Graduate Students

Juan Albarracín Dierolf, Political Science

Wendy Alvarez Barrios, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Mette Evelyn Bjerre, Sociology

Christopher Ángel, Theology

Andre P. Audette, Political Science

Sydney Beckmann, Theology

José Beltrán, Theology

Mary Kate Blake, Sociology

Catherine Brix, Literature

Valeria Canelas, Master of Arts, Romance Languages and Literatures

Jonathan Martin Ciraulo, Theology

Amanda Daniela CortezAnthropology

Rocío Betzabeth Cortés Rodríguez, Theology

Colleen Cross, Theology and Peace Studies

Gregory Cruess, Theology

Liam de los Reyes, Theology

Nancy Diaz, Sociology

Angelica Frausto, Psychology

Marisol Fonseca Malavasi, Literature

Leo Guardado, Theology and Peace Studies

Andrew Hoyt, Sociology

Mikaila Nicole Leyva, Political Science

Luis López-Maldonado, Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing

Ingrid Luna López, Literature

Héctor Alfonso Melo Ruiz, Literature

Valeria Mora Hernandez, Master for Arts, Romance Languages and Literatures

Felicia Moralez, History

Chrisopher Muravez, Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing

Oyekola Oyekole, Science

Lindsey Passenger Wieck, History

Andrea Peña-Vasquez, Political Science

Nicole Perez, Sociology

Michael Petrin, Theology

Christopher Rios, Theology

Joyce Rivera-Gonzalez, Anthropology

Augusto Rocha Ramirez, History

Rebecca Ruvalcaba, Theology

Amir Mazyar Sadeh, Political Science

Romelia Solano, Political Science

Ruth Solarte Gonzalez, Master of Arts, Romance Languages and Literatures

César Soto, English

Dianna Tran, Psychology

Juan Ángel Valdéz, Political Science

Dominique Vargas, English

Horacio Vela, Theology

Susanna Velarde Covarrubias, Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing

Carla Villanueva, History

Christopher L. Weaver, Political Science

Krystal Zapata Lopez, Master of Arts, Romance Languages and Literatures

Angela Elsa Zautcke, Theology

Recent Accomplishments

Spring 2016:

Catherine Brix, (Literature) was just awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship to Chile for next year in order to conduct research and write her dissertation entitled, "Transformative (Re)Inscriptions: Traumatic Memories and Testimonio in Chile," which is directed by Dr. María Rosa Olivera-Williams. Catherine's research interests include cono sur testimonial literature, gender studies, torture, and human rights. Catherine is a former LGAND Vice-President.

Luis Lopez-Maldonado, is a first-year candidate for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. In the fall 2015 he founded the Men's Writing Workshop at the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Sparks Summer Fellow Internship and has forthcoming work being published in Reservoir, Spoon Knife Anthology, and The Packinghouse Review.

Karen Hooge Michalka, a graduate student in the Department of Sociology, won the William D'Antonio Award for Graduate Student Excellence in the Sociology of Religion at the University of Notre Dame. The award honors students who show active involvement in the intellectual and institutional life of the study of religion and promise for becoming a successful and influential professional scholar after graduation. Karen's work focuses on the embodied culture of Latino Protestant churches and how congregational rituals and boundary-work shape group identity in a new-immigrant location. In addition, she founded and leads an interdisciplinary graduate working group on Latino religion through the Institute for Latino Studies.

Felicia Moralez, doctoral student in History and founding member of LGAND, had a panel submission, "Outside Aztlan: New Scholars and New Research on Mexicana and Mexicano History Outside the Core Southwest," accepted for the 2016 Western History Association [WHA] conference from October 20-23 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The panel aims to study ethnic Mexican people in the US Midwest.

César Soto, (English) was recently awarded a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2016-2017). Thirty-six dissertation fellowships are awarded and, of the thirty-six, three are typically given to literature students. César's project examines how revolutionary discourses transform religious conceptions of community in Mexican, Irish, and English Literature (1789-1832). He focuses on writers affiliated to particular sects and denominations: Mexican criollo Catholic priests; Church of Ireland Protestants and Irish Quakers, and English Dissenters and Anglicans. During his years of study, César has founded and led the Latina/o Graduate Association at Notre Dame (LGAND). César is also an Alternate for a Fulbright to Ireland, and this will be his second Ford Fellowship. He was awarded a Ford Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in 2012.

Juan Valdez, a first-year PhD student in Political Science, has been awarded both a Ford Foundation Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship for his work on the incorporation of Latinos into the American political process, including both the formal and informal political activities of Latinos, and the role of U.S. institutions in the process.

Lindsey Passenger Wieck, (History) defended her dissertation, "Contesting the Mission: The Cultural Politics of Gentrification in Postwar San Francisco" in April 2016 to complete her Ph.D. in History. Wieck is a postdoctoral fellow at Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters for 2016-2017. She will be teaching courses with History and Computing & Digital Technologies on the history of San Francisco and 20th Century American Borderlands in Fall 2016. As a postdoctoral fellow, Wieck aims to pursue several digital humanities projects related to her work and collect more oral histories in the Mission District (especially from Latino business owners) while revising her manuscript. 

Spring 2015:

Colleen Cross, project coordinator for the ILS immigration project, has been accepted into the joint doctoral program with Notre Dame’s theology department and Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. She will pursue her studies in systematic theology and continue to focus research and attention on issues related to international migration.

Suzanne Garcia, a Master of Fine Arts student in Creative Writing, has been selected for the Gender Studies Teaching Apprenticeship for the 2015-2016 academic year. She has also been nominated by the University of Notre Dame Creative Writing Program for the AWP Intro Awards for her poem “POP!Goes the Gum!”

Ae Hee Lee, Master of Fine Arts, attended the third gathering of the ILS/Letras Latinas Writers Initiative – a network for Latino/a writers pursuing graduate degrees in creative writing. This year’s gathering took place at Arizona State University (ASU) and included MFA candidates from American University, ASU, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Notre Dame.

Karen Hooge Michalka, a Ph.D. student in Sociology, was awarded a grant from the Center for the Study of Religion and Society of Notre Dame to support transcription work on her dissertation, “Embodied Cultural Transitions in Protestant Latino Congregations.” She is a fellow with the Latino Protestant Congregations Study, a nationwide research initiative focused on the changing religious landscape of the United States, and is comparing cultural strategies of incorporation and integration in two congregations.

Felicia Moralez, a Ph.D. student in History, presented a paper titled “Motherhood, Catholicism, and Citizenship in Mexican Gary, 1920-1927” at the biannual Urban History Association (UHA) conference. Her presentation was part of a panel session called “New Work on the Mexican Midwest: Gary, Chicago, and Indianapolis.”

Luis Vera, a Ph.D. student in Theology, has received a tenure-track teaching position at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Christopher L. Weaver, a Ph.D. student in Political Science, had an article accepted for publication in the journal Politics and Religion. His article is titled “Political and Spiritual Migration: The Adaptive Formation of Religious and Partisan Attachments among Latino Immigrants in the United States.”

Spring 2014:

Leo Guardado (PhD student, Theology and Peace Studies) was selected to participate in the 2014 Bologna Symposium on Conflict Prevention, Resolution, and Reconciliation sponsored by the International Peace and Security Institute (IPSI). The international symposium brings together about 55 individuals from top academic institutions, NGOs, International Organizations, grassroots peace movements, and the armed services. In the course of a month, participants are trained with the theoretical and practical skills necessary to transform violent conflict and foster peace in communities across the world.