As participants in a semester-long course, Notre Dame undergraduates have the rare opportunity to contribute to real clinical research about Niemann – Pick Type C (NP-C) disease. The course, titled “Clinical research in developing health networks in rare and neglected diseases,” is one of only a few similar courses offered at universities around the country, said Katrina Epperson, program coordinator for the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases at Notre Dame. “There are 17 symptoms of NP-C and the students track the nine major ones,” Epperson said. “The students look at medical records to give a score to each doctor visit. This then helps track the progression of the disease.” Notre Dame gives its results from the course to The National Institute of Health (NIH), which is currently conducting the only clinical trial on NP-C in the United States. According to NIH’s website, NP-C is an inherited metabolic disorder that causes harmful amounts of fatty substances to collect in the brain, bone marrow, spleen, lungs and liver. NP-C is classified as a liposomal storage disorder, where cells do not trap cholesterol in the proper manner. Cholesterol builds up, which affects the central nervous system and causes the deterioration of the brain. Also known as “childhood Alzheimer’s,” NP-C effects one in 200,000 people, Epperson said. “Because this disease affects such a small group, it is really hard to find people to do a clinical trial,” Epperson said. Biology Professor Kasturi Haldar, director of Notre Dame’s Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, teaches the course. Mollie Howard, a senior biology major, is one of 30 students enrolled in the course this semester. “I was looking for another biology elective and this sounded really interesting,” Howard said. “There is no cure for NP-C and there’s a delay from when the child starts to show symptoms and is diagnosed.” Notre Dame became associated with NP-C through former head football coach Ara Parseghian, who has three grandchildren who died from NP-C. He started the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation to raise awareness about NP-C and fund research. “This is close to the community,” Epperson said. “There are 7,000 rare diseases and with the creation of the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, it makes it hard to just pick one [to study]. This relationship helped us choose.” After the students learn how to follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), they make presentations about the families that are suffering from NP-C in an attempt to put a face to medical records. Epperson said students may eventually be able to meet some of the patients whose medical records they research. “We want if possible to include actually meeting some of these patients,” Epperson said. One concern with bringing patients into the class is respect for the patients’ privacy, Epperson said. “We want to respect the patients and not make them feel like they’re on display,” she said. In the meantime, Epperson said there are other ways for the students to understand the lives of the patients who they research. “The Discovery Channel came and taped a show about NP-C, so now we can show the students the video,” she said.
The Saint Mary’s Student Nursing Association (SNA) took a break from studying for finals on Wednesday evening to spread some holiday cheer to local families. SNA sponsored a dinner for the families of children with demanding medical needs who are currently receiving respite care. Senior nursing major and SNA cabinet member Julia Humphrey said these families devote themselves entirely to taking care of their children. “The parents of these children are incredibly selfless,” she said. “They lovingly give to their children mentally, emotionally and financially. Because of our close connection with and understanding of these families, SNA knew that our Christmas sponsorship would be fun for them.” In addition to dinner, the families decorated Christmas cookies, made ornaments and received a visit from Santa. Humphrey said she felt the impact of SNA’s efforts to plan the dinner before the first course had even been served. When she called the families to formally invite them to Saint Mary’s for the evening, Humphrey said the families became choked up from the gratitude they felt toward SNA and Saint Mary’s. Humphrey said the experience reaffirmed her choice to major in nursing. “Being in the nursing field, we must ask ourselves daily, ‘What is one thing I can do to lighten the load of another,’” she said. “We have been able to apply this same notion to creating this party.” SNA and Saint Mary’s nursing classes worked all semester to plan the event and to ensure every detail was accounted for, Humphrey said. “The nursing class has been absolutely incredible, donating their time, money and effort to this cause,” she said. “The party would not have come together if it had not been for the hard work of each individual.”
