Science that serves the common good.
Each year, world-renowned faculty from the College of Science welcome students from around the globe. Eventually, these young men and women will transform from students into scientists, many of whom, upon graduation, will spread back out to the four corners of the globe. There, these alumni will take the knowledge they learned during their time at Notre Dame and, along with a Fighting Irish spirit and a belief in service to justice, will make the world a better place. Some alumni are already doing it.
- Dr. Ralph P. Pennino, ‘75, is among those organizing a major relief effort in Léogâne, site of the Notre Dame Haiti Program,
- Stephanie Morrison, ’07, founded Chicks in Science, an annual outreach event to educate and inspire grade- and middle-school-aged girls in Montana, and
- César Hidalgo, ’08, started Cambridge Nights: Conversations About a Life in Science, an online video series produced by M.I.T.
And it’s not just those outside of the University who benefit from the heart and hard work of the College’s alumni, as Notre Dame’s unparalleled alumni network is bringing their real-world experience to the College’s current students by providing them with valuable career advice as well as opportunities for research experience with alumni at universities, hospitals, and other laboratories.
This is what some of our alumni are doing with the knowledge they gained at Notre Dame:
Paul Baranay, '12
Paul Baranay earned his Bachelor of Science with a double major in Biological Sciences and Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics. During his time at Notre Dame, Baranay took advantage of many research opportunities. He worked with Steve Buechler, professor of applied and computational mathematics and statistics, on cancer gene network analysis, as well as Frank Collins, the George and Winifred Clark Chair in Biological Science, and Scott Emrich, assistant professor of computer science, on malaria research. Baranay also has worked with Michael Schatz, assistant professor, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, to study genome assembly. In addition to his research projects, he served as Co-Editor-in-Chief for Scientia, Notre Dame’s undergraduate journal of scientific research.
Baranay is now attending Yale University and working towards a Ph.D. in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, focusing on human disease using large-scale genomics data. This area of study incorporates a variety of different approaches and disciplines, such as data mining (computer science), network models (applied math), and cellular mechanisms (biology and biochemistry). Ultimately, he hopes to integrate computational data with experimental verification to better understand the genetic risk factors underlying disease.
Jeff Drocco, '04
Jeff Drocco is a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His affiliation with LANL began early: as an undergraduate, he joined a collaboration between Notre Dame physics professor Boldizsar Janko and LANL scientists Cynthia Olson Reichhardt and Charles Reichhardt, working on computational studies of vortices and granular matter.
At Notre Dame, Drocco won a Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious award in the U.S. conferred upon undergraduates in the sciences. He then moved to Princeton for his Ph.D. work, where he also held a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. A biological physicist, he completed his dissertation on pattern formation in development, working in the laboratories of his advisor David Tank and Nobel laureate Eric Wieschaus '69.
In 2011, Drocco returned to Los Alamos as a Director's fellow in the Physics of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems Group. His most recent projects include modeling the dynamics of swarming microorganisms, as well as studying the effect of nanoparticle aggregation on toxicity to human tissue.
"Notre Dame planted the seeds of scientific curiosity in my mind and introduced me to the art of using the principles of physics to study diverse aspects of the natural world," Drocco says. "My experiences there inspired me to pursue a career in science after graduation."
Helga Schaffrin Huntley, '99
Helga Schaffrin Huntley was an Honors Math major and member of SUMR. Upon graduation she chose to spend two years helping Africa. She taught in Zambia, then set up a program to help young Zambian girls pay for their school books. That program still exists (http://deeproots.org/zambia.html).
Schaffrin Huntley earned her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and Oceanography from NYU. She is now a Research Specialist at University of Delaware, interested in the mathematical modeling of ocean currents.
Michael Kron, '76
Michael Kron, M.D., MSc, FACP, graduated from Notre Dame in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Preprofessional Studies. He is currently a professor of medicine in the Infectious Disease division and a member of the Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin. In March 2013, he was selected as one of 12 Jefferson Science Fellows by the National Academy of Sciences. As a Fellow, he will work with the U.S. Department of State to establish a new model for engaging the American science, technology, engineering, and medical academic communities in the formulation and implementation for U.S. foreign policy. He is only the third physician to be selected as a Fellow in the program’s entire history.
Dr. Kron is also the Director of the Global Health Pathway at the Medical College of Wisconsin. His research focuses on the treatment of immunopathogenesis of neglected tropical diseases. He has ongoing collaborations with the medical community in the Philippines and has coordinated trips for medical students to practice medicine in the Philippine health system.
Andrew Serazin, '03
Andrew Serazin is the Senior Program Officer in the Global Health Discovery Division at the Gates Foundation, where he leads a team in developing new scientific approaches and technologies for maternal, neonatal, and child health. He founded and led Grand Challenges Explorations, an early-stage medical research fund that has attracted ideas from over 20,000 scientists in over 100 countries and has resulted in over 400 projects.
Serazin graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in Biology. After graduation, he attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and received his doctorate for his work on developing new genomic technologies to accelerate design of new drugs and vaccines against malaria. He has been a member of the Science Advisory Council at Notre Dame since 2008.
Carol Lally Shields, '79
Carol Lally Shields is a world-renowned ocular oncologist and the associate director of oncology service at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. She is the author or co-author of five textbooks, over 700 articles in major journals, and more than 140 textbook chapters. Dr. Shields was the first woman to receive the Donders Medal (in 2004), presented by the Netherlands Ophthalmologic Society every five years to an ophthalmologist of world fame and outstanding merit. She received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1983.
Dr. Shields completed a degree in preprofessional studies while at Notre Dame. She was also a member of the first women's varsity basketball team and was the first female student-athlete to receive the Byron Kanaley Award for excellence in academics and leadership, the highest honor given to Notre Dame student-athletes. She has been a member of the Science Advisory Council at Notre Dame since 1989 and served as a member of the board of directors of the Monogram Club from 2005-2008.