Dedman College student named EO Dallas winner in the Global Student Entrepreneur awards

Edward Allegra of BioLum Sciences to Represent Dallas in U.S. Finals

DALLAS – November 16, 2015 – Edward Allegra, a Southern Methodist University (SMU) student, became the proud winner of the Dallas qualifying competition for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), a program of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Edward Allegra, 22 years old, bested his competitors with an innovative smartphone-based medical device that is able to monitor and help manage asthma. Allegra is co-founder and runs the company while also attending college. The judges selected Allegra based on his vision for BioLum as well as his desire to make a mark with a product that can improve the quality of others’ lives and the way asthma is diagnosed and managed.

In order to qualify for this award, Allegra had to be an undergraduate student and the owner of a for-profit (revenue generating) business that has operated for at least six consecutive months.

Founded in April 2015, BioLum is the developer of a smartphone based medical device that is able to monitor and help manage asthma. This is accomplished by utilizing chemiluminescence to detect and quantify specific disease biomarkers found in exhaled breath condensate. The BioLum device will enable users to monitor their condition with a mobile health platform, which can indicate lung condition and function. The device will aid in treatment programs as patients manage their symptoms, as is the trend with emerging mobile health technologies. BioLum’s smartphone integrated technology offers a valuable opportunity to gather global data about this illness that plagues millions. The device will help doctors identify when asthma is the worst (time of year), where it is the worst (location/region), triggers that cause it as well as how to best prevent asthma from occurring and what medications treat the illness.

The company has raised $118,000 in capital and prize money to develop the product and begin a research study at SMU. BioLum will begin a clinical study for the product in January, which will also start the company’s FDA regulatory process.

“Our goal is to get the BioLum device in the hands of asthma patients all over the world as a low-cost personal health management system. BioLum will gather data about asthma and help the world deal with growing health problems,” said Edward Allegra, president BioLum.

“In our first year of the EO Dallas student competition we discovered an impressive group of undergraduate entrepreneurs,” said Jessica Nunez, chair, EO Dallas GSEA. Students like Edward Allegra of BioLum are pioneering the next generation of great business ventures. I am honored that we can bring them global visibility through this EO program.”

This Dallas entrepreneur will go on to compete at the U.S. national competition in Miami on February 11, 2016. The winner of the National Competition will attend the GSEA Global Finals to compete with the world’s top student entrepreneurs and have a chance to win over US$150,000 in cash and donated business services. Allegra will also receive a valuable prize package including:
· $1,000 prize money
· One-year EO Dallas Accelerator Membership | Value: $2,500
· Three-Month Mentorship, EO Dallas Forum of Entrepreneurs | Value: Priceless
· BizOwners Ed, 5-week Entrepreneurial Program, Gallery Participant | Value: $2,000
· Lunch and Internet Marketing, Globe Runner | Value: $1,000
· Marketing Communications Consultation, TruePoint Communications | Value: $1,000
· Logo Creation, Worlds of Wow! | Value: $2,500

About the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards
As the premier global competition undergraduate students, the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) represents more than 1,700 of the prominent student entrepreneurs from more than 32 countries. Built on a mission to inspire students to start and grow entrepreneurial ventures, GSEA brings global visibility to pioneering student business owners. Since 1998, the GSEA, a program founded at the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University, has honored outstanding students who simultaneously attend university full-time while running their own businesses. The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) took on leadership of the GSEA in 2006 to offer student entrepreneurs access to a global network of mentors, resources and connections from the most influential community of entrepreneurs in the world. The Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s GSEA is generously supported by Thomas Franchise Solutions. To nominate a student entrepreneur or to get involved, go to and follow GSEA on Twitter at @EO_GSEA.

SMU students in Paris report they are safe; SMU monitoring situation

SMU News

Originally Posted: November 14, 2015

SMU has heard from all 11 of its students studying in Paris that they are safe. The SMU Travel Oversight Committee is closely monitoring the situation and is receiving updates from the U.S. State Department and International SOS.

SMU community members abroad are asked to be aware that France has declared a national state of emergency and has tightened its borders. On Saturday, November 14, the U.S. Embassy in France issued a security message regarding the terrorist attacks: “Further incidents are possible. We strongly urge U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, including limiting their movements to essential activity. U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.” While airports and train stations remain open, travelers may expect delays due to heightened security measures.
All SMU Abroad students are covered by emergency travel assistance through I-SOS and may use the services of I-SOS worldwide during their term of study abroad. During SMU Abroad orientation, students received laminated cards with emergency phone numbers for I-SOS. I-SOS contact information also is available online at In addition, every SMU-approved study abroad program has its own emergency preparedness plan and protocols.

