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Seven Notre Dame alumni make the Forbes 30 under 30 list

Every year, Forbes magazine releases their 30 under 30 lists. Within these lists, the 30 most accomplished people in their fields under the age of 30 are highlighted. This year, seven Notre Dame alumni were included

The alumni 

In order to address national housing issues, Colin Devine, a 2016 graduate, co-founded and acts as chief operating officer of BotBuilt. The company sets out to use robotic technology to make the homebuilding process more efficient. 

Raquel Dominguez, an alumna who graduated in 2016, works as creative executive of OBB Media. In this role she is able to help A-list celebrities such as Hailey Bieber, Kylie Jenner, Demi Lovato and Kevin Hart with their content. Along with this, she works on the show “Who’s in my Bathroom?” that has hosted celebrities like Kendell Jenner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Keke Palmer and Emily Ratajkowski.

A 2017 graduate, Jackson Jhin, acts as co-founder of Protege. He left his position as chief financial officer of Cameo in order to pursue this passion. Protege works to connect the average person to their role models, allowing them to get advice from celebrities such as DJ Khaled and Florida Georgia Line. 

Natalie Marshall, a 2019 alumna, has earned the nickname “Corporate Natalie” for her humorous social media content on experiences in a professional work environment. Her posts on Instagram and Tiktok have allowed her to gain nearly 900,000 followers. On the side, she still acts as an advisor for start up entrepreneurs or aspiring social media creators. 

DxTx and Spine was co-founded by Mack Mazeski, a 2015 graduate. The goal of the company is to find better treatments for back pain that do not rely on opioids or surgery. They aim to find the root cause of these issues, rather than to simply suppress symptoms. 

Former Notre Dame women’s basketball player and 2019 graduate Arike Ogunbowale acts as a founding member of LeBron James’ More Than a Vote initiative. The initiative stands to improve voter turnout among Black people and reduce their voter suppression. She is also an investor of Just Women’s Sports. 

Chas Pulido is currently on leave as a Notre Dame student and is founder and general partner of Alix Ventures. This company aids startup companies that focus on advancing the science of human health. 

Gratitude for success and advice for others 

Jhin credited the roundedness of Notre Dame’s liberal arts approach to education as helping his career.

“Interestingly, everything helps,” Jhin said. “All of the extracurriculars, a lot of things that aren’t necessarily towards your professional tract, if you’re passionate about it and you get really good at it or you learn a lot about it, it does come back to help.”

Notre Dame’s fine arts requirement allowed Dominguez to find what she was truly passionate about. By taking an elective in the Film Theatre and Television (FTT) department, she was able to find the major that would help her career as a creative executive.

“Well, I went in thinking I went in as a political science and economics double major, but then like, my first year, I really did not enjoy it. So, I took an elective in the film in the FTT department and I really liked it,” she explained. “My sophomore year, I dropped economics. I kept political science, which did get better … but I added FTT as a second major.”

Devine credited Notre Dame’s holistic curriculum and the University’s academic atmosphere as preparing him for the workforce and its turbulent realities.

“My time at Notre Dame taught me how to learn difficult things extremely quickly, which is of central importance as a non-technical founder at a startup because your job varies so much from day to day (and hour to hour),” Devine said in an email.

The alumni on the Forbes list attributed their career success to having been pushed forward their support systems, including professors, friends and coworkers. Further, many of their nominations for the list came from these groups. 

Dominguez, however, said that it was also nice to hear from those in her past who she has had a hard time staying in touch with, but is nonetheless happy to hear from. She moved to California for her career, but can still feel the support of those in her hometown in Ohio.

“It’s kind of exciting. Like, my high school crush sending me an Instagram DM, we love to see it,” she said. 

Jhin suggested that students should make a conscious effort to Notre Dame’s mission to be a force of good in the world while picking their professors, advising others to look at an Ikigai circle diagram. The diagram reveals to its users four intersecting categories to guide their career choices: passion, skill, necessity and profitability.

“If you’re missing any of these circles, you’re not going to feel fully fulfilled,” Jhin explained.

Devine, on the other hand, did not simply pick his career with that mission, but aimed to create a business that emulated the Notre Dame mission. 

“One of the reasons I have had deep conviction about BotBuilt from the first day is because of our mission to use technology to solve the housing crisis,” Devine said. “Just about all companies now tend to claim that their mission is positively impacting the world, but being surrounded by people at Notre Dame who live its mission with such courage and wisdom made me want to work on a project that was actually having a profoundly positive impact on the world.”

