Office Hours

Discussions with researchers about their work...and whatever we find in their offices

From Notre Dame Stories, welcome to Office Hours, the show that visits scholars in their workspaces to discuss their research...and whatever else we happen to find there.

Madeline Owen

The journey: The 2021 valedictorian

In the final episode of the season, we sit down with Madeline Owen, the valedictorian of the class of 2021. Madeline discusses her Notre Dame journey, and what it meant to finish that journey here, on campus.

Read more about Madeline

A field of solar panels.

Before the Sunrise: St. Joseph’s Farm

In this episode, we look at the history of St. Joseph’s Farm, a place where religious brothers cultivated land to provide fuel for the University. Today, the farm is being used to produce another kind of fuel: solar power.

A US Treasuring relief program check held in front of an American flag.

Will the stimulus slash poverty?

The American Rescue Plan—the latest pandemic stimulus—was signed into law earlier this month and it was billed as a means to slash poverty. We discuss that proposition with Jim Sullivan, economist and co-founder of the Wilson-Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities.

USPS mail trucks parked.

What’s going on with the mail?

For the better part of a year, the mail has been increasingly slow…and COVID is only partly to blame.

To find out what’s behind this we spoke with James O’Rourke, professor of management in the Mendoza College of Business and an expert on corporate communications and reputation. O'Rourke has studied the cost structure and business of the United States Postal Service for more than a decade.

A masked man holds a syringe to a vial of medicine.

Developing a COVID-19 Vaccine

As most of the country awaits their turn in line to receive a coronavirus vaccine, some have questions about its safety, how it was developed, and what it means for life…after the vaccination.

Today we talk with Dr. Mark Mulligan '80, an infectious disease expert and head of NYU’s Langone Vaccine Center. Dr. Mulligan has worked on vaccine trials for decades, including most recently, the vaccine for COVID-19.

The Golden Dome with the sun in the background

Equity in Policing

As the national conversation about race and policing took shape over the summer, questions began surfacing about how police departments would respond. At Notre Dame, they were already working on an answer.

Keri Kei Shibata, Chief, Notre Dame Police Department
Mike Seamon, Vice President for Campus Safety and University Operations
Matty Aubourg '21, Frontline ND and Vice President of Multicultural Pre-Health Society


“Mom guilt” and the pandemic

For most of us these days, “office hours” take place…almost anywhere but the office. The dining room, bedroom, basement…they’ve all become the places we work, not just where we live.

The pandemic has profoundly altered the work-life balance of Americans, and new research is uncovering how we’re dealing with this shift.

We spoke with Abi Ocobock, who studies family sociology, about the research and some early findings.

Read more here.

A row of houses in South Bend.

Finding the “Just Right Home”

As the real estate market rebounds, more people are thinking about what makes a perfect home. Architecture professor Marianne Cusato is one an industry leader in the home building industry. She’s been named one of the top women in real estate by Fortune Magazine, to list just one of her many accolades. She earned international acclaim for the Katrina cottage, an attractive, well-built home that could be deployed in case of emergency.

In her book, The Just Right Home, Cusato suggests criteria for home buying and community that is at times contrarian to some of today’s popular home buying trends.

Read more about Marianne Cusato here.

Learn more about the School of Architecture at

A collage of presidential Barbies and a sign that reads No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent Susan B. Anthony

Women’s Suffrage and Political Barbies

In the first episode we drop in on political science professor Christina Wolbrecht. She’s co-authored a book titled, “A Century of Votes for Women,” which looks at how women have used their right to vote in the hundred years since the 19th Amendment was passed.

Read more about the book here.

Learn more about Christina Wolbrecht here.