Class of 2021
Hayden Adams | Hayden, who hails from Winchester, Ky., graduated with degrees in physics and film, television & theatre. He was the sports editor at The Observer, the university’s independent, student-run newspaper. He also served as the paper’s associate sports editor. He spent summer 2019 as a writing intern at Kentucky Sports Radio.
"I intend to go to law school directly out of undergrad, but sports journalism and sports broadcasting hold a special place with me. Regardless of how long of a career I have in the legal field, I would like to continue participating in sports journalism in any capacity I can, whether freelance or otherwise."
Joseph Andrews | Joe graduated with a degree in business analytics. In summer 2019, he was a reporting intern at CNBC. On campus, he worked as a broadcast anchor at NDIgnite Connection, a biweekly adolescent-orientated talk show produced by the Notre Dame admissions department. He was also a news writer at The Observer.
"Finding a career at the intersection of my two passions—business and journalism—is my ultimate professional goal. I look forward to exploring how I can blend this combination of academic studies in the job field."
Aaron Benavides | Aaron graduated with degrees in political science and theology. In summer 2019, he was an editorial intern at The Catholic Herald in London. In summer 2018, Aaron interned for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where he worked on communications. On campus, Aaron served as the director of faith and service for student government.
“I love journalism because of the great power it has to bring change, to hold people accountable, and to share with the world news that matters. I am excited for the journalism program to prepare me for work in communications and media.”
Gabrielle Biltz | Gabrielle graduated with a degree in finance. In summer 2019, she was an intern at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. On campus, she was a publicist for the university's Student Union Board and holds chair positions in both her dorm and sophomore class council. During her senior year of high school, Gabby completed an internship with a medical university's communications department, where she was a contributing editor.
"I'd like to apply my passion for writing and the skills I learn in the JED program to a future career in a business-related field."
Katharine Flanagan | Katharine graduated with a degree in psychology. She also held a minor in computing and digital technologies. She was the culture editor at Scholastic, Notre Dame’s student-run, monthly magazine. She was the copy editor and writer for her high school magazine, The Mark, and a contributing writer for a local news website, InMenlo.
"Through journalism, I hope to combine my knowledge of psychology with my interest in media and communication. I enjoy writing news and feature articles because I am able to learn about different perspectives and share these stories and points of view with a wider audience."
Ellie Gardey | Ellie graduated with degrees in political science and philosophy. She was a student reporter for the College Fix, a news website centered around higher education. In summer 2020, she interned at American Spectator. She also interned at the Daily Caller, where she wrote original articles on cultural change and social issues. She also served as the managing editor of the Irish Rover, the independent, student-run publication devoted to upholding Notre Dame's Catholic mission.
"Journalism can inform the American people of the condition and character of our country. I want to report on the constant shifting of America’s cultural and political landscape. When informed, the American people can implement changes that benefit the common good."
Ellen Geyer | Ellen graduated with a degree in international economics with a concentration in Spanish. In summer 2019, she was a reporting intern on the sports desk at The Columbus Dispatch. On campus, she was a reporter for Shamrock Sports, the show about Fighting Irish athletics that is broadcast on NDTV, campus television. She also did play-by-play and color commentary for Fighting Irish hockey and men's basketball on WVFI, the campus radio station. In addition, she was a sportswriter for The Observer and a contributing author to Her Campus Notre Dame. She is a Spanish speaker.
"My passion for journalism stems from the ability that journalists have to humanize subjects that seem otherwise inaccessible —a single feature piece takes LeBron James from superstar to the guy next door. I look forward to telling these stories in my own career as a writer."
Dessi Gomez | Dessi graduated with a degree in American Studies. In summer 2020, she was an intern on the arts desk at The Los Angeles Times. She was also a reporting intern on the arts desk at The South Bend Tribune. On campus, she wrote for the Scene section of The Observer. As a scholastic journalist, she was the arts and entertainment editor at her high school newspaper.
"I love to write. I am still discovering the different paths down which writing can lead. My biggest dream is to write a book, but I also love reporting and journalistic writing."
Maria Hieber | Maria graduated with degrees in political science and Russian. In summer 2020, she was an editorial intern with D Magazine in Dallas. She was also an editorial intern at The Nursing Times in London, which is the largest nursing website outside the U.S. She served as a co-editor for the culture section of Scholastic, the university's student-run magazine.
"I have always had a sense of responsibility for each aspect of my cultural identity of being a Russian American, and with my studies at Notre Dame I would like to attempt to aid in the bettering of Russian-American relations."
Lauren Kesic | Lauren graduated with a degree in political science. In summer 2019, she was a social media intern for a domestic violence shelter in the Greater Los Angeles area. As a scholastic journalist, she was a copy editor for her high school newspaper.
"I love to read and I love to write, but most of all I love people. I chose to minor in journalism in order to meet, talk and listen to people I normally wouldn’t cross paths with, with the hopes of sharing with the world what others feel, say, and go through."
Claire King | Claire graduated with a degree in environmental science with a minor in computing and digital technologies. In fall 2020, she was an intern at WVPE, the NPR-member station in Elkhart, Ind. She hopes to become a science journalist, and has a particular interest in writing about climate change and the environment.
"I chose journalism because it's one of the few ways you can reach out to the public and shed light on issues in our society."
Maxwell Lander | Max graduated with a degree in anthropology. In 2018, he interned at the Smithsonian Institution. In summer 2019, he was a reporting intern on the metro desk at The South Bend Tribune. On campus, he was a news writer at The Observer.