Domiguez said success comes to each person in different ways, but it is essential to have grit.

“It’s really about being scrappy and working hard and finding your own path because everyone does it differently,” she said.

Jhin’s advice to others discerning their career paths revolves around risk-taking, which he said is essential for success.

“I would encourage people to take risk as much as possible,” Jhin said. “Whenever there’s something where you’re like, ‘wow, I really want to do this, but I’m scared that I could fail,’ I think that is the quintessential type of risk that I’m talking about.”

Contact Emma Duffy at eduffy5@nd.edu.

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Notre Dame honors Potawatomi land 180 years after Fr. Sorin’s arrival

Nov. 26 marked 180 years since Fr. Sorin’s arrival in 1842 on the land now known as South Bend and as home to the tri-campus community. This land is the ancestral home of the Pokégnek Bodéwadmik, which are the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, an indigenous nation.

The Potawatomi migrated from north of Lake Huron and Lake Superior to present-day Wisconsin, southern Michigan, northern Indiana and northern Illinois. Their first contact with European settlers was when they came upon the French in the 1600s. 

In the mid-17th century, the Potawatomi entered the fur trade with the French. Catholic French priests, like the Jesuit missionary Claude Allouez, were even invited by the Potawatomi in the late 1670s.

In 1754, the Potawatomi were brought into the French and Indian War, a war between the British colonies and the French in North America where different Native American tribes supported different sides. After the British won the war in 1763, they focused on profits rather than the more mutually beneficial relationship the Potawatomi had with the French. 

Brian Collier is a faculty member and fellow for Education, Schooling and Society at the University, a historian and the senior advisor to the American Indian Catholic Schools Network (AICSN). Talking about this time of upheaval, Collier said, “different Native people sided with the French and some with the British– they were just trying to find the best deal for their families in a time of war and chaos.”

This continued period of changing politics forced the Potawatomi to take sides. In an article in Notre Dame Magazine, Collier writes, “there were Potawatomi who sided with the British during the American Revolution and the War of 1812, both of which led to citizens of the new United States calling for the removal of the Potawatomi from their ancestral homelands throughout the Great Lakes region.”

The Battle of Fort Dearborn in August 1812 also contributed to the new American citizens having ill-will towards the Potawatomi people.

Collier said, that “when the Potawatomi burned down Fort Dearborn — which is located where Chicago’s ‘Miracle Mile’ is today— the newspapers made a big deal of the incident and portrayed the Pokagon band as dangerous.” 

The Indian Removal Act was signed in 1830 by then-President Andrew Jackson. Leopold Pokagon, a tribe leader within the St. Joseph River Valley Potawatomi, asked Fr. Gabriel Richard in Detroit to send them a priest that year. Leopold Pokagon knew that showing the American government that the Potawatomi could integrate into American culture through Christianity would give the nation a greater chance of keeping their land.  

On Leopold’s request, Richard sent Fr. Stephen Badin to minister to the Potawatomi along with two other Catholic missionaries — Fr. Benjamin Petit and Fr. Louis Deseille. Petit was eventually martyred on the Trail of Death as he administered to the Potawatomi during their forced removal. 

Though the Pokagon Potawatomi’s connection to Catholicism aided in them getting to keep their land, it was also the coincidence of geography that led to this fact. Collier explained that another Potawatomi tribe that lived in what is present-day Rochester, Indiana, was forced to vacate their ancestral homelands.

“At the time, what is present-day South Bend and Mishawaka was officially part of Michigan territory which had a lot of French and Catholic influence, which was why Leopold Pokagon was able to make the argument to keep the land,” Collier said.

Collier explained that the other Potawatomi tribe was residing in what was considered to be Indiana territory at the time, which was being influenced by the Ku Klux Klan and Protestant-nation building forces rather than a Catholic one. 

 In the early 1830s, Badin bought the land that would become the University, and then in 1835, Badin donated that property to the Diocese of Vincennes who ended up giving it to Fr. Edward Sorin, on the condition that he establish an educational institution there. When Sorin first arrived, the Potawatomi were the ones who welcomed him in the winter. 

Talking about the current relationship between the Pokagon Potawatomi and the University, Collier said that the University engages in the annual tradition of sending Potawatomi families food baskets during the holiday season. 

On the occasion of Indigenous People’s Day, celebrated Oct. 9, until the weekend of the Stanford game on Oct. 15,  the University flew the flag of the Pokagon Potawatomi above the football stadium.

