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Programs and Initiatives

McDevitt Center

Programs and Initiatives

Internship Grants Program

“Hi-Caliber Internships: Enriching Education and Launching Remarkable Careers”

From its inception, a central focus of the McDevitt Center has been integrating, promoting, and supporting a full spectrum of experiential learning and the kinds of co-curricular programs that dramatically enhance student engagement and learning.


I. Overview

From its inception, a central focus of the McDevitt Center has been integrating, promoting, and supporting a full spectrum of experiential learning and the kinds of co-curricular programs that dramatically enhance student engagement and learning. 

Hi-caliber internships are among the most important of these co-curricular programs.  They provide students with significant work experience (involving real responsibility and initiative) that is related to their academic program of study and tied to their professional goals.  As such, these internships enrich education and help launch remarkable careers.  However, many high quality internships—and, indeed, many of the most highly prized—are unpaid.  Too often, then, students of modest means face a painful choice: either decline a valuable summer internship in order to earn money or accept the internship and add to a heavy burden of student debt.

In recognition of the critical value of quality, unpaid internships for our students, their departments, and Le Moyne College as a whole, the McDevitt Center is launching a major new initiative to begin in 2012-2013: The McDevitt Internship Grant Program.  This program will enhance Le Moyne’s support for student internships, especially in the liberal arts, by providing grants of $3,000 each to twenty students/year who are majoring in Computer Science, Management/Information Systems, Philosophy/Religious Studies, and Physics and who secure high-quality, unpaid internships


II.  Eligibility and Program Outline

In keeping with the terms of the McDevitt will, the program is open to students in Computer Science, Management/Information Systems, Philosophy/Religious Studies, and Physics.

Each of these McDevitt disciplinary areas will be eligible for five grants of $3,000/year: 5/year in Computer Science; 5/year in Management/Information Systems; 5/year in Philosophy/Religious Studies; 5/year in Physics.  No disciplinary area will be awarded more than 5 grants per year.

The Office of Career Advising and Development will develop an application process and facilitate the review of applications.  In general, preference will be given to upper-division students who have secured high-quality internships and who have not previously been awarded a McDevitt grant.  However, the academic departments or programs will be an integral part of the review process and will be invited to recommend student applicants based on criteria they individually develop.  In keeping with its ultimate responsibility for the expenditure of McDevitt funds, a committee formed by the McDevitt Center will review and provide final approval for any grant award. 

III.  Program Duration and Goals

The McDevitt Internship Grant Program is intended as a demonstration or pilot program, which will be funded through the McDevitt Center for an initial period of 3-4 years.

Its primary goals include:

i. Supporting the departments and programs associated with the McDevitt gift by enabling some of their most deserving students to accept hi-quality, unpaid internships that will enrich their education and help launch their remarkable careers;

ii. Enhancing Le Moyne’s support for student internships especially among students in the liberal arts who often face difficulty in securing high-quality, paid internships.

iii. Leveraging the McDevitt gift and helping to ensure its campus-wide impact by using this demonstration program to build a robust portfolio of student internship “success stories” that will help various campus offices and constituencies to raise independent, non-McDevitt funds to create a broader and even more robust internship grant program open to students across the college.

The McDevitt Center at Le Moyne College will sponsor an ongoing set of "Trasformations" courses, to be identified as "Core 400m" and organized in relationship to the ongoing lecture series designed by the McDevitt Core Professor working with the various McDevitt Chairs.The purpose of these lectures and this course is to enrich the life of the college by involving students and faculty in the events and lectures tied to the McDevitt Chairs and, by so doing, to help bring distinction to the chairs, enhance their value for Le Moyne College, and raise Le Moyne's national and international profile.

Details of the chair's duties, remuneration and requirements...

An application may be obtained fromMs. Kathryn Hennigan, Adminstrative Assistant for the McDevitt Center (x6200, Please direct any questions toDr. Thomas Brockelman(Director of the Core Curriculum) orDr. Steven Affeldt(Director of the McDevitt Center).


If science bears witness to the timeless human desire to understand the universe and our place within it, the enduring power of religion testifies to the insufficiency of science alone to fully satisfy this longing. While this situation calls for thoughtful consideration of the respective roles of both science and religion in the human search for meaning and understanding, it has too often produced the kinds of uncomprehending antagonism between the two that mark the intellectual, social, and political landscape of the contemporary United States.

Against this background, the McDevitt Chair in Religious Philosophy and the McDevitt Center at Le Moyne College are pleased to announce a major, two-year initiative devoted to “Science and Religion in Modern America.” This initiative will bring eminent scholars from the sciences and the humanities to the Le Moyne College campus in order to share their reflections on relationships between science and religion with the campus community, members of other regional academic and religious institutions, and the public. By embodying Le Moyne’s Catholic and Jesuit belief in the unity of all knowledge, we hope that “Science and Religion in Modern America” will provide a compelling example of, and model for, informed and respectful conversation about these vital issues.

