Joan and John Eisch created this award in 1987 in honor of their daughter Margaret, a rising senior at Notre Dame in sociology who was killed on July 22, 1976 by a drunk driver. Each year, the most outstanding senior sociology major receives the Eisch Memorial Award at commencement time.
In 2008, Joan and John Eisch expended their generous contributions and established the Eisch Endowment for Excellence. As a result, greater numbers of sociology majors who share the enthusiasm which Margaret had for sociology are receiving support to aid them in their independent research efforts and other types of creative academic endeavors.
2020 winner: Erin Albertini
Our 2020 recipient of the Margaret Eisch Award in Sociology is Erin Albertini. Erin is double major in Sociology and Pre-Health Studies, with a minor in Latino Studies. Her senior thesis, “Hear Me Out: Migrant Voice, Gender, and American Empathy for the Immigrant Narrative”, explores the question of how the presence or absence of migrant voice in immigration-related news stories and the gender of the reader affect the level of empathy that American readers express towards the migrant’s story and immigration issues. In addition to winning the Eisch Award in Sociology, Erin is also the recipient of a Fulbright Teaching Assistant Fellowship, where she will work with children in Mexico. Following her year in Mexico, Erin plans to attend medical school.
Each year, the Sociology Department sponsors a competition among graduating Sociology majors for the best essay or research paper submitted on a topic of sociological relevance. The recipient of this award receives a monetary prize along with having his/her name inscribed on a plaque displayed in the Sociology Department. In addition, the winner’s name will appear in the University’s commencement bulletin, and her/his name will be announced at the Sociology Department’s Senior Recognition Event, which takes place on the Friday of commencement weekend.
Though the prize is awarded to a graduating senior Sociology major, the paper need not have been written during your senior year.
2020 Winner: Megan McLaughlin
Our 2020 senior essay award winner is Meghan McLaughlin for her thesis, “Caring for the Underinsured: The Structure of Healthcare Organizations in Indiana.” Through participant observation at two health care clinics, Megan compares organizational characteristics between them and how this translates into effective care for uninsured patients. Megan’s work shows that clinics rely on outside organizations to make practices legitimate and that leadership styles and hierarchies matter less than team culture. Clinics need to be adaptable in order to respond to changes in their external environments.
Megan majored in Sociology and Arts & Letters Pre-Health, with a minor in Spanish. She plans to complete a masters degree in health and exercise science at the Citadel.
Alpha Kappa Delta is an international honor society in Sociology, which was founded for the purposes of stimulating scholarship and promoting the scientific study of social phenomena for the promotion of human welfare.
Academically distinguished students are nominated for membership in Notre Dame’s Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta in either their junior or senior year. During their senior year, AKD members who were initiated as juniors are encouraged to become involved in activities that enhance the intellectual life of the department.