“The Provost office has been giving out Pokagon flag magnets which have been going like hot cakes among professors,” Collier added.

Collier also said that Jason Ruiz, associate professor of American Studies, received a grant to acquire more flags in a collaboration with Pokagon Potawatomi artist Jason Wesaw. 

Andrew Crowe ’06, a member of the board of the Native American Alumni Association of Notre Dame (NAA of ND), weighed in on how the lack of acknowledgement of the University’s connection to indigenous people can impact the experience of native students.

“[There is] little to no acknowledgement of Chief Leopold Pokagon’s work to ensure that the Potawatomi land that included what would become Notre Dame was already a Catholic stronghold before the University was founded. He remains a forgotten ‘founding father’ of Our Lady’s University,” Crowe said in an email.

He encouraged students to research and gain awareness about the “historical role of the Catholic Church in the creation and running of residential and boarding schools.”

Zada Ballew ‘19, director of student relations in NAA of ND, posed some questions that students can consider as they learn about the history of the land that the tri-campus inhabits.

Examples she gave over email included, “Why are there carvings of Indigenous peoples on South Dining Hall and ‘the Rock’?” and “Why are Potawatomi people buried in [mass graves] in the campus cemetery?” 

Ballew said she appreciates the University leadership’s efforts to “acknowledge failures of the past and recommit to the work of the future.” She points to increasing efforts to recruit Native and Indigenous students, increasing the number of Native and Indigenous staff, faculty and course offerings, even a major or minor, as a way to “raise awareness of overlooked, but no less significant, aspects of our shared history.”

Collier also suggested the revival of the tutoring program Notre Dame students used to run with Potawatami children in Dowagiac, Michigan, a few years ago.

“Some of those Potawatomi kids actually grew up and attended Notre Dame, so that kind of interaction and engagement really makes a difference,” Collier said.

Collier also proposed making the Moreau First-Year course curriculum more inclusive of Native history.

“We could have elders in residence come and share their story with first-year students,” he said.

The Native American Alumni Association of Notre Dame has set up ‘The Native American Alumni Fund,’ a scholarship intended to provide much needed financial support to current Native and Indigenous students. The scholarship is solely funded through donations and private giving. Crowe encouraged all readers, including alumni, staff and friends, to consider donating to the Fund on ND Day.

Contact Angela Mathew at amathew3@nd.edu.

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Fashion designer Thom Browne hosts football game photo shoot at Notre Dame

Notre Dame is well known for its football games, but the game on Wednesday, Oct. 26 was a little different.

Two 15-person teams of Notre Dame undergraduates, Team Onslaught in navy and Team Rockne in gray, faced off on South Quad.

According to the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS), which hosted the game, “The uniforms — which included not cleats and helmets but cashmere knits, waffle-knit long johns and striped rugby polos — were the real star of the show.”

Notre Dame graduate and luxury fashion designer Thom Browne ’88 organized the fashionable football game. Each year since 2014, Browne has hosted a football-themed photo shoot to promote his fashion line. Until this year, Browne has always held the shoot at Central Park in New York City.

Photos from the Notre Dame shoot, featuring students as models, were published in GQ and Vogue.

NDIAS director Meghan Sullivan said she was “over the moon” that Browne decided to hold the shoot at his alma mater.

“It was a chance to show the world, like all the readers of Vogue and everybody who follows high-end fashion, that Notre Dame is a big player in this space, and alums from our university are leaders in fashion,” Sullivan said. “Frankly, those students who are in the fashion shoot… watch this space, because, 10 years from now, they’re going to be leaders in this industry.”

Sullivan said students had to apply to take part in the photo shoot, and NDIAS selected them based on their creativity, their interest in fashion and their interest in taking next semester’s one-credit course, “Strong Suits: The Art, Philosophy And Business Of Thom Browne.”

According to NDIAS, the course will explore how fashion is designed and manufactured; the business strategy of artist-owned luxury brands; fashion writing and criticism; and more.

Sullivan, a philosophy professor in addition to her role at NDIAS, and Michael Schreffler, an associate professor in the art, art history and design department, will teach the course, but Browne — NDIAS’s artist-in-residence for the 2022-23 academic year — will be a special guest.

Notre Dame students Luke Thornbrue (left), Aidan O’Brien, Chris Russo and Eno Nto in action during Thom Browne’s football game photo shoot. Courtesy of Sinna Nasseri

As for the football game, NDIAS managing director Angie Appleby Purcell said over 100 students applied to take part in the photo shoot, and 30 were chosen.

