Sociology doctoral graduate Abigail Jorgensen: Fulfilling her purpose with hands, heart, and mind

Author: Carrie Gates Jantzen

Abigail Jorgensen, Ph.D. candidate (Sociology)
Abigail Jorgensen '23 Ph.D. held the prestigious Richard and Peggy Notebaert Premier Fellowship and won the Graduate School's Social Justice Award in 2022.

In her dissertation research, Abigail Jorgensen found that many women associate motherhood with struggle.

It’s something she can relate to.

While pursuing her doctoral degree in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology — studying women’s transition to motherhood and how it shapes their identities and political views — she brought home her newborn in the midst of the pandemic. Then, five months later, she contracted COVID-19 in November 2020.

A healthy young mother in her 20s, she expected to recover without incident. Instead, after months of debilitating and often terrifying symptoms, she was diagnosed with long COVID and now uses mobility aids including a walker and wheelchair much of the time due to ongoing heart issues.

As she struggled to adjust to her own identity as a mother with a new disability, Jorgensen never lost her sense of purpose or her passion for her research. A Notebaert Fellow graduating this May, Jorgensen credits the mentors and friends she found at Notre Dame for helping her keep her focus.

Read the full story in the University's 2023 Commencement Student Stories collection.