Alumni Spotlight

Discover the inspiring careers of our alumni who leveraged their University of Notre Dame degree to set in motion their success around the world. To share your story after graduation and embolden current students, please fill out this form.

Mansour Ourasanah

Mansour Ourasanah '07
Senior Designer, Whirlpool's Advance Studio

Industrial Design alum Mansour Ourasanah was awarded the Vilcek Foundation’s Prize for Creative Promise in Design, recognizing immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences. The Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Design complement the Vilcek Prize and are awarded to foreign-born individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievements early in their careers.

Mansour Ourasanah is a senior designer for Whirlpool’s Advanced Studio in Chicago, where his role is to create innovative user-centric solutions for a new generation of global and hyper-connected consumers. His work focuses on the importance of storytelling in the design of products that address complex emotional and environmental challenges.

His project, LEPSIS: The Art of Growing Grasshoppers — a vessel that can be used to grow insects for food in efforts to promote sustainable meat production and consumption amongst urban populations — is one example of his achievements in the design arena. Ourasanah was born in Togo.

Mary Cecilia Mitsch

Mary Cecilia Mitsch '10
Associate Director, Marianne Boesky Gallery

Mary Cecilia Mitsch is an Associate Director at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York City where she works with artists, exhibition management, and sales. Mary spent several years at David Zwirner Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in New York prior to accepting the new position. Mary Cecilia will specifically be co-directing a new gallery space that Marianne Boesky Gallery has opened on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Marianne Boesky Gallery represents some of the world's pre-eminent artists including Frank Stella, Rachel Feinstein, Sue de Beer and Anthony Pearson among many others. Mary Cecilia studied Graphic Design and Art History at Notre Dame. She graduated in 2010 and pursued her MA in Art History at Savannah College of Art & Design before moving to New York to pursue gallery management.

Julie Farstad

Julie Farstad '97
Professor of Painting, Kansas City Art Institute

Julie Farstad is a Professor of Painting, and Chair of the Painting Department at the Kansas City Art Institute. She works in oil, watercolors, and quilted fabric paintings that explore girlhood, mysticism, and landscape. Born and raised in Elmira, New York, Farstad earned a BFA in Painting from the University of Notre Dame in 1997, and an MFA in Painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2000. Her work is represented by Zg Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. Farstad has exhibited her work nationally, with solo shows most recently at Zg Gallery, Plug Projects in Kansas City, Missouri, and Studios Inc. in Kansas City. She was awarded a three-year residency at The Studios Inc. in Kansas City in 2010 and her work was exhibited in Women to Watch 2010, Body of Work: New Perspectives in Figure Painting at the National Museum for Women in Arts in Washington, D.C. Julie Farstad lives in Kansas City with her husband and two children.

Will Mcleod

Will McLeod '09
Co-Founder and CPO, Keen Home Inc.

In 2007, while still at Notre Dame, Will McLeod became the inventor and later the founder of SmarterShade. SmarterShade, now owned by a new company and called VG glass, is a smartglass company that manufactures windows that can brighten and darken a room in response to light and temperature as well as be controlled by an app. After selling his 6 yearlong endeavor in 2013, McLeod cofounded the smart home products company, Keen Home, with which he is still heavily involved. From all of his successes and various other experiences in engineering and manufacturing, he is now cultivating his current project, a practical how to book, Mechanical Engineering for Hackers, which was released November 2015. Will was recognized in January 2016, as a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree in the manufacturing industry.

Alexis Belis

Alexis Belis '00
Assistant Curator in the Department of Antiquities, J. Paul Getty Museum

Alexis Belis arrived at Notre Dame with a plan. Following in her father’s footsteps, she was ready to major in physics, tackle the requirements for medical school, and become a doctor. Today, she is an assistant curator in the Department of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Eager to get started on her physics and pre-med courses her first semester, Belis unsuccessfully tried to opt out of the University’s fine arts course requirement. She nearly missed her true calling. “That first fine arts survey course changed everything,” Belis said. “It turned out I wasn’t nearly as excited about or interested in my physics courses.” Instead, Belis quickly became enamored with the ancient architecture the class explored with Associate Professor Robin Rhodes. “I love architecture because I like puzzles and how they fit together,” she said. “Robin’s class was very much looking at how buildings fit together." Belis received her BA in art history and music from the University of Notre Dame in 2000, and her PhD in the field of classical archaeology from Princeton University in 2015. [Read more...]

Eileen Murphy

Eileen Murphy '14
Product Designer, New York Times

Eileen Murphy is a Product Designer at the New York Times specializing in video and virtual reality products across all Times' platforms and properties. Most recently, her team released The Daily 360, an unprecedented journalist endeavor to publish one new 360 virtual reality video on every platform each day for over a year. Eileen was the primary product designer for The Daily 360, creating an intuitive and cohesive watching experience across the NYT website, mobile site, iOS and Android native apps. 360 videos transport viewers directly to the center of the story; immersing them into the scene and allowing them to explore the surroundings for themselves. Watch for yourself.

Justin Schneider

Justin Schneider '11
Founder, Wolf & Shepherd

Justin Schneider, Industrial Design alum, was awarded the grand prize at the 2015 McCloskey Business Plan Competition, hosted by the Mendoza College of Business. His company, Wolf & Shepherd, creates high-end footwear with high-performance comfort. Justin also won the Irish Angels award, giving Wolf & Shepherd the opportunity to pitch its plan to 90+ Limited partners of VC firm with 67% of companies pitching receiving funding from asking price. Justin Schneider was also recognized in January 2017, as a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree in the retail and eCommerce industry.

Adam Fung

Adam Fung MFA '08
Assistant Professor of Painting, Texas Christian University

In the few moments of downtime between juggling his studio art practice, parenting, and teaching painting, Adam Fung has had frightening, haunting visions of a world without ice. Since creating a film centered around the concept that “nature is a construct that distances us from our own planet changing actions”, he has turned his attention towards re-creating images from his encounters in the Arctic. Fung’s upcoming solo show Iceberg X, at Ro2 Art in Dallas, Texas, finds the artist and professor returning to polar-related topics. These land, ice, and seascapes conclude with a jarring X laid semi-transparently over the surface, a disruption of the illusionary image. Fung’s interest in the changing planet was solidified when the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters generously funded his travel to Antarctica for research related to his MFA thesis exhibition. Fung has been traveling the world for inspiration ever since, visiting Panama, Austria, Norway, Australia, and Japan among others. Recently, Fung has been pursuing research interests in Iceland and the high Arctic (as a member of the 2016 Arctic Circle summer solstice artist residency and expedition) that include landscape painting, using technology and drones to create a film, memory, and mapping, and using visual art to discuss climate change. Adam Fung is an assistant professor of painting at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas. Fung holds an MFA in painting from the University of Notre Dame and a BFA in painting from Western Washington University. Frequent updates, more information, and new work can be found at

Jennifer Dasal

Jennifer Dasal MA '04
Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, North Carolina Museum of Art

Jennifer Dasal has created an art & art history-themed podcast titled ArtCurious. Dasal launched ArtCurious last summer and releases new episodes every two weeks. “I’m hoping to give more of an interesting spin to art history,” Dasal says, putting historical stories in a modern-day context and weaving in interesting parallels and side notes. For example, “the very first episode that I did was about the thefts/forgeries/possible falsehood of the Mona Lisa-- that actually stemmed from a story that I heard from one of my professors at the University of California, Davis, where I did my undergraduate work. She was convinced that the Mona Lisa on view at the Louvre was fake. I thought that was such a strange idea, so I wanted to dig into the work’s background (particularly in the 20th century) and learn more. And that started it all.”