Notre Dame Institute For Advanced Study Announces 2020-2021 Class Of Fellows

June 23, 2020

The University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS) has selected 9 scholars to join its 2020-2021 class of faculty fellows. For the first time, NDIAS programming has been organized around a theme, with this year’s fellows focusing on the Nature of Trust

Each fellow is completing a substantial research project investigating dimensions of trust from a broad range of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, anthropology, political science, history, philosophy, and engineering. Fellows include top researchers from universities such as the University of Oxford and the University of Virginia in addition to a renowned science fiction author and faculty from the University of Notre Dame.

“We are thrilled to welcome this incredible cohort of scholars to campus,” said Meghan Sullivan, director of the NDIAS and the Rev. John A. O’Brien Collegiate Professor of Philosophy. “Every one of them is working on a project with great promise for helping us diagnose why institutions are failing to be trustworthy, what kinds of interventions improve trust, and why trust is such a core value. These scholars are working on projects with the capacity to transform our understanding of democracies, the economy, the internet, and the church. It is an exciting time to be at the NDIAS.”

 The 2020-2021 class of NDIAS fellows are:

  • Katlyn Carter, visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, for her study, “Truth and Trust in the Age of Revolutions.”
  • Sara Konrath, associate professor of philanthropic studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, for her research, “Changes over Time in Empathic, Generous, and Trusting Behaviors in the United States.”
  • Aaron Michka, C.S.C., doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Michigan, for his study, “Un-Islamic: Christian Life and Religious Difference in an Upper Egyptian Society.”
  • Hollie Nyseth Brehm, associate professor of sociology at The Ohio State University, for her research, “Reentry and Reintegration of People Convicted of Genocide.”
  • Robert Orsi, Grace Craddock Nagle Chair of Catholic Studies and professor of religious studies, history, and American studies at Northwestern University, for his project, “Give Us Boys.” Orsi’s fellowship is co-sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism.
  • Walter J. Scheirer, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame, for his research, “Those Who See, Think They Know Beyond Mistake: Visual Media and Trust.”
  • Thomas W. Simpson, associate professor of philosophy and public policy at the University of Oxford, for his study, “Faith, Flag, Family: Sources of Civic Trust.”
  • Denise Walsh, associate professor of politics and women, gender & sexuality at the University of Virginia, for her project, “Weaponizing Rights: The Politics of Debating Culture and Women’s Rights in Liberal States.”

In addition to this cohort, science fiction writer Ted Chiang will join the NDIAS as an Artist in Residence during the academic year. Chiang has received numerous awards, including Nebula, Hugo, and Locus awards, and is known for critically-acclaimed stories such as “Tower of Babylon” and “Story of Your Life,” which was adapted into the science fiction film “Arrival.” Chiang will spend three one-week periods throughout the fall and spring semesters on campus and participate in a collaborative two-day workshop presented by the NDIAS and the Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center.

The incoming NDIAS fellowship class will pilot a new communication skill-building initiative in the form of a three-day public presentation workshop led by the Duarte Group and a two-day public writing workshop led by an editor of The New York Times. NDIAS fellows will then put these enhanced communications skills into practice during the institute’s weekly seminars.

The institute will organize other programming throughout the year to supplement its fellows’ investigation of trust, including a distinguished lecture series that will feature Susan Choi, winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction for her book Trust Exercise.

NDIAS faculty fellows receive a fellowship stipend, a research allowance, subsidized housing, a private office at the institute, and research support from Notre Dame undergraduate research assistants. The NDIAS will begin accepting applications for 2021-2022 faculty fellowships during the summer of 2020. To learn more about the faculty fellowship program and the institute, please visit

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Kristian Olsen / Fellowships, Outreach, and Operations Program Manager

Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study / University of Notre Dame / 574.631.2830 / @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.

About the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study:

The NDIAS convenes an interdisciplinary group of faculty fellows, top doctoral candidates, and undergraduate scholars to study questions that require a joint focus, benefit from sustained research and discussion, and advance our understanding on core issues that affect our ability to lead valuable, meaningful lives. To learn more, please visit

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