Kate Shaw (Class of 2026)

Author: Lisa Gallagher

Kate Shaw, a global affairs major and peace studies minor, is one of two undergraduate peace studies student ambassadors this academic year. In this student profile, she shares how she got connected to Notre Dame, what she loves about peace studies, and how her role as a student ambassador helps further the mission of the Kroc Institute.

What led you to study at Notre Dame?

I am fortunate enough to have been born and raised not just as a Notre Dame football fan, but as a fan of Notre Dame as a top-notch academic institution, a love that stems from my dad’s side of the family. Notre Dame admitted my dad when he was my age, but due to financial reasons, he couldn’t afford to attend. When I was accepted and given the opportunity to visit campus during Admitted Student Days, it was a no-brainer that I was meant to be here. I’m forever grateful, and it feels really special to study here--not just for me, but for my family. Additionally, I was attracted to the new Global Affairs major offered at the Keough School of Global Affairs; I hadn’t seen a major like this before. It felt like the perfect fit for my ambitions and passions.

What led you to peace studies? How did you get connected with the Kroc Institute?

I was first introduced to peace studies in my Introduction to Global Affairs and Integral Human Development class the first semester of my freshman year. Students were then encouraged to take the course, Introduction to Peace Studies, if that field interested us, and I fell in love with it. I declared the peace studies minor at the end of the semester!

Apart from studying peace, I also work at the Kroc Institute as one of its undergraduate student ambassadors. Being a student ambassador allows me to work closely with the assistant director for academic administration and undergraduate studies, Anna Van Overberghe, as we find ways to promote the undergraduate program in peace studies. This entails representing the undergraduate program at academic fairs and events, such as Admitted Student Days; posting program posters around campus; doing outreach to other student clubs and organizations; and gathering updates from students about their involvement with activities related to peace studies. I am in the process of conducting short presentations about the peace studies program to relevant classes, to encourage students to consider Kroc’s supplementary major and interdisciplinary minor. I also write faculty spotlight profiles for the monthly undergraduate newsletter.

I believe in the work that the Kroc Institute is doing--its work that is critically needed. Representing the program gives me the opportunity to contribute to Kroc’s goals and initiatives while showing others the amazing academic and career opportunities the peace studies curriculum has to offer.

What are some of the exciting opportunities you’ve experienced through your peace studies curriculum?

This March, I will be co-leading a delegation of Notre Dame students in Washington, DC, where we’ll join other student groups from around the country to work with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) lobbying Congress to pass the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act (S. 1723). The Kroc Institute alerted me to this opportunity, and I’m excited to work with an organization that is committed to expanding peace and justice. This will be my first time on Capitol Hill, so I’m looking forward to this experience!

Last semester, I took Visualizing Global Change as a Global Affairs elective with Dr. Tamara Kay, professor of global affairs and sociology, and completed a short film/photography project documenting an adult digital assistance class at La Casa de Amistad. I’m interested in promoting education equity and opportunities for children and other populations impacted by conflict or harsh life conditions, including immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. This is something that both the global affairs and peace studies programs have prepared me to do, and being able to attend the digital assistance class at La Casa gave me the opportunity to meet amazing people and learn how to successfully expand educational access.

I look forward to completing internships with Enseña por México and Leer México Read in Mexico City this summer as a part of the Global Professional Experience program. Both experiences support education equity, and I will have a hand in training, program design, and hands-on group activities, including teaching English.

I am also very excited to study abroad in Ireland at Trinity College Dublin in the fall!

Do you have a sense of how you would like to use your peace studies degree upon graduation?

I have a strong desire to promote education equity and access (spanning from K-12 to career/technical schools to adult education). Currently, I have interest in working for an NGO in a project management role, but I also have interest in working at the governmental and intergovernmental level, as well, such as at the United Nations.

I truly believe that increased access to quality, comprehensive and equitable education for everyone is the key to progressing as a global society, and I hope to play a positive role in this in the future.