13 Notre Dame students awarded USAID Research and Innovation Fellowships

13 Notre Dame students were selected to conduct research projects throughout 2016 and 2017 as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Research and Innovation Fellowships. Financial support will be provided for the students through the USAID | Notre Dame Global Development Fellowships, a partnership between American universities and the U.S. Global Development Lab to help expand USAID’s Research and Innovation Fellowship Program. This is the second year of the fellowships, which ultimately aim to create a global network of researchers addressing today’s most pressing issues in the developing world.

This year, the thirteen fellows will be traveling to a total of eleven countries: Cambodia, Colombia, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, South Sudan, and Uganda.Students receiving the USAID | Notre Dame Global Development Fellowship awards are Kathryn Anderson, Katie Coldwell, Kelsie Corriston, John Dillon, Janna Hunter-Bowman, Angela Lederach, Leslie MacColman, Christopher Newton, John Nida, Sarah Peters, Karen Schousboe, Mourad Takawi, and Margaret Thomann.

Gerard Powers, Coldwell’s faculty mentor and professor of the practice of Catholic peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, expands on the benefits of the USAID-Notre Dame partnership. “For the second year, Kroc students have the opportunity to conduct important peacebuilding research projects in conjunction with the government’s leading agency for international development. This USAID Notre Dame partnership is particularly important, as it comes at a time when Notre Dame is preparing to open the Keough School of Global Affairs.”

Research sites are locally-based organizations that have applied for graduate level researchers to assist them in growing innovative solutions for global development challenges. The research topics and focus areas of the 2016 class of fellows vary widely.

Schousboe and Coldwell are M.A. students in the Kroc Institute, and will be working in Cambodia and the Philippines, respectively. Lederach, Hunter-Bowman, and MacColman are Ph.D. students, also at the Kroc Institute. Lederach will examine the participation of youth in social movements and peacebuilding, and Hunter-Bowman’s research will focus on the reconciliation process in local communities in Colombia after instances of human rights violations. MacColman will work with the Honduran Fund for Social Investment. Newton, a recent graduate and Kellogg Institute International Development Fellow, will conduct monitoring and evaluation on the long-term impact of AVSI programming in South Sudan. Dillon will be hosted by the IBM Research India in Bangalore, focusing on data analytics under its Smarter Education Initiative

Nida and Anderson, M.S. students at the Eck Institute for Global Health, will travel to Mexico and Uganda, respectively. Nida will research the use of genetically modified mosquitos in controlling the dengue and Zika viruses; Anderson will work with local partners in Uganda to aggregate and assess data surrounding the strength of palliative care. Corriston, an M.Ed. student through the Alliance for Catholic Education program, will research the impact of the “Library in a Backpack” intervention in Port au Prince, Haiti, schools. Peters, a Ph.D. student in political science, will conduct impact evaluations of existing community projects aimed at increasing state capacity in El Salvador.

Finally, two students will be conducting research in South Africa: Takawi, a Ph.D. student in theology, will travel to South Africa to work in the area of humanitarian law. Thomann, a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar, will be based in Stellenbosch, working on a mobile technology project to incentive and measure education efforts in rural schools.

John Grieco, associate director of the Eck Institute, is a faculty mentor. “We are excited about this opportunity to send Kathryn and John to conduct important research work in their respective countries,” he says. “The USAID | Notre Dame Global Development Fellowships are an opportunity for students to apply the lessons learned in the classroom to create impactful change worldwide.”

The University of Notre Dame is one of six universities awarded a grant in 2014 by the U.S. Global Development Lab. The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) is managing the fellowship program for Notre Dame. Additional support for the fellows is provided by IBM, Catholic Relief Services, AVSI, and Sarus, and the following centers and programs at Notre Dame: Alliance for Catholic Education, Eck Institute for Global Health, Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

An integral part of the University’s Keough School of Global Affairs, NDIGD works to promote human dignity through applied research, assessment, monitoring, evaluation, and training. The Keough School, scheduled to open in August 2017, will prepare students for effective and ethically grounded professional leadership in government, the private sector and global civil society, engaging them in the worldwide effort to address the greatest challenges of our century.