Domers in the news

Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.

Fashion designer probably was not on the list of career goals for Dava Newman ’86 when she studied aerospace engineering at Notre Dame. The aeronautics and astronautics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has certainly stepped to the head of the class these days, as she was nominated in October for the post of NASA’s deputy administrator, the agency’s #2 leadership role. But Newman is also part of an MIT team working on a new space suit, and she is known for showing up at talks she gives to schoolchildren wearing the Bio-Suit, a stretchy space suit that fits close to the body and doesn’t weigh 300 pounds. . . . Blue Panther Games recently published Quorsum, a board game developed by brothers Will Erickson ’10 and Steve Erickson ’13. The quick, two-player, strategic racing game, says Will, was “loosely inspired during a chem class at ND taught by Professor [Joseph] Marino.”. . . . “It was such an enjoyable experience,” Heidi Rocha Witte ’09, ’11M.Ed. said of her September Wheel of Fortune appearance, “and what a treat to be part of an historic episode.” It was memorable because a contestant on that day’s show won a million dollars. Although it wasn’t Witte, the Los Angeles reading teacher took home $13,800 for 30 minutes of solving word puzzles. . . . Jim Hamilton ’94 of Wilmington, Delaware, found the going a little difficult in his October appearance on Jeopardy!, winning $1,000 for coming in third on the popular answer-and-question show. . . . Just to round things out, another Domer showed up in October on the new Sports Jeopardy! online trivia game, which debuted in September on Crackle, a streaming video service. Betsy Schroeder ’04, a veterinary student from Blacksburg, Virginia, beat out two contestants for the $5,000 first-place award. . . . The self-described “portly man,” who loves burgers, barbecue and bourbon, doesn’t fancy “tweezer foods” and won’t shy from controversy, is setting a new place these days as restaurant editor for Esquire. For Josh Ozersky ’96M.A., that place is wherever his travels take him, as he checks out eateries in cities and towns around the country. One of his first duties was to name the magazine’s 2014 Best New Restaurants in America. And one of the slots on that October list went to Chicago’s Nico Osteria, whose head chef happens to be Erling Wu-Bower ’05. . . . It took nearly 50 years, but an Irish golf alumnus once again qualified for a PGA Tour event. Mark Baldwin ’06, the 2005 Big East Player of the Year, earned entry in the October Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which was played in Las Vegas. He finished out of the money, then moved on to the European Tour Qualifying School. . . . In September, Greg Andrews ’14 competed in the Inaugural American Collegiate Invitational in Flushing Meadows, New York. Although he was defeated, he can still celebrate the fact that last May the Intercollegiate Tennis Association honored him with its Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship and Leadership Award. . . . Following his own advice, Dr. Michael Blaha ’01 tries to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. In a Hopkins Medicine profile of the director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, the father of three daughters says, “My ulterior motive for studying heart disease is so I can figure out how to be healthy and strong for as long as my girls need me.” . . . A short essay on what college football means to him by Georgia resident Tom Darrow ’87 won him and his wife, Anne, a place in the “First 100 in the Hall” event, which celebrated the new home of the College Football Hall of Fame. Previously located in South Bend, the museum opened in Atlanta in August. . . . In October, Elizabeth Tucker ’14 was named the 2014 NCAA Woman of the Year, the first Notre Dame athlete and first soccer player to be chosen for the award in its 24-year history. The award honors a graduating student-athlete for her academic achievement, athletic excellence, service and leadership. The Jacksonville, Florida, native and business student with a 4.0 grade-point average was a midfielder for four seasons for the Fighting Irish, with 19 goals and 14 assists in 92 games. “While I in no way feel worthy or deserving of this award, I accept it on behalf of all the great women in my life,” Tucker said. . . . Another 2014 award winner in the athletic arena was Jerome Bettis, who attended Notre Dame from 1990 to 1993 and played pro football from 1993-2006. Named the Walter Camp Man of the Year, the halfback’s “success on the football field pales in comparison to what he has done off the field to help children succeed,” said James Monico, president of the Walter Camp Foundation. Bettis is the fourth Man of the Year recipient from Notre Dame, joining Edward “Moose” Krause ’34 (1976), Rocky Bleier ’68 (1985) and Nick Buoniconti ’62 (1990). The Georgia resident is the founder of The Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation, which provides resources to assist underprivileged youth in making healthy choices. . . . Five alumni vying for national office came out victorious in the November midterm elections. Re-elected to their seats in the U.S. House were George “Mike” Kelly ’70, R-Pennsylvania; Peter King ’68J.D., R-New York; Keith Rothfus ’90J.D., R-Pennsylvania; and Peter Visclosky ’73J.D., D-Indiana. Joining them as a new member of the club is Brendan Boyle ’99, D-Pennsylvania. . . . Canadian writer Alistair MacLeod ’68Ph.D. died in April at age 77. The author of the novel No Great Mischief and several short stories was lauded by The New York Times for his “spare, elegiac prose.” . . . Want to buy that fedora you saw one of the Kardashians wearing? Ana Bermudez ’06 has an app for that. Called TAGit (, the free mobile app “is a social-registry for discovering, favoriting, buying or gifting product from your favorite TV shows.” Those shows include Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Big Bang Theory and Pretty Little Liars. The Latina entrepreneur, whose family immigrated to the United States in the 1970s, says, “I proudly represent my family, San Diego, the Institute of Latino Studies Council and the University of Notre Dame in everything that I do.” . . . At Catholic schools throughout the nation and abroad, Mike McCoy ’70 is sharing a “faith-based message of hope and encouragement.” The consensus All-American at Notre Dame and 11-year NFL defensive lineman developed Mike McCoy Ministries with the goal of helping students “overcome challenges, deal with peer pressure and to develop the self-confidence to achieve true success as planned by our Creator.” The Georgia resident also is active in Notre Dame’s Play Like a Champion program. . . . In just over 24 hours, Loyola University Medical Center performed five successful lung transplants. The patients who received a second lease on life in May were a teacher, a judge, an executive director, a grandmother and a 21-year-old woman who was born with cystic fibrosis. Daniel Dilling ’94, Loyola’s medical director of lung transplantation, said the Illinois hospital has “a very deep bench . . . [with] enough surgeons, resources and experience to achieve such a milestone.” . . . Environmental economist Kathleen Bresnahan Dominique ’98, who has written about water issues and climate change adaptation for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, now oversees the agency’s environmental performance reviews for Spain and the Netherlands. The OECD’s mission is “to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.”