Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

Greetings from Ireland

Posted on February 19, 2014 in Guest Post, Young Alum's Stories
Alex Moulton '13 is pictured next to a Fighting Irish pennant at Scotty's Steakhouse near Galway, Ireland.

A Fighting Irish pennant at Scotty’s Steakhouse on a trip out west to Galway.

Sitting on the 39a bus Monday morning, listening to Mumford & Sons, and attempting to read my book without getting nauseated, I look out the window at the streets that have become familiar to me. I no longer wonder what’s down Baggot Street or where Leeson Street might lead because I’ve walked the city streets now. With the sun streaming through the front of the bus (a welcome surprise after drenching rain and blustery mornings), I find that I still miss home, but it’s a little easier when family and friends are deep in snow and facing another 0-degree day. I decide to hop off the bus early and grab a free copy of the Metro Herald to catch up on the Irish sports and to work on a Sudoku puzzle. Standing in line at Coffee 2 Go, I contemplate Which one should I buy today? Do I dare try something new? Nah, I think. It’s a chocolate morning. “I’ll have a Nutella scone and a cappuccino,” I say to the cashier who stamps my frequent buyer card. When did I become a regular?

As I make my way into town, I reflect on how I never thought I would become a city girl. After 5 months of living in Dublin, I’ve come to love everything that a city has to offer – the mix of people, the university life, the music (especially the live Irish music in the pubs and the performers on Grafton Street). I love how I can try a new café every weekend or I can find myself settling down in a cozy corner at one of my favorites (shout out to Keogh’s Café.)

(A scone and cappuccino from Keogh’s Café.)

A scone and cappuccino from Keogh’s Café.

And even in a big city, I have been able to make it feel small by losing myself in a long run in Phoenix Park and realizing how fortunate I am to be here. Having the opportunity to study abroad for the second time is a blessing. Being a part of the Notre Dame family has never been more apparent than when I’ve been abroad and felt the presence of so many friends, new and old, who have stayed in contact and made my time here memorable. I’m not only learning more about my chosen fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and business, but I also have had the time to really think about what I want to do when I come back to the states. Living in Dublin has made me understand how a city can transform you and can make you see the beauty in the little things. I’m looking forward to seeing where I end up after this program and to enjoying what is in store for the next few months. St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and the festivities will sure be good craic.


Love thee Notre Dame and Go Irish!

Alexandra Moulton ’13

From ND to Fighting NTDs

Posted on November 12, 2013 in Guest Post, Young Alum Life, Young Alum's Stories

Haiti research[7]

Emily interviews a patient with lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) in Haiti about the psychological impact of NTDs

Emily Conron is a 2013 graduate of Notre Dame and now works for the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). She is expanding grassroot outreach through the END7 campaign, which hopes to eliminate 7 NTDs by 2020. To learn how you can contribute, see the end of this post. 

My sophomore year at Notre Dame, I acquired an awkward nickname that I have since embraced. I was at a dorm party enjoying a weekend off from classes and clubs when someone I didn’t know came up to me and said, “Hey – you’re that NTD girl, right?”

I blushed, both because a nickname including that abbreviation is awfully close to connoting a very different reputation, and because it was odd to think that I was now recognizable as “That Neglected Tropical Diseases girl” on campus. It was a moment of reckoning for me – accept this unusual new identity, or shy away from it?  I stared at my new acquaintance through the dorm party strobe lights, took a deep breath, and said, “Yep, that’s me – that NTD girl.”

