Meet the Scientist: Eveline Kuchmak, an SMU alumna and current Manager of Temporary Exhibitions at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The Rock Report

Originally Posted: July 18, 2016

Meet: Eveline Kuchmak

Another Southern Methodist University alumna (Pony Up!), Eveline graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Economic Sociology. Growing up she “lived for trips to art and science museums, space camp, Pony Club veterinary workshops, and the latest issue of National Geographic.” She was homeschooled for much of her childhood and her parents always made sure she had a healthy dose of curiosity. After graduation, she attended archaeological field school in New Mexico which only reinforced her desire to discover new things and share these experiences. This path has led her to a career inspiring others through science museums.

She began working at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in education and public programs; however, at the beginning of this year she transitioned into her new role as Manager of Temporary Exhibits. READ MORE

 

2016-2017 Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellows Named

DFW Schweitzer Fellows will launch health and wellbeing initiatives within underserved communities while completing leadership training

Dallas, TX, June 23, 2016—The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) announced the selection of its second class of Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows—9 graduate students who will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health, and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, they will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.

Schweitzer Fellows develop and implement service projects that address the root causes of health disparities in under-resourced communities, while also fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Each project is implemented in collaboration with a community-based health and/or social service organization. This year’s Fellows will address an array of health issues affecting a range of populations, including a college and career readiness program, an expansion of a smoking cessation program for men experiencing homelessness, and a volunteer doula program for low-income women.

Housed in Southern Methodist University’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, the Schweitzer Fellowship draws on an interdisciplinary approach to guide the Fellows throughout the year. Monthly meetings feature speakers from a range of fields, including several Dedman College faculty members. Renee McDonald, Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs, guided the Fellows through evaluation strategies and program planning, allowing them to begin their projects with a more rigorous approach to assessing their effectiveness. Dr. McDonald will meet with the Fellows periodically to help them refine their evaluation plans and interpret their data.

Neely Myers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, led a discussion and exploration of the social determinants of health with the group at another meeting. Dr. Myers’ discussion spurred critical thinking about the issues that the Fellows will address through their projects and laid the groundwork for future explorations of the many aspects of health.

Dr. Rick Halperin, Dr. Carolyn Smith-Morris, and Dr. Alicia Schortgen have also lectured and facilitated discussions with Schweitzer Fellows on topics ranging from human rights, ethics and medicine, and how organizations work within Dallas to address the issues facing our community.

“The Schweitzer Fellowship changes the lives of not just the Fellows themselves, but also the lives of the community members they serve through their Fellowship projects,” said Courtney Roy, Program Director of the Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellowship. “Our Fellows will learn to lead and innovate as they take on complex issues, and will also have the opportunity to learn from one another, sharing their strengths and knowledge, preparing them for professional careers in an ever-changing world. Meanwhile, their project participants will gain information, skills, and behaviors that will assist them in leading healthier lives.”

“These Schweitzer Fellows are living Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s legacy of reverence for life,” said Executive Director Sylvia Stevens-Edouard. “Their Fellowship year will leave them well-prepared to successfully face the challenges of serving vulnerable and underserved populations, whose health and medical needs are many and varied.”

The 9 Dallas-Fort Worth Fellows will join over 200 other 2016-17 Schweitzer Fellows working at 15 program sites, 14 in the US and one in Lambaréné, Gabon at the site of The Albert Schweitzer Hospital, founded by Dr. Schweitzer in 1913. Upon completion of their Fellowship year, the 2016-17 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows will become Schweitzer Fellows for Life and join a vibrant network of nearly 3,000 Schweitzer alumni who are skilled in, and committed to, addressing the health needs of underserved people throughout their careers. Fellows for Life routinely report that ASF is integral to sustaining their commitment to serving people in need.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program marks a unique collaboration between eight Dallas-Fort Worth universities. Housed in Southern Methodist University (Dedman College), supporting universities include the Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing, Texas Christian University, Texas Woman’s University, University of Dallas, University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center.

