10-day SMU trip reveals Wild West myths that obscure ‘theft, deception & genocide’ for Native Americans

DALLAS (SMU) — Thirteen SMU students, faculty and staff members are traveling the American West to better understand past and present struggles of our country’s “too often-forgotten indigenous people,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin, who is leading the June 2-12 trip.

During the 10-day journey through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, the group will visit Native American sites of what Halperin describes as “brutal military and socio-economic strife as well as cultural resilience,” including the Pine Ridge Reservation and Wounded Knee area of South Dakota and the Battle of Little Bighorn site in Montana.

“Native American justice is perhaps the most fundamental – and most overlooked – human rights issue in the United States,” adds Embrey Human Rights Assistant Director Brad Klein. “This trip will raise awareness of how myths about the taming of the ‘Wild West’ obscure a history of theft, deception and genocide.”

Trip participants also will see how Native Americans are still fighting to better their communities and build a better world for the next generation, Klein says. READ MORE

Follow Jewel on SMU Adventures

Jewel is a sophomore majoring in biology and environmental science in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. A member of the University Honors Program, she is the recipient of the SMU Founders Scholarship and Dedman College Scholarship. During summer 2012, she also received a Richter Fellowship to conduct research at SMU-in-Taos, where she will update “A Guide to the Trees of the Navajo Country,” a 1940s bulletin written to teach Navajo students to manage and identify the trees in their area. She is using a variety of resources to update locations, scientific names, Navajo medicinal uses and other characteristics of the trees. READ MORE

Award-winning Dedman College student loves SMU traditions

Year of the Student Blog

Elishah Ramos ’15 was one of 10 students who received the “M” award, SMU’s highest commendation, at the University’s 18th annual Honors Convocation, in April.

25955D_0561-680x451“I’m pretty excited about it. It was a surprise for me. I know so many other students who work so hard for the University and are equally deserving of this award. So it’s humbling for me to be acknowledged in this way,” says Elishah, who also has served as an SMU Ambassador and is the first in his family to go to college.

An esteemed University tradition, Honors Convocation is a celebration of academic excellence achieved by SMU students. And Elishah, a double major in markets and culture and Spanish and a human rights minor, loves traditions. He also served as a Peruna handler, in charge of the SMU mascot during athletic events. READ MORE

American West Human Rights 2015

Thirteen SMU students and faculty and staff members will travel the American West June 2–12 to visit Native American reservations and historic sites “to study past and present struggles of our country’s indigenous people – all too often our forgotten people,” says Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, sponsoring the trip for the first time. While visiting Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska the group will visit such places as the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and the site of the Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana. READ MORE

Grad Ketetha Olengue: A heart-felt mission to help others

Ketetha-OlengueFor SMU graduating senior Ketetha Olengue, wearing a pacemaker isn’t a hindrance. It’s what spurs her desire to help people battling both heart conditions and “the human condition,” she says.

On Saturday, Ketetha will earn two degrees that will send her on her way to becoming a cardiologist: a B.S. in computer science from the Lyle School of Engineering and a B.A. in biology from Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences. After four successful years as a SMU President’s Scholar (a merit-based scholarship paying full-tuition and fees), Ketetha can now celebrate her acceptance into the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, where she’ll receive a full-tuition scholarship.

Ketetha traces her physical and emotional strength to one of her life’s lowest moments, when, at age 9, the first of three pacemaker surgeries left her with a significant scar. Her maternal grandmother, in Burkina Faso, Africa, told her, “Do not cry. It is a souvenir.” From then on Ketetha would see her congenital heart condition “as what makes me different,” she says, “and what will help me make a difference in the lives of others.” READ MORE

Dedman College students receive prestigious national fellowships and awards

Congratulations to the Dedman College students awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards during the 2014-15 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. These students include:

Fulbright Scholar:

Whitney Goodwin
Michaela Wallerstedt
Kandi Doming

Institute for Responsible Citizenship Scholar:

Garrett Fisher

Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress Presidential Fellow:

Tracy Nelson

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Nicole Hartman

READ MORE

 

Biology major accepted to Harvard Medical School

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: May 5, 2015

Senior Janice Kim presented her dissertation, “p53-Dependent survival signaling may promote oncogene-activation during viral carcinogenesis,” in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Departmental Distinction Program on May 1.

Kim has been working on her thesis for about three and a half years. She chose her topic during the start of her first year after attending a meeting at the premed office.

“All the professors came, talked about their research and gave you a feel for the opportunities undergraduates could take,” Kim said. “I chose the professor I liked the best and that was Dr. Harrod.”

