His fourth book, “The Art and Science of Student Aid Administration in the 21st Century,” is the book he said he hopes will be his legacy in the profession to which he has devoted his life. This is Russo’s 46th year working in financial aid administration, and the majority of his career has been with Notre Dame. He began working at Notre Dame in 1978 after working at two other institutions in up-state New York. Joe Russo, director of student financial strategies, recently published his fourth book, and has found that a lot of people want to hear from him, he said. He has seen interest from college students, families of college students, school administrators, high school guidance counselors, young financial aid officers, education policy makers and even researchers at Oxford. According to Russo, the cost of attendance is being placed more and more on the individual rather than the government. Russo explained that tuition is increasing more quickly for state schools, but is increasing for private institutions as well. Russo said he is proud that through the efforts of his department, a Notre Dame education remains reasonably affordable for all students. “The single biggest challenge of my career has been getting out good, timely, accurate information,” Russo said. According to Russo, the University provided approximately $98 million this year, which is up from $89 million last year. “The more experience you have doing something, the more confident you become,” Russo said. “So, I combined my knowledge and confidence with my writing skills … to write this book. The science is the impersonal but necessary budgets, formulas, numbers and structure. “We are conservative with our finances, and we’re blessed with resources,” Russo said. “I believe you can know more about where we are today, if you know where we came from,” Russo said. Each year Russo works to dispel the myths and fallacies that prospective students and their families harbor about financial aid, he said. At the same time, he said he informs them of the many truths and demonstrates why a Notre Dame education is a good investment in a student’s future. “The art is the common sense, compassion and knowledge of when to make exceptions that must supplement the science. A successful administrator needs both art and science.” He said while other high profile institutions are going through layoffs, budget cuts and construction freezes, Notre Dame’s “belt-tightening” has been less drastic. Russo attributes this to the University’s large endowment, conservative investing, diversified revenue streams, improved efficiency and an athletic program that pays for itself. Notre Dame is not exempt from this trend, but Russo said compared to similar institutions, Notre Dame has been successful at managing the situation. “I was a student aid recipient, and I think that makes me a better administrator,” Russo said. According to Russo, this latest book is his most scholarly. The book was published by the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), and Russo said he will not make any money from sales of this book, but the proceeds will instead go toward a NASFAA scholarship fund. He said his book examines the history that led to the modern financial aid landscape. Russo said he systematically analyzes the policies and practices that have altered student financial aid programs over the course of his career. He said all of this keeps him and the others in his department busy year-round. However, Russo said the feeling of pride that comes with helping to shape each new freshman class validates the work.
Month: January 2021
DNA extractions, Fibonacci numbers and bouncy ball polymers were the main attractions of Saint Mary’s 21st annual Hypatia Day on Saturday. The event, named for the first female mathematician and scientist in recorded history — Hypatia of Alexandria — is aimed to inspire local seventh grade girls to study math, science and engineering. “The event is for the seventh graders to get them involved in doing fun math and science activities led by all of our student clubs,” Kristin Jehring, mathematics professor and director of Hypatia Day, said. To qualify for participation, Jehring said students apply for the event after their teachers nominate them. “We send out materials to the math and science teachers to the schools in the greater Michigan area,” she said. “They nominate a couple students that they think would benefit and should be encouraged to continue their math and science education.” This year, 95 students were selected. The students, along with their parents, started the day with a welcome from Jehring and a keynote address by Abby Weppler, local meteorologist for WSBT-TV. From there, students from various clubs lead hands-on activities for the girls, Jehring said. “The chemistry club [lead an activity with] bouncy balls to learn about polymers,” she said. In addition, the Biology Club worked with the girls on extracting DNA from strawberries and learning about dissection to experiencing working in the lab. The Nursing Club taught students how to perform Triage and basic CPR, the Engineering Club built bridges with K’Nex and the Math Club showed students how to manipulate a JAVA program. “[The students received] a taste of programming and seeing how little changes will affect the system,” Jehring said. “[They also played] with math theory, Fibonacci numbers and sequences to [observe] patterns.” While the girls conducted experiments, parents attended lectures by mathematics professor Mary Connolly, Director of Admissions Kristin McAndrew and financial aid counselor Lonnie Kizer. The lectures featured information about college affordability, classes women should take in high school to prepare them for college and why a life in science or math is a good option, Jehring said. The day concluded with closing remarks from College President Carol Ann Mooney. Despite the number of hands-on activities offered by the event, Jehring said the most exciting aspect of the event was the participation. “[The seventh graders] get involved, and they’re actively doing things in these sessions,” she said.
