Every year, the Glynn Program recognizes a small number of graduating seniors for their exemplary scholarship and service. The Glynn Award for Academic Excellence and Exemplary Leadership is given annually to seniors who exhibit both outstanding academic performance, and a high level of initiative and leadership, either in campus activities, programs for the common good, or in their scholarly field of study. This year the Glynn Award is shared by Elsa Barron, a Biology and Peace Studies major from Wheaton, Illinois, and Madeline Owen, a Neuroscience major from Columbus, Ohio.
A biology and peace studies major with a minor in sustainability, Elsa Barron is also a Notre Dame Riley Scholar, and is the recipient of a Bose Scholarship, a Fulbright Scholarship, and was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship. Her interests in migration, interreligious dialogue and grassroots environmental peacebuilding have taken her to Jerusalem, Athens, and India. In 2018, she accepted a Bose Scholarship to do biological research in India, and will be heading back to India with a Fulbright fellowship this fall to study Hindi and Urdu while interning at an institute for sustainable and indigenous agriculture. In her senior thesis project, guided by Professor Caroline Hughes of the Kroc Institute, Elsa developed a typology of environmental violence and peace, which she applies to a study of the activity of non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh, a country facing environmental stresses due to climate change. Before heading to Bangalore, Elsa will be working in Bethlehem through a Kellogg Postgraduate Fellowship.
Madeline Owen majored in neuroscience and minored in poverty studies, and has been named the 2021 Notre Dame valedictorian. Madeline pursued research at three different labs at Notre Dame, including the Hanjaya-Putra lab where she studied stem cell therapies in vascular regeneration for diabetic patients. Additional interests include the surgical repair, regeneration and prevention of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular diseases or disorders, and the simultaneous effect of different types of trauma on the human brain and nervous system. Her senior thesis research, guided by Professor Nancy Michael, combined neuroscience and poverty studies to identify how post-traumatic stress disorder and the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with chronic poverty, may impair emotional cognition and the ability to cope with challenging circumstances. A recipient of Notre Dame’s Stamps Scholarship and a Naughton Fellowship to study in Dublin, Madeline plans to pursue her medical degree at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
The Glynn Program’s award for exemplary service is given in honor of Michael Anderson (’06) to two students who have lived out Michael’s creed “to improve and enrich the lives of others so that they could do the same.” This year’s Michael Anderson awards go to Aidan Crowley, a Neuroscience major from Yorba Linda, California, and Rachel Ingal, a Political Science major from Loveland, Ohio.
Aidan Crowley is recognized for her dedication to the health of those on society’s edges. Since arriving at Notre Dame, Aidan has volunteered to work with Alzheimer’s patients, doing music therapy, and with No One Dies Alone, a group out of South Bend’s Memorial Hospital that works to make sure that terminal patients are not alone in the last hours of their lives. She spent a summer living in a home for low-income patients in Kalamazoo, where she developed techniques for her Spanish-speaking clients to communicate about pain with their doctors, and performed virtual health coaching for low-income patients with diabetes. A Poverty Studies minor, she has taught public health care to community health care workers in rural Nicaragua, and served as a Health Care Policy consultant for a congressional campaign in South Bend. Her second minor in Compassionate Care in Medicine led her to do a thesis on the mental performance of physicians in high-stress clinical specialties during COVID-19. Aidan is also a Notre Dame Stamps Scholars and Sorin Fellow, and will be studying medicine and law at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
Rachel Ingal is recognized for her service to the Notre Dame community, especially for her work in student government, and for her dedication to women’s issues worldwide. Rachel’s dedication to the Notre Dame student community shows in the many roles that she has played over the last four years, including organizing Notre Dame’s participation in the DC Women’s March, but nothing prepared her for being Student Body President during a pandemic. Her efforts to advocate for her peers while helping the Notre Dame administration find safe ways to reopen campus will mark her term as one of the most consequential in Notre Dame’s long history. But her work outside of campus on women’s issues, particularly her work with the Community Refugee and Immigration Services in Ohio, as a Kellogg International Scholar studying women refugees in Valencia, Spain, and as an intern at the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues have given her the experience and voice to have a global impact. Her passion for the subject carries over into her senior thesis, which tackled the role model effect and how socialization of adolescent girls into leadership affects their political ambitions. Rachel, who is also a Notre Dame Brennan Family Scholar and the recipient of this year’s Rev. Leonard Collins, CSC Award, will next be interning with Vital Voices Global Partnership in DC, working on women's leadership and gender equity initiatives.