As a medical anthropologist, Notre Dame associate professor Vania Smith-Oka is interested in how larger institutions shape the lives of the people who interact within them. In her current research, she wants to know how some medical professionals, tasked with caring for patients, create a system that abuses some of their most vulnerable patients. She and graduate students are spending time in hospitals and doctor’s offices in Mexico to understand how such a culture evolves.
When summer comes, Notre Dame students travel around the world — to build their language and cultural skills, undertake independent research, and explore career options — growing intellectually and emotionally along the way. With funding from a wide range of sources, three Arts and Letters students spent last summer researching racism in Paris, interning at the U.S. Embassy in Benin, and speaking Swahili on the streets of Tanzania. Deadlines for applications for summer research, internship, and language immersion funding are fast approaching, with some due at the end of January.