When you first arrive at Notre Dame, the Student Activities Office (SAO) puts on a huge activities night inside the JACC. Booths line the walls and the spaces in between with clubs trying to get your attention and your membership. This is where you will meet your first super clingy friend at Notre Dame: the listserv.
Essentially a mailing list, clubs use listservs to email information out to of all their members and anyone who may randomly sign up. They are extremely useful things, but beware, when you run through activities night signing up for every club in sight, it is going to take you hours to go through all the emails you’ll receive!
I was one of those happy-go-lucky freshmen who signed up for a good ten clubs or so. The reason I bring listservs up at all is that I actually attended my very first event hosted by the SMBB (Society for Mind, Brain and Behavior) club called a “Neural Networking” event. Even though I have been a member of the club all year but hadn’t attended any meetings whatsoever, they were more than welcoming and my early fall obsession with getting my name on listservs proved fruitful. It was a fun night at Legends getting to talk to different professors about their work so I thought I would share a blurb on each of the professors I talked to and a bit about their research.
First comes Dr. Augustin Fuentes, an anthropologist. Dr. Fuentes is going on sabbatical for the next year so he doesn’t have any research spots open but his goals are vastly applicable. He is trying to bring several different fields of study together including biology, anthropology, math and philosophy. It is his mission to merge them so that each individual researcher can gain the most insight through working with other fields. He was a great conversationalist so if you get a chance, take a class of his or do research with him!
The next professor I was able to speak with was a Mr. Milano. He works with psychology students, graduates and 23 inch tall robots with children diagnosed with varying degrees of Autism. He also has worked using Wii balance boards for stroke victims. He was very passionate about his work and seemed to have a lot of student involvement so I highly recommend working with him.
Lastly, I spoke with Joseph O’Tousa, a biology teacher at our wonderful university. He specializes in working with Drosphilia (common fruit fly for the non-science majors) and on how vision impairment in drosphilia can be useful in determining the causes for vision issues in humans. His claim to fame is that he actually discovered the first neurodegenerative disease relating to vision in drosphilia. I am thrilled to be able to take him for a biology class next semester.
In conclusion, even if it seems crazy, if you are willing to sift through countless emails, sign up for as many clubs and listservs as you can. (All within reason of course.) You never know when something on your calendar will open up and you can go to your first event — even if it is in the last three weeks of the school year.
For more information on research at Notre Dame check out http://www.nd.edu/research/ and click through the professors to see if they are looking for students for a project you are interested in. Happy researching!