Latest class of Dedman College Scholars shadowed doctors, founded charities before coming to SMU

SMU News

Originally Posted: September 21, 2016

September 21, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – Many SMU students come to the Hilltop for their education because they want to change the world.

Some come because they already have.

The latest class of 19 Dedman Scholars, who share a passion for academic excellence and extra-curricular achievement, includes a student who researched genetics and shadowed a breast cancer doctor, another who earned more than $1 million in scholarship offers from universities across the country, and one who founded a charitythat raised $20,000 to build an elementary school in the Dominican Republican.

All of these achievements were accomplished by the scholars before any of them graduated from high school.

“Dedman Scholars provide Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences with strong intellectual leadership,” says Dean Thomas DiPiero. “These students are always out in front doing independent research and spearheading university and civic projects.”

“They receive up to $10,000 in scholarship money annually, they get to participate in a community of scholars that we nurture, and then we guide them through their four years on campus,” says Dedman College Scholars Director David Doyle. “The goal of all the scholars is by the end of their time here, they’re engaged in some kind of independent (research) work. So we kind of lead them along the way.”

This year’s incoming Dedman College Scholars are: Roxana Farokhnia, of McKinney; Madeline Hamilton; of Denton;Jordan Hardin, of Euless; Hideo Ishii-Adajar, of Plano; Kayla Johansen, of Midlothian; Caroline Kelm, Lindale;Hunter Kolon, of Spring; Ashley Mai, of Richardson; Mary Christine (Mimi) Mallory, of Lynn Haven, Florida;Alexandra (Allie) Massman, of Frisco; Hannah Massman, of Frisco; Alexander McNamara, of Mansfield; Lorien Melnick, of Mundelein, Illinois; Andrea D. Nguyen, of Allen; Tannah Oppliger, of Carrollton; Thomas W. Park, of Forth Worth; Aarthi Parvethaneni, of Bellevue, Washington; Anika Reddy, of Dallas; and Cambley Sassman, of Mansfield.

“The 2020 class of Dedman Scholars is the largest in the history of the program and I’m thrilled to have them on campus this fall,” DiPiero adds. “Dedman College will provide these students with the resources and support they need to achieve their lofty dreams, and I look forward to seeing what ambitions they set their sights on during their four years at SMU.”

The Dedman College Scholarship is a donor-supported program, and those interested in supporting it may contact Mary Lynn Amoyo at 214-768-9202 or mamoyo@smu.edu.

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The Dedman College Scholars Program is designed to enrich the University’s intellectual life by providing unique learning opportunities for selected academically strong students seeking a major in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The program offers a merit-based scholarship award, an actively engaged community of peers and close faculty guidance and mentoring.

SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

Q&A | A Tower Scholar’s life in Uganda

Tower Center Blog

Originally Posted: August 30, 2016

The Tower Center sat down with Tower Scholar Thomas Schmedding, class of 2017, to talk about his time studying abroad and interning in Kampala, Uganda.

Tower Scholars PortraitsDescribe your life in Uganda. 

Life in a developing country is both fascinating and physically/mentally demanding every day. My time in Uganda was full of unexpected opportunities and some of the most memorable experiences of my life. Throughout my four months in Uganda, I saw circumstances I couldn’t have possibly imagined: extreme poverty, inequitable government healthcare and education institutions, and broken social contracts, among others. Despite these challenges though, a sense of hope and optimism always filled the air. The Ugandans I ran into every day couldn’t have been more grateful for their humble circumstances and they were always full of happiness. Waking up every morning, I was honored to be welcomed into such a warm-spirited community.

What was a typical day like for you?

I split my time between a homestay and an apartment. My homestay family was hardworking, supportive, and incredibly caring. In fact, I’ve never met a group of people that would devote so much time to making sure others felt welcomed. They helped me navigate Kampala’s unorganized “taxi” system (A “taxi” in East Africa is 15 people crammed in a conversion van with no organized route), and they taught me how to negotiate in one of Uganda’s 50 local languages at the market.

For the first two months, I took courses on development, Ugandan culture, and research methods through the School for International Training (SIT) with three other American students. I followed this with an internship at a digital health organization dedicated to alleviating Uganda’s doctor-to-patient ratio of about 1:25,000. These two opportunities were complementary in terms of providing experience navigating Uganda’s diverse culture. READ MORE

Dedman College biology major traveled the world with SMU Global Brigades club

Daily Campus

Originally Posted: August 30, 2016

Stepping out of the cozy, warm environment of your comfort zone to go serve in a foreign country full of poverty and danger can be an overwhelming experience. But for some SMU students, the thrill is what keeps them going back every summer.

