Katie Washington, a biological sciences major from Gary, has been named valedictorian of the 2010 University of Notre Dame graduating class and will present the valedictory address at the May 16 commencement.
Washington is believed to be the first black valedictorian at Notre Dame.
The university doesn’t keep records by race of valedictorians, but employees in the campus news office and the University Archives said they don’t know of any previous black valedictorian. An officer of the Black Alumni of Notre Dame group said that group is unaware of any previous black valedictorian.
Washington, who earned a 4.0 grade-point average, has a minor in Catholic social teaching. She has conducted research on lung cancer at Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.) Laboratory and performed genetic studies in Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health on the mosquito that carries dengue and yellow fever. She is the co-author of a research paper with David Severson, a professor of biological sciences.
Washington directs the Voices of Faith Gospel Choir at Notre Dame, is a mentor/tutor for the Sister-to-Sister program at Washington High School in South Bend and serves as student coordinator of the Center for Social Concerns’ “Lives in the Balance: Youth Violence and Society Seminar.”
After graduation, Washington plans to pursue a joint M.D./Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University.