Center for Social Concerns awards community impact grants for the fall 2021 semester

By: JP Shortall

November 2, 2021

The Center for Social Concerns has selected Community Impact Grant recipients for the Fall 2021 semester. Grants are awarded to faculty and students doing community-engaged work that advances human dignity, solidarity, and the common good, values central to Catholic social tradition and the center’s mission. The grants were awarded based upon a proposal submission and selection process and are part of the center’s continuing effort to support collaboration between campus and community partners for social justice impact.

Mary Ann McDowell, professor of biological sciences, Department of Biological Sciences and Eck Institute of Global Health, Jennifer Robichaud, associate teaching professor of Biological Sciences and director of undergraduate studies, Sam Rund, research assistant professor, Center for Research Computing, and Michelle Huang, graduate student in the integrated biomedical sciences program were awarded $4,500 for “Vector Surveillance Collaboration between University of Notre Dame and St. Joseph County Health Department.” The project will expand the already successful pilot program of trapping, counting, and identifying mosquitoes trapped at Spicer Lake Nature Preserve for testing for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus. The program will expand to include additional trapping localities and will involve tick collection, identification, and testing for the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease and Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis.

Kyle Moon, undergraduate research assistant in Neuroscience and Behavior, Marya Lieberman, professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Heidi Beidinger-Burnett, associate professor of the practice, Department of Biological Sciences, Ornella Joseph, graduate student in Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Mike Coman, president of Monroe Park Neighborhood Association were awarded $10,000 for “Mulch Madness and More: Formation of a Community-Based Participatory Research Network to Remediate Environmental Lead Hazards in South Bend, Indiana.” The grant will support initiatives over two years, including community events to remediate soil lead and lead-based paint, an application counselor program to provide technical assistance in accessing City funding for lead remediation and abatement, and an evaluation of the City’s grant program to provide recommendations to increase the number of homes receiving funding.

Margie Pfeil, board president of Our Lady of the Road, associate teaching professor, Department of Theology and Center for Social Concerns, Kelli Reagan Hickey, research coordinator, Center for Social Concerns, and Jon Schommer, executive director of Our Lady of the Road received an award of $2,400 for “Mapping Best Practices regarding Low-Barrier Intake Centers.” The project seeks to create more conversation on the broad issue of homelessness and affordable housing in the South Bend area by having a webinar involving practitioners from other cities with well-established low-barrier shelters and experts from the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate and the Lab for Economic Opportunities to elucidate best practices around the creation and operation of low-barrier facilities. 

Current graduate student researchers with Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Virginia Rodriguez, Frances Zengotita, and Manuel R. Vejar, along with Ginger E. Sigmon, managing director of Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy), Anne B. Pillai, education and outreach associate program director of ND Energy, Velshonna Luckey, director of outreach and partnership development, United Way, and Kimberly G. Reeves, director of community health and community benefit with Beacon Health Systems received an award of $5,000 for “Uplifting Research Opportunity & College Readiness: (UROC Readiness).” The project seeks to provide research experience and professional development from the University of Notre Dame to low-income, first-generation, and ethnic/racial minority high school students in the South Bend area to increase the diversity in both higher education institutions and the workforce as it pertains to STEM fields, in which minorities are typically underrepresented.

Nicole MacLaughlin, associate teaching professor with the University Writing Program received an award of $2,272 for “Writing and Rhetoric 13200: Write South Bend.” The course will run in the Spring 2022 semester. Students will choose from a variety of education and literacy based service assignments, including Shakespeare Club, after school tutoring, English as a New Language Pre-school, and Take Ten Anti-Violence Program, all of which are housed at the Robinson Community Learning Center. 

Community Impact Grant proposals are reviewed once in the fall and once in the spring. The next round of grants will open December 13, 2021 and end on February 14, 2022. Applicants may request grants up to $15,000. For more information on grants, please visit the grants webpage.

Contact: JP Shortall, director of communications and advancement, (574) 631-3209,


View All Events

Upcoming Events

May 2022

Graduate Summer Institute for Engaged Research and Teaching
Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 12:00am to Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 11:45pm

June 2022

ND Explores STEM: Healthcare
Friday, June 3, 2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Information Session | RISE: Hometown
Thursday, June 9, 2022 - 7:00pm
Preferred Application Deadline | Graduate Fellowship
Wednesday, June 15, 2022 - 12:00am to 11:45pm
Information Session | RISE: South Bend
Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 7:00pm

September 2022

Pathways Out of Poverty: Venture Creation and Contemporary Europe
Wednesday, September 7, 2022 - 11:00am to 1:00pm