Erin Flynn Klawitter, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Scholar Mentoring, Communications, and Alumni Relations
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Erin Flynn Klawitter is the Associate Director for Scholar Mentoring, Communications, and Alumni Relations. In her role, she coordinates the Notre Dame Scholars' curriculum, facilitates the faculty mentoring program, manages communications with external audiences, and is the liaison for program alumni and benefactors.
Dr. Klawitter is an alumna of the University of Notre Dame. Her B.A. is from the Program of Liberal Studies, which recognized her senior essay with its Otto J. Bird award. She also holds an M.A. in Communication and a Certificate in University Teaching Skills from Saint Louis University, and a Ph.D. from the Media, Technology, and Society Program in the School of Communication at Northwestern University, where she focused on the relationships between various forms of social inequality and digital participation. Her thesis received the Herbert S. Dordick Dissertation Award from the Communication and Technology Division of the International Communication Association as well as the Graduate Dissertation Award from the School of Communication at Northwestern University. Her research has been published in The International Journal of Communication, The Journal of Broadcasting Media, and Emerald Media Studies. She has taught or assisted courses in creative entrepreneurship online, public speaking, digital media production, and social networks.
During her previous tenure at Notre Dame, Dr. Klawitter served in a variety of communications roles on campus, including in the College of Arts and Letters, which awarded her its inaugural Team Impact Award, and in the Office of Public Affairs and Communications, where she developed content strategy for Web initiatives, led execution of the Notre Dame Forums on Immigration and Sustainability, and participated on the University's crisis communications team. She also worked as an undergraduate admissions counselor, where she led high-talent recruitment weekends.
Like many Notre Dame graduates, Dr. Klawitter's first position following commencement was one of direct service. She joined Jesuit Volunteer Corps: Northwest, which placed her as the Social Services Assistant at Bean's Cafe, a day shelter for people experiencing homelessness, in Anchorage, Alaska. Lessons she learned during that pivotal year continue to inform her belief in the transformational impact of Notre Dame, "which seeks to cultivate in its students . . . a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice, and oppression that burden the lives of so many . . . so that learning becomes service to justice."
McKenna Pencak, M.A.
Associate Director for Scholar Development
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McKenna Pencak is the Associate Director for Scholar Development for the Notre Dame Scholars’ Program, where she oversees the scholar enrichment funding process and academic programming. She began working with Notre Dame’s first merit scholarship program, The Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, in August 2014.
Prior to working for the Notre Dame Scholars’ Program, McKenna served as the Assistant Director for Communications and Outreach for International Student and Scholar Affairs, a part of Notre Dame International. In this role, she managed communications, student programming, the International Ambassador student leadership program, and International Student Orientation for Notre Dame’s international student community. Prior to working at the University, McKenna coordinated national consumer education programs, communications, media relations, and national partnerships for Bridgestone Retail Operations, the world’s largest network of company-owned automotive service providers.
McKenna is an alumna of Bradley University in Peoria, IL, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Public Relations Concentration) and Spanish. Her public relations thesis, a PR campaign for a local non-profit organization, won the Pat Landon Award for Excellence in the Field of Public Communication through the Public Relations Society of Central Illinois.
McKenna holds Master of Arts in International Education from the School for International Training (SIT) in Brattleboro, VT, and a University of Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). Her master’s thesis focused on training faculty and staff for effectively working with international students. McKenna has traveled to nearly 30 countries and has studied or lived abroad in Spain, Turkey, Argentina, and Mexico. In her free time, McKenna enjoys hanging out with her husband and two dogs, cooking, traveling, and exploring Michiana.
Heather joined the Notre Dame Scholars’ Program office in March of 2018. Her responsibilities include providing administrative support for the Faculty Director and Associate Directors, calendar management and scheduling, managing the office email as well as phone and voicemail, tracking and ordering office supplies, assisting with event planning, and welcoming scholars and other visitors to the office. She also assists with the scholar enrichment funding process, Notre Dame Selection Visit and alumni relations.
Heather graduated from Purdue University, West Lafayette, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Retail Management. She has a rich career spanning from customer service and sales to administrative support with corporate icons such as Enterprise, Bandy Carroll Hellige Advertising, AT&T and Forest Pharmaceuticals. Heather has been a member of the Notre Dame family since 2011.