"I love the opportunity journalism presents to share to share important stories and information with people around the world"
Sophia Lauber | Sophia graduated with a degree in English. On campus, she interned with the communications team in the College of Arts and Letters. As a scholastic journalist, she was the executive editor of her high school newspaper. She is a Spanish speaker.
"I want to pursue journalism because I believe in the power of story and am interested in learning the unique story each individual has to tell. I hope to incorporate my scientific interests into my writing in the future."
Maria Leontaras | Maria graduated from Saint Mary's College with a degree in interactive journalism — a self-designed major; she also minored in Italian and math. In summer 2020, she was an audience engagement intern at The Los Angeles Times. She is from Crown Point, Ind. and was the editor in chief of her high school's newspaper, Inklings. Maria was the editor in chief of The Observer for the 2020-21 academic year. She was a 2021 winner of the Paul Neville Award, an honor given annually by the Gallivan Program to seniors for overall journalistic excellence. She pursued a post-graduate internship in audience development at The Dallas Morning News.
"I strive to be someone who is equipped for the evolving field of journalism. Through my student-designed major, I am learning to be a reporter, photographer, videographer, web designer and graphics creator. I hope to be able to work at a modern media outlet."
Jack Lyons | Jack graduated with degrees in philosophy and theology. In summer 2020, he was a reporting intern at The Berkshire Eagle. He also interned at WDEV Radio in Waterbury, Vt. Jack is interested in writing about interactions between religion and culture, as well as Vermont politics. He was a writer for Scholastic and The Observer. He was the 2021 winner of the James E. and Barbara L. Murphy Award, an honor given annually by the Gallivan Program to seniors who demonstrate excellence in journalistic writing. After graduation, he started work as a Matthew V. Storin Reporting Fellow at the Boston Globe.
Jack is most interested in studying the fundamental nature of knowledge and existence and “faith seeking understanding.”
Grace McDermott | Grace graduated with degrees in American Studies and French. In spring 2019, she was a reporting intern on the metro desk at The South Bend Tribune. In 2018, she interned at Media Monitoring Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was a staff writer for The Observer. She accepted a post-graduate internship at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"I hope to pursue investigative, feature, and news journalism that will prompt conversations about social and political change."
Theresa Olohan | Theresa graduated with a degree in political science. In spring 2020, she was a reporting intern at The South Bend Tribune. On campus, she was a news writer for The Observer. After graduation, she started a year-long fellowship with USA Today.
"I want to be a journalist because of the influence journalists can make through their promotion of the truth. I am especially interested in politics and news writing."
María Luisa Paúl | María Luisa graduated with degrees in political science and economics. She held two summer reporting internships at The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. On campus, she was a news writer for The Observer. As a scholastic journalist, she co-founded Jefferson Today, her high school's newspaper, and served as the editor-in-chief of the politics section. A native of Venezuela, she is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese; she also speaks French. She was a 2021 winner of the R.V. Ley Award, an honor given annually by the Gallivan Program to seniors who demonstrate exceptional journalistic promise. After graduation, she accepted an internship at The Washington Post.
"Because of my Venezuelan background, I have always admired the journalists who fearlessly stand up for the truth. Like them, I hope to someday give a voice to the voiceless and shed light to the issues that afflict our world as a foreign correspondent."
Claire Rafford | Claire graduated with a degree in English. She held two internships — one as a reporter, the other as a social media editor — at The Arizona Republic. On campus, she was an assistant managing editor at The Observer. After graduation, she started a Pulliam Reporting Fellowship at the Indianapolis Star.
"I am interested in pursuing a career in news journalism, either through a traditional newspaper setting or in audio journalism, such as podcasts."
Mariah Rush | Mariah graduated with a degree in American Studies. In summer 2020, she was an audience engagement intern at The Tampa Bay Times. She was a James M. Naughton Reporting Fellow at The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2019. In 2017, Mariah held an internship at the South Bend Tribune. On campus, Mariah was the managing editor of The Observer for the 2020-21 academic year. She is also the founder of a television reviewing blog called RushBrushUp. She was a 2021 winner of the R.V. Ley Award, an honor given annually by the Gallivan Program to seniors who demonstrate exceptional journalistic promise. After graduation, she started a Don Wycliff Reporting Fellowship at The Chicago Tribune.
"Although I have a vast range of interests from reviewing television to political print journalism, my core life goal has been to be an investigative journalist who gives a voice to the overlooked."
Daphne Saloomey | Daphne graduated with a degree in political science with a minor in science, technology, and values. In 2018, she interned with Meryl Moss Media Public Relations where she managed and produced social media content for clients. In summer 2019, she was a reporting intern at The Connecticut Post. On campus, she served as the editor in chief of Scholastic for the 2020-21 academic year. She was a 2021 winner of the Paul Neville Award, an honor given annually by the Gallivan Program to seniors for overall journalistic excellence.
"I believe that the ultimate responsibility of a journalist is to care. I hope to be able to uncover the truth with dignity and compassion for the story I'm telling."
Mary Steurer | Mary graduated with a degree in sociology. In summer 2020, she was a reporting intern at The Concord Monitor. She was a news writer for The Observer. After graduation, she interned with the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.
"I love all types of news reporting, but my dream is to pursue a career in investigative journalism that focuses on the crossroads between technology and politics."
Serena Zacharias | Serena graduated with a degree in neuroscience and behavior. In fall 2019, she was a reporting intern at The South Bend Tribune. She was the Notre Dame news editor at The Observer.
"I have a passion for writing and the sciences, so I am interested in science journalism. I also strongly believe in the importance of spreading awareness to affect change which is why I enjoy news writing."