Peace Studies Seniors Selected for 2016 Yarrow Award

Author: Anna Van Overberghe

The Kroc Institute is pleased to announce Notre Dame seniors Teresa Kennedy and Connor Hayes as the recipients of the 2016 Yarrow Award in Peace Studies. Kennedy, an anthropology and peace studies major from Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and Hayes, a political science and peace studies major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will accept their awards at the Kroc Institute’s undergraduate recognition ceremony on May 13.

The Yarrow Award is given annually to peace studies undergraduates who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to service in peace and justice.  Recipients have records of outstanding academic accomplishment in both peace studies and other academic pursuits, as well as strong histories of leadership and public service and career goals that reflect a dedication to work for peace and justice beyond graduation.

“Teresa and Connor have distinguished themselves through their impressive academic records and sustained commitment to promoting justice and peace in the world,” said Ernesto Verdeja, professor of political science and director of undergraduate studies at the Kroc Institute. “Their work is a reflection of the highest values of the Kroc Institute, and I have no doubt they will continue to make important contributions to peace after leaving Notre Dame.”

Teresa Kennedy has volunteered locally as a tutor and a mentor to high school students through the Robinson Community Learning Center. She is the founder of Fighting Together, a cancer survivors club on campus that encourages and mentors children in a local pediatric oncology unit.  Internationally, she has done service work with organizations in Peru and Chile and conducted independent research on topics ranging from alternative strategies for refugee housing (Germany) to indigenous land and identity (Chile) and cultural preservation (England).  Kennedy also served for several years as president of Human Rights ND and last summer completed an investigative internship with Human Rights Watch in New York City.

Connor Hayes founded PrismND, Notre Dame’s first recognized LGBTQ club, and has volunteered as a peer educator with the Gender Relations Center on campus.  He has served internationally in Peru, where he worked with Pro World Service Corps on women’s health and economic empowerment in Peru, and in Ireland, where he volunteered for the YesEquality campaign to promote marriage equality.  He has conducted independent research on various aspects of the LGBTQ rights movements in Ireland and the United States and recently completed a summer internship with the Center for American Progress, assisting in various media and communication efforts to raise awareness of the connection between faith and public policy. Connor is also a Kellogg Institute for International Studies International Scholar.

Kennedy and Hayes are also members of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program for leadership development.

After graduation, Kennedy will return to her hometown to teach English as a Second Language at her former high school while pursuing career opportunities in peacebuilding related to indigenous rights, dialogue, and conflict resolution. Hayes will complete a year of service with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in Portland, Oregon.  He hopes to attend law school and eventually pursue a career in public interest law.

Contact: Ernesto Verdeja,