Student and Alumni Achievements
Scott Coppa (AMST '15) and Nicole Sganga (JED '15) Named to Inaugural Domer Dozen
The Notre Dame Alumni Association announced the inaugural Domer Dozen, a new program honoring graduates ages 32 and younger in recognition of their significant contributions and extraordinary dedication to making a difference.
Domer Dozen honorees were chosen by the YoungND Board, the Alumni Association’s newest affinity group, and a selection committee made up of University officials, which together reviewed more than 160 nominations and used a weighted ranking system to select this year’s honorees. Those chosen represent an exemplary group of young Notre Dame graduates who continue to make a difference in one of the four core tenets of the Alumni Association’s mission statement — faith, service, learning or work.
“Our young alumni are extraordinarily accomplished, and I am so pleased for the association and the University to recognize them in this way,” said Dolly Duffy, executive director of the Alumni Association and associate vice president for University relations. “Their contributions in service to their countries; to underprivileged populations; to the Catholic Church; and in science, technology, medicine, journalism and law are remarkable and inspiring. They demonstrate that success truly is a mark of how one uses their God-given talents and gives back.”
The 2019 Domer Dozen honorees are:
- Ngor “Majak” Anyieth ’18 Building schools in war-torn South Sudan
- Mary Kate Battle ’10 Empowering vulnerable people
- Scott Coppa ’15 Supporting sustainable community development
- Lucy Driscoll ’13, ’14 M.S. Encouraging girls to pursue science and technology
- Adebola Giwa ’09 Striving to cure Type 1 diabetes
- Alex Jones ’15 Innovating the way we pray
- Jane Lee ’09 Educating immigrants on health and well-being
- Mikey Maurer ’11 Providing health care to at-risk and uninsured teens
- Will Miller ’14 Revitalizing Catholic schools in Chicago
- Jay Rowley ’11 Promoting security in the Middle East
- Nicole Sganga ’15 Reporting on the 2020 election
- Laura Wolk ’16 J.D. Advocating for people with disabilities
The honorees are invited back to campus Friday and Saturday (Sept. 13 and 14) to strategize about young alumni engagement with the YoungND Board, meet University leaders, tell their stories and be honored during an awards dinner. The Domer Dozen will also be recognized in Notre Dame Stadium during the football game against the University of New Mexico.
Domer Dozen honorees will share brief talks about their life and experiences since graduating from Notre Dame during “My Path: Stories of Inspiration from Young Alumni” at 2 p.m. Friday (Sept. 13) at the Hagerty Family Cafe in Duncan Student Center. Students, faculty, staff and visitors are invited to attend the event, which is free and open to the public.
Following graduation, Coppa moved to the Dominican Republic for a volunteer stint with the Peace Corps, an experience that has led to a life-changing partnership to promote sustainable community development.
Inspired by the needs he came to know so well throughout his service with the Peace Corps, Coppa co-founded Puente Desarrollo Internacional, a nonprofit organization that connects international development organizations and local institutions with underserved communities more efficiently to make development work more collaborative, impactful, and sustainable. He has partnered with friend and classmate Paul Anthony ’15 on the groundbreaking initiative.
Puente, which means “bridge” in Spanish, addresses the lack of reliable health and socioeconomic data than too often proves challenging to development by using cutting-edge technology and data services. In addition to employing a data-driven approach, Coppa, working with Anthony and other colleagues, continues to empower local residents so they can serve as advocates for sustainable development that will improve and uplift their communities.
Sganga makes a difference as a journalist, covering the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign as a reporter for CBS News.
Sganga worked as a broadcast associate and as a video journalist before her promotion to her current role, a rare and distinct honor, especially for a young journalist. Her passion for journalism was evident during her time at Notre Dame. In 2014, she won a national competition to accompany the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristoff, a Pulitzer Prize winner, on a reporting trip to raise awareness about poverty in the developing world. Kristoff called her “a terrific journalist-in-the-making,” and she worked hard to listen to powerful personal stories and communicate them in meaningful narratives. As a student journalist, she reported from Myanmar, Thailand, and Norway, as well as Alaska.
Now, as a member of a free press that asks crucial questions, Sganga uses her reporting and storytelling skills to inform voters during an important U.S. election campaign.
(Credit: Josh Flynt, September 09, 2019)
Adriana Fazio ’19
Fazio went from watching her idol on TV every day to working alongside her.
When it came time to write her senior thesis, it was no surprise that the American studies and film, television, and theatre (FTT) major chose to explore the career of her inspiration, famed journalist Katie Couric. By studying Couric’s career, Fazio set her own in motion. The opportunity to interview Couric for her senior thesis ended up leading Fazio to a job with Katie Couric Media, where she’s been able to work across a variety of media projects and learn firsthand from her inspiration.
“After three years of working with her, to me she’s just ‘Katie’ now, and I love her deeply and I feel so grateful to learn so much from her,” Fazio said. “I really believe she is the best journalist of at least my era, and I will never get over the fact that I get to work with her.”
“(My majors) gave me the confidence and critical thinking skills to get where I am today. Suddenly, I was writing a New York Times bestselling memoir using the same techniques I had employed to write research papers.”
Just as the Notre Dame network helped Fazio launch her career, Fazio is already giving back by building connections of her own. She’s brought three other recent Notre Dame graduates to Katie Couric Media and is working to mentor other College of Arts & Letters students, showing them what graduates can accomplish through a career in media. “There’s a lot out there, and I think the best way to figure out what you want to be doing or how to get where you want to be is to pick up the phone and call people,” Fazio said. “Reach out to alumni, reach out to your friends’ parents, reach out to your professors, and just get coffee and get to know people.” Though networking can open the door to many career opportunities, Fazio notes that it’s just as important to follow that up by working hard, soaking up each assignment as a learning moment. “In these early years, you can learn so much. If you’re in a position where they’re willing to give you more responsibility, and you think you can handle it, then you should dive in.”