The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study Announces its 2023-2024 Class of Undergraduate Ethics Research Fellows

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The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS) has selected 10 Notre Dame sophomores for its 2023-2024 Ethics Research Fellowship (ERF) Program. After a competitive process that assessed each applicant’s research potential, interdisciplinary interest, and commitment to collaboration, these students were selected to join the scholarly community of the NDIAS for the coming academic year.

The ERF Program provides training for second-year undergraduates who are passionate about research for the common good. ERFs develop their research and communication skills and expand their scholarly and professional networks–all within the interdisciplinary community of NDIAS. In the first semester, ERFs attend weekly ethics research workshops and take a fully-funded research vision trip to London over fall break. During second semester, ERFs are connected with a Notre Dame faculty mentor with whom they’ll work as a research assistant.

"Our ERF cohort this year represents the best and brightest future ethicists from across campus,” said Meghan Sullivan, Director of the NDIAS and the Wilsey Family College Professor of Philosophy. “This year, they will not only level up in their research skills, they will also be extensively mentored as they pursue a major ethics research project within their major and work to find breakthroughs in some of the most vexing questions of our time. We are proud of these sophomores and excited to welcome them as the inaugural cohort in this expanded research program."

In addition to building their research skills through weekly seminars, study abroad experiences, and mentorship with Notre Dame faculty, ERFs are provided ethics research training with NDIAS staff and campus partners. This training is designed to help them develop a critical ethical component to their research projects and understand and apply ethical theory to moral issues.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome these 10 fellows into our institute,” said Jeff Tolly, NDIAS Assistant Director of Educational Initiatives. “Their creativity and openness to grappling with pressing moral issues stood out throughout the application and interview process. We’re ready to hit the ground running to help them build undergraduate thesis projects that push forward key ethical debates.”

Undergraduate fellows receive a stipend of $1,100 for their participation in the program and are incorporated into the NDIAS’s roster of events and activities for the year, including guest lectures, research workshops, film screenings, and community gatherings.

The 2023-2024 NDIAS Undergraduate Research Fellows are:

Meera Bhakta - Science Pre-Professional Studies, International Development Studies
Kaden Cunningham - Economics, Sustainability
Elena Ding - Philosophy, Physics
Marcelo Guzman Aguirre - Economics, Spanish
Jun Wei Lee - History, Philosophy
Edward Nagler - Political Science, Business Economics
Melissa Osorio - Sociology, Latino Studies
Nazwin Palines - Theology, Philosophy
Miriam Rice - Music, Program of Liberal Studies
James Thompson - Sociology, Peace Studies

Learn more about the NDIAS undergraduate ethics research fellowship program at

About the NDIAS:

The NDIAS convenes an interdisciplinary group of faculty fellows, top doctoral candidates, and undergraduate scholars to study questions that engage the complex ethical challenges of our time and affect our ability to lead valuable, meaningful lives. To learn more, please visit

Jeff Tolly / Assistant Director of Educational Initiatives
Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study / University of Notre Dame / 574.631.4838 / @NotreDameIAS

About Notre Dame Research:

The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see or @UNDResearch.

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