Katherine Nelson, a senior biology major, is a member of the SMU Global Brigades club that works throughout the year to raise money for the stimulating summer trip. Every year volunteers travel to different settlements in the Panama area to help the less fortunate get the care they need.

Katherine Nelson volunteering in Panama

Katherine Nelson volunteering in Panama. Photo credit: Katherine Nelson

Nelson said that some days more than 200 people would come in to be treated. She and 13 other SMU students took on this adventure to serve where they were needed, learning in the process.

“I remember thinking ‘dang, if they didn’t have us, this wouldn’t happen,’” said Nelson. READ MORE

Oh, the places Dedman College students will go… (after graduation)!

Dedman College graduate employer list

Engaged Learning Fellowship announces Sept. 15 application deadline

Daily Campus

Originally Posted: August 25, 2016

SMU’s Engaged Learning Fellowship (ELF) presented by the Engaged Learning Center announces its Sept. 15 deadline for fellowship applications. The Engaged Learning Fellowship, a student-driven program, is aimed at mentoring students so that they can create a project that both fulfills the students’ learning goals and impacts the greater community and world.

The Engaged Learning Fellowship lasts until the semester of graduation and includes four phases: a proposal, the project, the presentation of the project and the final product. The ELF allows students to be involved in scholarly research, civic engineering, professional internships or other creative opportunities in its aim to link classroom experience with the greater world.

ELF projects begin in a student’s sophomore or junior year and ends when they graduate, and through the funds provided to ELF by SMU, students can earn fellowships of up to $2000 per project.

In order to complete an ELF application, students should have a well-written proposal that includes the following: a title, statement, purpose, methodology, timeline, bibliography and mentor approval.

For more information, go to http://www.smu.edu/Provost/EngagedLearning/FELLOWSHIPS

Tips from a Dedman College pre-health, biology major- 10 Things I Learned My First Year at SMU

SMU New Student Orientation

Originally Posted: August 23, 2016

Jaden Amilibia, one of our Orientation Leaders from Flower Mound, Texas, is a sophomore pre-med biology major in the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Jaden is here to wish you a fantastic first week of school AND share with you a few things she learned during her first year in college! 

  1. You WILL feel homesick, at one point or another.

It’s a natural feeling. You convinced yourself that after you graduated high school, you would NEVER come back or miss home and that you couldn’t wait to leave the nest. But like all of us, one day you’ll be talking to your parents or even a best friend, and you’ll want that sense of comfort in your everyday life again. It is totally okay!

2. Get out of your comfort zone.

Go out. Get involved. Explore campus with people or by yourself. Just like you, everyone is learning new things about college and are all displaced in some way or another. Don’t sit on the fence and be reluctant to try something. Who knows? You might just meet your new best friend, or find that one club that you absolutely LOVE.  

3.  LEARN. TIME. MANAGEMENT.

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You know that triangle telling you that you can only choose 2 of 3 aspects of college life? The one between sleep, a social life, and your grades? Yeah, wrong. Learning to manage your time efficiently will help you discover more free time to hang out with friends a little longer, or even dare say, time for a nap. Go to the ALEC for a “Semester At A Glance” page, invest in a durable planner, or learn how to wing it because you do not want to be cramming 3 chapters, 10 or more lectures, and 3 weeks of notes two nights before the exam.  

4. 8ams aren’t the end of the world… and neither are Bs.

We all have that one class that challenges us, both mentally and physically. Even though you may feel constantly defeated by the class, don’t let one subpar grade stop you from fulfilling your goals. Your entire life is not going to be altered and your goals are still attainable. Don’t forget that you are trying, and it’s perfectly acceptable to experience failure every once in a while to keep yourself on track. 

 5. Your “roomie” doesn’t have to be your “froomie”.

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You’re living with someone you’ve probably never met before, so it’s natural to not always get along. With any gamble in life, you might luck out, or you might have to completely switch roommates by the end of the first semester.

