Kristen Friday of Pittsburgh has been named valedictorian and Miguel Coste from Tampa has been selected salutatorian of the 2023 University of Notre Dame graduating class.
The 178th University Commencement Ceremony will be held May 21 (Sunday) in Notre Dame Stadium for graduates and guests. During the ceremony, Friday will present the valedictory address, and as the salutatorian, Coste will offer the invocation.
Friday is a computer science and engineering major with a minor in engineering corporate practice in the College of Engineering where she has accumulated a 4.00 grade point average and has been a member of the Dean’s List each semester. During her time at Notre Dame, she was involved in a project funded by Ford Motor Co., which focused on real-time notifications to enhance driver and pedestrian safety measures by assessing user intentions at road intersections. She played an integral role on the project collecting user data to train the machine learning model performance and in automating alerts for vehicles in high-traffic areas.
She completed several internships over the past four years, including as an associate automation engineer intern with Hitachi Rail STS, a software engineer intern at IBM in the Research Triangle in North Carolina and a software engineer intern with Microsoft Corp. in Seattle. She also worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant with computer science and engineering faculty Matthew Morrison teaching Data Structures and Peter Bui teaching both Programming Challenges and Systems Programming.
Outside of the classroom, Friday was co-founder of the Notre Dame Women in Computer Science club, where she served as co-president. Together with her co-president, she was driven to support women in technology majors by hosting career panels, mentorship programs and outreach events paired with Habitat for Humanity. Friday was a two-year member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, and also received the college’s Steiner Award for academic excellence. In the spring of 2022, she studied abroad in London. Friday is also a self-described “avid member of Lewis Hall interhall sports” and was a four-year member of the University’s club tennis team. She also served as a volunteer at a ministry for the homeless in her hometown.
After graduation, Friday plans to work at Palantir Technologies as a software engineer in Washington, D.C. She hopes to continue building innovative technological solutions that will empower users, promote the greater good and improve the human experience.
Coste, a neuroscience and behavior major in the College of Arts and Letters, has compiled a 3.972 grade point average and has been a member of the Dean’s List every semester. A member of the Phi Beta Kappa liberal arts and sciences honor society, he was selected from nearly 900 national applicants in 2022 as one of the organization’s 20 recipients for the Key into Public Service Scholarship for his academic excellence, leadership and commitment to public service. He was also inducted into the Nu Rho Psi neuroscience national honor society.
In 2021, he worked as an undergraduate research assistant at MIT’s summer research program in biology, where he developed experiments in systems neuroscience. He also served as an undergraduate research assistant with sociology professor Mark Berends studying Indiana schools’ responses to COVID-19. He also spent a semester in Ireland at Trinity College Dublin.
Coste’s honors include being awarded a Gilman Scholarship in 2021 and being named a Notre Dame AnBryce Scholar and QuestBridge Scholar. He was on the advisory board and served as president of First Gen Careers, which is part of the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development. He served as president of 1stG ND and as a sophomore was head mentor of the University’s QuestBridge chapter. He is also a former member of the University’s cheer team, a University Relations intern involved with Cavanaugh Council and the President’s Circle and a member of the National Name Exchange since 2020.
After graduation, Coste will work for Epic Systems as a technical solutions engineer in Madison, Wisconsin. He hopes to work in the public health field to promote and protect the health of people and communities, particularly the marginalized.
As salutatorian, he will be prepared to deliver a valedictory address should the valedictorian be unable to do so.
The Notre Dame valedictorian and salutatorian selection process begins by identifying the top four students among those with the highest grade point averages in each college or school. Those students are then invited to complete an application that includes letters of recommendation from faculty members and a draft of their commencement speech. A selection committee, coordinated by the division of Undergraduate Education in the Provost’s Office, interviews finalists and chooses a valedictorian and salutatorian who are approved by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.