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Why sociology, research, and travel have expanded an Arts and Letters pre-health major’s approach to medicine

Author: Teagan Dillon

When King Fok was 6 years old, he suffered from an orthopedic condition that caused him to spend two years on crutches. Uncovered by his health insurance, the condition was Fok’s first glimpse into how socioeconomic status impacts health care. That childhood experience informed his decision to major in Arts and Letters pre-health at the University of Notre Dame. As a future physician, he hopes to make medical care more efficient, inclusive, and accessible to all. A sociology class his freshman year helped him discover a perfect major to pair with pre-health.

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Q&A with Paige Ambord, Ph.D. student in sociology

Author: Carrie Gates

In this Q&A, Paige Ambord discusses her research on how local artists use social media to rebrand South Bend, why she's interested in the process of urban revitalization, and why she hopes to highlight the role of average citizens in urban redevelopment.

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College of Arts and Letters announces new minor in data science

Author: Carrie Gates

The College of Arts and Letters is launching a new, interdisciplinary minor in data science. Housed in the Department of Sociology with support from the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the program will be open to students in any college. “Data science impacts every industry today,” said Sarah Mustillo, professor and chair of sociology. “It is becoming increasingly important for solving problems and making decisions."

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Sarah Mustillo appointed I.A. O'Shaughnessy Dean of College of Arts and Letters

Author: Patrick Gibbons

Sarah A. Mustillo, department chair and professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. She succeeds John T. McGreevy, who is stepping down July 1 after serving 10 years as dean. An expert in the social causes of childhood mental illness and statistical methods used in social science research, Mustillo joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2014, after serving seven years as a professor of sociology at Purdue University and six years on the faculty at Duke University School of Medicine. She has served as chair of the Department of Sociology since 2016.

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In memoriam: Mary Ellen Konieczny, Henkels Family Associate Professor of Sociology

Author: Kate Garry

Mary Ellen Konieczny, the Henkels Family Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, died Feb. 24 as a result of complications from cancer. She was 58. A faculty fellow of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, she studied religion and conflict, the family and public politics.

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Video: Jessica Collett receives 2017 Sheedy Award

Author: Arts and Letters

Jessica Collett, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, received the 2017 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award at a faculty reception in her honor on December 5, 2017. The highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters, the Sheedy Award was created in 1970 to honor Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., who served as dean of Arts and Letters from 1951 to 1969.

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Completion of Nanovic Hall brings social sciences students and faculty together

Author: Carrie Gates

Nanovic Hall, the state-of-the-art new home to the Departments of Economics, Political Science, and Sociology, their affiliated centers and programs, and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, includes laboratory and research spaces, classrooms, and offices, all designed to encourage interaction between faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students. It features a soaring, three-story forum to be used for events, the latest video conferencing technology in each of the departmental suites, and a formal mediation room modeled after the United Nations that has translation capabilities for up to three languages.

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Four Arts and Letters students win Undergraduate Library Research Awards

Author: Tara O'Leary

Four undergraduate students in Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters received Undergraduate Library Research Awards during the 10th annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference on Friday, May 5. The award honors individuals who conduct original research and demonstrate exemplary skills through their broad use of library resources, collections, and services for their scholarly and creative works.

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Jessica Collett, associate professor of sociology, to receive 2017 Sheedy Award

Author: Carrie Gates

Jessica Collett, an associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, has been chosen to receive the 2017 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award. The highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters, the Sheedy Award was created in 1970 to honor Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., who served as dean of Arts and Letters from 1951 to 1969. Collett will accept the award at a reception in her honor in December.

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Video: Assistant Professor Jennifer Jones on changing race relations, immigration, and state politics

Author: Todd Boruff

Jennifer Jones is an assistant professor of sociology and a faculty fellow at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research uses qualitative methods to explore increasing migration, the growing multiracial population, and shifting social relations between and within racial groups. In this video, she discusses her work on how race relations are changing and what race means for politics and inequality.