 

6. Explore food options on and off campus

The dining halls are wonderful- but there are a ton of options in the Dallas area that are a $5 Uber away from campus! Velvet Taco, Villa-O, Torchy’s, and Café Brazil, just to name a few, are all student favorites if you’re interested! 

7.It’s OK to say no sometimes (or most of the time).

We get it. It’s college. You want to go out and enjoy your weekend, or even each night of the week. We’ve all been there. But it is SO IMPORTANT to say “no” at times. Believe it or not, skipping your 8am the next morning has consequences. Even if your professor doesn’t take attendance, going to class is more beneficial in the long run, and might even be the difference of a half-grade. 

8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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GO TO OFFICE HOURS. This cannot be stressed enough. Your professors are there to help you, and are more inclined to do so if they see your face in their office enough.

9. Being undecided is fine, and so is switching your major!

Not everyone knows what he or she wants to major in when they’re 18. Sometimes, neither do 19 or 20-year-olds. It’s normal, and it’s likely that you’ll meet someone that completely changed their minds once they started taking pre-requisite classes.  

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10. College is a bigger world than high school, and it’s wonderful.

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You’re going to meet some fantastic people, some people you might not click with at first and learn so much about yourself in a few just a few short months.  Be free, open, and learn. And we promise you, it’s going to be great!

PONY UP! 

Human Rights, Rwanda (Summer 2016)

SMU Adventures

robyn-600x400A group of 13 SMU students, faculty and staff are in Rwanda from August 4-13, 2016 with SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program. After the country’s 1994 genocide, in which as many as a million people were killed in 100 days, “history lives on,” says group leader and program director Rick Halperin. The group are visiting genocide sites and meeting with survivors, government representatives and representatives of NGOs, They are also carrying donated books, classroom supplies, toys and clothing to share with the schools and orphanages they are visiting. READ MORE

SMU students earn fellowships to conduct research during summer of 2016

SMU NEWS

Originally Posted: August 10, 2016

For five SMU students, the summer of 2016 wasn’t a walk on the beach. It was an international research adventure instead.

Benjamin Chi, Abigail Hawthorne, Sara Jendrusch, Katherine Logsdon and Yasaman Sahba traveled far and wide this summer conducting research on topics ranging from diabetes in China to performance anxiety among musicians thanks to prestigious Richter Research Fellowships earned through SMU’s University Honors Program. In conducting their research, they joined fellow students Preksha Chowdhary and Anthony Jeffries, who embarked on their projects earlier this year as SMU’s 2016 Richter Research Fellows.

SMU is one of only 12 universities that offer the competitive fellowships, which are supported by the Paul K. and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Funds. To qualify for a Richter grant, a student needs to be an honors student in good standing.

“My research this summer has been a life-changing experience for me,” says Richter fellow Hawthorne.   “Mental health – and opinions of self-worth often so closely connected to professional artists’ careers – is rarely discussed, and I am hoping my research will help to change some of the negative stigmas associated with experiences of anxiety.”

Details about each student’s project can be viewed below:

Benjamin Chi in Harbin, China

“Diabetes among Rural Immigrants moving to Chinese Cities”

During the summer of 2016 Chi traveled to Harbin, China, to conduct original research on diabetes in China, where it is reaching epidemic proportions. The problem appears especially acute among the migrant populations who have moved in great numbers from the country’s rural villages to its largest cities, such as Harbin. Mentored by a medical professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chi observed patients at a medical clinic and conducted interviews and surveys in a search for causes of the spread of diabetes. With this original research Chi had the chance to contribute significantly to the study of diabetes and its potential causes.

Abigail Hawthorne in Durango, Colorado

“Performance Anxiety among Classical Music Players”

Abigail traveled to a summer music festival to interview classical music performers and gauge their level of performance anxiety. Combining her double majors of music and psychology, this project allowed her to investigate an issue that she herself has often struggled with. In addition to the qualitative interviews, Abigail also distributed a set of written questions so she could develop preliminary quantitative data as well. With the mentoring of her professor in the Psychology Department, Abigail intends to seek publication for the final results of this study.

Sara Jendrusch in London,

Prostitution in the United Kingdom & the United States: A Comparative Study”

Sara traveled to London to further her research into prostitution in modern society. Having pursued the American half of her comparative study here in Dallas, Sara volunteered in a handful of British shelters that assist women and men seeking to leave prostitution. She also conducted informal interviews with current prostitutes as well. Her research project asked the question: What is the life of a prostitute like today in these two countries? Are conditions better or worse than in past historical periods? And how has an increase in human trafficking world-wide impacted prostitution?