Notre Dame appointed Gregory P. Crawford, physics professor and dean of the College of Science, to associate provost and vice president, effective July 1, 2015, according to a University press release.“Greg’s passion, creativity, intellect, energy and enthusiasm have taken the College of Science to new heights,” Provost Thomas G. Burish said in a statement. “These same attributes will serve the University well as he establishes a physical presence for Notre Dame in the West. We are grateful for his six years of service as dean and look forward to his contributions in his new role.”Crawford will expand and develop Notre Dame’s connections in the San Francisco Bay Area of California before extending his work to include the whole state, the press release stated. His work will include recruiting top students, finding new internship and employment opportunities for current undergraduates and exploring connections that could help provide and fund sabbaticals for faculty.“Extending our virtues and values to northern California is only the next step in Notre Dame’s goal of expanding across the state and elevating our impact on the world as a force for good – building on our long tradition of service to humanity and our accelerating achievements in that cause,” Crawford said in a statement. “I am profoundly grateful and inspired by the students, faculty and staff of the College of Science, who devote themselves, day in and day out, to fulfilling Notre Dame’s mission.”Crawford began his role as dean in 2008 and since then has overseen more than 500 faculty, staff and postdoctoral researchers, the press release stated. Before that, he served at Brown University as dean of engineering from 2006 to 2008 as well as professor of physics and engineering from 1996 to 2008.Tags: associate provost, Gregory P. Crawford, Vice President
Mendoza College of Business class of 2013 graduate Konrad Billetz earned a spot on the 2015 Forbes 30 under 30 Manufacturing and Industry list. Billetz founded Frameri, the world’s first interchangeable eyewear company. He is the second Notre Dame graduate to make the Forbes 30 under 30 list.“I started working on Frameri while I was getting my MBA at Notre Dame,” Billetz said. “While a lot of my classmates were interviewing, I knew I wanted to go into entrepreneurship and start my own company, so I spent most of my time taking advantage of all the awesome resources and programs the school has to offer.”Billetz said he worked closely with professors and mentors from Mendoza to lay the groundwork for Frameri, including Karen Slaggert, associate director of the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship.“Konrad took advantage of all of the resources available to all aspiring Notre Dame student entrepreneurs,” Slaggert said. “He was president of the MBA entrepreneurship club. He participated in a very cool experiential learning program – the Venture Capital Immersion Program – and shadowed an angel investor in Washington D.C. He participated in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition (on 3 teams) while an MBA student – this is where he really put the tremendous work necessary into moving Frameri to market.”Billetz also credited the time he spent participating in extra-curricular activities with his success.“Getting my business degree from Notre Dame gave me that foundation of business education, but it was really what I did outside of the classroom that prepared me for the big adventure of starting a company,” Billetz said.Slaggert said the opportunities that were available to Billetz showcase the value of an education from and the resources provided by the Mendoza College of Business.“The education and the opportunities provided by the Mendoza College of Business and the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship are definitely helping set our students, both graduate and undergraduate students, up for success in launching their ventures,” Slaggert said.Moving forward, the Forbes list means great things for Frameri and its team.“The award is a huge reflection of how awesome our team is – while my name was attached to it, it’s really a team award,” Billetz said. “It also helps legitimize the business and our expertise in the eyewear industry. This makes recruiting a team with great culture so much easier as we grow.”As for the University, the list means a chance to share the talent of students and graduates of the Mendoza College of Business, as well as an opportunity to help future entrepreneurs.“Our desire is to help students who have a passion for startups; stories like these, successes by our students, simply help get word out about resources available to all students and serves to encourage other student entrepreneurs,” Slaggert said.Since graduating, Billetz has returned to Mendoza several times to speak with entrepreneur hopefuls. His advice for launching a business is simple.“Go and do it,” Billetz said. “There’s never a better time in your life to start a company than when you leave school. If it’s something you’re passionate about, go all in and never look back.”Tags: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, frameri, konrad billetz, MBA, mendoza college of business