Purcell said both Browne and NDIAS wanted to create an opportunity for students that would allow them to creatively and innovatively approach fashion, “an area that, as a University, we don’t have tons of depth in, but have a lot of interest in growing in.”

Purcell wanted students to see the example of Browne, a graduate of the Mendoza College of Business, and know that even if fashion is “not the way you were educated at Notre Dame,” if it’s a passion, one can become ”highly successful.”

Thom Browne poses with Notre Dame student Ian Coates. Courtesy of Barbara Johnston

Ese-Onosen Omoijuanfo, a senior neuroscience and behavior major, was one of the students who modeled for the photo shoot. Omoijuanfo said as a STEM student, she loves going to a liberal arts university like Notre Dame.

“There is so much inspiration to be found in the arts, and as someone working towards being a well-rounded person, it means having these real-life experiences that Notre Dame does an amazing job of providing in my experience,” she said.

She said she applied to participate in the photo shoot because she enjoys studying aesthetics and beauty.

“I have taken a theology course, a philosophy course and a psychology course, and each has approached this topic from a different perspective,” Omoijuanfo said. “When I was looking at the application… it described it as an opportunity to understand the work that goes into creating an aesthetic work of art and offers insight into the philosophy of design and beauty. I thought that participating in a project like this would be interesting to see more of how the production side of aesthetic works.”

Since participating in the shoot, Omoijuanfo said her friends and family have been shocked to see her in magazines and social media posts. So was she.

“I guess I was just oblivious, but I didn’t know or realize where the pictures were going to be published. It wasn’t till one of my friends texted me ‘Hey, you’re in Vogue,’ that I realized,” she said. “Lots of people will send me posts… like ‘What?! How did this happen?’ and it’s funny to explain the story of how it all happened.”

Ese-Onosen Omoijuanfo (front row, second from left) was one of the students who participated in the Thom Browne photo shoot. Courtesy of Sinna Nasseri

Omoijuanfo added that everyone’s reaction has been “super kind and excited.”

“It’s not every day you get to model for Thom Browne, and it’s fun to share that excitement with people and kind of laugh about the randomness of the opportunity to do so,” she said. “I have good friends who really celebrate with me when good things or fun opportunities happen, so it has been a really fun experience.”

Contact Claire Reid at creid6@nd.edu.

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Rep. Brendan Boyle, ’99, discusses career, current legislative efforts

On Friday morning, Rep. Brendan Boyle, ‘99, spoke to a group of students about his career path, pursuing opportunities in politics and current legislative priorities. 

Boyle, a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania’s second district serving his fourth term, is an alumnus of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Program in Public Service and the inaugural semester in the Washington program.

Friday, he opened with brief introductory remarks and then fielded questions from students invited from various majors, minors and political clubs.

Ricardo Ramirez, director of the Hesburgh Program and an associate professor of political science and Latino studies, introduced Boyle. 

“Congressman Boyle has served as a champion for the working and middle-class families, particularly on issues related to social and economic justice. He, himself, is the first in his family to attend college, and he’s the son of a janitor and a school crossing guard,” Ramirez said.

In his introductory remarks, Boyle discussed his work across policy issues in the House of Representatives, identifying himself as a “generalist.”

“On any given day, I could be voting on energy policy, and then, next, voting on tax policy, and then voting on NATO, and then next voting on a welfare issue and next voting on a defense issue,” he said. 

Boyle, who serves on the influential Ways and Means Committee, recounted key experiences as a lawmaker.

Boyle was in Brussels days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, to which he’s a delegate.

“At our opening dinner, the vast majority of parliamentarians from the UK, France, Germany … did not believe there would be a war and did not believe there would be an invasion,” he recalled.

He tied the issue to political practice, saying he’s been especially active on the issue because of a large Ukrainian presence in his district in and around Philadelphia. 

Boyle said that this combination of constituent services and policy encapsulates the job of a congressman.

“There’s in the district and there’s in the Capitol. The time that I’m back home is not time off … So in some ways, it’s almost a hybrid of two different positions combined into one,” he said.

Many of the students identified themselves as residents of a particular representative’s district. Boyle interjected when a senior from Sarasota, Florida, mentioned he was from Republican representative Vern Buchanan’s district.

“I’m friendly with Vern, too. That should reassure people that people on both sides of the aisle actually are much more friendly with one another than cable TV would have you believe,” he said.

