A bridge-builder for master of global affairs students

When new masters of global affairs students arrive on Notre Dame’s campus in August, often after multiple flights across continents, Gabrielle Bradshaw is the first person they meet. Beyond this initial welcome, Bradshaw serves as a vital resource for new and returning master of global affairs students during their two years at the Keough School of Global Affairs. As the school’s student services coordinator, she provides ongoing support for students during their time on campus and also during their international field experiences with the Integration Lab (i-Lab) or the international peace studies internship. In the interview below, Bradshaw shares how she accompanies students from 22 countries as they navigate an intense academic program.

How do you spend your days as the Keough School’s student services coordinator?

My job can be hard to quantify, but overall I’m a bridge builder between our students and the resources available to them at Notre Dame. Those resources are often academic but they also include things like mental health services, child care, on-campus employment, and introductions to professors and students on campus with shared passions and interests. 

group of students in front of south bend civil rights heritage center sign
Gabrielle Bradshaw (far right), student services coordinator, with master of global affairs students during a visit to South Bend’s Civil Rights Heritage Center.

What is your favorite part about working with master of global affairs students?

I work with 80 students—our two cohorts combined—so I enjoy any opportunity to spend time with a smaller group of them. It’s gratifying to watch them build relationships with each other and to watch a sense of community form. I recently took a group to South Bend’s Civil Rights Heritage Center, located at the site of a once-segregated swimming pool. I wanted to help them orient themselves not only to being at Notre Dame but also to living in South Bend, which has its own rich history. I was impressed with the questions they asked and the way they engaged with the city’s racial history.

The Keough School’s master of global affairs program is unique in that it has welcomed students from more than 60 countries since its inception. What is it like to work with students from so many different backgrounds?

It’s always raising my awareness of issues that I hadn’t been aware of before. And often it makes the news headlines more personal. For example, we have two students from Ukraine and so I view the war there differently because I know people who are deeply impacted by the conflict.

In many cases I’m struck by what the students have had to overcome to study here. We have several students who are currently separated from their spouses and families back home and others who have made significant sacrifices for their education. But I know they wouldn’t want so deeply to be here if there wasn’t so much to gain.