Members of the Class of 2016 boast a high percentage of international hometowns – as does the collection of new Notre Dame faculty members arriving this fall. The School of Architecture will welcome visiting professor Julio Cesar Perez Hernandez. A practicing Cuban architect, as well as the first and only Cuban Harvard University Loeb Fellow, Perez will teach a fifth-year studio section on the city of Havana, according to the School of Architecture’s Dean’s Office. “He is the author of a master plan for 21st-century Havana,” architecture professor Jorge Trelles said. Hernandez’s is the author of “Inside Havana” and “Inside Cuba,” and is currently writing a book titled “The Magic Landscapes and Urban Design of Havana.” Anjan Chakravartty will join the University’s faculty from the University of Toronto, where he was director of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. “My interests intersect beautifully with the work of my colleagues in the philosophy department – with its celebrated strength in metaphysics – and with the broad expertise of my colleagues in the History and Philosophy of Science graduate program in the [John J.] Reilly Center,” Chakravartty stated in a press release. Chakravartty will assume the role of professor in the Department of Philosophy and the John J. Reilly Center this fall. He also recently became editor of the philosophy and science journal, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. The Mendoza College of Business is adding 15 new faculty members this fall, including finance professor Martijn Cremers, a native of the Netherlands. Cremers taught at the Yale School of Management for 10 years. He has frequently been recognized for his academic accomplishments, with his most recent awards including Inquire Europe Research Grants in 2012 and 2010. Interdisciplinary artist Carmen-Helena Tellez, a native of Venezuela, joins the Department of Music in the College of Arts and Letters. “Carmen-Helena is a renowned specialist in 20th- and 21st-century choral orchestral sacred repertory, a major growth area for Notre Dame’s new program in sacred music,” Margot Fassler, co-director of the Master of Sacred Music program, stated in a press release. Tellez also serves as artistic co-director of Aguava New Music Studio, a group of artists with which she has recorded and toured internationally. In addition to the array of new international faculty members, a few familiar faces are returning to teach at Notre Dame. Lee Gettler, a member of the Class of 2005, is a biological anthropologist who attracted the University’s attention with his research on the connection between fatherhood and changes in testosterone. “[His work] promises to enliven the fields of biological anthropology, human reproductive ecology, and fatherhood,” Susan Blum, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology, stated in an Arts and Letters press release. Gettler will begin teaching this fall as an assistant research professor. He credited professors Meredith Chesson and Agustin Fuentes with influencing his decision to become an anthropology major, and Professor James McKenna for giving him his first job in a lab. “Without that year I spent at Notre Dame working in Jim’s lab and having many, many members of the department provide me encouragement, I likely would not be pursuing my Ph.D. at this time,” Gettler stated in the press release. Gettler stated he has embraced the “four-field” approach to anthropology he learned at Notre Dame. “He is at the forefront of a new way of understanding the connection between human biology and behavior,” Blum stated. “It is a special treat to have him, and we are honored by his decision to join our department.” Walter Clements, a South Bend native, will join the Mendoza College of Business’s Department of Finance this fall. He will serve as a full professional specialist while maintaining his position as managing partner at Orion Consulting Group. Clements began teaching two years ago at Indiana University, where the Executive MBA Class of 2012 honored him with the 2012 Leo Burke Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. The College of Science is adding 12 new faculty members to their ranks, some of who specialize in breast cancer research. “We made three cancer [research] hires, which is a big deal for us,” said Nicolle Hayley, executive administrator for the College of Science’s Dean’s Office. Laurie Littlepage, Jenifer R. Prosperi and Siyuan Zhang will join the faculty as assistant professors in the college this fall. “Littlepage, Prosperi and Zhang examine tumor progression, metastasis and chemoresistance during breast cancer progression,” the College stated in a press release. The release stated these new faculty members will advance breast cancer research at the Harper Cancer Research Institute with the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend. In the College of Engineering, senior administrative assistant Judith Liudahl said the faculty has not made any significant hires, because the College welcomed so many new professors in 2011. “We will be having some exciting additions in 2013,” she said.
