’s Bureau for Africa.

Kyle Murphy

Kyle Murphy is a Kellogg International Scholar who has conducted research with Professor Erin McDonnell investigating the effects political institutions have on child mortality. This research had a primary focus on democracy, and involved analyzing past studies done on democracy and child mortality for a meta-analysis. Kyle has received two Kellogg ISP conference grants in 2018 and 2019 to attend Unite For Sight’s Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale University. 

Kyle is the CEO and Co-Founder of EnSpice, a social enterprise that creates seasonings and spices enhanced with plant-based vitamins and minerals. EnSpice is in the process of launching its products into retail, and a portion of proceeds funds efforts to combat severe malnutrition in the developing world through the EnSpice Children’s Foundation.

Natalie Disher

Natalie Disher is a psychology major and international development studies minor. She spent six weeks in the summer of 2019 in Uganda working with the Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity exploring the differences in participants’ perceptions of their own ability to make decisions, as well as their opinions on women’s authority in various subjects, particularly related to finances within the household. This research informed her capstone project for the minor, titled, “Women and Business: Empowerment and Microfinance in Rural Uganda.”

Mita Ramani

Kellogg International Scholar Mita Ramani, an economics and philosophy major, conducts research with Professor Mariana Candido, working with 19th-century court cases from Angola. The court cases are found in the form of primary document court records that have been stored in the backrooms of courthouses for over a century. Mita is working through transcribing the documents from their calligraphic Portuguese script into modern Portuguese and then further translating the cases into English for analysis. By going through more court cases, Mita is working towards compiling a more holistic view of the relationship between women and the legal system in historic Angola.

Mita did an independent research project based on her work with Professor Candido after receiving the Glynn Family Honors Research Grant. This project allowed her to travel to Washington D.C. to the Smithsonian Museum of African Art to look at the relationships that could be formed between the historical portrayal of women in ancient art in comparison to the court cases she was analyzing under Professor Candido.

Mita is writing her senior thesis in the philosophy department on the relationships found between silencing of women under the umbrella of epistemic violence against women and gaslighting and how that relates to trauma in women.

Joseph Drey

Joe Drey is interested in researching all aspects of food. The political science major and international development studies minor works with Professor Susanne Wengle through the Kellogg International Scholars Program, studying the impacts of policy and regulation on post-Soviet trade and food production. He hopes to better understand what policy factors make some countries more productive than others.

After his sophomore year, Joe traveled to Accra, Ghana, through an Experiencing the World Fellowship. He conducted interviews and surveys in order to better understand drivers of food choice in a country whose diet is shifting from traditional to Western. Joe presented this research at the 2019 Human Development Conference (HDC).

In the summer of 2019, under the guidance of Professor Steve Reifenberg, Joe received a Kellogg/Kroc Undergraduate Research Grant and traveled to Apia, Samoa, and Auckland, New Zealand to gain a better understanding of Samoan food culture and how this understanding might benefit food policy within the region. This research helped inform his IDS capstone project, “At the Heart of Obesity: A Study of Food Culture of Samoans in South Auckland, New Zealand”, which he presented at the 2020 HDC.

Bridget Taylor

Bridget Taylor is an electrical engineering major who examines themes related to agriculture and the effects of globalized industrial food production in her work with Professor Susanne Wengle through the Kellogg International Scholars Program. Most recently, Bridget has been researching new technologies and business practices implemented in Russian farming companies and analyzing production and yield quantities in the agriculture sectors of post-Soviet countries. She assists in the project by collecting data and gathering information for case studies. In March of 2019, Bridget received an ISP conference grant to attend the National Food Policy Conference in Washington D.C. There, she heard from diverse stakeholders speaking about integrating newer technologies to food safety, the implications of the U.S. trade war with China, and efforts to reduce food waste. 

In the past, Bridget has worked on investigating political and social factors that lead to the rise of obesity in Brazil, Russia, and Mexico as well as exploring sustainability measures in the dairy industries of the United States and Germany. She accomplished analysis of this through literature review. Bridget enjoys the opportunity to engage in the way the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of food shapes society.

Patrick Zimmer

Patrick Zimmer is a Kellogg International Scholar interested in applied microeconomics, development economics, and the economics of education. Through ISP, Patrick is working with Professor Jeffrey Bergstrand on his research of economic integration agreements. Patrick identifies, reviews, and classifies trade agreements to update Professor Bergstrand’s database. Patrick is also writing an economics honors thesis exploring relative age achievement gaps in early childhood education, under the direction of Professor Chloe Gibbs.