Last Friday, Notre Dame political science professor Dan Philpott presented his ethic of reconciliation in times of gross injustice as part of a series on the Holocaust currently taking place at the University.“Remembrance: The Holocaust in a Global Context” is a series of lectures, films and discussions planned to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Philpott said his time living in Germany and studying its reconciliation efforts in the aftermath of Holocaust and communism helped inform his ethic.Philpott’s lecture was based on a book he wrote, he said, with the central question being: “What is the meaning of justice in the wake of massive injustice?” He said he aimed to answer that question in a more comprehensive way than others had done before by creating his ethic of reconciliation.Philpott said reconciliation confronts many difficult foreign policy dilemmas in peace building.“Is it justifiable to forgo the prosecution of war criminals in order to elicit a peace settlement? Can conditional amnesties be justified? May leaders apologize or forgive on behalf of entire states or nations? On behalf of dead people? Do states owe reparations to representatives of victims of past generations? How are amounts to be determined? Is forgiveness justifiable, or does it indefensibly sacrifice just punishment?” Philpott said.Reconciliation confronts these dilemmas holistically, he said, by attempting to restore right relationship, address a wide array of wounds and involve all actors proper to the political order — ordinary citizens, state leaders, victims and perpetrators.In order to put these concepts into action, Philpott said it is important to understand the injustices. He said there are at least six kinds of wounds from which victims suffer: the violation of the victim’s basic human rights, the different kinds of harms to the person of the victim (death, permanent injury, lasting psychological and emotional damage, etc.), ignorance of the source of circumstances of the political injustices that harm the victim, failure of the community to acknowledge the suffering of the victim, standing victory of the political injustice and the wound to the perpetrator himself that the crime inflicts, Philpott said.Philpott said his ethic of reconciliation proposes six matching practices to these wounds, aimed at restoration of the victims and of right relationship.“First, building socially just government institutions based on human rights and respect for international law,” he said. ” … Second, acknowledgement of the suffering of victims of the community through restorative political processes. … Third, reparations in the form of material compensation to victims. … Fourth is punishment, which takes place in the form of national or international courts. …“Fifth practice is apology, which is conferred by perpetrators for their own misdeeds and by political officials for acts done in the name of a political order. … The sixth practice is forgiveness, which is purported by individual victims and, in theory but rarely in practice, by a political official on behalf of a group,” Philpott said.The inclusion of both punishment and forgiveness in the six practices is often seen as a point of tension, Philpott said. However, he said both are necessary to address the array of wounds afflicted by political injustices.“The fundamental contention of the ethic is that addressing the range of wounds of injustice both for their own sake, and because they may lead to further injustices, is itself a matter of justice — the justice of right relationship. So too, it is a matter of peace and a matter of mercy,” Philpott said.Tags: Notre Dame Law School, Reconciliation, the Holocaust
Saint Mary’s junior Brianna Kozemzak and assistant professor of math and computer science Dr. Beth Wolf presented their Student Independent Study Research (SISTAR) project titled “Analyzing the Effect of Delay in Discrete Stochastic Models and an Application to mumps Epidemics” to faculty and students Thursday.The pair started their research in May 2015, studying recent mumps outbreaks in the National Hockey League (NHL) as well as a variety of outbreaks in the Indianapolis area, Kozemzak said.