Mary Shiraef, Ph.D. candidate in Politcal Science

Pandemic pivot: Political science Ph.D. candidate leads team of scholars and students studying whether border closures affected COVID-19’s spread 

Author: Beth Staples

When the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly halted international travel, Mary Shiraef’s fieldwork plan to investigate the outcomes of communist-era border policies in Albania was postponed indefinitely. So she pivoted.The Notre Dame political science doctoral candidate decided to map pandemic-induced border closures around the world. Two years later, the project has been reported on in more than 40 news outlets, the data was peer-reviewed and published in the Nature Portfolio’s Scientific Data, Scientific Reports published the open-source results, and the National Library of Medicine posted the study. The international research collaboration is still active and continues to provide valuable skills-development opportunities for Notre Dame undergraduates.  

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