During his sophomore year, Patrick worked with Professor Alexandros Taflanidis on his research for Engineering2Empower. During this time, Patrick researched lending models and developed surveys to assist the team in their efforts to implement an affordable and disaster-resilient solution to the housing crisis in Haiti. He received a break research grant through ISP to travel to Léogâne, Haiti in January of 2018 to conduct interviews with landowners, bank managers, and informal lending institutions.

Vaishali Nayak

Vaishali Nayak is studying neuroscience and behavior with a minor in international development studies. She traveled to Puerto Rico in the summer of 2019 to conduct research for her capstone project, “Uncovering the Sugar-coated Truth: Examination of the Role of Gender in Health-seeking Behaviors of Diabetic Men and Women in San Juan, Puerto Rico.” There, she explored the behaviors and barriers faced by men and women in San Juan, by interviewing a sample of men and women in a clinical setting. She then shared her analysis with the local clinic. 

Along with serving as a secretary on the Diversity Council, she is involved with the Posse program and the Fighting Irish Scholars Program, both of which are involved with helping students of all backgrounds have the full Notre Dame experience. Her love for the sciences has led to her involvement as co-managing editor of Scientia, Notre Dame’s undergraduate research journal. Her experiences in the Indian healthcare system, volunteering at an ER in New Orleans and engaging the local South Bend community as an EMT trainee, have all made her a strong proponent of equity in healthcare. Vaishali also served as a co-chair of the 2019 Human Development Conference.

Colleen Ballantyne

Colleen Ballantyne is an IDS Minor majoring in biological sciences. She received a Kellogg/Kroc Undergraduate Research Grant in the summer of 2019 to spend eight weeks in Haryana, India, conducting research for her IDS capstone project, “When 'Number Two' is Public Enemy Number One: A Study on How Women Experience the Consequences of Open Defecation in Rural North India.” Colleen split her time between two remote villages, where she surveyed more than 100 women on their defecation practices. The project was meant to compare how women in different settings were impacted by open defecation.

Colleen received Kellogg’s Bartell Prize for Undergraduate Research on Poverty and Development for her project. She presented her findings at the Human Development Conference at the University of Notre Dame in February. Colleen has shared her findings with Ashoka University in Haryana, along with her recommendation that local governments use a neutral outside party to distribute funds for building latrines. Her research will likely be shared with other Indian scholars who work in the policy realm.

MacKenzie Isaac

Kellogg International Scholar MacKenzie Isaac is an sociology major and has minors in Latino studies and data science. Through ISP, MacKenzie has focused her research on the issues of culture, identity, and race. She worked for two years with Professor Karen Richman studying migration patterns of Afro Latinos from Haiti and other parts of the Francophone and Anglophone Caribbean. She also assisted Prof. Richman in her research on the myth of Haitian overpopulation and the two presented their work at the Haitian Studies Association and the Latin American Studies Association in 2019.

MacKenzie’s senior thesis examines perceptions of skin bleaching among Caribbean and Caribbean American college students and the issue of colorism, or the preference for lighter skin tones among those of African heritage. MacKenzie is also the director of diversity and inclusion for the Notre Dame student government and organized various events on race relations, identity, and mental health.

Thomas Mologne

Thomas Mologne is a political science major working with Professor Jaimie Bleck through the Kellogg International Scholars Program. He assists on Professor Bleck’s ongoing project on the role of group participation in building social trust in Mali. Thomas is specifically looking for political and social themes that appear in interviews with members of these groups that will ultimately be discussed in the final version of Professor Bleck’s paper. Additionally, Thomas helped to welcome academics and musicians from West Africa to campus this fall as part of a conference on youth in the Sahel. He served as a translator and ambassador for Notre Dame and the Kellogg Institute. 

In addition to the Kellogg International Scholars Program, Thomas participated in the Summer Service Learning Program this past summer. In the past, he has received a Summer Language Abroad grant to study French and participated in the Herrly Internship Program in Paris.

