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Fearless Notre Dame Students

Our archive of Fearless Notre Dame Students who will transform the world with their courageous spirit!

Picture of Amy Anand

Amy Tania Anand '18

Major: Pre-Pharmacy
Minor: Art
Hometown: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Who do you think is a fearless woman and why?  

I think Amy Carmichael is a fearless woman because she gave up her comfortable life in England and crossed oceans and continents to rescue innocent little boys and girls who were in danger.

What age do you feel right now and why?

I feel 12. A large part of me never wants to grow up, but the other part is still trying to shake it awake, telling it that time has moved on.

Which of your dreams can you make a reality?

I believe that I can become an artist and travel the world, helping people whatever way possible.

What did you learn today?

I learned a new digital art style today online!

If you could wake up one day having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

The ability to turn invisible. Sometimes it'd be nice to melt into the background (or scare friends!).

What makes you a fearless Notre Dame woman? 

I try to be kind and nice, and sometimes even brave, but it's still a work-in-progress!

Where's your favorite spot on campus to hangout/study?

My room or the Otenasek house for the quietness and solitude.

Picture of Zanobia Jones

Zanobia Jones '16

Major: Political Science & International Relations Concentration
Minor: Law & Civic Engagement and Peace & Justice
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Who do you think is a fearless woman and why?  

I think all of the Trailblazers, first generation college students, are fearless women. To go out into the world to pursue higher education, and not having any knowledge of the process and the way it can shape you is really scary. Every day, I thank the women before me who started the path and encourage my generation and the generation after me to not only continue that path, but forge other paths. 

What did you learn today?

My legal reasoning class forced me to look at a First Amendment case regarding a Klu Klux Klan member without bias and I learned that it is really difficult when reading a case to actually give my decision without my own personal bias. I have learned this semester that law looks at humanity as well as evidence and facts.

If you could wake up one day having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

I would want the ability to process words at a rapid rate in order to consume as much knowledge as possible.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I am most grateful for the people that I have in my life and the friends I have made. My family, my grandmother especially, has been so supporting in my move to Maryland and the course of study I have decided to take. The professors in the History/Political Science Department have taken me under their wing and given me amazing opportunities. Dr. Susan Barber, my partner in crime, has given me a second family. I have made fantastic friends while here at Notre Dame and I know that I will keep these friends after graduation. Truthfully, I don’t have enough pages to talk about what I am grateful for. 

How can you do better than the generations before you?

I don’t think it’s about being better per se, but I think that it’s about taking the foundation they have laid and building upon it, finding new innovative ways to mold it into something stronger. Some of the older generations say that social media and the Internet is destroying the young generation. Well, I say instead of talking about how it destroys our future, start using it to our advantage. Use it to promote future ambassadors, scientists, and educators. Talking negatively about something only drives home the message that it will always be that way.  I want my generation and others to look at the future in a more positive light. Yes, there are tragedies in the world. But wallowing in them doesn’t fix them. We need to actually do them.

What makes you a fearless Notre Dame woman?

I think I am a bit of an unorthodox Notre Dame Woman. As people know on campus, I am not afraid to speak my mind.  If I see that there is a problem, I will try to move heaven and earth to figure out the solution and to make sure it never happens again. In my opinion, Notre Dame Women  walk in beauty and carry a grace about them, but I also believe they have a fire within them that burns brightly throughout the world. I would like to think that I can join their ranks and make a difference. 

Where's your favorite spot on campus to hangout/study?

In term of studying, I love the first floor study area in Meletia. Usually, I can be found in someone’s room or on the 4th floor of Gibbons with the PoliSci professors.   

Image of Diana Sagastume

Diana Sagastume '17

Major: Physics & Engineering
Minor: Math
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

What age do you feel right now and why?

I feel 20 years old (my real age) because I feel like I'm stuck between being a teenager and an adult. Since at this age, sometimes you aren't treated as an adult but at the same time you are old enough to take on more responsibilities than before, so you aren't a teenager anymore.

Which of your dreams can you make a reality?

I believe that I can make my dream to become a Civil Engineer a reality. WIth hard work, determination and faith, anything is possible really.

What did you learn today?

I've learned that there is still a lot of racial discrimination and division in our society. Yes, there has been progress but I believe we can do much more about it.

How can you do better than the generations before you?

I believe that going to college as a Trailblazer and graduating is how I can do better than the generations before me. I hope to also inspire my future generations.

What makes you a fearless Notre Dame woman? 

I believe my determination to finish my studies, my goal at becoming a professional in a  male dominant field and my desire to make a better future for me and our society is what makes me a fearless Notre Dame woman. I feel that without the Notre Dame community, I wouldn't have that confidence I now have to pursue my goals.

Where's your favorite spot on campus to hangout/study?

I like the computer lounge in Knott that is next to the elevators. It's really convenient since there are computers that you can use as well as chairs if you want to sit and read/study. 

