International development studies student named Notre Dame salutatorian

The University of Notre Dame’s 2019 salutatorian has several ties to the Keough School of Global Affairs.

Annelise Gill-Wiehl, an environmental engineering major from St. Louis, Missouri, earned a minor in international development studies. The international development studies program is administered by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, part of the Keough School.

Through the Kellogg Institute’s International Scholars Program, Gill-Wiehl developed a pilot project that aims to improve respiratory health in the developing world. Working in Shirati, Tanzania, she researched solutions to help residents transition from using traditional charcoal stoves to cleaner-burning—and healthier—gas stoves. Her advisor, Keough School Associate Dean Sara Sievers, said Gill-Wiehl came up with a solution to a problem that has perplexed development workers for years: how to get to people to make a major behavior change that can drastically reduce respiratory illnesses.

“This is the smoking of the developing world, essentially,” Sievers said. “This is a big deal.”

Conversant in Swahili, Gill-Wiehl trained two community technology workers to help educate and transition 30 families from firewood and charcoal to gas stoves. Her international development studies capstone project determines the feasibility and effectiveness of this local infrastructure.

As a research assistant in Notre Dame’s Atmospheric Chemistry and Aerosol Modeling Group, Gill-Wiehl worked to model and investigate the effect of air pollution from unclean cooking fuel on human health. In 2016, she interned at the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Masaka, Uganda, where she organized workshops on water conservation and environmental protection and built a water runoff collection tank and compost structure.

Gill-Wiehl was awarded the College of Engineering’s Rev. Thomas A. Steiner Award, which recognizes excellence and commitment to engineering and the common good. She also received Notre Dame’s John W. Gardner Student Leadership Award for exemplifying the ideals of the University through outstanding volunteer service beyond campus.

On campus, she was a member of NDSEED and student government, and was co-president of GlobeMed. A Fulbright alternate, she is also a member of Chi Epsilon civil engineering honor society and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society.

In the fall, she plans to pursue a doctorate in energy resources at the University of California, Berkeley. She aspires to be an international development practitioner, advising agencies on sub-Saharan Africa’s energy infrastructure.

As salutatorian, Gill-Wiehl will offer the Commencement invocation and will be prepared to deliver a valedictory address should the valedictorian be unable to do so. This year’s valedictorian is Sofia Carozza, who also has ties to the Keough School. Funded by a Kellogg Institute Experiencing the World Fellowship, Carozza spent a summer in Paraguay tutoring children with developmental disabilities and psychiatric disorders.

A native of South Bend, Indiana, Carozza is a neuroscience and behavior major in the College of Science with a supplemental major in theology and a minor in philosophy, politics, and economics in the College of Arts and Letters.

The Notre Dame valedictorian and salutatorian selection process begins by identifying the top three students in each college or school with the highest grade point averages. Those students then complete an application process that includes letters of recommendation from a faculty member and a draft of their Commencement speech. A selection committee chooses finalists who are approved by the University president.

Adapted from the original story posted at

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