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Meet the 2016-2017 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows

About The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is preparing the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities. To date, more than 3,200 Schweitzer Fellows have delivered nearly 500,000 hours of service to nearly 300,000 people in need.  Additionally, more than 100 Fellows have provided care at the 100-year-old Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Africa. Through this work and through the contributions of Fellows whose professional careers serve their communities, ASF perpetuates the legacy and philosophy of physician-humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer. ASF has 14 program locations in the U.S. and one in Lambaréné, Africa. Its national office is located in Boston, MA and hosted by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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Sheri Kunovich, Sociology, shares insight on SMU-in-Taos campus life

Taos News

Originally Posted: May 31, 2016

Fort Burgwin wasn’t much to look at in 1973 when Southern Methodist University (SMU) took over the independent research facility that was solely focused on archaeology. But four decades later, SMU-in-Taos is a full-fledged campus. With a slew of renovations in the past two years, the campus is starting to cultivate the community feel it has long desired.

SMU-in-Taos is a multipurpose educational facility that sees a rush of energy during the summer as Dallas-bound SMU students come to Taos for one of three summer terms.

But for years, the campus didn’t have the physical layout befitting a community of learners. The old cafeteria was built in the 1970s and always served as a de facto student center for SMU students who make the summer trek from Dallas to Taos. It had the open space. It had the TV.

That all changed with the opening of a new student center — the Miller Campus Center — last summer.

Though only a wall separates the new building from the old cafeteria, they’re worlds apart in terms of contemporary amenities and construction. In addition to a classroom and gym, the new center is also the campus living room, replete with couches and a wraparound porch that bring students that much closer to the outdoors that brought them to Taos in the first place.

“So much of being here is being outside,” said Max Gunther, a health psychology professor. It’s the little things — watching the dramatic change of color and clouds at sunset, the forest abuzz with life, while finishing a midterm essay — that make the SMU-in-Taos experience what it is,” he said. “You can’t get that in Dallas.”

Steps lead down to what is essentially the new campus plaza — a hallmark of the Hispanic and Pueblo communities the students study — which also serves as an outdoor amphitheater. A newly constructed chapel anchors one side of the plaza, while a handful of casitas and classrooms round out the other.

“This moves the center of gravity of the campus up here to the casitas, to where they live and study,” said SMU-in-Taos Director Mike Adler, who has been a professor with the university for 25 years.

Adler stressed the importance of informal spaces — those places where students can be absorbed in their surroundings or even just sit with the unsettled feeling of “quiet,” so foreign from Dallas noise. “It’s the osmosis between the indoors and outdoors that’s very important,” he said.

And that’s something professors are beginning to take advantage of, too, by “teaching naked,” abandoning the classroom altogether and taking the class – and learning – outside.

“Out here, you can learn stuff you just can’t learn in the classroom,” said Gunther. “They remember stuff in a different way.”

A trip to Williams Lake — “or as close as we can get,” he said — is supplemented the day before with a lesson about the cardiovascular system (“why they can’t breathe”) and the day after with a lesson on the body’s pain systems (“which they’re all feeling”).

Beyond all the elements of learning and development that aren’t in the curriculum — like self-confidence from climbing a mountain or the ability to sit still in the calm of nature — the campus directly supports the academics of the school, said sociology professor Sheri Kunovich.

“The Taos campus is inherently interdisciplinary,” she said. It’s commonplace for an environmental history professor to take a walk with a botanist and students, striking up conversations that would have never happened without two steams of thought having the time and space to simply meander together, she said. 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

Celebrating Dedman College Faculty Books

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

Congratulations to John Kalkanli, graduating in May with dual degrees in International Studies and Markets and Culture with a minor in human rights

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This week we are sharing some powerful SMU stories from the class of 2016… John Kalkanli has never seen the campus of SMU, but he says he loves it none-the-less. John Kalkanli is blind. Born in Turkey with a disorder that robbed him of his sight from day one, his family brought him to Dallas six times in his first five years of life to attempt surgeries they hoped would make him see. None of the surgeries worked, but eventually he found something else in Dallas – a future home at SMU. After Kalkanli graduates in May with dual degrees in International Studies and Markets and Culture with a minor in human rights, he will enroll in SMU’s Masters of Liberal Studies program with a focus on human rights. After that, he hopes to work for an international human rights organization like Amnesty International or the International Rescue Committee. Congratulations John, we look forward to watching as you change the world. Read more of John’s story at the link in profile. #smugrad

A photo posted by SMU (@smudallas) on May 10, 2016 at 3:21pm PDT

May Commencement Weekend

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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 http://www.smu.edu/live.

READ MORE