“The [Indiana State Department of Health] is publishing weekly updates of confirmed cases,” Kozemzak said. “As of now there are 81 confirmed cases.”Kozemzak said the mumps are a single-stranded RNA virus which can be spread through respiratory secretions. Also known as parotitis, systems include inflammation of the parotid gland located in the cheeks, headaches, fatigue and body aches.According to Kozemzak, due to modern medical practices, the mumps are no longer fatal. Symptom onsets typically last 17 days on average, after being infected, Kozemzak said. However, about one third of the population can be asymptomatic.“The rate from which someone gets sick depends on the number of exposed and infected,” Kozemzak said.In order to do their research, the pair used mathematical modeling to make predictions regarding people infected by the mumps.“We’d like to be able to say, on average, how many people are going to get sick, what the probability of one sick person starting an epidemic, and if there is an epidemic, how long it is going to last,” Wolf said.Before they could start, Wolf taught Kozemzak the necessary background information.“Once she worked through the background material, by the time we got to the summer, it wasn’t like working with a student, it’s just working with someone else who knows the material,” Wolf said.Wolf and Kozemzak focused their research on smaller populations.“Right now what we’re really seeing is the transmission of the disease in close-knit communities,” Kozemzak said.“Because we’re modeling small populations, we want a discrete model that keeps track of the whole number population counts over time,” Wolf said. “The numbers of people are whole numbers but time is a continuous variable.”They are also using a stochastic model, meaning a random model of people susceptible to, infected by and recovered from the mumps. Kozemzak said this is viable whether someone is vaccinated for the mumps or not.“Vaccinations didn’t really affect the probability of getting the disease,” Kozemzak said. “There’s also a question of whether or not there are vaccine failures or not.”Although their research was only over the summer, they were able to collect an abundant amount of data by entering an algorithm into the computer so they were able to attain a numerical average. According to Kozemzak, this is termed the Monte Carlo simulation.Kozemzak said most models do not include the 2-4 week period of delay before symptom onsets into their predictions. This is what sets their research apart from others.“We want to delay it because there is that two to four week period,” Kozemzak said. “This means the process is no longer satisfying the Markov property when we include delay.”According to Wolf, the Markov property is typically used for predictions of mumps epidemics using a continuous time as a continuous variable. They solved the problem by creating their own model using a fixed period delay of 17 days.The pair found that in a 15 person population there was a 20 percent increase in the probability of outbreak when they added the delay. In a population of 30 people there was was a 40 percent increase.First year Sierra Wu said the presentation was impressive and informative.“I didn’t know that mathematical modeling was so useful,” Wu said. “I was impressed she could make a model from something so quantitative.”Kozemzak said the SISTAR project helped her decide she wanted to stick with doing research.“After doing the research, I just kind of want to do research now,” Kozemzak said. “I have another experience lined up for next summer already.”“I would encourage anyone with a chance to apply for a research grant to do it,” Wolf said.Kozemzak agreed with her mentor.“It was so much fun; I learned a lot. The stuff I learned over the summer was beyond my course work.”Tags: Faculty Research, Mumps, SISTAR, Student Research
Heritage Week at Saint Mary’s added a new asset to its week of events: an alumnae and student mixer. After the plans for the annual poetry reading event at Riedinger House fell through, the mission committee created the new event for students to meet with alumnae and talk with them one-on-one in the historical house.Junior biology major Lydia Lorenc planned the new event with the goal to get alumnae involved in Heritage Week.“It’s exciting to see how excited alumnae are to see us,” Lorenc said. “You learn another perspective.”Shay Jolly, a 2005 graduate and assistant director of alumnae relations, said the event was a good opportunity to engage in Heritage Week.“[Alumnae are] a good part of our heritage,” Jolly said, “If it wasn’t for them we couldn’t go forward.”Some alumnae wanted to reach out to current students and see what the campus is like today. Maureen Parsons, a 2013 alumna, came to the event because she wanted to meet the current students.“I always enjoy coming back to campus and engaging with students,” Parsons said.Mary Ellen Koepfle, a 1978 marketing and finance graduate, wanted to interact with students during the mixer.“I want to know how to keep Saint Mary’s vibrant,” Koepfle said.Jude Anne Hastings, a 1996 alumna, took the opportunity to see what was happening on campus.