Celebrating the A&L Class of 2023: Three stories of student preparation and purpose

Author: Carrie Gates and Tracy DeStazio

These three Arts and Letters students are among the 3,200 students who will earn degrees Commencement weekend at the University of Notre Dame. The complete stories of these scholars, as well as other outstanding members of the Class of 2023, are on the University website.

Abigail Jorgensen

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While pursuing her doctorate in sociology — studying women’s transition to motherhood and how it shapes their identities and political views — Abigail Jorgensen took home her newborn in the midst of the pandemic. A few months later she contracted COVID-19 and sustained months of debilitating and terrifying symptoms, but she never lost her sense of purpose or her passion for her research. Her dissertation project, “Becoming the Mommy Politic,” examines the political behavior of three groups of women: mothers, those seeking or intending to become mothers, and those who do not wish to become mothers. Jorgensen will continue the longitudinal study at Saint Louis University, where she’ll be an assistant professor of sociology and health care ethics.

Austin Wyman 

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Austin Wyman came to Notre Dame knowing he wanted to pursue a career in mental health and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. The psychology major and theology minor didn’t have to wait until he entered the workforce to make an impact. He worked in two University psychology labs, completed a senior thesis researching what makes people more likely to seek help for mental health issues and served as president of Active Minds at Notre Dame, a student group dedicated to changing the conversation around mental health. Wyman will continue at Notre Dame as a doctoral student in quantitative psychology, with plans to develop a screening assessment to predict police misconduct in incoming police candidates.

Blake Ziegler

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Blake Ziegler wanted to be at a university that invested in him to grow spiritually, personally, and socially into a holistic person — one who can do good things for the world and find personal fulfillment. The double honors major in political science and philosophy pursued research interests in constitutional law concerning religious liberty and the relationship between politics and religion. He also was on the teaching team for God and the Good Life, an introductory philosophy course taught to more than 600 students per semester that explains the role of philosophy in everyday life through dialogue-based instruction and digital technology. Following graduation, Ziegler will teach social studies at the Delores Taylor Arthur School for Young Men




Originally published by Carrie Gates and Tracy DeStazio at al.nd.edu on May 17, 2023.