Dayonni Phillips

Dayonni Phillips is an anthropology major with minors in international development studies and Africana studies. Her capstone project for the IDS minor, titled, “Laws Will Go if the People Say No: The Intersectionality of Social Norms and Law” is based on two summers of field research in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. In the summer of 2018, Dayonni investigated the environmental impacts of Styrofoam, the use of Styrofoam on the island, and the barriers restaurants faced with transitioning to biodegradable alternatives on the island.

She returned in the summer of 2019 to investigate the compliance on the island with a new government ban on plastics and styrofoam. Dayonni interviewed and surveyed informants including business owners, residents, and governmental officials to discern how social norms enhanced or impeded the implementation of the new law.

Claire O'Brien

Claire O'Brien is Kellogg International Scholar and a double major in ACMS and economics. She is currently working on a senior economics thesis, which will examine the successfulness of NGO schools in India compared to government schools.  As Professor Lakshmi Iyer’s research assistant, Claire has studied the effects of political gender quotas in India on violence against women, agricultural outputs in India, and sharecropping globally. Claire works heavily in the realm of quantitative economics and is interested in the political economy in India.  Specifically, she is interested in women’s economic and political empowerment, migration, and education.

Through the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, Claire completed an internship at Asylee Women Enterprise, a nonprofit that works with people seeking political asylum in Baltimore, MD.  Additionally, Claire has studied abroad in London where she completed an internship at St. John Bosco College, a school that serves primarily low income, immigrant students.

Bonna Yi

Bonna Yi is a political science major and a Kellogg International Scholar currently working with Professor Victoria Tin-bor Hui analyzing dynastic Chinese war data sets using a Geographic Information System (GIS) and data mining. Personally, she is conducting her senior thesis, titled, “Mixed Ethnic Backgrounds in Conflict: Which Side of the Identity Battle” on an anthropological look into how mixed-ethnic groups in conflict come to reconcile an identity. The results will be based on institutional (census surveys) vs. subjective (situational circumstances) impositions.

Outside of Kellogg, Bonna is an undergraduate fellow for the Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC), a mentor for Building Bridges, and was a Kennedy Scholar who studied abroad in London (spring 2019). She has done research for the economic departments of the U.S. embassies in Seoul and Taipei. Most recently, she was an intern at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, working at the Conference on Disarmament.

Maria Ventura

Maria Ventura is a Kellogg International Scholar and an IDS minor. Through ISP, she assists Professor Catherine Bolten with her current research regarding fertility decisions in West Africa.

In the summer of 2019, Maria conducted original research in Berlin, Germany regarding the social integration of Syrian women who have migrated to the city. Maria used the data collected to write an international development studies minor capstone project, “Integration or Assimilation: The Social Pressures of Syrian Women in Berlin.” 

She is also writing an anthropology thesis on the humanity, and lack thereof, throughout the transnational migration process from Central America and Southern Mexico north to the United States based on her experiences at a migrant shelter in Puebla, Mexico. Maria received an ISP break research grant to spend two weeks in Puebla and Ciudad Serdán conducting interviews to inform her thesis project.

Katherine Fugate

International Scholar Katherine Fugate, an economics major, is currently assisting Professor Margaret Triyana with her research on the impact of gender quotas in Indonesian elections on violence against women in Indonesia. Through this project, they have gained experience with economics research by working on web scraping data on candidates and cleaning administrative data.  Katherine is writing a senior honors thesis through the economics department, advised by Professor Emeritus Charles Wilber, which will be about what role distributism, as practiced by the Catholic Worker movement, can play in reducing poverty in the age of extreme wealth and income inequality in the US.

Outside of their involvement with the Kellogg International Scholars Program and LEO, Katherine also continues to be a part of the International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP) through which they traveled to East Jerusalem for ten weeks in the summer of 2018.  They presented at the 2019 Human Development Conference (HDC) on how Tent of Nations, a Palestinian farm that they worked at with an outreach mission of peacebuilding through environmental awareness and nonviolent resistance, provides a strong model for community-based development under occupation.  Katherine also presented their research, “Climate Change and a Just Transition: Cooperative Economics as a Path to Collective Economic Empowerment” at the 2020 HDC.

Jessica Saeli

Jessie Saeli is an International Scholar currently conducting research on patriotic education in Russia by reading, organizing, and analyzing data from Soviet and Russian textbooks and teachers' guides, from contemporary news sources from Russia and the United States, and from the manuals and website associated with the Russian military-patriotic youth movement, Yunarmia.