Two new off-campus housing developments are offering increased and more luxurious amenities to students in the market for a home beyond the dome. University Edge, an apartment complex to the northwest of campus, includes a fitness center, business center, pool, outdoor grills and a TV and game room, property manager Nicole Woody said. “It’s more resort-style life,” Woody said. “It’s really all-inclusive … It’s very common in student housing now to have these types of amenities and it’s just not something that’s ever been brought to South Bend before. We really just want to change the way off-campus housing is perceived.” “For the space and the amenities it was definitely the best value of the [apartments] that I looked at,” senior Emma Buckley said. “The only bad thing was that it was a lot farther from Eddy Street, but if you have a car it wasn’t bad.” Buckley signed a lease at University Edge after returning from studying abroad in London last fall. Apartments at the Belfry, a new Holladay Properties complex located at 700 Notre Dame Avenue, are fully furnished for competitively low prices, according to their website. “They come with granite countertops, top-of-the-line appliances and include washers and dryers in each unit,” property manager Kahli Anthony said. “And they’re walking distance to Notre Dame.” Anthony, who is also the property manager of neighboring Holladay property Darby Village, said the Belfry offers two-bedroom units with a personal bathroom for each bedroom. She said the close proximity to Notre Dame and Eddy Street Commons makes the location ideal for students. “We feel that with Darby and Belfry, students are getting a place that’s larger than the other options out there and for a lesser price,” Anthony said. Dublin Village, a townhouse community close to Saint Mary’s College, offers townhouses and a neighborhood unlike that of the typical apartment complex, Erin Nanovic, a Saint Mary’s senior, said. Nanovic’s house was constructed in 2005 and was renovated last year after smoke from a fire next door damaged the building. “[Dublin Village is] a lot like Eddy Street in the sense that there’s normal families there too,” Nanovic said. “The community is awesome.” Currently the Office of Housing has no set relationship with property managers or off-campus students. Assistant Director Bill McKenney said the department was open to expanding its resources for off-campus students, but remained completely committed to on-campus housing. “The experience in our residence halls is something that we firmly believe in,” McKenney said. “If you look at the renovations that we’ve got, we’ve really tried to improve the quality of life … We believe that it is an opportunity for someone to stay for four years.” McKenney said the new options for off-campus apartments and townhouses did not affect residences on campus. “I can say that our numbers for on-campus housing are about the same as last year, so we’re seeing the exact same number living in our residence halls, and our graduate communities are hovering around the same as well.” Senior off-campus president Erin Killmurray said the new complexes did not impact her and the Off-Campus Council either. “The only relationship is that we now serve more students and we need to plan around that,” Killmurray said. “One effect I am hoping this increase in options will have is that students will feel less pressure to sign leases two years in advance.” Killmurray said the Off-Campus Council was planning new initiatives to keep off-campus students more connected with the University, including reliable access to dorm listservs and information about campus events. “Personally I feel like moving off campus does not take away from the Notre Dame experience in any way,” Killmurray said. “It’s a great combination of being part of both the Notre Dame and the South Bend communities.”