Katherine Logsdon in Amsterdam, Netherlands

“Pain in Childbirth: Exploring Pain Management Techniques and Perceptions of Childbirth Pains in Dutch Women”

Katherine traveled to Amsterdam this summer for her second trip studying the Dutch society where almost 50 percent of children are still born at home using traditional childbirth techniques. Despite its status as a highly industrialized and western society, the Netherlands has chosen not to turn to the modern methods used in the United States and other industrialized societies, where the vast majority of births are performed in hospitals. Katherine’s work contrasts the pain management techniques used in more traditional midwife practices with those employed in American hospitals. Her field work included shadowing four Dutch midwives as well as conducting numerous interviews with their patients. Katherine has now been at work on this project for three years and the final product will serve as her Honors or Distinction thesis in her health and society major. Katherine also is working with her faculty mentor, Professor Carolyn Smith-Morris, to submit an article for publication in a scholarly journal.

Yasaman Sahba in Llojlla Grande, Bolivia

“Rural Electrification in Bolivia”

Yasaman traveled to the small village of Llojlla Grande in Bolivia, where the country’s government and international NGOs are involved in a project to establish dependable and affordable electrical service. Bolivia is a rich area for this work, as it is currently sponsoring a number of such efforts throughout the country, mostly in rural areas. Yasaman will not only work as a volunteer on this project, but will observe and record her own notes on the relative success of the project – or lack thereof – for the local population.   

Anthony Jeffries in Washington, D.C.

“A Tragedy of Timing: An Examination of the Chief Justiceship of Roger Brooke Taney”

Pursuing an Honors or Distinction thesis in History, Anthony used his Richter Fellowship funding to travel to the Library of Congress, and the National Archives to research the decisions of Chief Justice Roger Taney – author of the now-infamous Dred Scott Decision of 1854 – that helped push the United States toward the Civil War six years later. Preliminary work and secondary source readings have led Anthony to the conclusion that Taney is not simply the notorious figure we remember him as today, but was rather a victim of his time. Anthony concluded few justices could have weathered the difficulties Taney faced.

Preksha Chowdhary in Rajasthan, India

“Information and Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence”

Preksha worked with Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, to put together generic care packets for abused women in an Indian city. Then, working within two local shelters for victims of domestic violence, Preksha interviewed a series of women who found themselves forced to leave their families to seek safety from abuse. The primary focus of the research is to determine how and when a woman decides that violence can no longer be endured. With an eye toward possible preventative strategies in the future, Preksha gathered as much pertinent information on these vulnerable women as possible. READ MORE

SMU Adventures: Working with the FARDC

SMU Adventures

Originally Posted: July 26, 2016

Lindsay G. is a rising senior majoring in international studies and human rights. This summer she traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Army ROTC for closer study of the country’s culture and language.

Lindsay1-e1469546975476-600x392This week began with quarantine in our hotel due to political unrest throughout the country. This was extremely fitting since this next week we were going to be working with the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Day 1 we went to the military school for English language, which aimed to help soldiers in the FARDC learn basic English. At the language school we got the opportunity to meet officers in the FARDC who had been given the opportunity to come to San Antonio to learn English at the Defense Language Institute. These gentlemen (no women were given the opportunity to go) spoke perfect English, and prided themselves on knowing various aspects of American culture that only a native would know. During our time at the English Institute we gave classes in basic Army doctrine in hopes of helping to improve the basic functions of the Congolese military. All of the soldiers of the FARDC were eager to learn about the functions of the U.S. Army, and took great pride in their country when we attempted to teach the class in French, their national language.

The next day we headed to the Logistics School of the FARDC, where soldiers learn basic skills including mechanics, field first aid and cooking. The U.S. Army heads this school, and we were able to meet two U.S. soldiers who had been deployed to the Congo for over a year in the hopes of ensuring this school functions properly. They gave us a tour of the grounds and introduced us to the staff and students of the school. The Congolese general in charge of this school proved to be a complete juxtaposition for how the rest of the country worked. While most of the log school was without power and had little airflow, the Generals quarters had air conditioning, a TV and cold drinks for his guests. This experience was the most eye-opening moment of the whole trip because the power structure of the country was highlighted and made very apparent.

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