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Sociology graduate students’ research shows broad range, from the local to the international

Author: Renee Peggs

Whether their research explores community-led initiatives, national trends, or international issues, Ph.D. students in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology produce outstanding research that is leading to grants, fellowships, and job offers. “Our students benefit from the fact that our faculty is unusually large and strong and covers almost the entire range of sociology,” said Lyn Spillman, director of graduate studies. “They enjoy not only our excellent faculty/student ratios but also the wide range of expertise we offer. The result is that our students produce new knowledge across the entire disciplinary range.”

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Sociologist uses technology to track how people connect—and how those connections impact behavior

Author: Tom Coyne

What draws people to become friends, leads them to form social networks, and what keeps those relationships going? Omar Lizardo, a professor of sociology, is seeking to answer those questions as he researches whether people with similar health habits and even sleep patterns are naturally drawn together — and whether those friendships influence people’s attitudes and health and fitness choices.

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Sociology major prepares undergraduate for law school, career in public service

Author: Megan Valley

Notre Dame senior Ash Smith wants to become a public-interest attorney in order to fight for justice for marginalized populations. And majoring in sociology has played a key role in preparing her for that future. “Sociology lets you study some of the bigger questions, like why we have a lot of the social issues we have today. ” Smith said. “If you’re interested in law school, sociology is a great way to study how these different groups are discriminated against, how the law can help, and how people work together to develop practical solutions.”

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Sociology alumnus creates successful new model for compassionate medical care

Author: Eileen Lynch

In the American health care system, the elderly can often be shortchanged. Dr. Nick Schneeman ’80 is convinced that a typical office visit or a trip to the emergency room is simply not enough to address the complex medical issues they face. Schneeman developed a model to provide compassionate and effective care for the frail elderly while also running his business successfully. From humble beginnings, the practice has flourished. 




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Sociologist Robert Vargas wins book award for research on Chicago turf wars

Author: Evelyn Gonzalez

Robert Vargas, a Notre Dame assistant professor of sociology and faculty fellow in the Institute for Latino Studies, has won a book award for his ethnographic study of Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood and its confrontational relationships between police, politicians, and gangs. The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences will present its Outstanding Book Award to Vargas at its annual meeting in March in Kansas City, Missouri.




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A letter from the chair

Author: Sarah Mustillo

Mustillo Photo Medium

Dear friends of Sociology at Notre Dame,

Sociology students, faculty, and staff have excelled in many areas of research, teaching and learning, and service this year.  

At the undergraduate level, we successfully launched our new undergraduate minor, which enrolled over 50 students in its first year. The minor provides an alternative for students who do not have room for another major but believe sociology can augment their first major or future career. For example, one pre-med student I spoke with said she couldn’t fit in enough courses to major in sociology (though she wanted to), but knew our classes focusing on health, inequality, and social problems could help her become aware of how the backgrounds and living situations of her future patients might impact their health.…

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New book, co-edited by sociology professor, born from Notre Dame conference on polarization in the Catholic Church

Author: Olivia Hall

While universality—and unity amid diversity—is a fundamental characteristic of Roman Catholicism, all-too-familiar issues related to gender, sexuality, race, and authority have wrought the church with internal conflict and no clear path to finding middle ground. A new book, co-edited by Mary Ellen Konieczny, intends to start the conversation about the polarization in the Catholic Church through healthy debates and genuine engagement.

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Arts and Letters undergraduate receives Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship

Author: Emily Beaudoin '17

King Fok, a a junior majoring in sociology and Arts and Letters pre-health with a minor in international development studies, has been awarded the 2016 Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship for his semester of study at Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway. Launched by the Association of American Study Abroad Programmes (AASAP/UK), the Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship rewards a “deserving student” who “demonstrates an understanding and appreciation of the value of an international educational experience.”

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Sociologist Terence McDonnell explores impact of “cultural entropy” on media campaigns in Ghana

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

A new book by Notre Dame Sociologist Terence McDonnell examines why expensive media campaigns that try to harness the power of culture to change beliefs or behavior often fail. Using AIDS campaigns in Ghana as his central case study, he lays out an argument that carries important implications for diverse types of media campaigns around the world.

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