2020 Naughton awardees announced

Author: Joanne Fahey

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Editor's note: Four of the Naughton Fellows are in the ESTEEM Class of 2021.


Twenty-three students and faculty have been announced as awardees of the Naughton Fellowships for 2020.

The mission of the fellowships, which were founded in 2008 with a gift from the Naughton family, is to facilitate broad cross-cultural training for exceptional students with leadership potential in STEM fields, stimulate collaborative research among the engineers and scientists who train these students, and forge deeper and stronger ties between Ireland and the U.S.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many of this year’s awardees have been impacted by travel restrictions. Speaking about this unprecedented year and its impact on the fellows, Brian Baker, Rev. John A. Zahm Professor of Structural Biology and director of the Naughton Fellowships, said, “Although this year’s fellowships look quite different than in the past, we are proud of our students and scholars and the work they are doing to advance STEM discoveries in their respective fields. We are so very thankful to the Naughton family for their continued support of this program, especially during these challenging days.”

The 2020 Naughton Fellowship awardees are as follows:


For the first time, faculty have been awarded Naughton Fellowships through the Faculty Research Accelerator program. The mission of the program is to catalyze and support collaborations at the leading research universities of Ireland and the University of Notre Dame in order to foster deeper and stronger ties between both the institutions and the two countries. 

The five inaugural awardees are:

Kyle Bibby and Matt Champion of the University of Notre Dame, together with Colin Hill of University College Cork (UCC), for a project entitled, “Capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) to improve virome resolution.”

Laoise McNamara of the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), together with Glen Nieber of Notre Dame, for a project aiming to identify biomechanical cues in bone, which affect metastatic tumor growth for the identification of potential biological or mechanical means to prevent or reverse metastatic bone disease.

Due to the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions, it is anticipated that in-person, collaborative research will be delayed for the immediate future.


Aisling Cahill, who has an electronic and computer engineering degree from NUIG, will complete the Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters (ESTEEM) program at Notre Dame.

Harry Crowley, who holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in mechanical engineering, will complete the ESTEEM program at Notre Dame.

Cara Fitzpatrick, a Notre Dame pre-professional studies and psychology major, will complete a master’s degree in biomedical sciences in neuroscience at NUIG.

Mary Glass, a neuroscience and behavior major at Notre Dame, will complete a master’s degree in clinical neuroscience at NUIG.

Alannah Hill, a UCC graduate in process and chemical engineering, will complete the ESTEEM program at Notre Dame.

Shay O’Malley, a biomedical engineering graduate from NUIG will complete the ESTEEM program at Notre Dame.

Gemma Stanton, a Notre Dame civil engineering major, will complete a master of engineering and science in water, waste, and environment at University College Dublin (UCD).

Vy Sanders, a neuroscience and behavior major at Notre Dame, will complete a master of science in cognitive science at UCD.

While the coronavirus pandemic continues, it is anticipated that all selected students will attend their individual programs either in person or remotely depending on what their relevant universities require.


This year, 10 undergraduate students were awarded summer fellowships to complete a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, either in Ireland or at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, these programs were unable to proceed.

However, the names of the students who were awarded these fellowships are as follows:

From Notre Dame

Joseph Dragonjac

Claire King

Christina Minetos

Nora Nelson

Margaret Roccato

John Sayut

John Swift

Jack Walsh

From Ireland

Tadhg Crowley

Oran McElligott

Speaking about the cancellations of the REU Program, Baker said, “For those students who had their research experiences abroad cancelled, we commend them for the grace with which they handled this disappointment. We hope that this is not the end of the road for their Naughton Fellowship experiences and we encourage them to consider the program again in the future.”

The Naughton Fellowship Program allows students with a background in, or aptitude for, STEM fields to experience international research and educational opportunities through a funded exchange program involving the University of Notre Dame and some of Ireland’s leading research universities. Irish undergraduates, Masters students, and Ph.D. candidates can come to Notre Dame on the fellowship, while Notre Dame undergraduates, masters students, and Ph.D. candidates can travel to Ireland to study and complete research.

For more information, including how to apply, please see naughton.nd.edu.


Originally published by Joanne Fahey at naughton.nd.edu on June 24, 2020.