In response to a question about America’s role on the global stage, Boyle emphasized two priorities after reflecting on the Arab Spring and other events from the past twenty years.

“Two goals immediately come to mind, and they’re sometimes in conflict. One would be to promote democracy and human rights as much as we can around the world. And then the second is stability,” he said. “We can not retreat from the world.”

He also talked about recent legislative action. Boyle, who made history as the first House member to cast a proxy vote on behalf of a colleague amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, discussed being in committee hearings and voting during a trip to Notre Dame a year ago.

“In this very building a few floors up while my wife and daughter were enjoying campus all that Friday, I was up there casting votes and participating in hearings. So literally at Notre Dame, congressional votes have been cast, and I was casting my votes for our amendments, defeating the other side’s amendments for the Build Back Better Act, which ultimately did pass out of the Ways and Means Committee,” Boyle recalled.

He discussed the upcoming midterms and said that while “bread and butter issues” and contrasting the Republicans’ agenda with that of the Democrats under Biden, maintaining a big tent party is key.

“You have to tailor it to your district. The message I would have in northeast Philadelphia would be different than I would have in suburban Philadelphia,” he said.

Boyle also discussed moments when he had to make tough decisions in politics. Sitting on the foreign affairs committee, he opposed the Iran Nuclear Deal and remained steadfast despite pleas to support it from powerful places.

“President Obama lobbied me on Air Force One. Fortunately, it turns out the flight from D.C. to Philadelphia is a very short flight,” he said. “And I was never invited back.”

Throughout his remarks, Boyle emphasized the importance of getting involved in politics. He pointed out that people in high positions of power within congressional offices are often young and can make a significant impact.

“If you walk around Capitol Hill and you walk into congressional offices, you see just how young the individuals are who have a great deal of responsibility,” he said. “And I can tell you from the perspective of wanting to hire good people, we’re constantly looking, and the best thing you can do is be the person who, on a campaign, shows up, volunteers for things, is on time and has a great attitude.”

Contact Isa Sheikh at isheikh@nd.edu.

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Alumni Association announces 2022 Domer Dozen cohort

The Notre Dame Alumni Association and its YoungND board announced the recipients of the 2022 Domer Dozen award Thursday.

According to the Alumni Association, the Domer Dozen honors 12 Notre Dame graduates each year, age 32 or younger, ”for excellence in their contributions in faith, service, learning or work — the core pillars of the association’s mission.”

This year’s Domer Dozen honorees were chosen by a selection committee that included University officials, Alumni Association staff and the YoungND board, which represents the Alumni Association’s young alumni affinity group.

The selection committee considered 134 nominees in the selection process this summer and evaluated them “based on a weighted ranking system and their contributions in their respective fields.”

According to the Alumni Association, the alumni honored in this year’s Domer Dozen are:

DeJorie Monroe, class of 2016, for “Promoting intercultural understanding and global human development;”

Kiley Adams, class of 2017, for “Ensuring equitable access to outdoor spaces and medical care for people with disabilities;”

Ana Kent, class of 2013, for “Implementing psychological expertise to solve economic inequality;”

Connor Toohill, class of 2014, for “Providing mental health and well-being resources through social entrepreneurship;”

Meehan Lenzen, class of 2011, for “Empowering young women in STEM through community-based service;”

Ashley Murphy, class of 2016, for “Pursuing social justice through public health research;”

Adam René P. Rosenbaum, class of 2016, for “Putting faith into action on behalf of the poor and marginalized;”

John Brahier, class of 2014, for “Innovating to educate both the minds and hearts of students;”

Capt. John Dean, class of 2017, for “Saving lives and protecting the nation in hostile environments;”

Daara Jalili, class of 2017 and M.Ed. class of 2019, for “Committing to servant-leadership in the community and classroom;”

Rev. David Smith, C.S.C., class of 2014 and M.Div. class of 2020, for “Serving the community through religious vocation;”

And Kristin Andrejko, class of 2019, for “Collaborating to eradicate disease through scholarship and community service.”

The 2022 Domer Dozen cohort will return to campus Sept. 9 and 10 for a special recognition weekend and an awards dinner with the YoungND board and Alumni Association staff members.

They will also be recognized that weekend at the football game against Marshall University and will give short talks about their life and experiences since graduation in the LaFortune Ballroom on Friday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. The talks, titled “Beyond the Dome: Inspiration from the 2022 Domer Dozen,” are free and open to the public.