My friends, of course, found this incident hilarious, and promptly created a Twitter account for me under this name. I still use that Twitter handle today – as an employee of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical DiseasesEND7 campaign. My journey from college sophomore organizing dirt cup sales to raise money for soil-transmitted helminth treatments to serving as END7’s grassroots outreach coordinator took many twists and turns, but it all started when I took Fr. Tom Streit’s Common Human Diseases class in the fall of 2009. Fr. Tom introduced NTDs to our class in a lecture one fall afternoon, and I can safely say four years later that no other lecture at Notre Dame has impacted my life more. The more I learned about NTDs – that they infect 1.4 billion of the world’s poorest people, that they perpetuate poverty by keeping children from school and adults from work, that they can be treated with safe and effective medications that are donated by pharmaceutical companies, that the overall cost of treating and protecting someone from the seven most common NTDs for a whole year is just 50¢ – the more I wanted to get involved. So, with Fr. Tom’s encouragement, I co-founded ND Fighting NTDs with five other freshmen.

bagel giveaway[8]

Emily and fellow ND Fighting NTDs officers Steph McKay and Mick McCurrie at the annual NTD Awareness Week Bagel & Brochure Giveaway

In four years, the group raised over $12,000 for NTD elimination efforts spearheaded by the Global Network and the Notre Dame Haiti Program and hosted dozens of education and advocacy events on campus. Perhaps you attended some of them, or donated a few dollars to a Dorm Mass collection during NTD Awareness Week – however you showed your support, know that it was so appreciated. Though there were moments that keeping the group going was a challenge, and I was tempted to shift my focus to other things, the incredible generosity of the Notre Dame community kept me at it. When a Sorin resident donated $100 he had collected by playing guitar on the quad during football weekends – when our club received a generous donation from a former University president who asked not to be recognized – when two dozen students gathered at the Grotto on a cold Sunday evening to say a Rosary for victims of NTDs worldwide – when Notre Dame provided financial support to allow me to travel to Haiti to research the psychological impact of NTDs. These experiences connected me to the generous spirit that pervades our University community scattered across the globe, and provided a well of support and encouragement I could draw on in difficult moments…that I still draw on in difficult moments.

ND Fighting NTDs[6]

ND Fighting NTDs members celebrate a successful NTD Awareness Week

Thank you for everything you do, as young alumni, to sustain that spirit. Thank you for the good you do in your jobs, your church community, and your volunteer activities; for the financial support you offer to causes you care about; for the kindness you show in the day-to-day work of living in this brave new world outside of the Notre Dame bubble. Thank you for making me proud to call myself a Notre Dame alumnus, for by doing so, I associate myself with people who live their lives with abundant generosity and a commitment to improving the state of the world we share.

And to the sophomore boy who christened me “That NTD Girl” at that momentous dorm party – thank you. I’ve never looked back.

(P.S. If you want to support the effort to eliminate NTDs – treatable and preventable diseases that infect 1.4 billion people worldwide – you can like END7 on Facebook, make a small donation, or start a fundraising campaign with your family and friends. Check out END7’s latest video to see the impact of our work in Kenya – and email me if you want to get your church or community group involved!)

Young Alum Abroad

Posted on October 29, 2013 in Guest Post, Young Alum's Stories
Living on the edge 1

Living on the edge

When you decide to study abroad for a year after graduation, there are numerous parts of your life that you decide to leave behind for the adventure that lies ahead.  For a Notre Dame graduate, this includes reuniting with your dorm friends at football tailgates for the first time as an alumnus, returning from Fall Break to see the emergence of colorful foliage on God Quad, and hearing the bells toll to signal the end of a Basilica mass.

As a young alum, I was awarded the Naughton Fellowship to study in a one year Masters programme in Dublin, Ireland at University College Dublin.  As daunting as it was say goodbye to my family and friends at the end of the summer, I realized that the chance I had to study abroad not just once but now twice is not something that most people are given in their lifetimes.  Through my daily comings-and-goings on campus, I’ve learned a great deal about my own culture and that of Ireland.  When you live in another country instead of just visiting on vacation, you learn how other people perceive you as an American.  You begin to understand from conversations had during lunch breaks or when grabbing a cup of coffee in a café just how fortunate you are to participate in a cultural exchange.  The Irish like to imitate our accents just as much as we like to imitate theirs. Everything in America seems large to them because, well frankly, everything is large once you lived here for awhile.  Dublin, the largest city in the country, has only half of a million people and the country itself has just over 4.5 million.  So while it may be easy to travel in Ireland by bus and be on the other side of the country in an afternoon, the Irish can’t fathom how you could drive 10 hours and still be in the same state!