I. Intellectual RationaleModern cosmology—like ancient cosmologies, cosmogonies and mythologies—bears witness to the immense power which drives humans in our continuous search for a deeper understanding of the universe and our place in it. And, like their ancient predecessors, our modern scientific efforts also bear witness to the insufficiency of our search for understanding and hence to the need for something or someone “out there,” beyond ourselves. From time immemorial we have sought this further understanding in a person with whom we could converse, someone who shared our capacity to love and be loved and also our desire to understand and to accomplish.Against the general background of this human search for meaning, “Science and Religion in Modern America” will engage the following questions: To what extent can our scientific knowledge influence our most basic human quest for understanding and love within the context of religious belief? and To what extent can our religious beliefs influence our search for scientific knowledge?Our questions challenge several prevailing trends in contemporary academia and society. For the most part, scientific, religious, and other approaches to the search for the meaning of life are pursued in isolation from one another. Furthermore, when these different approaches do meet, they too often meet as uncomprehending antagonists or, when the encounter is more amicable, it takes place at an unhelpfully general level. Recently, however, there has been an increasing appreciation of the need for civil and informed dialogue among science and religion in the quest for life’s meaning.“Science and Religion in Modern America” will bring many of the leading voices in this dialogue to Le Moyne College in order to share their most recent reflections on these vital issues with our students, faculty, and the wider community. By involving both humanists and scientists, this initiative will enrich teaching and learning across campus, will express our Catholic and Jesuit conviction in the unity of knowledge, and will bring increased prominence to Le Moyne as a center for serious inquiry into enduring human questions.

II. Scope and Nature of the InitiativeWe hope that this two-year initiative (2012-2014) will engage and excite the entire Le Moyne College community, will draw involvement from Le Moyne alumni and the greater Syracuse/Central New York community, and will enhance Le Moyne’s regional and national visibility and standing.The central pillars of the initiative are a three semester series of nine, high-profile evening lectures by eminent scholars, and a concluding conference to be held at Le Moyne in the spring of 2014. All of these events will be digitally recorded and made available on the McDevitt Center website. Furthermore, the lectures and conference presentations will be collected to form a book that will be published by a major academic press.In addition to these central pillars, the initiative includes vital dimensions designed to enhance the involvement of the entire campus community.First, the initiative will include a spectrum of planned events allowing Le Moyne students and faculty to interact with the visiting speakers. These will range from informal dinners and lunches with faculty and students to visits with classes, interdisciplinary seminars, and other interested groups of students. Most importantly, the Center will work with all interested college departments and faculty to develop ways of integrating this initiative into courses and/or other programs with and for students.Second, the Center will invite and support selected proposals from Le Moyne faculty and students for research projects, creative work, or other initiatives that complement and enhance the central initiative. The breadth of this initiative allows for a wide range of complementary projects. For example, projects may involve: scientific evolution and intelligent design; ethical problems in health care; the problem of physical and moral evil; Jesuit spirituality and academic theology; neurobiology and free will; time in physics and in theology; the history of religious fundamentalism in America; religion and the environment, production of dramatic works such as Galileo or Copenhagen, and much more.

By their nature, these ‘grand challenges’ often involve many disciplines and traverse system boundaries; they have the potential to impact large populations; and they have significant impacts on vulnerable (at risk) populations.  Solutions to these challenges, even small solutions, advance the state-of-the-art or a discipline and thus provide a significant contribution to both social and scholarship domains.  Examples of ‘grand challenge’ research areas include efforts to improve and enhance critical infrastructure, advancing health informatics, and securing cyberspace (National Academies, 2010).


Examples of ‘grand challenge’ initiatives include research that focuses on:  

“….developing machines that better people's lives and can communicate with humans on human terms (i.e., plain language and voice); exploring Mars; establishing scheduled space tourism; solving the [living and transportation] congestion problems already confronting much of the world; and balancing the benefits of new technological accomplishments with the invasions of individual privacy that many new developments will undoubtedly generate (micro-video recorders, human implantable micro-storage devices, engineered plants and animals, etc.)  In fact, some of engineering's greatest challenges may well prove to reside in the field of ethics (Augustine, 2010).

The McDevitt Center for Creativity and Innovation and the McDevitt Chair in Information Systems invite proposals from disciplines across the college for teaching, programmatic, research and exploratory efforts in academic year 2013-2014 focused on ‘grand challenges.’

In 2013-2014, the McDevitt Chair in Information Systems will fund several student research projects and organize two symposia described below:

  • McDevitt Chair in Information Systems Student Research Projects, 2013-2014

    • Next generation computing user interfaces that may redefine our sense of self, technology and the other, using Google Glass,

    • Global enterprise technology initiatives examining ethical and technical issues of human and technology load balancing in large-scale data warehouse applications, and privacy and security issues associated with analysis of health information systems exchanges and big data sets, and

    • Scientific, human, social, technology, political and organizational implications of Arctic oil exploration and spill response.

  • Scheduled symposia

    • Ethics in Large-Scale Disaster Response (October 2013), with the National Research Council’s Disaster Roundtable, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the International Red Cross, Google Disaster Response, Virginia Polytechnic Institute Crisis and Disaster Management Institute, and

    • Future High Reliability Organizations and Risk Management (Spring 2014), with the University of California, Berkeley’s High Reliability Organization/Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, Vanderbilt University, United Airlines, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Navy, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), Shell Americas and Statoil.

Proposals for research projects, programs, seminars, and other initiatives from members of the Le Moyne community need not be directly connected with these specific efforts.  They must, however, demonstrate that they: (1) meet the criteria of ‘grand challenges’ as specified above; (2) are importantly connected to one or more of the McDevitt disciplines (Computer Science, Information Systems, Physics, and Religious Philosophy); and (3) will positively impact a wide constituency including Le Moyne faculty, students, and the broader community.



For information about submitting proposals and applying for funding, contact

Steven G. Affeldt, Director
McDevitt Center for Creativity and Innovation
442 Reilly Hall


Augustine, N. 2012. Norm Augustine on the Nature of Challenges. National Academy of Engineering, National Academies., retrieved 6 April 2013. 

National Academies. 2010. Grand Challenges in Engineering., retrieved 7 November 2011.


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