Robert Harrod, Ph.D, teaches biological sciences at SMU. His research interests include molecular biology, pathogenesis of human retroviruses and mechanisms of viral carcinogenesis.

Kim further explains why she chose Dr. Harrod out of all the other biology research professors.

“I liked his field of research about leukemia and more specifically how leukemia develops,” Kim said. “I approached him fall semester freshman year, introduced myself and said I was interested in researching with him.”

Most professors usually select upperclassmen to work with in their specified field of research. However, Harrod acknowledged her interest despite her younger age.

“After I expressed my interest, I wasn’t expecting anything because they usually take upperclassmen,” Kim said. “But he said ‘okay, why don’t you start now?’ I started spring semester and I’ve been with him ever since.”

Over three years later, her undergraduate research is complete. In layman’s terms, Kim summarizes her dissertation:

“My dissertation is about how a virus Dr. Harrod is studying, human leukemia t-cell virus type 1, causes leukemia,” Kim said. “The proteins of that virus, like p30 and p53, deregulate, or cause the over expression of cellular proteins to go awry in the pathway, and that leads to adult T-cell leukemia lymphoma.”

Kim credits part of her success to Dr. Harrod. She says he pushed her to do things beyond the limit, like applying for the Hamilton scholarship to further her undergraduate research.

“I love Dr. Harrod as my mentor; he’s always been there for me if I had questions and I could always go to him for anything,” Kim said. “He’s been a very supportive mentor and the best kind of mentor you can have as a research professor.”

Harrod filled out one of her recommendation letters when she applied for medical school. Kim applied to multiple schools in Texas and out-of-state schools like Harvard.

Kim has been accepted to Harvard Medical School and will start graduate school in the coming fall semester. She said she chose the school because she was interested in their diversity of experiences and soft-science research, like biomedical anthropology, which is her minor. If she chooses to get her M.D. PhD in biomedical anthropology, she hopes to pursue a career in global health.

“I’m really interested in Global Health and I can credit part of that to Dr. Bing who teaches global health class here at SMU,” Kim said. “In five years I can see myself still learning and eventually take my skills and apply them- go abroad and see from start to finish the development of global health in an area.”

Kim says her acceptance to Harvard Medical School has not changed her persona in any way.

“You’re not going to change because of some physical validation or from getting accepted into a certain school- you’re going to still be the same person and have the same capabilities as you did before,” Kim said.

Kim will graduate this May. As her journey at SMU comes to a close, she sums up her undergraduate experience.

“I would like to thank everyone who’s impacted me: my family, my friends and my mentors: Dr. Harrod, Dr. Bing, Dr. Smith-Morris,” Kim said. “I realized in college I learned a lot in the classroom, but also through outside experiences, and I’m glad I found that at SMU.” READ MORE

Nazi death camps survivor & liberator to discuss Holocaust experiences for 70th anniversary commemoration at SMU on April 23

 

Polish Army veteran Bernhard Storch visited Auschwitz in 2012 to commemorate the anniversary of its liberation. Credit: Wall Street Journal
Polish Army veteran Bernhard Storch visited Auschwitz in 2012 to commemorate the anniversary of its liberation. Credit: Wall Street Journal

With this year marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps at the end of World War II, SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program will sponsor “Reflections from Survivors & Liberators of Nazi Death Camps” on Thursday, April 23, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Great Hall, 5901 Bishop Blvd., on the SMU campus.

The free public event, co-sponsored by the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance, will feature Holocaust survivor Rosa Blum, 86, of Dallas, and liberator Bernhard Storch, 93, of New York.

“This is an increasingly rare opportunity to hear first-hand about the Holocaust from the last generation of its survivors,” says Embrey Human Rights Director Rick Halperin. “It’s most unusual to get the perspective of a liberator who accompanied Soviet forces through areas never seen by American or British armies.”

During the Holocaust (1933 to 1945), 11 million people, including six million Jews and five million others, were killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators who engaged in ethnic, political and social “cleansing.”

Blum was deported from her native Romania to Auschwitz in Poland when she was 15. She still bears mental and physical scars — the latter delivered by Dr. Josef Mengele. During the “selection” process that sorted prisoners for work or execution, the “Angel of Death” beat Blum for the emotional outburst she showed when he decided her mother should die and she should live. They were torn from each other’s arms. Blum ultimately would be forced to work as an assistant in the same hospital where Mengele conducted his ghastly “research.”