Kissing the Stone

Kissing the Blarney Stone

I’ve picked up on a few sayings from my classmates such as “Your man over there,” “That was good craic last night,” and “She gave us loads of work to do.” I’ve also traveled in Ireland to Galway to see the Cliffs of Mohr and to Cork to kiss the Blarney Stone.  Galway is a beautiful port city and is from where the Claddagh ring originated.  Visiting the west side of Ireland opened my eyes to the beauty of the countryside; I loved leaving the city life and stepping in to a smaller town to have new experiences such as trying an oyster at the annual festival.

Studying in Ireland makes me appreciate more and more each day the Notre Dame connections that exist everywhere.  One day I was waiting for the bus and a woman struck up a conversation with me.  After she found out that I was a Notre Dame graduate, she told me how she had once met Monk Malloy when he visited Dublin and how she was amazed with the number of Americans who visited for the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game in 2012.  I enjoy seeing names such as O’Rourke, Purcell, and Keough and realizing just all of the connections between Ireland and Notre Dame.

Although I’m looking forward to all of the new experiences that await me in the next year in Dublin, I can’t wait to come home during Christmas time to see my family and to visit my home under the Dome.  Until then, I will have to keep cheering on the Irish during the football games that start at 1am on this side of the pond.

Cheers! GO IRISH!

Alexandra Moulton ’13

New York Fashion Week

Posted on February 22, 2013 in Guest Post

Arienne Thompson '04 is pictured

By Arienne Thompson ’04

Another New York Fashion Week has come and gone, but before I make it sound all easy-breezy, let me break down my experience for you this season by the numbers:

5:30 a.m.: Time my alarm went off to wake me for my cab to Union Station for a 7:30 Amtrak — on a Saturday.

1: Number of friends who had to ditch Sunday brunch plans because she was coming down with the flu.

A jillion: Number of people who told me they felt like they were coming down with the flu during NYFW. Yuck.

1: Number of leashed cats that walked the runway at the Tracy Reese show. Yes, really.

70: The street number of one of my favorite hotels in New York: 70 Park Avenue, where everybody knows my name — and they’re always glad I came.

5 p.m.: The time their daily, complimentary wine happy hour for guests begins.

12: Hours I worked on Feb. 10 after a full day of covering shows and a full night of writing the Grammys fashion page.

A model is pictured during New York Fashion Week

14: Shows I covered in 4 days, including Diane von Furstenburg, Tory Burch, Vera Wang and Kate Middleton’s favorite, Jenny Packham.

65: NYFW-related tweets I posted over the course of 96 hours.

7: Blocks I walked after being stuck in rush-hour traffic, exiting my cab, and rushing into Tory Burch’s 9 am show at the posh Pierre Hotel.

2: Times I was forced to get lunch from Chipotle because I literally didn’t have time for anything else.

9:45 p.m.: Time of dinner reservations at Chelsea hotspot Buddakan where I dined with my sister Amelia   Thompson ‘08 and a friend.

12:30 a.m.: Time we finished dinner and called it a night. Only in New York…

3: Shows where I sat front-row: Christian Siriano, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch.

0: Gross, slushy, icy puddles I stepped in. Hooray!

8 minutes: Longest wait for a taxi in the cold.

12-ish: NYFW parties and lounges I was invited to.

1: NYFW party I had time to attend.

2: Colors vying for attention in my fashion bestie David Yi’s pink-and-purple hair.

3,411: Words I wrote in my coverage of NYFW for USA Today.

Countless: Hugs and air kisses doled out to all of my fashion friends, most of whom I only see during NYFW.

Arienne Thompson ’04 lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area where she is an entertainment reporter for  USA Today.