Ester Apraku Bondzie

Esther Apraku Bondzie '16

Major: Biology
Hometown: Accra, Ghana, Africa

Who do you think is a fearless woman and why?  

A fearless woman is an individual who inspires change through her personality and her sense of duty--she is an epitome of beauty.

What did you learn today?

"To try and to fail is not laziness" -Proverb

If you could wake up one day having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

The ability to have a grateful heart and a powerful mind.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I am most grateful for my parents and my family :)

What makes you a fearless Notre Dame woman?

God, my ambition and my optimism.

Where's your favorite spot on campus to hangout/study?

Gator Alley!

Image of Samantha Dameron

Samantha Dameron '15

Major: Philosophy
Minor: Women's Studies
Hometown: Lusby, Maryland, USA

Who do you think is a fearless woman and why?  

I think it’s important to be mindful about what it means to be fearless. I don’t think it’s wise, or even possible, to never be afraid of anything. I think having a sense of fear tells you that whatever you are about to do is difficult and important, and it’s good to pay attention to that feeling. Notre Dame women aren’t necessarily fearless in the sense that we lack fear. We still have a little voice inside us that says we are afraid, but we also have a stronger, clearer voice that tells us we are capable and ready to accept the challenge.

I think Dr. Jeana DelRosso is a great example of this kind of a fearless woman. This is her third year as director of the Morrissy Honors Program, and I have gotten to work very closely with her throughout that time as a Morrissy officer and as her TA. Watching Dr. DelRosso negotiate the challenges of her new position has inspired me and taught me so much about the true meaning of fearlessness.

What age do you feel right now and why?

I will try to refrain from giving a long philosophical answer about how time is a social construct and age is just a way to measure passing time. Instead, I will just say that I feel exactly my age, 22. Like all young adults, I am facing new freedoms, new responsibilities, and new opportunities, which is both exhilarating and a little scary. For a while, I wondered when I would start feeling “like an adult.” I realized what I meant is that I wondered when I would feel completely sure of myself all of the time, and I also realized that no one really feels this way—even responsible and accomplished people who seem to have everything figured out. We are all just working hard and doing our best as we go along. So, now I am trying not to worry so much about what being an adult means and what that should feel like. Instead, I am focusing on doing my best to balance planning for the future with handling what is in front of me.

Which of your dreams can you make a reality?

I am a first-generation college student, and for most of my life my only dream was to graduate from college. For a long time I doubted if it would it possible, but I am so close to seeing that dream come true. Now, I have a new list of dreams and the sense that I can make all of them a reality! I think the key is to take them one at a time--the dream I am currently focusing on is earning my doctorate in philosophy.

If you could wake up one day having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

I would love to just magically become fluent in every existing language. This would be very helpful in the fight for global justice, as well as for traveling in general. Also, this would be great for studying philosophy as much of it has been written in French and German. With this ability I could read anything, go anywhere, and talk to anyone!

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I feel most grateful for all the support I have received from my friends, family, and the Notre Dame community. If I have learned anything in the past few years it is that none of us accomplishes anything alone—we all need the love and support of others in order to grow and be successful. I am so grateful to have faced something as challenging as college in a community that is bursting with both love and support. I have never had the sense that I was trying to prove myself to anyone or that I was trying to compete with the other students. Rather, I have had the sense that we are all in this together and that my peers and professors want my success as much as I do. This sense of solidarity and support has allowed me to truly thrive during my time at Notre Dame, and I think the best way to show my gratitude is to continue to support others in their efforts however I can.

How can you do better than the generations before you?

All new generations benefit from a certain amount of historical distance that allows them to understand past events a little more clearly. I think the best way we can do better than previous generations is to learn as much as we can about the past, work to understand how that affects the present, and be vigilant about fighting injustice in the future. Previous generations have made a lot of progress, and we need to keep that momentum going—there is still a lot to be done!

What makes you a fearless Notre Dame woman?

Notre Dame has instilled in me a very strong sense of compassion, justice, and social responsibility. I think the drive to fight injustice, to work for a better world even when that task seems daunting and impossible, is what makes me a fearless Notre Dame woman.

Where's your favorite spot on campus to hangout/study?

When the weather is nice, I like to pack up my books and head to the gazebo. It is sort of tucked away, so there aren’t many distractions. Between attending class, going to work, and studying you can start to feel a bit cooped up, so it’s nice to be able to do at least one of these things outside.

Image of Katie Salim

Katie Salim '18

Major: Biology & Chemistry
Hometown: Ellicot City, Maryland, USA

Which of your dreams can you make a reality?

My dream career is to become a specialized pediatrician and I believe I can make this dream a reality. I am currently studying biology and chemistry and plan to continue on to medical school after Notre Dame. Being the oldest of four kids, I have grown to love children and it would be a dream to work in helping make them feel better. 