Jessie is conducting a joint senior thesis in philosophy and Russian, advised by professors Alexander Jech and Emily Wang, on the 20th-century Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev. The project will focus on Berdyaev's writings on love and death in his first major philosophical work: The Meaning of the Creative Act and his final work and autobiography: Self-Knowledge. Jessie will also translate several key passages from the Russian original of Self-Knowledge in order to create a fuller and more accurate translation of this work with which to conduct her research.

Jessie received a Summer Language Abroad Grant (SLA) to study Russian in an eight-week intensive Russian language program in Kyrgyzstan in the summer of 2018.

Taylor Buck

Taylor Buck, a science preprofessional studies major and IDS minor, spent two months in the summer of 2019 examining spousal involvement and maternal health in Bududa, Uganda. She conducted in-depth interviews with 20 women presenting at a rural maternal health clinic managed by the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, as well as ethnographies for 5 cases of pregnancy complications at the clinic. Interviews were structured to address three categories (daily life, antenatal care, and preparation/delivery), in order to identify different forms of spousal support throughout the pregnancy experience. She received a Kellogg/Kroc Undergraduate Research Grant to fund this research, which she later presented at the 2020 Human Development Conference in February.

Emily Pohl

Emily Pohl is an international economics major and IDS minor who spent part of her junior year studying abroad in Dakar, Senegal. She also spent a part of the summer of 2019 there collecting data for her IDS capstone project, “The Influence of Religion on Financial Preferences: Evaluating the Feasibility of Islamic Microfinance in Dakar, Senegal.” Emily conducted in-depth interviews with Muslim community members seeking to evaluate the degree to which religion factors into low-income individuals’ financial decision-making and to which Islamic microfinance is an accessible and viable option for the poor in Dakar, Senegal.

Emily also received a Kellogg/Kroc Undergraduate Research Grant to collaborate on the end line study of the Ford Program in Human Development and Solidarity’s “Social Enterprise Project” in Uganda beginning in July of 2019. There, she helped develop and carry out a survey to help assess the long-term impact of the SEP and evaluate ways in which to improve the project in the future to better meet the needs of the local community.

Lauren Jhin

Lauren Jhin is a Kellogg International Scholar who has collaborated with Professor Susan Blum and her team to design School Stories, a citizen narrative project. Inspired by StoryCorps NPR and Humans of New York, the project invites ordinary people—citizens—to share their unfiltered school experiences. Lauren conceived the brand design for the website, Instagram, and Twitter that offer weekly prompts and pinpoints questions that draw rich stories by interviewing students on intrinsic motivation, debt, résumé building, and other dimensions of higher education. 

In the summer of 2018, Lauren received the Grogan Fellowship through the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) to create a public health campaign at a law office in Chicago. As the team lead, she designed and produced a New York Times-sized broadsheet on the fatal effects of asbestos exposure on BP refinery employees.

Lauren’s capstone follows her passion for education and design. Advised by architecture professor Kim Rollings, Lauren collaborates with a South Bend school to provide guidelines on designing classrooms that enhance attention for children with autism. Lauren informs her guidelines with neuroscience research on attention, learning, and memory.

Thomas Quigley

Thomas Quigley is a senior studying biological sciences with a minor in IDS. Thomas has spent the past two summers primarily in East Africa learning about accompaniment. In 2018, through the International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP), he traveled to Jinja, Uganda, where he learned about barriers to quality and inclusive education from teachers, administrators, and students at a local primary school. In 2019, he received a Kellogg/Kroc Undergraduate Research Grant to travel to Nairobi, Kenya to study the development of social capital among women in Dandora’s dense urban environment. Over seven weeks in Dandora, Thomas collected data focusing on how women’s perceptions of their nearby friends’, families’, and neighbors’ trustworthiness influence their individual and household resiliency and help-seeking behavior through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. This research informed his capstone project, “Gendered Resiliency and Barriers to Peer-to-Peer Support in Nairobi's Peri-Urban Spaces.” Thomas also served on the liaisons committee for and presented his capstone research at this year’s Human Development Conference.


