Dedman College Research Roundup

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Dedman College scientists continue to receive global recognition for their research. Check out some of the latest research articles from Dedman College faculty.

  • Long-term daily contact with Spanish missions triggered collapse of Native American populations in New Mexico. 

SWJM_oldboundary_8x11portrait-232x300“Scholars increasingly recognize the magnitude of human impacts on planet Earth, some are even ready to define a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene,” said anthropologist and fire expert Christopher I. Roos, an associate professor, Department of Anthropology, and a co-author on the research. READ MORE

  • The Moon used to spin on a different axis.


“As the axis moved, so did the face of the Man in the Moon. He sort of turned his nose up at the Earth. These findings may open the door to further discoveries on the interior evolution of the Moon, as well as the origin of water on the Moon and early Earth,” said Matthew Siegler, adjunct faculty in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, and lead author of the study. READ MORE

  • SMU seismology team response to March 28, 2016 U.S. Geological Survey hazard forecasts. READ MORE
  • Nearby massive star explosion 30 million years ago equaled brightness of 100 million suns. 

Deep blue space background filled with nebulae and shining stars

  • The massive explosion was one of the closest to Earth in recent years, visible as a point of light in the night sky starting July 24, 2013, said Robert Kehoe, SMU physics professor, who leads SMU’s astrophysics team. READ MORE
  • Could Texas’ dirty coal power plants be replaced by geothermal systems?

geothermal-map“We all care about the earth,” said Maria Richards, SMU geothermal lab coordinator, in welcoming the attendees. “We are applying knowledge that is applying hope.”                         READ MORE

  • SMU physicists: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is once again smashing protons, taking data. READ MORE
  • Study: Humans have been causing earthquakes in Texas since the 1920s. READ MORE


Scientists from SMU’s Department of Physics are among the several thousand physicists worldwide who contribute on the LHC research.


  • Early armored dino from Texas lacked cousin’s club-tail weapon, but had a nose for danger.

Karen_Carr_Pawpawsaurus_campbelli--300x197Pawpawsaurus was an earlier version of armored dinosaurs but not as well equipped to fight off meat-eaters, according to a new study, said vertebrate paleontologist Louis Jacobs. READ MORE


  • Wildfire on warming planet requires adaptive capacity at local, national, int’l scales.

house-1024x768“We tend to treat modern fire problems as unique, and new to our planet,” said fire anthropologist Christopher Roos, lead author of the report. “As a result, we have missed the opportunity to recognize the successful properties of communities that have a high capacity to adapt to living in flammable landscapes — in some cases for centuries or millennia.“ READ MORE

  • Giant sinkholes near West Texas oil patch towns are growing — as new ones lurk.


The two sinkholes — about a mile apart — appear to be expanding. Additionally, areas around the existing sinkholes are unstable, with large areas of subsidence detected via satellite radar remote sensing. READ MORE

College grads, take heart: You’re entering best job market in years

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: May 24, 2016

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, the denizens of Southern Methodist University’s campus seemed to move at a leisurely pace.

A few cyclists clicked along the pathways and the stately brick buildings, with their bright white colonnades, were quiet. Commencement had taken place a few days earlier.

But for Regina James, the busy season was getting into full swing.

“There are still students who are in transition. They’re either waiting to hear back about offers — there’s a little anxiousness there — or they’re students that maybe just didn’t get around to the search, so they’re starting to reach out and say, ‘I don’t have anything yet,’” she said. “Those students, we’ll be helping throughout the summer.”

James is the associate director for employer relations at SMU’s Hegi career center.

Experts say newly-minted college graduates in the Dallas area are entering one of the best job markets they’ve seen. But James said that’s no excuse to slack off in the hunt.

“We encourage students to have multiple internships for a number of reasons,” she said. “You’ve got to think about it as, not only are you competing against your peers here, you’re competing against peers from other institutions in the area, you’re competing against institutions nationally [whose students] may desire to live in the Dallas area.”

According to a report by the firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, 1.8 million Americans with four-year degrees are expected to enter the workforce this year, where they’ll be greeted by the best job market for college graduates in several years.

The report cites the fact that the nation has seen almost 70 months of job gains, meaning that 14 million workers have been added to payrolls across the country. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are retiring.

A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that companies are slated to hire 5.2 percent more new graduates than a year ago.

And, the report says, 59 metro areas have unemployment rates below 4.0 percent.

All of those factors add up to a demand for workers who are ready to start their careers.

In Dallas-Fort Worth — one of those metro areas with a low unemployment rate — there’s extra momentum, said Bud Weinstein, an economist and associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at SMU’s Cox School of Business.

The region’s economy is more diverse than it’s ever been. And more companies are relocating or expanding in North Texas — in part because they’re attracted by the area’s talent pool.

“Dallas-Fort Worth probably has the strongest job market in the nation among large metropolitan areas — maybe not in absolute numbers, but certainly in percentage terms,” Weinstein said. “I think the job market has never looked better, particularly for college graduates.”

Michael Carroll, director of UNT’s Economics Research Group, added that although energy and manufacturing jobs across the state are hurting, “we’re fairly insulated from that” in North Texas.

A flood of migration into the state, Carroll said, has also helped keep wages at a manageable level and competition for workers from scaring off new jobs.

“I think it’s a real positive with all the companies moving in,” he said.

Higher education institutions around the region say they’re bullish on the possibilities for their graduates — whether they’re armed with a bachelor’s degree or trade certification.

“I cannot even tell you — we’re tripping over jobs,” said Dawn Gomez, career services coordinator at the Dallas County Community College District’s Northlake College in Irving.

The hard part, she said, is connecting students with the right employer in an age when job hunters have countless online resources.

“Soft skills, communication, critical thinking, teamwork — employers want those that can pull it all together in a composed, succinct package,” Gomez said.

