2015 SRR Cohort


The Reilly Center is pleased to announce its first cohort in the NSF-funded Social Responsibilities for Researchers (SRR) program.  We are fortunate to welcome an exceptionally strong and truly diverse set of STEM PhD students in this inaugural year. 


All branches of STEM (natural sciences, social sciences and engineering) are well represented, with the cohort being comprised of two physicists, three biologists, three anthropologists, three other social scientists, and three engineers.  Their research runs the gamut from curing cancer to recovering energy from wastewater and from interrupting cycles of violence to studying historical memory.  What they have in common is a strong interest in understanding and enhancing the social and ethical impacts of their work – the overall goal of the SRR program. 

The program itself spans one year and its centerpiece is a service project undertaken by each student with the support of a mentor.  The SRR program will run again in 2016 and 2017, with the goal of transitioning to a permanent, internally-supported training program after that.  

For 2015, the SRR cohort is:

Rodolfo Capdevilla, a second-year Physics student from Colombia conducting research on Collider Physics and extensions to the Standard Model of Particle Physics.  Rodolfo is interested in developing a series of seminars and experimental demonstrations for a general audience to foster an intuitive understanding of Quantum Mechanics.

Amanda Cortez, a first-year Anthropology student conducting research on human-primate interaction in northern Peru, focusing on how local and Western humans in the area perceive and relate to the yellow-tailed woolly monkey and how conservation efforts can be both problematic and beneficial.  She is interested in bringing exposure to anthropology to school children in South Bend.

Alison Deatsch, a second-year Physics student conducting research on laser spectroscopy with applications to cancer diagnosis and invasive species detection.  She would like to learn more about the policy issues and the kinds of groups impacted by both applications. 

Francisco Fields, a first-year Biology student conducting research on bacterial resistance and infectious disease.  He is interested in exploring policy around incentives for the development of new anti-microbials and promoting developing-world disease research.

Maria Gibbs, a second-year Civil Engineering student conducting research on wind-induced vulnerabilities of suspension footbridges such as those built in isolated areas by the non-profit Bridges to Prosperity (B2P).  Maria is interested in hosting a workshop with B2P staff to share the latest findings on the effects of dynamic wind loads on footbridges and get feedback about the challenges they face applying this research.

Jesse James, a second-year Political Science and Peace Studies student and lawyer conducting research on indigenous governance and sovereignty.  She plans to work with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in the South Bend community on a project that explores the extent to which their community benefits from the sovereignty granted them by the federal government. 

Angela Lederach, a second-year Anthropology and Peace Studies student and President’s Fellow conducting research on the role of young people in violence and peacebuilding.  Angela has published on conflicts in the Philippines, Sierra Leone and Colombia and with her father John Paul Lederach has co-authored a book on peacebuilding.  She is interested in the ethical dimensions of equitable and reciprocal relationships between anthropologists and their subjects and is working on a community engagement and historical memory project in Alta Montana, Colombia. 

Leslie MacColman, a second-year Sociology and Peace Studies student conducting research on the effects of internationally-funded crime and violence prevention efforts in Honduras.  Leslie would like to make her findings available to government officials in Honduras in a less technical, more accessible format and explore options for sharing them with participating communities.

Victoria Makuru, a first-year Biology student from Tanzania conducting research with the Eck Institute for Global Health evaluating the use of insecticide-impregnated barriers to lower transmission of malaria in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. She seeks to become a more socially conscientious researcher in these challenging environments. 

Josh Mason, a second-year Biology student conducting research on cellular signal transduction and its application to developing novel cancer treatments.  Josh is working to bring the Science Policy Initiative (SPI) program to Notre Dame, which provides an environment for students to discuss relevant science policy issues and help them involve science policy in their careers.

Sara Morrow, a first-year Anthropology student conducting research that combines archaeology with ethnography to research the construction of social memory, place, and identity.  Her current research focuses on historic Ireland, and in the past she has investigated Civil War sites and memorials, in addition to working as an archaeologist at Montpelier. Sara would like to bring international archaeological experiences back to the South Bend community through educational programs in local museums or schools.

Andrew Schranck, a first-year Environmental Engineering student researching sustainable waste-to-energy technologies that use light activated catalysts to simultaneously treat wastewater while producing hydrogen. He has interests in social entrepreneurship, global health, and sustainable development.       

Xi Tan, a first-year Mechanical Engineering student from China conducting research on modeling of ion-enhanced thermionic emission, which produces electric current from heat, as a potential way to utilize waste heat as well as solar thermal energy.  She is interested in learning how to ensure that this work has a practical impact.

Ryan Woodbury, a second-year Psychology student conducting research on understanding and assessing moral self-identity, including a new measure of moral identity, the Moral Q Sort, for grading individual differences in the prioritization of morality.  In close sympathy with the SRR program itself, Ryan would like to explore the link between the moral identity of researchers and their ethical orientation and social engagement. 

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1338652.