Provost Marie Lynn Miranda to deliver Graduate School commencement address

Author: Erin Blasko

Provost Marie Lynn Miranda, Ph.D.Provost Marie Lynn Miranda, Ph.D.

Marie Lynn Miranda, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost of the University of Notre Dame, will deliver the keynote address during the Graduate School’s annual Commencement Ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday (May 22) at Notre Dame Stadium. As dean of the Graduate School, Laura Carlson will host the ceremony. Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., will confer the degrees.

A professor of applied and computational mathematics and statistics and a distinguished scholar in the field of children’s environmental health, Miranda was elected to succeed Thomas Burish as provost in July 2020. Since then, she has worked with other campus leaders to further the academic mission and ensure the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

She is a leader in the rapidly evolving field of geospatial health informatics and is the founding director of the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative, a research, education and outreach program committed to fostering environments where all people can prosper. An elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of Sigma Xi, the international honor society of science and engineering, Miranda is an adjunct professor of pediatrics at Duke as well as at Baylor College of Medicine.

In addition to conferring 237 doctoral degrees and 419 master’s degrees, the University will honor outstanding students, faculty and staff who exemplify Notre Dame’s commitment to fostering an environment of research excellence and holistic education.

Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards

The ceremony will include recognition of the Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Award winners, which honor top graduating students in the divisions of engineering, humanities, social sciences and science.

Hernan Delgado from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in Engineering. He is recognized for research excellence in plasma-liquid interactions, which generally describes systems where non-thermal, non-equilibrium plasmas are either in contact with or in a liquid, such as water. Delgado’s outstanding record of publications and conference presentations, alongside his clear commitment to teaching and mentorship, is demonstrated by his recognition as a finalist for the Coburn and Winters Student Award in Plasma Science and Technology from the American Vacuum Society, one of the premier awards for graduate students in his discipline.

Sebastián Murgueitio Ramírez from the Program in History and Philosophy of Science is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in the Humanities. He is honored for excellence in the philosophy of physics, where his recent work focuses on the philosophy of symmetries and the history and philosophy of quantum mechanics. Murgueitio has already achieved an extensive publication record and given several invited talks. A skilled instructor, Murgueitio designed and instructed several courses at Notre Dame and throughout his training has sought out opportunities for public outreach and mentorship.

Ian H. Guldner from the Department of Biological Sciences is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in Science. He is recognized for his extraordinary publication and research record, which includes three first-author publications, 11 co-author articles or comments and four major awards. A landmark paper published in the journal Cell, which explores how the metastatic niche in the brain can facilitate metastatic outgrowth, is generating enthusiastic discussion in the cancer research community. Guldner achieved distinction in his research community as a gifted lecturer, including an invited talk at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting and a presentation at the Metastasis Research Society Biennial Congress.

Mallika Sarma from the Department of Anthropology is the recipient of the Shaheen Award in the Social Sciences. Sarma’s research draws links between metabolic function, hormone production and cooperative behavior as individuals navigate the physical and psychosocial challenges imposed by challenging, novel and extreme environments. Known as a gifted mentor to undergraduates in her department, Sarma also achieved an outstanding record of success in winning external grants and fellowships, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant and the AAUW American Fellowship.

S.J. Dilenschneider Award

The S.J. Dilenschneider Award recognizes distinctive and exceptional achievements by a student in the Notre Dame community who has shown the commitment, compassion, perseverance and courage to tackle complex issues through excellence in their research, scholarship, teaching and service. This year’s winner is Emmanuel Cannady, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology.

Cannady’s research as a sociologist explores the internal processes in Black activist organizations. Using an ethnographic approach, Cannady investigates the “perseverance process” to better understand the unique collection of experiences and understanding that each person brings to their work as an activist. Cannady, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, is the recipient of a Notre Dame Deans’ Fellowship. A co-founder of Black Lives Matter South Bend and the winner of numerous competitive University awards to support his research, Cannady received external funding as the primary investigator of a 2019 Neighborhood Impact Research Study grant from the city of South Bend’s Department of Community Investment.

James A. Burns, C.S.C., Award

William Schneider and Ann Mische are the recipients of the James A. Burns, C.S.C., Graduate School Award, which recognizes outstanding faculty mentorship and showcases Notre Dame’s very best doctoral advisers. The Burns Award emphasizes the importance of healthy and robust mentor-mentee relationships.

William Schneider, Dorini Family Chair of Energy Studies and Chair, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is recognized for exceptional mentoring sustained over the course of his career. In his sixteen years at Notre Dame, Schneider, whose research program is known for its productivity, its innovation on the theory, and its impact on the practice of heterogeneous catalysis, has advised 17 PhD students and 18 postdoctoral researchers. His mentorship integrates top flight research---reflected in the many recognitions received by his students, including four Shaheen Awards for top dissertation in the College of Engineering---and professional development, which has guided those students towards successful careers in the academy, industry, and government labs.

Mische, associate professor of sociology and peace studies, is honored for her inspiring contributions to graduate student mentoring at the mid-stage of her career. An active mentor with a particular ability to help students pursue and win external awards and fellowships and other markers of distinction, Mische ensures that her mentees feel supported as whole people and integrated into their respective programs. Her mentoring work with many international graduate students is especially noteworthy. Mische’s research focuses on political culture, networks and communication in social movements and democratic politics.

Dick and Peggy Notebaert Award

Leah Zimmer, director of International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) in Notre Dame International, is the recipient of the Dick and Peggy Notebaert Award, an honor given to a faculty member or administrator who has had a significant positive effect on graduate student development.

As director of International Student and Scholar Affairs, Zimmer leads a team committed to the celebration and support of our international student community by way of welcome and advocacy, and is committed to ensuring students and scholars subject to visa and immigration laws can access efficient, personable immigration advising that helps them understand their responsibilities. Zimmer is honored for her tireless efforts on behalf of international graduate students and postdoctoral researchers as demonstrated by the creative programming organized by ISSA, her sustained commitment to students and scholars whose research takes them abroad, and her dedication as a mentor and adviser to students who are navigating a complicated and constantly changing immigration landscape.

Originally published by Erin Blasko at on May 20, 2021.