Breen-Phillips Hall (BP) and the German Club will bring a slice of Bavaria to North Quad on Friday with their Oktoberfest celebration, which will take place from 3-6 p.m.Photo courtesy of Lindsay Dougherty Juniors Annie Ekman and Meghan Gallagher, BP Hall Commissioners, are the head coordinators for the event. Ekman said she thinks the event will capture the spirit of the traditional German festival.“It is a great fall activity on a football weekend for a great cause,” Ekman said. “We hope people will enjoy the food and activities we have prepared for the event, bringing their friends and celebrating Oktoberfest.”Senior Joe Scollan, President of the German club, said Oktoberfest provides students with a great opportunity to have fun.“Oktoberfest started in the 1800s in Bavaria because it was originally a party in honor of the Prince of Bavaria’s daughter’s marriage,” he said. “Everyone had such a good time that they just began having the party each year, and it’s stuck.”In order to enhance the celebratory atmosphere, Ekman said the coordinators ordered a substantial amount of food for the student body.“German Club is making homemade pretzels to go along with apples and caramel in addition to a root beer keg,” she said.Scollan said the proceeds from the pretzel sales go directly to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. In addition to event sales, Ekman said BP and its brother dorm Duncan are contributing to the fundraising effort through section can drive competitions.“We are hoping for a great turnout to support the food bank and to enjoy some fall snacks,” she said.Preparations for the event began about a month ago, Ekman said, with dorm coordinators working with hall government to garner new ideas and support.Scollan said the German Club also participated in event planning as well as SAO coordination and fundraising efforts.In the event of rain, Ekman said a secondary location — the McNeill Room in the LaFortune Student Center — was reserved in order to house the activities indoors.In addition to this Oktoberfest celebration, Scollan said the German Club is also hosting “OkDomerfest” at Legend’s on Oct. 8 from 8-10 p.m.“We will have a huge spread of German food — pretzels yes, but also bratwurst, sauerkraut, cake — and Legend’s will have their cash bar open for those 21 and over,” he said.While Okdomerfest is more directed at celebrating the cultural side of the German event, Scollan said students should attend both events in order to get a true sense of the “multiple faces of what Oktoberfest is to Bavarians.”“Oktoberfest with [Breen-Phillips Hall] is great because it’s highly visible, goes to a good cause and is a great thing to stop by at to play some games, which is the founding idea of Oktoberfest, having fun,” he said.Tags: Breen-Phillips Hall, German Club, North Quad, Oktoberfest, Pretzels, Root Beer
Every year, the Notre Dame Student Film Festival gives students the opportunity to showcase their creativity through the big screen. This year’s festival, which will be held at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center this weekend, features 11 short films directed and produced by undergraduates, and culminates with an audience choice award that will be presented after the Sunday night screening.Junior Liza Connor is one of the students whose film was chosen to screen at the festival. She said her film, “Ambiguous Encounter,” was a result of an entire semester’s worth of work and time.Janice Chung | The Observer “When we found out that we made the film festival we were so excited,” Connor said. “We had to develop our idea quickly, but it kind of came together really nicely.”Ted Mandell, an associate professorial specialist in the department of film, television and theatre (FTT), said that he has been involved with the film festival every year since its inception.“This is the 27th time I’ve done this, so like anything you do for 27 times, you kind of have a process in place that you’re comfortable with,” he said in an email. “My main focus is putting together the flow of the show from film to film, balancing sound, other technical things. It takes a lot less time today than it did back in 1990.”Mandell said the process of choosing films to show at the festival can be difficult due to an abundance of qualified films.“We look at all the films produced in our FTT film production courses over the past year and try and choose the ones which are both creative and technically accomplished. … and we stop when we get to two hours,” Mandell said. “Certainly other films are worthy, but for a public screening I try and keep it in that two-hour total run time.”Connor said the films at the festival are relatable and packed with creativity and passion. She said she thinks when someone is so passionate about something it makes it more fun to watch, which is exactly why she believes the Notre Dame community will enjoy the film festival.“It’s exciting to see everyone so pumped up and proud of each other,” Connor said. “It’s a small kind of niche of us … and it’s fun to see everyone succeeding.”Mandell said he believes students should go for the same reason they go to any other movie in the theaters.“You want to be entertained. You want to be touched emotionally either through laughter, or fear, or provocation, or any other emotional connection that you make with a film,” he said. “It’s no different with the student film fest … and there’s that added element that you just might recognize the star of the film from your dorm.”Mandell said the arts are essential to life and he hopes the student film festival induces an “emotional change and urge to discuss what you’ve just seen with someone else.”“Ask yourself how much visual storytelling you’ve consumed today,” he said. “I tell my students they’ve been studying for our film production courses for the first 17 years of their lives. They just didn’t know it.”Tags: FTT, Student Film Festival