“We like to see students and support Saint Mary’s in any way we can,” Hastings said.Students who attended were also curious to meet alumna and get advice from them. Freshman Emma Fruend thought the mixer showed Saint Mary’s was a good community.“Everyone seems friendly and nice and wants to share,” Freund said.Junior biology major Kaitlyn Cartone said she enjoyed getting to talk to alumnae individually at the house.“I think just seeing where everyone is after graduation is cool,” Cartone said.The event was also a way students could explore the closed Reidinger House. Freshman Abby Seubert was originally curious in the mixer because she wanted to see the house.“It was always cool walking around and seeing what is behind the door [of Reidinger],” Seubert said.Koepfle said she advises students to enjoy their time and to find a favorite spot on campus.“Enjoy every single minute at Saint Mary’s, it goes by so fast,” Koepfle said. “Find your favorite place on campus.”Hastings said to take advantage of the Saint Mary’s community.“Soak up every opportunity Saint Mary’s gives you, it’s hard to get it out in the real world,” Hastings said.The mixer at heritage week also made students and alumna proud of their school. Rachel Tomas Morgan, a 1991 graduate, said the school made her the strong woman she is today.“I’m proud to be a Saint Mary’s grad,” Tomas Morgan said. “[The school] helped me to be a strong woman.”Cartone said the event from the week gave perspective to what the college was like.“[You] see where you came from,” Cartone said.Tags: Alumnae, Heritage Week, saint mary’s
Twenty-seven Notre Dame students were granted Fulbright grants in the 2016-2017 program, according to a University press release. These Fulbright awardees are currently working on their projects abroad.Notre Dame was tied for second with Georgetown University in the number of Fulbright scholars this year, trailing only Brown University.The Fulbright U.S. Student Program Top Producing List appeared in “The Chronicle of Higher Education” on Feb. 21. This is the first time Notre Dame has appeared on the list for three consecutive years.The U.S. government international educational exchange program gives students one-year grants to teach English, study or research abroad, according to the press release.“The unprecedented prominence of the University of Notre Dame on this year’s list of Fulbright U.S. Student Program Top Producing Institutions is a testament to the exceptional students admitted through the Office of Admissions and the Graduate School,” Jeffrey Thibert, associate director of Notre Dame’s Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement said in a statement.The University hopes to continue its success with the 51 students that have been named semifinalists for a 2017-18 Fulbright grant. The preliminary results will be available by May.Tags: Brown, Chronicle of Higher Education, Fulbright, Georgetown
The Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) prepares college students to serve as Naval officers after graduation. Eighty-four Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s undergraduates participate in this program. Known as “midshipmen,” students in the program this summer spent approximately a month completing various training courses, including spending time aboard active vessels and aircraft to prepare them to ultimately commission as officers. Rising sophomores, known as third-class midshipmen, participated in the Naval Reserve’s Career Orientation and Training for Midshipmen (CORTRAMID) program, which served as an introduction to the different communities within or associated with the Navy, including aviation, surface service, subsurface service and the Marine Corps. Second-class and first-class midshipmen — rising juniors and seniors, respectively — completed “summer cruises,” which entailed experiencing naval service first-hand on a ship or submarine.Captain Mark Prokopius, the commanding officer of Notre Dame NROTC, described the purpose of summer training as exposing midshipmen to both life in the Navy and to leadership decisions that are necessary as an active-duty officer.“When they’re on cruise, they’re actually on active duty and subject to all the active duty rules,” he said. “It builds valuable experience to see from the enlisted perspective on the second-class cruise, and then [on the first-class cruise] to see from the officer’s perspective, who is the leader in front of those enlisted men.”All midshipmen are required to complete summer training unless exempted by a conflict or disciplinary probation.Kathleen Halloran, a second-class midshipman and a junior at Saint Mary’s, said she knew she wanted to serve her country from a young age after being inspired by her grandfather, a Marine veteran. Halloran said her summer experience — staying aboard a submarine — was enriched by the presence of women in positions of power. “It was incredible being on the submarine surrounded by brilliant female officers, as female officers are currently not very common,” she said.Halloran said her favorite part of the summer was spending time with five other women, who she said she got to know quite well, on the submarine.Aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, Saint Mary’s junior Megan Mullaney furthered her interest in surface warfare. Mullaney spent each week shadowing a new person, but she said her favorite moments were spent shadowing flight deck control.