2011-12 Notebaert Fellows

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Mark Hoipkemier, Political Science

Undergraduate Institution:
Dartmouth College (2007)
Graduate Training:
Fulbright Scholar, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Mark Hoipkemier, who distinguished himself at Dartmouth in both philosophy and vocal performance, worked with undocumented immigrants and as a Congressional aide before winning a Fulbright to study Islamic and Middle Eastern thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At Notre Dame, Mark’s interests are in political thought, especially Catholic political theory. Working with Profs. Catherine Zuckert, Michael Zuckert and Patrick Deneen (arriving Fall 2012), his research focus is the theory of “human-scale politics in a mass society with no ethical consensus.”

Mark chose to attend Notre Dame because he saw the University as “both deeply Catholic and rigorously academic—an indispensible combination in all the human sciences.” And, because he and his wife have young twins, he is appreciative of the many ways Notre Dame and the broader South Bend community support family life.

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Tyler Kreipke, Bioengineering

Undergraduate Institution:
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (2011)
Work in Industry:
Product Development Intern at Hologic Inc.

Advised by Prof. Glen Niebur, the current research interests and efforts of Notebaert Fellow Tyler Kreipke are in the field of bone fracture mechanics. Specifically, he is examining the effect of various factors on microdamage propagation in bone, as well as what factors contribute to trabecular bone response in impact-loading situations.

Tyler was attracted to Notre Dame because of the cutting-edge research being performed in the field of orthopaedics—from characterization of orthopedic tissues to the development of tissue substitutes, and including tissue engineering. After visiting campus, he says: “I was sure that Notre Dame would be my top choice. From graduate students to professors, everyone was approachable and friendly. I definitely felt a stronger connection here at Notre Dame than at any of the other schools I visited.”

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Rachel “Becca” Love, Biological Sciences

Undergraduate Institution:
Johns Hopkins University (2011)

Becca Love, a first-year doctoral student in the biological sciences advised by Prof. Nora Besansky, came to Notre Dame to continue a decade-long fascination with insects. Building on her previous research experience at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, she is working at the intersection of evolutionary biology, ecology, and infectious disease. Using the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae, she studies differential gene expression as it pertains to speciation, as well as behavior relevant to vector competence. Becca is pleased to be at Notre Dame, which has one of the few medical entomology programs that combines molecular biology with ecology in a meaningful way.

After completing a second major in English at her undergraduate institution, Becca is continuing an interdisciplinary career by her participation in Notre Dame’s GLOBES program. She is also a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholar.

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Michael Petrin, Theology

Undergraduate Institution:
Stanford University (2009)
Graduate Training:
University of Notre Dame (M.T.S. 2011)

Michael Petrin is pursuing a Ph.D. in theology with a concentration in the history of Christianity. His specific research interests lie in the period of late antiquity and include the evolution of Christian spirituality and the interactions among different linguistic and cultural spheres of the early Church. Additional areas of interest are ecumenism, interreligious relations, and Latin American theology. His adviser is Fr. Brian E. Daley, S.J.

Michael’s reason for choosing Notre Dame was simple: the faculty. “The reputation of the patristics faculty here is, of course, second to none,” he says, “and I am continually grateful for the time they take out of their busy schedules to guide and support their students.”

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Victoria “Tori” Tomiczek, Civil Engineering & Geological Sciences

Undergraduate Institution:
University of Florida (2011)
Work in Industry:
Civil and Environmental Consultants Intern (2011)

Tori Tomiczek is a Notebaert Fellow in civil engineering. Tori’s research with her adviser, Prof. Andrew Kennedy, focuses on wave effects on coastal structures and beach erosion. She hopes to find accurate methods of estimating wave forces so that coastal residences can be designed to resist strong waves and storm-surge elevations generated by hurricanes. She looks forward to presenting a paper at the ATC/SEI Advances in Hurricane Engineering Conference, to be held in Miami, Florida in October 2012.

As a soil mechanics teaching assistant at the University of Florida, Tori realized her passion not only for civil engineering but also for teaching. She feels blessed to study at Notre Dame, where she has the opportunity to gain both research and teaching experience as a doctoral candidate.

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Jacob Weidman, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Undergraduate Institution:
West Virginia University (2011)

Jacob Weidman, a native of West Virginia, is pursuing his doctorate at Notre Dame in chemical engineering. He attended West Virginia University, and graduated in the honors program summa cum laude while interning for the United States Department of Energy. He has found the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at Notre Dame to be a great fit for him because of the welcoming atmosphere and the excellent reputation in emerging chemical engineering fields. He plans to use his Ph.D. to work in industry for a time, followed by a career in teaching, which he has found to be incredibly rewarding through his tutoring experiences.

He and his adviser, Prof. William Phillip, a Notre Dame alumnus, are currently studying the use of block copolymers as an emerging material in new nanofiltration membranes. The chemical properties of these self-assembling membranes may make them useful in water purification as well as in antibody-level separations in pharmaceuticals.