If you could wake up one day having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

Happiness is a quality that I wish I could harness every minute of everyday. I would love to wake up tomorrow with a sense of permanent happiness that allows me to see the positive in every situation, regardless of how negative it may seem at first. Happy people are the best people because the smallest conversation with a positive person can shape ones mood for the entire day. Having the ability to make others feel great about themselves would be the greatest reward associated with this happiness. 

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I feel most grateful for my family because they whole-heartedly supported me in my endeavors and have helped me through my first couple months of college. Coming from a big family I have grown very close to my siblings and being away from them has been difficult, but my friends and teammates here at school have been extremely welcoming. Notre Dame is a home away from home for me!

What makes you a fearless Notre Dame woman?

While I have only been here for a few months, I feel as though I have already gained my voice. I now feel confident in myself and know that I always have my Notre Dame family to support me in my current and future endeavors. I came to Notre Dame expecting to major in biology and solely focus on school, however I have become involved in numerous activities on campus. I am now a double science major, soccer and lacrosse athlete, Morrissy Honors Student, SGA secretary and will be a community assistant (CA/RA) next year. This involvement in campus has aided in my time management, communication skills, and leadership responsibilities. These attributes combined with my newfound  confidence make me a fearless Notre Dame woman.

Where's your favorite spot on campus to hangout/study?

My favorite spot on campus to study is the common room on the second floor and the Academic Building (UAB) because it is very quiet and easy to form study groups. My friends and I like hanging out in our hallway and the team room in MBK!

Elizabeth Joy Schachterle '17

Major: Pre-Nursing 
Hometown: Leonardtown, Maryland, USA

What age do you feel right now and why?

I recently just celebrated my 20th birthday on March 13th, but I'm not really feeling 20 yet! I think I'm still stuck as feeling like an 18 year old, as if the world is my oyster and I can accomplish anything. The responsibilities and maturity of being a twenty-something haven't really caught up to me yet.

What did you learn today?

I always try to learn something new or absorb some sort of daily mantra from attending daily Mass at Marikle Chapel. From Fr. Joe's homily today, I learned that salvation doesn't come from simply doing right and wrong actions. While doing right and wrong is definitely important to our daily lives, simply striving to love our neighbor unconditionally is how we receive mercy from our God who loves us unconditionally. 

If you could wake up one day having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

If I could wake up tomorrow and gain the ability to no longer need sleep, that would be great. I'm already the type of person that needs about twelve hours of sleep and a nap to function each day, and I wish that I could spend all of that time doing something more productive instead. 

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I'm most grateful for having been given the chance to have family and friends who love me. 

Where's your favorite spot on campus to hangout/study?

My favorite spot on campus to study is the third floor room in the University Academic Building (UAB). It's a great spot for internet, and is usually incredibly quiet. There's also a really great view of campus outside of the large floor-to-ceiling windows. It's very calming up there.

Photo of Alex Filsinger

Alex Filsinger '17

Double Major: English Literature & Communication Arts
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Who do you think is a fearless woman and why?  

One of the most fearless women I know is Samantha Dameron. She is a constant source of encouragement and positivity for me. I admire Samantha for her dedication to learning and her ability to constantly achieve amazing things, even in the face of adversity. Samantha is also incredibly giving of her time, motivational speeches, and random reminders that she is on your side. 

What age do you feel right now and why?

Would it be too cliché to say that I feel so much older than I am? Sometimes there are days when I feel very young an inexperienced. Then there are other days when my confidence is at an all time high, and I feel capable of near anything. I think age is a tricky thing in college because it all starts to blur together a bit. I have classes with people twice my age and then the same age as my little brother. It depends on the day for me. 

Which of your dreams can you make a reality?

It might be a naive thought, but I persist under the belief that all of my dreams can be a reality. I have realistic goals that I’m working hard towards. Presently, I am intending to go into intellectual property law and work in publishing fictional novels. I have always wanted to be a lawyer, and I think I’ve finally found my field. 

What did you learn today?

Today I learned about the value of looking back. I went to the Institute of Notre Dame for high school, as did my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother before me. My mother and I spent this morning volunteering for the upcoming Spring gala. I was able to walk around my old school and say hello to former teachers. I love going back because it always feels familiar.

If you could wake up one day having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

I really want to be able to fly - either just by sheer force of will or with great big wings. 

How can you do better than the generations before you?

I think one of the greatest challenges that is constantly being faced is a societal resistance to accepting one another. I want to promote a broad level of acceptance that previous generations have denied those they see as different from themselves. 

What makes you a fearless Notre Dame woman? 

I think a truly fearless women doesn’t wait for approval to seek success. I was surprised to hear that I was being interviewed for this, because there are plenty of things that stress me out. However, I have always wanted to push boundaries and face challenges head-on. I think that for me, fearlessness is a determination to succeed no matter what. 

Where's your favorite spot on campus to hangout/study?

I like hanging out in my room with two of my friends, Lauren Romagnano and Sloan Clark. Honestly, the best pace on campus is sitting around with them just talking about how our day went or what we have coming up on the weekend.