2018 Entrance is a Wake Up Call

Happy New Year. Frigid cannot begin to describe what we experienced the first week of 2018 along with snow accumulations and hazardous driving conditions. Last week was noted at times to be colder than Alaska. This was conducive to staying inside and getting some rest and relaxation after the holidays.  Now you are geared up and ready for the spring semester. For several this means securing internships, summer research opportunities or taking advantage of learning beyond the classroom.

 Kendrick Peterson Class of 2020

Congratulations to the Kendrick Peterson, a second-year political science major and Building Bridges mentee, on his selection to participate in Harvard’s Kennedy School of Public Policy Conference.  This is the primary focus of Building Bridges to nurture the academic pipeline. Please visit our website: MSPS.ND.Edu to see other MSPS constituents who have and will be doing outstanding work in preparation for either graduate/professional school or in pursuit of their career goals.

 Bree Newsome

Walk the Walk Week begins on January 15, 2018. We are very excited about our MLK Study of Race Series for the spring semester.  Multicultural Student Programs and Services will host Ms. Bree Newsome on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. Ms Newsome is an American filmmaker, musician, speaker, and activist from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is best known for her act of civil disobedience on June 27, 2015, when she was arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state house grounds.  The office will sponsor a student workshop titled, “Mindful Protest” at 4:00 p.m. in 138 DeBartolo. Ms. Newsome will address the community at 7:00 p.m. “Tearing Hate from the Sky” in 101 DeBartolo. Thank you to our co-sponsors the Center for Social Concerns and Department of Africana Studies.  We will also have tickets available for DPAC’s production – The Mountaintop on Friday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m. They will be distributed on a first come first serve basis.  Contact Sue Pawlicki at msps@nd.edu to reserve your space. Tickets must be picked up by Friday noon.

Black History Month is rapidly approaching. There are a plethora of activities planned from African International Weekend to the Black Cultural Arts Council’s Coffee House. During Coffee House an outstanding first year male and female will receive BCAC’s Thurgood Marshall Scholarship. First Year students, how involved have you been with this club? You could be one of the fortunate recipients of this book award.  On February 19th, MSPS will hold our third MSPS Study of Race speaker in collaboration with the Student Union Board. The February Interrace Forum is considering an excursion. So stay tuned for  further announcements.

Enjoy your last week of Christmas Break and place the stated events on your calendar for things to do.

Safe Travels.

Iris Outlaw `90 MSA


New Beginnings


  August 21, 2017 Eclipse 

Welcome Home Classes 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.  The campus has been undergoing significant modifications throughout the summer.  The changes range from facilities to the University’s infrastructure and training. This includes new Student Development Team hires.

Spring semester, Student Affairs partnered with First Year of Studies and the Athletic Department to sponsor the inaugural Student – Athlete Transition initiative. Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS) assisted with the curriculum development. MSPS conducted workshops for the spring and summer cohorts. These students are excited to explore their co-curricular interests in conjunction with their academic pursuits.

Multicultural Student Programs and Services established a new position, Assistant Director for Diversity Education, Outreach and Assessment.  I am pleased to introduce Paige Jackson from the University of Mount Olive, who will serve in that role. Prior to her arrival, she served as the director of Student Conduct and Freshman Seminar adjunct instructor. She will coordinate the MSPS diversity education initiatives, which includes working closely with the Multicultural Commissioners, and our professional develop program, Breaking Through Barriers (BTB). If you are interested in becoming a Diversity Ambassador, come to the information session Wednesday, August 30 at 7:00 p.m. or email: Paige.Jackson@nd.edu.  Please stop by MSPS to welcome Paige to the ND/MSPS Family.

     Multicultural Reception Panelist

During the training for student leaders representing Housing, Welcome Weekend and Team ND, we emphasized “Radical Hospitality” and the work of St. Andre Bessette, the Saint of Hospitality.  We are called by our Holy Cross mission to welcome all into our community and the Notre Dame family.

We, the MSPS staff, look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events. Our annual Welcome Back Picnic will be Tuesday, September 12 from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on North Quad.  There will be food, music and MSPS swag.   This year, our Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Study of Race Series has a new twist. Watch our newsletter to see its’ unveiling as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.  For musical buffs, Diversity in the Arts will attend a play in December. We have limited deeply discounted tickets, so students watch for our advertisement.

Have a Blessed Year and Welcome Home,

Iris Outlaw, `90 MSA

Director, MSPS

Undergraduate publishes paper in scientific journal

by Lisa Chin, MSPS Intern

Third-year biological sciences major Olaf Rodriguez is one focused and motivated student. His most recent accomplishment was the publication of “Translational selection of genes coding for perfectly conserved proteins among three mosquito vectors” in the journal of Infection, Genetics, and Evolution. He was the lead author for the research team. Rodriguez studied the translational efficiency of genes among three mosquito vector species including those of dengue virus, malaria, and West Nile Virus.  His work was guided by Dr. Susanta Behura, a research assistant professor in the Eck Institute for Global Health, who investigates dengue susceptibility in Aedes aegypti.  This mentorship was fostered in Rodriguez’s first year through Building Bridges, a mentoring program in Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), and it has proven instrumental in Rodriguez’s research success.

Rodriguez had a strong interest in genomics applications in diseases and disease causing vectors in high school, leading him to the partnership with Dr. Behura.  Building Bridges provided the connection between Rodriguez and Dr. Behura to further his research interests.  Rodriguez commends Dr. Behura for his commitment to developing his interest in biology: “Without Behura’s unending patience, phenomenal instruction and complete willingness to dedicate so much of his time to my progress, this publication would not have been possible.”  Dr. Behura calls Building Bridges an “innovative and strategic mentoring program that helps students excel in their overall academic achievements including enhancing research experiences in different fields.”  He emphasizes the active role Building Bridges has played in creating partnerships between undergraduates and faculty.

Rodriguez’s goals for the future continue to motivate him and shape his time management skills and study habits as he pursues an undergraduate degree in biological sciences.  Dr. Behura describes Rodriguez’s systematic manner towards achieving the goals of a research project, speed and efficiency, and natural talent in computing and data analysis as tremendous assets in the lab.  These factors have led to the exceptional accomplishments the two have achieved in their research together.

On a final note, Rodriguez offers some advice to first-year students or any students involved in research.  When working with professors and mentors, “no matter how many times it takes for it to click, or for you to remember, ask questions, write down the response, and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” says Rodriguez.  He also emphasizes the importance of learning the basics in order to build on these skills in the future to promote deeper learning. Dr. Behura explains the importance of engaging in research early on: “If they can hit the ground running at this early stage, they will have tremendous opportunities to excel in graduate level research and to publish and demonstrate their leadership in the field.”