Innovating to give students of all backgrounds a place in the American story

Zoe (Rote) Kourajian ’16

Social Studies Teacher, Edgewood Middle School



Now entering her fifth year as a middle school social studies teacher, Zoe (Rote) Kourajian ’16 discovered her vocation to public education under the mentorship of Dr. Stuart Greene and Dr. Maria McKenna at Notre Dame. In the years since, she has established herself as an innovator in the instruction of history, creating a curriculum reflective of the cultural experiences of all students. She strives to ensure that every single student, regardless of their background, sees their history valued and taught as essential to the American story.

In Kourajian’s classroom, students become historians as they actively question the past, analyze sources for credibility and bias, and conduct historic argumentation research projects reflecting their own interests and backgrounds. Through this process, students feel empowered to create change in their communities using the skills, knowledge, and confidence gained through their study of history.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Kourajian is a co-coach of the nationally competitive Quiz Bowl team, co-director of the middle school musical, and an active member of the National Geographic-certified teacher community.

Kourajian earned her bachelor’s from Notre Dame and her Master of Education from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. At Notre Dame, she led the World Hunger Coalition in raising money for hunger-relief organizations, volunteered at the Robinson Community Learning Center, and taught classes in Spanish at the Snite Museum of Art. 

Kourajian met her husband, Adam ’15, while studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, and they are expecting their first child in January. In her free time, Kourajian is an avid cook, a founding member of her parish’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Team, and a regular volunteer with Catholic Charities.