The horrific acts of cruelty she witnessed destroyed her. “I was not the same anymore,” Blum has said.

Blum was later shipped to the Dachau camp in Germany, where she was during its liberation by U.S. Army forces on April 29, 1945. In 1950 she moved to the U.S. and started a family.

Storch was a teen-ager in 1939 when both Germany and the Soviet Union invaded his native Poland. While trying to escape to safety, Storch was captured by Soviet forces and sent to work in a Siberian labor camp, where he remained until the Soviet Union declared war on Germany in 1941 and as part of a treaty with allies U.S. and Great Britain, Polish citizens were freed from Russian slave labor camps. Storch returned home to fight with the resistance and ultimately helped liberate the Nazi death camps Sobibor, Majdanek and Chelmno.

“In Majdanek, we saw a mountain of human ash, with human bones scattered in between. The feeling I had is still with me; it’s just indescribable … complete shock. There were warehouses with hundreds of thousands of shoes sorted out,” Storch recalled. “The irony of the thing was that Polish people were living outside the camp, farming, as if nothing were happening.”

After discovering his entire family had been killed by the Nazis, Storch and his wife, Ruth, also a Holocaust survivor, emigrated to the U.S. in 1947.

“For 25 years I did not discuss the Holocaust; it was just too painful. Eventually I opened up and now lecture at schools, emphasizing Jewish armed resistance in World War II.”

Storch is author of the 2012 book, World War II Warriors: My Own Recollections of World War II. (For a “Voice of Russia” interview with Storch in English, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh314cHTy2Y.)

For more details about SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, which conducts an annual two-week Holocaust study pilgrimage to Poland each December and also hosts Holocaust-focused trips to other countries, contact saikman@smu.edu or 214-768-8347.

Dedman College student honored for raising over $104,000 for SMU’s Relay For Life.

USA TODAY
Originally Posted: April 19, 2015
By: Lauren M. Castle

After another successful year, SMU tops Relay for Life fundraising

The American Cancer Society estimates that the event raised $176,400 in total.

Dr. Gordy Klatt created Relay For Life in 1985 in Tacoma, Washington. He wanted to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s efforts to end the disease. Since then, the event has raised more than $5 billion.

The Relay consists of an overnight walk and on-site fundraising activities and entertainment. Over 50 teams held on-site fundraisers at this year’s Relay, which included a cupcake sale and a dunk tank.

Relay is special to SMU senior Katie Schaible, who lost her father to cancer. Schailbe’s father died from melanoma when she was in high school. She believes the event allows her to honor her father’s memory.

“This has been a really meaningful way to fight back and to meet other people who have gone through similar experiences,” said Schaible, majoring in dance and international studies.

The American Cancer Society recently held a competition for its top 25 collegiate chapters to raise $250,000 collectively in three days. The chapters raised $315,654 in total. This year, SMU raised $45,534, the top amount in the country. Last year, SMU raised $29,000 in a 72-hour competition.

Schaible believes college students should be more aware of cancer. For her, Relay allows her to highlight how melanoma can be preventable.

“I feel like a lot of college students feel immune to the experience of cancer because cancer itself is a lot more common in older people,” said Schaible. “But it’s so true that at some point in everybody’s life they will encounter cancer in some way.”

More men than women will die of melanoma this year, according to the American Cancer Society. It is estimated that more than 40,000 men will be diagnosed with the skin cancer.

SMU’s Relay For Life raised more than $150,000 last year. Schaible was honored at this year’s event for being the top participant. She has raised more than $104,000 during her time at SMU. READ MORE

Cross-Disciplinary Team of Dedman College and Cox Students Competes April 16-18 at Richest and Largest Student Startup Competition

Biolum-Resized-Version 2Congratulations to Edward Allegra! His startup team, BioLum Sciences has been accepted to compete in the world famous Rice Business Plan Competition this weekend, April 16-18. The Rice Business Plan Competition is the world’s richest and largest graduate-level student startup competition. BioLum will compete with over 40 teams from around the world for more than $1 million in cash and prizes. This is the 15th year for the competition.

Read more about the competing teams:
http://alliance.rice.edu/2015-competing-teams/

About BioLum Sciences:
Biolum Sciences is a smartphone-based imaging system that can detect the presence of asthma and reduce the current 40% misdiagnosis of asthma in the United States. Watch the BioLum 60 second pitch. Comprised of undergraduates, Edward Allegra, Miguel Quimbar and Jack Reynolds, BioLum Sciences is a Big iDeas start-up that has raised approximately 50K through competitions to date.