Graduate School To Hold Its 2016 Commencement Ceremony

Author: Evan Bryson

The Graduate School will hold its annual Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at the Compton Family Ice Arena, 10:00 a.m.

Dr. Rita Colwell, a molecular microbiologist whose research focuses on global infectious diseases, water and health, and Distinguished University Professor at both the University of Maryland and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, will deliver the Commencement Address.

At the ceremony, the University will recognize and celebrate the recipients of 215 doctoral degrees and 490 master’s degrees.

The recipients of several Graduate School awards will also be recognized during the ceremony.

  • Dr. Réka Albert (2001, Physics), Distinguished Professor of Physics and Biology at Pennsylvania State University, will be recognized as this year’s Distinguished Alumna Award winner. Considered one of the founders of network theory, Dr. Albert was advised by Professor Albert-Laszlo Barabasi while at Notre Dame. She continues to contribute significant, groundbreaking research to the study of networks in diverse disciplines, including biological networks and systems biology.
  • This year, the University’s James A. Burns, C.S.C. Graduate School award will be given to two professors. Dr. Catherine Zuckert, Professor of Political Science, will be honored for her exemplary dedication to graduate education and mentoring, as will Dr. Jeff Feder, Professor of Biological Sciences, for conceiving and successfully implementing the GLOBES program.
  • Dr. Jessica Collett, Associate Professor of Sociology, will be recognized as the winner of this year’s Director of Graduate Studies Award. She is so honored for her beneficial alterations to the student recruiting process, exceptional work in helping students transition from the program into a career, and revamped student evaluation process, among other innovations that have sustained the Sociology program’s level of excellence.

The top graduating doctoral students in the humanities, social sciences, science and engineering will be honored with the Eli. J and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards.

  • Michael Gonzales, Computer Science and Engineering, will be the recipient for engineering. Michael is honored for his pioneering research in health informatics in which he designs and tests tools to improve decision making by physicians in high-demand settings such as intensive care and surgery. He joins Intel this summer.
  • In the humanities, Kara Donnelly, an English Ph.D., will be the recipient. She is honored for her doctoral work on the institution of the Booker Prize, an award given to novels in English written in British Commonwealth countries. Kara not only analyzes the series of novels that have been awarded the Booker Prize, but also considers how the prize itself has shaped modern literature, helping to establish the marketing category of the “readable but literary” novel.
  • MacKenzie Warren, Physics, will be the recipient in the sciences. The broad focus of his research has been investigating the mechanics of core-collapse supernovae—the end result of the death of massive stars. MacKenzie will be a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
  • In the social sciences, Nara Pavão, a Political Science Ph.D., will be the recipient. She is honored for her pioneering research that examines why voters support corrupt politicians. Focusing on Brazil and then extending her argument using cross-national data, her work reveals a cynicism among voters about the ubiquity of corruption that thus undermines accountability. Nara is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University.