Hannah Gillespie

Hannah Gillespie seeks to increase access to clean water in Léogâne, Haiti, working with a team composed of students in mechanical, civil, and environmental engineering, professors Alexandros Taflanidis and Tracy Kijewski-Correa, and community leaders in Léogâne. Through a human-centered design thinking approach, Hannah works to understand, ideate, and implement solutions to the water crisis in Léogâne. In order to comprehend current household water practices, she utilizes surveys, observational studies, and focus groups to talk with community members and categorize common trends.
Following her freshman year, Hannah studied engineering abroad in Dublin, Ireland and then received a fellowship from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies to conduct soft robotics research at Imperial College London. She was invited to travel to Léogâne, Haiti over winter break her sophomore year to assist Professors Taflanidis and Kijewski-Correa to assess the driving decision factors for homeowners in reconnaissance situations in a research project funded by the National Science Foundation. In her junior year, Hannah also joined the Grand Challenges Scholars Program through the College of Engineering to unite its engineering emphasis with the Kellogg International Scholars Progam’s international development expertise. Her focus through her junior and senior years has been on the opportunities surrounding water in Haiti.



Caitlin Crahan

Caitlin Crahan is a Kellogg International Scholar studying political science and mathematics. She spent the fall of 2018 abroad at Trinity College in Dublin and began to learn Arabic there. Caitlin interned at The Carter Center in the summer of 2018 in the conflict resolution departments, working on their Syria and Israel-Palestine projects. In the summer of 2019, Caitlin worked at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., as a research assistant in the university’s leadership department. Through ISP, her work with Professor Ernesto Verdeja has focused on genocide and mass atrocities, specifically triggers and conditions around each circumstance. This year, Caitlin is writing a senior thesis on the effects of U.S. and Russian intervention in the Syrian Civil War.



Irla Atanda

Irla Atanda is a senior IDS minor majoring in American Studies with additional minors in business economics and theology. She was a co-chair of the student-led Human Development Conference (HDC) this year and helped define and execute a successful conference titled, “Development on the Move: Global Strategies Informed by Local Contexts”. 

Irla received a Kellogg/Kroc Undergraduate Research Grant for her project, “The Venezuelan Migrants: Encountering Social Barriers in the Labor Market” and spent the summer of 2019 in Colombia interviewing Venezuelan immigrant families who had been displaced as a result of the humanitarian crisis present in Venezuela. This research informed her capstone project, “Voices of Venezuelan Immigrants: Navigating Changes in the Family Structure, Cultural Integration, and Education”, which she also presented at the HDC.


Emily Normand

Emily Normand is a Kellogg International Scholar currently researching the roots of religiosidad popular in the Southern Cone. The subject of her investigation is Fr. Joaquin Alliende, a Chilean priest of the Schönstatt order.  She works with Professor Peter Casarella as a research assistant, aiding in a wide array of projects, some of which include the study of Blessed Óscar Romero, Salvadoran martyr and various book projects.  This year, she will complete her thesis on the evolution of ecclesiastial thought behind religiosidad popular.

In the Summer of 2018, Emily was awarded an Experiencing the World Fellowship to conduct preliminary research in Santiago, Chile on religiosidad popular, especially concerning its history as pertains to the authorship and practice in the Latin American Church.  While in Chile, she had the opportunity to interview Fr. Alliende and other distinguished scholars of the subject. Emily also received a Kellogg ISP conference grant to attend a conference on migration in New York City in the winter of 2018.


Aya Nagai

Aya Nagai (international economics) is one of our minors in international development studies. In the summer after her freshman year, she received a summer entrepreneurial internship award from Kellogg to work with the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Nicaragua, where she received funding for her project that focused on helping women recover from domestic violence through economic independence. 

For her capstone project for the IDS minor, Aya received funding through a Kellogg/Kroc Undergraduate Research Grant to travel to India in the summer of 2019 to assess the impact of policy changes regarding menstrual education on mother-daughter relationships by conducting interviews with mothers in Dharavi, India about their interaction with their mothers and with their daughters on menstruation. She then presented this research at the 12th annual Human Development Conference.

Kevin Angell

Kellogg International Scholar Kevin Angell is a triple major in economics, political science, and theology. As he prepares to graduate this spring, he’s already coauthored a working paper with a Notre Dame professor, presented at two conferences, and taken three graduate-level classes – all of which stemmed from his ISP partnership with Faculty Fellow Andrew Gould, an associate professor of political science.

Kevin assists Professor Gould with his research on the intellectual history and evolution of religion and comparative politics.

His thesis examines the impact of professionalization on policy innovation in state legislatures using a novel panel dataset. You can read more about Kevin and his work here.