For Morgan Slottje, who graduated from SMU in December, settling on a career path wasn’t easy.

As an undergraduate, she said with a chuckle, she changed majors “at least 10 times.”

Throughout college, she also test drove various jobs through internships: She worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, she worked in marketing.

When the time came to focus on the job search, Slottje, 23, applied to “hundreds” of jobs she said sounded interesting, from advertising to financial analysis. She considered getting a master’s degree in statistics.

In the end, Slottje said she went to a Deloitte presentation and felt a strong sense that its values aligned with hers: An emphasis on continuing to learn and grow.

“I picked a company where their values really align with mine,” she said. “That’s important with the job search — I want a career. I want to love what I’m doing.”

And although Slottje said she was open to moving to another city, she preferred to stay in Dallas, close to her parents and where living costs are more manageable than in New York, where she went to school for 2 and a half years before switching to SMU.

“I’d rather be in a city like Dallas when I’m starting a career,” she said. “I’m versed in tech, but when I was interviewing [with a company in the] Bay Area, I was thinking, ‘No matter what I’m getting paid, I’m going to be so poor.’”

She’ll be starting a job here, in business technology consulting at Deloitte in July.

Reggie Davis, a 21-year-old University of North Texas logistics student, won’t graduate until next year.

He said he’s optimistic about his job prospects, particularly in logistics. In D-FW, information technology and other “knowledge” jobs that require college degrees are in high demand, particularly given the breadth of the region’s transportation industry.

His father, too, works in logistics, meaning he’s had exposure to the jobs for years.

Nevertheless, Davis said he’s not cruising to graduation day.

For one thing, UNT’s logistics program requires that students intern before they graduate, so he’ll be working at Schneider Logistics this summer.

Davis is also participating in the school’s professional leadership program, which aims to prep students for business leadership with access to mentors and professional development opportunities.

He said that although he’s been around supply chain and logistics work — it’s what his dad does, too — he sees the internship as both a way to get an edge and to test out which specific type of job he might like best.

“If I end up doing well in the internship and enjoying it, I would be glad to consider a full-time position or transition to being a full-time employee,” he said. “But I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.” READ MORE

Bryson DeChambeau, former SMU golfer, applies physics to his sport


Originally Posted: May 18, 2016

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 21:  Bryson DeChambeau tees off on the 12th hole during the first round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course on April 21, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – APRIL 21: Bryson DeChambeau tees off on the 12th hole during the first round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course on April 21, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)

IRVING, Texas — During Bryson During Bryson DeChambeau’s press conference before the AT&T Byron Nelson, the subject of physics came up, and how it applies to golf.

Here’s part of his answer: “[…] especially Newtonian mechanics. See, quantum mechanics doesn’t really correlate — I mean, it does, on a really, really minute scale. But doesn’t affect how you’re striking the ball necessarily,” he said. “It’s more Newtonian mechanics.”

DeChambeau majored in physics at SMU and is trying to use what he learned to get better.

“I lean more to the technical side, just because I like numbers,” DeChambeau said. “I like understanding and seeing results. That gives me confidence.” READ MORE

Seven Dedman College students awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 17, 2016

Congratulations to the Dedman College students recently awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.


Hena Rafiq, graduated May 14 with degrees in human rights and political science and has earned a Fulbright Award to teach English in Kosovo. READ MORE

scholar-nate-whiteSenior Nate White has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to teach next year in Spain. He is graduating this spring with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, as well as a minor in Spanish, from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He also is earning a Bachelor’s degree in education from Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

scholar-joseph-DiPaneJunior Joseph Di Pane, a biological sciences and history major, was named a 2016-17 Barry Goldwater Scholar, one of 252 sophomores and junior college students selected nationwide to receive the honor. READ MORE

Junior Patricia Nance, a chemistry and mathematics major, was awarded the 2016-17 Barry Goldwaterscholar-patricia-nance Scholarship. Nance plans to earn a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry and pursue a university teaching and research career. READ MORE


Senior Nicole Michelle Hartman, a recipient of The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), will graduate with majors in physics and mathematics from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and a minor in electrical engineering from the Lyle School of Engineering. READ MORE


Margaret Sala, doctoral student in clinical psychology, has been awarded a three-year Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. READ MORE

scholar-ryan-crossSophomore Ryan Cross has been named a Presidential Fellow to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, D.C. Cross is majoring in political science and international studies with minors in Spanish and history. He is a member of the Tower Scholars program, and has been selected for an internship at the Library of Congress as part of the Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program. READ MORE

For a full list of SMU students who received prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year, CLICK HERE.

Celebrating Dedman College Faculty Books

  • View a slideshow of the event photos here.
  • For more information on Dedman College faculty books, click here.

SMU physicists: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is once again smashing protons, taking data

SMU Research

Originally Posted: May 10, 2016

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its experiments are back in action, now taking physics data for 2016 to get an improved understanding of fundamental physics.


Following its annual winter break, the most powerful collider in the world has been switched back on.

Geneva-based CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — an accelerator complex and its experiments — has been fine-tuned using low-intensity beams and pilot proton collisions, and now the LHC and the experiments are ready to take an abundance of data.

The goal is to improve our understanding of fundamental physics, which ultimately in decades to come can drive innovation and inventions by researchers in other fields.

Scientists from SMU’s Department of Physics are among the several thousand physicists worldwide who contribute on the LHC research. READ MORE

May Commencement Weekend


Congratulations to all the Dedman College graduates. Looking for the latest schedule of events? Read More 

SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 3, 2016

SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,500 students at its 101st annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Moody Coliseum.

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, Crum Auditorium and McFarlin Auditorium. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Bolin Plaza, and there will be a live webcast of the ceremony at