2014-2015 Notebaert Fellows

michael_magree_nb3 Michael Magree, S.J., Theology

Michael Magree, S.J., Theology
Undergraduate Institution
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Graduate Institutions
Boston College (M.Div. and S.T.L.)
Fordham University (M.A., Philosophical Resources)
The Ohio State University (M.A., Classics)

A Jesuit priest, Fr. Michael Magree is a doctoral student in Theology’s History of Christianity area. His two periods of special focus are the early Church and the Middle Ages. “In both periods, I am particularly interested in the understanding and definition of who Christ is, and the relationship this has to Christian prayer and worship,” he explains.

Fr. Magree chose to attend Notre Dame for three primary reasons: “First, I felt a great connection with a variety of faculty in my areas of interest here at Notre Dame. Second, I had a sense that as a Jesuit, it would be very helpful to me to see up close how Notre Dame, as a major Catholic University but not a Jesuit university, handles the tensions and opportunities of being a Catholic institution in today’s world. Finally, the institutional resources that Notre Dame could provide for my research were truly impressive. The Notebaert Fellowship itself is an important part of these resources. It allows me tremendous flexibility and freedom in summer study, in participation at conferences, and in deepening the time and energy I am able to commit to research. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities here.”

thomas_meyersnb1 Thomas Meyers, History

Thomas Meyers, History
Undergraduate Institution
Seton Hall University (B.A. Philosophy)
Graduate Institutions
Seton Hall University (M.A. History), Western Michigan University (M.A. Philosophy)

Thomas Meyers studies intellectual and religious history in early modern Europe. His recent master’s thesis, “From Sacred to Secular: English Thought in the Wake of the Vatican Decrees, 1864-1918”, explored the origins of secular society in modern England. At Notre Dame, his focus has shifted to an earlier period, but he remains interested in similar themes. Specifically, he is interested in how individuals from the Reformation to the Enlightenment explored the intersection of faith and reason. His field of study has led him to acquire and pursue fluency in several languages, including Latin, French, Italian, German, and Ancient Greek, in addition to his native English.

Thomas works with Prof. Brad Gregory and other religious and intellectual historians on the faculty at Notre Dame. “The preeminence of the faculty in the areas of late medieval and early modern religious and intellectual history,” he says, “made Notre Dame the only choice for me.”

Finally, Thomas is grateful to the benefactors of the Notebaert fellowship in funding his doctoral studies and the many opportunities for personal and professional development it affords him.

lauren_ashley_miller_nb2 Lauren Ashley Miller, Biological Sciences

Lauren Ashley Miller, Biological Sciences
Undergraduate Institution
University of California San Diego
Graduate Institution
University of California San Diego (M.S., Biology)

Lauren Ashley Miller’s focus is ecology and evolutionary genetics. Her advisor is Dr. Jeffrey Feder, with whom she is already actively researching a significant example of sympatric speciation in insects.
Lauren Ashley entered Notre Dame with five years of research experience at the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She was a student in UCSD’s highly competitive integrated BS/MS program at Scripps—which provided her not only with research experience but also with publishing and teaching credentials.

Lauren Ashley decided to attend Notre Dame after an interview visit. “I connected well with both Dr. Feder and the students in his lab,” she recalls. “I could see myself working with them and wanted to join them. Their love for the projects they were working on really shone through, and that was important to me.”

Lauren Ashley’s decision to attend Notre Dame was also based on the visible commitment of the biological sciences department to its graduate students. “I could see that they really cared about their students’ futures and offered them a great deal of support,” she says. In addition, Lauren Ashley notes: “The Notebaert Fellowship offered me financial support and professional development opportunities at a level high above my other choices.”

michael_muzyka_nb4 Michael Muzyka, Biological Sciences

Michael Muzyka, Biological Sciences
Undergraduate Institution
Northwestern University

Michael Muzyka is focusing his research at Notre Dame on how biotic communities respond to stresses related to climate change.

Michael pursued several intense research experiences at Northwestern—in both the lab and the field. He spent one summer at the University of Southern California’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies and another at the University of Michigan’s Biological Station. His long-term career goal is to promote ecosystem conservation and restoration by directing a land management organization. Also, Michael recounts, as a child he was greatly influenced by such personalities as Jack Hanna, who made the natural world interesting and accessible to the public. Given his conviction that “a large body of misinformation exists in the popular press yet conservation projects require public support to succeed,” he hopes to one day have a role in conveying information on ecology and global change to the general public.

Michael says that he chose to attend Notre Dame for graduate school “primarily due to the resources available through the University—in particular, Notre Dame’s Environmental Research Center-West in Montana—and the very generous Notebaert Fellowship.”