Hundreds of South Bend community members — including Notre Dame students, faculty and staff — attended a demonstration Sunday outside the Morris Performing Arts Center, in solidarity with immigrants and refugees affected by President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily banning the entry of nationals of several Muslim-majority countries.The demonstration was organized by a group of Notre Dame faculty and staff, including Catherine Osborne, a postdoctoral fellow at the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. Osborne said after protests against the executive order sprung up around the country Friday and Saturday, she kept an eye out for a demonstration in South Bend. When none emerged, she and associate professor of American studies Jason Ruiz decided to start one.“We figured we would just see what we got, and we knew there would be a lot of people who would want to do something practical because this is just such an emotional situation,” she said. The executive order, which Trump issued Friday, stopped visas from being issued to nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and to refugees of Syria indefinitely. It also banned all refugee entries for 120 days, required a review of visa adjudication processes and provided that refugees can be admitted on a case-by-case basis, especially if they are religious minorities.On Saturday, a judge ruled that refugees on their way to the U.S. when the order was issued could not be sent back to their home countries. Meanwhile, the order sparked protests across the country, including in South Bend.“It was pretty ad hoc and last minute, and we’re sure that there were a lot of people who would have liked to be here who didn’t hear about it in time, but this is an emergency situation,” Osborne said. The crowd gathered at 3:30 p.m. and chanted phrases like, “No ban, no wall.” Among the signs were “Immigrants are welcome here,” “No human is illegal” and “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor,” in three languages.Among the demonstrators was 16-year-old Adams High School student Mahalha Chalulu and his parents. Chalulu said his family, who emigrated from Malawi, was there because the executive order was unfair. He said the turnout encouraged him.“I like the turnout, and it’s such a fun and empowering environment to walk with other people who agree with you and feel the same way,” he said. Sonja Mapes, a professor of mathematics at Notre Dame, came with her husband Gabor and daughter Nora, who made up the chant, “People are good.” Mapes said she attended in solidarity with colleagues and students who are from the countries Trump named in the order.“This is just disgraceful,” she said. “These are people who have oftentimes been educated and trained in the United States. There’s been U.S. money invested in educating and training these people and now we’re going to block them from our country coming in — I mean it’s just the stupidest thing ever. It’s just, it’s not right. And these people are having their lives upended because of this, they can’t accept job offers or they have accepted them and then they don’t know what to do because they don’t know if they’re going to actually be able to come.”Lukas Bobak, a Notre Dame sophomore, said the issue was close to him because his parents had emigrated from Poland during the communist era.“It’s not just refugees, it’s the idea of a mother, a father and a child who are forced to live in a place that is kind of messed up because of us, too,” he said. “It’s not just that the area has its own problems, the problems are amplified by what we do there, and it’s our responsibility especially being America the land of the free if we want to call it that and the land of immigrants that we can’t just close off how we’re doing. Especially with so many people so strongly opposed to it.”Hythem Sidky, a Ph.D. student in the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, said the protest demonstrated American values.“I hope it will change the hearts and minds of people who are maybe closed-minded and show them that we’re all human beings, and it doesn’t matter where you’re born, where you grow up, what language you speak, what color your skin is, what religion you follow, or what your sexual preferences are — that we’re all human beings, and we all deserve the same rights,” Sidky said. Ruiz said the South Bend protest echoes the national movement against the executive order and that he was happy with Notre Dame’s recent official response to the ban.“I don’t speak for any group here, [but] I was personally very heartened that [University President] Fr. John Jenkins this morning made a public statement about ND’s stance that the President needs to rescind this order,” Ruiz said. “Notre Dame has a vested interest here. We benefit from international students, including students from the seven countries named by President Trump, so we would be foolish not to stand up against it.”Tags: demonstration, Donald Trump, executive order, Muslim, protest
