Young to head Galvin Science and Engineering Scholars program

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Kelley M.H. Young, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been named as the new director of the Mary E. Galvin Science and Engineering Scholars Program, effective July 1, 2021.

“I am incredibly excited to be working with these amazing students. Last fall I was able to teach a section of the Galvin Scholars and witness firsthand their intellect, drive, and amazing ability to form a community, even during a pandemic,” Young said. “When I was asked to be the new director of the program, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Co-created by the former dean for whom the program is now named, the initiative started as a pilot program to bolster the academic success of students majoring in science and engineering. During its first year, 45 students were invited to participate. This past year the program expanded to 80 students, and will continue with 80 for the 2021–2022 academic year.

“What we’re looking forward to is getting back on track with having them participate in social events (that took place pre-pandemic), and tie those to some academic and life lesson type of study skills, like how can you look for an internship? How can you look for a research group?” Young said. “We’ll co-op those social events to help them along the way in continuing to build upon what they’re going to do at Notre Dame.”

Young will succeed Malgorzata Dobrowolska-Furdyna, the Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C. Professor of Physics. Another co-creator of the program who is retiring, Dobrowolska-Furdyna was hired at the University of Notre Dame in 1987. She previously recounted that for years as associate dean of undergraduate studies she wanted to do more for students. That is when she partnered with Galvin, who also felt strongly about finding a way to assist and retain motivated students. Dobrowolska-Furdyna, Galvin, and Dan Gezelter, professor of chemistry and current associate dean for undergraduate studies for the College of Science, brought the Science and Engineering Scholars program to fruition in 2018.

The program was endowed at the end of 2020 when Galvin stepped down from her role as dean, and it was renamed the Mary E. Galvin Science and Engineering Scholars Program at that time.

Students who can benefit from the program are identified during the admissions process, and are invited to apply. The Galvin Scholars program features small sections of calculus, chemistry, and physics which can help students thrive in STEM fields.

Dobrowolska-Furdyna said she has enjoyed serving as director of the program and strongly believes in its mission. Young knows the students “and she loves them, and that is the most important requirement for that position,” Dobrowolska-Furdyna said.

“I have peace in my heart that the program will be in good hands,” she said.

Dobrowolska-Furdyna helped develop and nurture the first three cohorts of Galvin Scholars, and has become a trusted mentor to many of these students, Gezelter said. He believes Young is an excellent choice to continue to guide the students.

“She is a gifted chemical educator with a real talent for making all of her students feel welcome in the class. Her lectures are very engaging, clear, and helpful,” he said. “She cares deeply for all of her students, and develops an excellent rapport in both large and small classes.”

Young said she is looking forward to continuing to support the students during their time at Notre Dame.

“Margaret and Dan and Mary set such a great format for what this program looks like, so I’m really excited to continue on that path,” she said. “This is a program that I myself would have benefited from, so I hope that my own experiences can be a positive contribution to the growth of the program.”