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Students receive research aid for winter break

| Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Nanovic Institute for European Studies provided undergraduates – seven seniors and eight sophomores and juniors – with grants for winter break research.

“Over winter break, we funded 15 students through our senior travel and research grant and our break travel and research grant for sophomores and juniors. We gave a total of $30,880,” student coordinator Jennifer Fulton said.

Senior Emmie Mediate stands on a bridge over the Singel canal, located near the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Mediate visited the Netherlands and Sweden during her winter break research trip.Photo courtesy of Emmie Mediate

Senior Emmie Mediate stands on a bridge over the Singel canal, located near the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Mediate visited the Netherlands and Sweden during her winter break research trip.

Junior political science major Abigail Bartels funded her project through the Center for the Study of Religion and Society (CSRS) and the Nanovic grant.

“I am looking at what it means to be Christian, and more specifically Catholic, in Denmark. Denmark is the world’s least religious country, but it also has a state church,” she said. “So I am spending my year with CSRS looking at how the government views and operates regarding religions, especially the state religion and Catholicism.”

Through her Nanovic grant, Bartels said she interviewed politicians, party leaders, priests, seminarians and nuns about how the government views religion.

Sophomore American and pre-professional studies major Peter Fink spent his winter break researching something he said is personally relevant for him.

“After finding out last year that I had Celiac disease, this year I was determined to learn as much as possible about the disease for myself and for my career aspirations of being a physician,” he said.

Fink said he traveled to Ireland since it is where “the disease is most common because of its genetic component.”

“I wanted to investigate the history behind the political process of the creation of its tax relief programs for people with Celiac disease, how these programs are funded and this funding’s impact on other governmental programs,” he said.

Senior Africana studies and pre-medicine major Emmie Mediate said her research helped further her work on her senior thesis on HIV/AIDS programs and policies in Uganda.

“Different sources of international funding for local organizations and clinics in Uganda dictate a lot of how the epidemic is fought in the country,” she said. “I went to the Netherlands and Sweden to evaluate their foreign aid programs because they have a very unique and effective model for combatting the epidemic in Uganda. I wanted to uncover why and how these programs are so successful.”

Mediate offered advice about grant funding at Notre Dame.

“Not just at Nanovic, but there is so much grant money available to us as undergrads here,” she said. “I would definitely encourage everybody to take advantage of these opportunities. I’ve loved being able to enhance what I’ve studied at Notre Dame by being able to travel and experience what I study and conduct my own independent research.”

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About Kyle Witzigman

Kyle, of Springdale, Arkansas, is a junior political science major and constitutional studies minor. He lives in Morrissey Manor.

Contact Kyle