Tags: Attire, Honor Cords, Saint Mary’s Commencement, Stoles This week, Saint Mary’s students will present letters to College President Jan Cervelli and her cabinet, arguing for a policy shift regarding commencement attire.Currently, the College allows for graduates to wear stoles, honors cords and medals at the Baccalaureate Mass and Honors Convocation, but only honors cords and medals at the commencement ceremony. As outlined in the Saint Mary’s Governance Manual, the only exceptions to this rule are on a case-by-case basis and must be recommended by an academic department with approval from the President. These exceptions are in place so as ”not to distract from the general uniformity of the academic regalia,” according to the Manual. “Based upon this, it’s how ‘discrete’ whatever else we’re talking about is, and how distracting ‘from the general uniformity of the academic regalia,’” College Marshal Joseph Incandela said in an email. “The judgment has been made that things like honor cords and medals for presidential scholars fall into that category [of discrete attire] while things like stoles do not.”Seniors MaKayla Roberts and Taylor Thomas are among the students that disagree with this policy. “Yes, when we graduate we will all be class of 2018, and yes, we’ll all have the identity of being Belles, but that stole recognizes that not everyone’s experience on Saint Mary’s campus was the same,” Thomas said. “…There are things that need to be improved, and we need to recognize the differences that each Belle brings to Saint Mary’s. And while we’ve improved over the years, we still have lots of improvements to make. And that’s what the stoles represent when we wear them at graduation.” Roberts said in an email that wearing a stole would recognize her achievements beyond her schoolwork, including founding the Black Student Association. “It shows all the hard work and accomplishments that we have done out of the classroom,” Roberts said. “The stoles mean something different for everyone, but for me, it shows all the hard work I have done to build a new club — The Black Student Association — and to bring awareness to campus.” Thomas and Roberts argue that there is no difference in recognizing honors cords versus extracurricular engagement. Roberts said that stoles would allow students to celebrate their entire college experience at Commencement.“Students should be able to showcase individual accomplishments at Commencement because college is so much more than just grades and what students do in the classroom,” Roberts said. “Everyone who is graduating from Saint Mary’s has a different story and the different stole that we wear show that. Not everyone who is graduating has honors cords, but this day is something so much more than just displaying academic honors.”Allowing students to wear stoles at Commencement, Roberts said, would demonstrate the role Saint Mary’s has in developing the whole woman. “Saint Mary’s brings people together and helps them find their identity,” Roberts said. “These stoles show where everyone found their place. When we came here we received a shirt that said, ‘We promise you discovery: the discovery of yourselves, the discovery of the universe, and your place in it.’ These stoles show where we found our place in the universe and at Saint Mary’s, so them telling us we can’t wear them is like them taking away a part of our identity.”The current policy places the emphasis on the class of graduates as a group, Incandela said. “The point is that at Commencement — which is the most formal academic ceremony the College holds — the focus is on students as members of a class,” Incandela said. “There are other opportunities, such as the Honors Convocation, where individual achievement is the main focus. Commencement, however, primarily celebrates a new class of graduates.”While Thomas sees the value in the idea of sisterhood, she said she finds the emphasis on group identity during Commencement to detract from the individual experiences of the graduates. “I also think the use of sisterhood kind of masks the struggles that a lot of students who are from low-income backgrounds, or students of color, or girls who have a different sexuality on this campus —the struggles they go through on this campus,” Thomas said. “It masks all of that when we just keep claiming sisterhood.”Thomas said that while some of her friends do not understand the importance of donning a stole at Commencement, she feels it represents her experience in an authentic way. For her, it shows that she can make a difference. “I guess it’s not that big of a deal when you’ve had a perfect experience on Saint Mary’s campus,” Thomas said. “But for someone who hasn’t, like me, and who wants to see change on campus it’s important to be able to proudly show that though it was not perfect, I made it, and I’m here and I want to improve it for the next girl who comes.”
