Doan Scholars

Doan Scholars 2014

The University of Notre Dame's Franklyn E. Doan Undergraduate Scholars program honors College of Arts and Letters students who have demonstrated academic success, provided substantial service to the university or surrounding community, and show promise as African American scholars and leaders. The program is supported by a gift from the estate of the late Franklyn E. Doan, a 1929 graduate of Notre Dame. 

Each Franklyn E. Doan Undergraduate Scholar receives an award commemorating the Doan designation. See a list of winners here

The Doan Scholars represent some of the best and brightest students on our Notre Dame campus. Africana Studies is lucky to have the opportunity to work with these talented students and we welcome questions about the scholars, the program, and our commitment to supporting diversity initiatives across campus.

About the Award

As Doan Scholars, students remain active participants in the Department of Africana Studies and become part of a mentoring cohort under the supervision of the department's director of undergraduate studies. In addition, Doan Scholars are eligible to apply for travel expenses to conferences, archives, or other cultural events related in some way to the student’s major academic interests or vocational aspirations. Group events are also part of this experience, the purpose of which is to facilitate students’ transition to the College of Arts and Letters and familiarize them with the rich intellectual tradition of the University. 

About the Winners

Kenzell HugginsDoan Scholar Kenzell Huggins '16
won an NSF fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Chicago

Since the program began in 2005, all 54 Doan Scholars have completed their bachelor's degrees at Notre Dame.

Approximately 20% of these alumni are pursuing careers in finance, marketing, or business; 20% have entered the profession of teaching; 20% have entered law school or are currently practicing law; and 11% entered or completed Ph.D. programs (e.g., psychology, sociology, art history). Others are in health professions—two are practicing physicians—as well as ministry, social work, and public policy. 

We invite you to learn more about where our Doan Scholars and Africana Studies students go after graduation. 

Selection Process

During the fall semester of each academic year, the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Africana Studies identifies Franklyn E. Doan award candidates. These candidates represent the 10 African American undergraduate students who have completed the First Year of Studies with the highest grade point averages. Candidates are invited for an initial round of personal interviews with a committee appointed in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies or chairperson in the Department of Africana Studies. 

The personal interview with the Doan Selection Committee typically occurs in early November each year. The interview serves three purposes. The primary aim of the interview is to provide students with an opportunity to talk about their academic interests, what brought them to Notre Dame, their commitments to social issues, and their aspirations. This is initial interview also serves as an occasion to learn about students’ participation in service projects and leadership. Evidence of such activities may include—but is in no way exclusively limited to—leadership activities in residence halls, participation in the organization of campus-wide events, involvement in student government, and volunteer work in their home communities or in the neighborhoods surrounding Notre Dame. Finally, the interview enables faculty and students to begin thinking about a plan for research, applications for grants and scholarships, and for graduate school. Thus faculty on the Doan Selection Committee can learn about how to best serve these students as mentors.

Following the first round of interviews, the committee will select a group of Doan finalists. Each finalist will write an essay of approximately 1,500 words that is typically due in March. The essay topic, selected personally by each candidate, may be on a topic related to one’s academic focus, a contemporary issue, or a specific subject area related to African American history, religion, or culture. Students are free to write an essay that builds upon and extends a course assignment or write something entirely new that incorporates some research.

In the second round of interviews, students will make an oral presentation that highlights the thesis, main points, and conclusions of their essay to the members of the Doan Selection Committee. Each student preparing an essay and completing a cogent oral presentation—as determined by the committee—will be recommended to the Department of African Studies as a Doan Scholar for the remainder of their time in the College.