2016-2017 Ramonat Scholars


Janan Badier

Majors: History & English

Class Blog

I am a junior from Orland Park, IL and very passionate about environmental issues, creative writing, politics, and of course, history. My main historical interests concern the Middle East and South America, as well as transatlantic slavery and the history of women and indigenous peoples’ rights movements. I wanted to take this course due to my interest in research and desire to learn more about Dorothy Day and her commitment to the disenfranchised. I am also looking forward to learning more about labor politics in the twentieth century. I am currently considering law school and grad school as possible career routes; either way, I am certain that learning from the selfless example of Dorothy Day and engaging in rigorous research will be extremely beneficial for me both personally and professionally. I can’t wait to get started on my research and am looking forward to sharing everything I learn along the way.


Matt Racchini

Major: Economics & International Studies

Minor: Political Science

Class Blog

Born and raised in Minneapolis, I am currently in my final year at Loyola. The Ramonat Seminar mostly appealed to me because of its emphasis on Catholic social justice as well as due to the speakers, field trips, and research that accompany standard classes. An end goal for me is to develop skills in deeply analyzing history and in effectively articulating my research findings both in spoken word and in print. I am excited for the intellectual adventure that the seminar will provide.


Matthew Peterson

Major: History

Minor: Religious Studies

Class Blog

Originally from sunny Los Angeles, I pride myself on the social justice values my parents instilled into my mind at an early age. My middle name, Day, even indicates how certain figures in Catholic America have inspired my family’s activism. I chose to attend Loyola University Chicago because of my desire to continue that tradition of “women and men for others,” and to pursue an interdisciplinary field of study in the humanities. While I am situated to graduate with a Bachelors in History, I also declared a minor in Religious Studies, in which I desire to understand the world’s major religions from a variety of perspectives. In the Spring Semester of the 2015-16 academic year, I studied abroad in Cork, Ireland, and traveled throughout Western Europe; my favorite moments include being in close proximity to Pope Francis at the Easter Vigil Mass and attending The Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, Austria. This is not my first run-in with Dorothy Day at Loyola University. Previously I was enrolled in a course with Professor Nickerson that analyzed the various radicals and reformers in American history, including Day, which culminated in a research paper entitled “Don’t Call Me a Socialist: The Interplay of Dorothy Day, Her Faith, Catholic Worker, and Leftism.”


Emily Cook

Majors: Psychology & Criminal Justice

Class Blog

 I am a junior from a small town outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania. I am currently studying Psychology and Criminal Justice at Loyola University Chicago. In the future I hope to attend law school and eventually join the FBI. Until then I love to explore as many areas of study as possible, History being one of my absolute favorites.  The Ramonat Seminar appealed to me because it seemed like a challenge that would be a completely new classroom experience. The seminar is the perfect excuse to comb through different research materials and get completely lost in the papers of the archives.  A bonus is that the seminar covers a fascinating era in Chicago’s history and the life of a strong female leader, Dorothy Day. I hope this year allows me to sharpen my skills as a writer, while also allowing me to be immersed in a specific time in history. I am ecstatic to start the journey, so feel free to follow my blog to share the experience with me.


Colleen Kenney

Majors: English & Advocacy/Social Change

Class Blog

I was born and raised on the south-side of Chicago and am currently in my senior year at Loyola University.  As an English and Advocacy/Social Change double major, I spend a majority of my time engaging with texts that are both familiar and foreign.  As a result of this, I’ve become increasingly passionate about literature and the process of poetical thought.  Currently, I am in the midst of applying to PhD programs with the goal of researching psychoanalytic critical literary theory.  I was drawn to the Ramonat Seminar not only because of its emphasis on research, which will serve as a benefit for graduate school, but also because of its subject matter– Dorothy Day. Having the opportunity to study the influence Dorothy Day had within the Catholic community, while also developing an understanding of her advocacy, was impossible for me to pass up.  Despite dissent and opposition from others, Dorothy Day persisted in her revolution of thought and action, continuously demanding a more humane world.  For that, she deserves to be celebrated. I look forward to the opportunity to do so within the Ramonat Seminar and hope that you’ll also join in the celebration!


Amanda Malmstrom

Majors: History & Art History

Class Blog

Born and raised in the suburbs of St. Louis, I am a current Chicagoan that has fallen in love with the city and with Loyola. I am a junior double majoring in history and art history with particular interest in the museum field. I am incredibly grateful to be a 2016-2017 Ramonat Scholar and to be studying Dorothy Day, who has played an impactful role on my personal outlook on justice and spirituality. In particular, I am looking to research the artistic responses to Dorothy Day’s Catholic Worker Movement. The chance to conduct hands-on research on such an important woman in history, like a good cup of tea or an art museum on free-admission day, was something I could not pass up! I cannot wait to witness my personal and academic growth over the course of my time in the Ramonat Seminar.


Noah Beissel 

Major: History

Minors: Spanish & Italian

Class Blog

I am a Junior with a major in History and minors in both Spanish and Italian Language at Loyola University Chicago. My passion burns with an undying flame to unravel the secrets of the past to better understand our own present and future. In other words, I am a student of history with the idealistic goal to join eventually the ranks of the many distinguished academics and scholars in the world. The era of study that has drawn me closer over the years has been the emergence of the Atlantic and Caribbean worlds in the 16th century and onward!


Jodie Caselton

Major: History

Minor: International Studies

Class Blog

I am a junior at Loyola University with a History major and International Studies minor. I love learning about many types of history, but my main interest lies in early modern Western Europe, specifically Scotland. I have been in love with Scottish history ever since I visited the country a few years ago and I hope to pursue an academic career in this subject someday. The Ramonat Seminar first interested me not only because of the research opportunities I would be presented with, but also because of what I could learn from such a class. Since my area of focus in history tends to be earlier than Dorothy Days’s time, I am interested to learn about 20thcentury America from the Catholic social justice perspective. I definitely look forward to what challenges this class will offer me!


Carolina Luna Casas

Majors: History & International Studies
Minor: Spanish Language and Literature

Class Blog

I LOVE history and like everyone else my history is quite unique. I was born in Denver to Mexican parents. I grew up enjoying nature in both Colorado and Zacatecas. When in Mexico, I was exposed to the economic injustices of the world. Like any little girl, I wanted to be the super hero who saved the town from distress. I soon learned that magic would not solve any injustice so I decided to solve injustice through the law. I hope to go to law school in the future with the ultimate goal of using my knowledge to advocate for social justice. I know this coming year will help me clarify my dream as we study one of the most influential Catholic social justice figures of the U.S. I am excited to learn more about Dorothy Day and even more excited to learn from her example. I know that the lessons I learn during this seminar will be lessons I carry with me well into the future. I can’t wait!


Freida Rule 

Class Blog


Elisabeth Hagemann

Major: History

Class Blog

Elisabeth Hagemann is the name, history is the game. I am currently a Sophomore at Loyola University Chicago, majoring in history and enrolled in the illustrious Ramonat Seminar. I’ve been fascinated by history since 6th grade, where we learned all about the mighty Romans; I  would rush home to tell my parents all about it. They would listen enthralled (I assume) to all the facts my little mind had absorbed. The reason i’m in this seminar is to come home with more facts and trivia, but also prepare to make the leap to a bigger audience. I’m aware that being a Historian takes a lot of time, this seminar is my first step towards being one. That is what I hope this seminar can teach me; how to be a historian and spread my passion.