First-year Journey: Grace Rozembajgier ’23 Finds Connection through the American Studies Major and the Notre Dame Community

Author: Shannon Rooney

Grace Rozembajgier ’23 always thought she would major in English when she got to college. She loves reading and writing and even attended a summer journalism workshop for high school students. 

But taking a government course as a high school senior in Carmel, Indiana, piqued her interest in public affairs. During her college search, she discovered the American studies program at Notre Dame and realized it would be a perfect fit.  

American studies majors take courses that draw on a wide variety of methods to explore the United States and the complex, sometimes contradictory, definition of “Americanness.” In their senior year, they complete a thesis, a year-long research project that can take many forms, from scholarly paper, to nonfiction essay, to documentary film.

It’s a major Rozembajgier didn’t find anywhere else. “It's super interdisciplinary, which is something that I've experienced even just in this first half of my first semester, because we look at history and culture,” she says. Rozembajgier is also planning on a business economics minor and is considering two others, a journalism minor and constitutional studies minor to round out her studies.

Rozembajgier finds that Notre Dame gives her plenty of opportunities to explore these interests outside of the classroom too.

“I think that Notre Dame having all these options and being able to explore all these different paths is really just fascinating,” she says. “Like, I saw Condoleezza Rice speak a couple weeks ago. She came to campus and that was amazing just to hear someone with, you know, so much experience and so much knowledge about her field of study.” 

Thanks to Rice’s visit, Rozembajgier is now considering foreign affairs as a possible career path. “I love Notre Dame because of the opportunities it gives me to explore academically and through extracurriculars,” she says.  

Rozembajgier’s civic-mindedness stems from her upbringing as well as a natural desire to make a difference. Growing up, her mom and dad, both Notre Dame alumni, placed an emphasis on giving back and the family volunteered together often. As a family, they have attended Family Volunteer Camp hosted by the Notre Dame Alumni Association for the past five years. 

On campus, Rozembajgier’s volunteers with the student club Slice of Life, which works with underserved youth in the South Bend area. They provide services that help improve kids’ academic performance, build self esteem, and build respect for themselves and others. Rozembajgier is also looking into opportunities with the hall council in Farley Hall, her campus home. She would also like to write for The Observer, the student-run newspaper. 

In choosing a college, it was important for Rozembajgier to feel a sense of community. She attended an event for admitted students last year and says she immediately felt like part of the Notre Dame family. That sense of connection, with other students, with faculty, and with the world in general, has grown in her first year here. It’s a theme present even in her coursework. 

“Honestly, just being around people is energizing for me,” says Rozembajgier. “Connection and communication are important. That’s kind of why I got into journalism in high school and it’s the same with American studies, just having that connection to our history and then being able to communicate it in a meaningful way.” 

Learn More 

Watch the video above to learn more about Grace Rozembajgier’s academic experience at Notre Dame. 

Check out our other First-year Journeys:

First-Year Journey: William Geoffroy ’23 Pursues a Foundation in Science and Ethics at Notre Dame

First-Year Journey: Intended Finance Major Sydney Kendall '23 Finds Her Academic Fit

First-Year Journey: Connor Martin ’23 Pairs Engineering and Service at Notre Dame

First-Year Journey: Caroline Pla ’23 Explores Sports Marketing and Literature in Her First Semester

First-Year Journey: Brandon Chou ’23 Discerns a Medical Career at Notre Dame