“It was really cool to get the opportunity to be on the flight deck when people were taking off and landing,” she said.While the month spent aboard the ship was full of new learning opportunities, Mullaney said it came with challenges as well. She said her most challenging experience was constantly feeling in the way of others.“Your job is to shadow and observe but you still feel you’re in the way because you are not doing a certain job,” Mullaney said.Notre Dame sophomore and third-class midshipman Michael Terranova spent 19 days on an Ohio-class submarine embarking from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. While his primary preference is in aviation, he said the cruise provided a valuable exposure to life in the Navy.“It showed me that if the Navy tells me I have to do it, I can,” he said. “It was also a really informative experience to learn the submarine’s role in the navy, but I think most importantly it showed me what life in the Navy is like … I was able to see people doing their jobs, and I got at tiny picture of what life as an officer is like.”Notre Dame senior and first-class midshipman Thomas Hart was assigned to Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. While previously interested in naval aviation, he said the experience, in which he was able to fly in an F-18 fighter jet, take-off from an aircraft carrier at sea and briefly pilot a jet, confirmed his choice to work towards becoming a pilot.“It not only provided me with those flight experiences to see how cool flying was, but even more important was seeing how the community operated and seeing how the pilots interacted with each other,” he said. “The pilots I worked with were great guys and loved their jobs. I saw myself in that community. It’s really important to see if you fit in with the people, so I think that’s the right community for me.”Tags: Mark Prokopius, Naval ROTC, NROTC, ROTC, summer training
This year, Saint Mary’s will welcome six international students and two international sisters. These Belles hail from China, El Salvador, Ghana, Germany, Mexico and Uganda.Alice Yang, associate director of International Education, expressed the importance of the College’s integral mission of protecting all students during the pandemic.“The coronavirus has disrupted our world in unprecedented ways, including higher education, but our commitment to students’ health and safety remains our top priority,” she said.To uphold this commitment to students’ health and safety, Saint Mary’s will accommodate international students who choose not to take classes on campus by allowing them to take online courses in their home country.Yang acknowledged the faculty and staff who have facilitated these online courses for international students.“The College is trying to be flexible during COVID-19 and does everything to meet our students’ needs. The Office of Student Academic Services and our professors are very supportive of our students,” she said.Saint Mary’s also assisted international students who could not return home when campus closed in March.“The College continued to offer housing for [international students] who had nowhere to go in March when the College closed the campus,” Yang said. “[Our students] even joined the Notre Dame international students in the Morris Inn for a while. A few students have been living on campus … even though they have already graduated.”In light of the changing Immigration and Customs Reinforcement policies this summer affecting international students, Yang hopes to express Saint Mary’s tolerance toward all students.“The College wants to do what it can to make [international students] feel welcome on our campus,” she said.In addition, Yang emphasized the necessary role international students play in educating their peers and the entire campus community.“It is so important to host international students on campus. They enrich our learning environment, bring diversity and different cultural perspectives to classroom discussions, offer international friendship and language exchange and help our students and community learn about the rest of the world,” Yang said. “They are not only students but also culture and language teachers.”Tags: COVID-19, International students, saint mary’s, Welcome Week 2020