Inspired by the many women running for office across the nation, Saint Mary’s junior Leticia Torres decided she wanted to run for office in her native Marshall County in the 2018 midterm elections. On Tuesday, when Marshall County voters head to the polls, her name will be on the ballot.“You know Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York? She’s awesome,” she said. “The day after she won the election, Michelle Livinghouse, who’s running for state representative, texted me that I was the next Alexandria Ocasio[-Cortez] and that I should run for office because it’s a really good place to start. She told me to start locally.”Torres is running to be a member of the Center Township Advisory Board.Torres said she is able to balance canvassing for office and attending her classes at Saint Mary’s due to a donation made by someone in the South Bend community.“I got a really good donation from someone in South Bend, and you can use that money to canvas by paying someone to canvas for you or buying yard signs,” she said. “I’m using all the donation money for canvassing.”Torres said her decision to run for office happened quickly. Torres said she has been “canvassing, going to events and making a ton of signs” while she has also balanced the workload that accompanies being a full-time business major.Torres thinks it is important for students and young people to get involved in politics because they are the future leaders of the country.“If we’re not involved then the older [generations] will be running things and choosing everything for us,” she said. “We have to decide our own destiny.”While Torres said she is more of a moderate, she said she feels most strongly about immigration issues.“I feel strongly about immigration because it’s such a huge deal right now,” she said. “It doesn’t have too much to do with local office, but, I figure if I start small I can do something about it in the future.”Torres said other students running for office should start by helping local politicians, as that is how she first became interested in politics.“Network — that’s how I got involved with all this,” she said. “I volunteered for other people running for office, I’ve done a lot of canvassing for local elections and gained a lot of experience doing that. If I wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have cared about politics as much. Once you experience politics first hand, it makes it easier and more fun to get involved.”Torres said the most important thing students can do is fulfill their civic duty and exercise their right to vote.“Please vote,” she said. “You don’t have to vote for me, just vote.”Tags: 2018 midterm elections, Election, Marshall County, Politics, vote
Editor’s Note: Sister Spotlight is an effort by the Saint Mary’s News Department to shed light on the shared experience of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s College students. We will be sharing the mission and stories of the sisters in an on-going series.Saint Mary’s is not only a college, and is home to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, the founders of Saint Mary’s, where the sisters try to stay connected to the students. This is especially true for Sister Janet Nantumbwe, as she is also a student at Saint Mary’s.Nantumbwe is from Uganda, and chose to make the move to the congregation at Saint Mary’s College to pursue a degree in elementary education.She began this semester as a first year and will graduate in 2023. In her daily life, she said she incorporates her routine as a sister along with her obligations to her schoolwork.“My routine as a sister is to get up early in the morning, say my morning private prayers, go to Mass, have breakfast and go to college for my classes,” Nantumbwe said in an email.She said she came to Saint Mary’s due to the many enticing aspects that were presented to her as a sister.“I was drawn to the Holy Cross Sisters by their charism of responding to the needs of the time, their hospitality and internationality,” Nantumbwe said.Nantumbwe felt welcomed by the sisters, and said she knew she should serve at the College because of a call from God.“I wanted to become a sister and serve people who have no one to take care of them, like orphans, the elderly and those who are disabled,” Nantumbwe said.She began to see that this passion to help others could be manifested as a Catholic sister. While Nantumbwe desired to pursue this vocation, her mother said Nantumbwe would not be able to become a sister because she was Catholic.When she was trained to work at a school alongside a sister, she again began to desire to pursue a life in the Catholic faith.“Being with her brought back my desire to become a sister,” Nantumbwe said. “Every weekend we would go to visit the sick and elderly.”This encounter encouraged her to look towards ministry instead of teaching for the time being.“I asked her [the sister] if I could become a sister since I was an Anglican,” Nantumbwe said. “She told me it was possible, and then I began discerning a call to religious life. It took me three years to join the Sisters of the Holy Cross.”It was a long journey as she was converting to Catholicism and paying for her training for teaching, she said. Nantumbwe said it was also a trying journey because of a lack of support.“But I remained strong in prayer and spent time sharing with people who encouraged me to discover my call,” Nantumbwe said. “Whenever I would pray, I would tell God that if it is his will, I would be a sister.”Nantumbwe joined the Sisters of the Holy Cross and started off helping those in need. She is still continuing to teach.“Later, when I was accepted into the Congregation’s International Novitiate here in the U.S., I was assigned to minister to the elderly in the assisted living community and in the disabled people’s community,” Nantumbwe said.After she adjusted to her life abroad and her academics, Nantumbwe said she opened up to the opportunities God offers her.“My favorite things about the Congregation are serving the underprivileged, being accepted for who I am and offering me different opportunities in my life,” Nantumbwe said.Tags: Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, sister spotlight, Sisters of the Holy Cross