Students with concerns or questions are asked to contact the SMU Abroad Director, Dr. Cathy Winnie, at (214-768-4904) or SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters at (214-768-1586). Student safety is the highest priority of SMU and our partner study abroad programs. READ MORE

Congratulations to Dedman College undergraduate Edward Allegra. His team, BioLum Sciences, will advance to Global Student Entrepreneur Awards.

SMU News

Originally Posted: November 12, 2015

SMU ‘Big iDeas’ winners advance to Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

Since its launch in 2008, student teams have been awarded grants through SMU’s Big iDeas program to research and improve issues facing the Dallas area and beyond, ranging from energy and education to health and campus living.

This year, two of the contest’s winners will compete against university undergraduates from other area schools in the regional Global Student Entrepreneur Awards competition, sponsored by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

The event will be 6-9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, on the SMU campus in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium. It is open to SMU students and the neighboring community. Those interested can RSVP here.

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards is a worldwide forum for student entrepreneurs who have successfully developed and run their own business. The nominees compete in regional qualifying competitions for the chance to advance to the global finals in Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2016. The participating student teams from SMU are:

BioLum Sciences: Winning both the SMU Pitch Contest in 2014 and the Business Plan Competition in 2015, BioLum Sciences is the developer of a medical device used to help manage asthma. It allows users to test their symptoms, monitor daily progress, and understand the cause of their asthma. BioLum uses a smartphone based imaging system to detect and quantify the disease biomarkers found in the user’s exhaled breath. This technology has the potential to reduce the current 40% misdiagnosis of asthma in the US.

Team members are students Edward Allegra, Miguel Quimbar and Jack Reynolds. READ MORE

Event: Nov. 12, Noah’s Ark – Figuring Climate Change

SMU News

Originally Posted: Nov. 10, 2015

Professor Jeffrey Jerome Cohen of George Washington University, who specializes in medieval studies, ecotheory, posthumanism and the history of monsters, will speak on “Noah’s Ark — Figuring Climate Change” at SMU on Thursday, Nov. 12.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be at 6 p.m. in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium. It is part of the Gilbert Lecture Series.

Most medieval illustrations of Noah depict him serenely floating in his ark, surrounded by his family and a harmonious menagerie. What would happen if we stopped using the Flood as our unspoken cognitive frame for global warming – or at least if we stopped playing the role of Noah, if we abandoned the hope of salvaging a small community in an ark built against more complicated, more collective, more livable futures? What if we thought with more sympathy about what is lost when we assume the world must drown? This talk traces some alternative traditions about Noah and his ark, medieval and modern, attempting to use them to rethink the future during a time of climate change.

Cohen’s work ranges over medieval literature, cultural studies, digital humanities, posthumanist theory, and the environmental humanities. In addition to his traditional scholarship, Prof. Cohen manages a strong online presence on Twitter and on his group blog In the Middle, which features academic work in progress as well as reflections on higher education. He is also a key member of The BABEL Working Group, a co-disciplinary, global collective for scholars, researchers, and artists inside and outside the academy who are interested in the relationship between “medieval” and “modern.” READ MORE

Congrats to Dedman College student Karly Zrake, first Human Rights Scholar to honor Santos Rodriguez

CBS News

Originally Posted: November 2, 2015

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – SMU has awarded the first recipient of the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship in honor of a 12-year-old whose 1973 shooting death by a Dallas police officer briefly imprisoned for the crime remains one of the nation’s most troubling civil rights incidents.

It goes to sophomore human rights and anthropology major Karly Zrake, who SMU says has been active in community service since childhood.

“I’m immensely grateful for the financial support at SMU,” says Zrake, who was raised in a single-parent household. “It’s helped me see that if you want to dedicate your life to others, there are ways to make it happen.” READ MORE

Dallas mother of Santos Rodriguez visits Seattle park named for her son

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: November 2, 2015

SEATTLE–As Bessie Rodriguez visited this Pacific Northwest city on Monday, her son Santos was memorialized as everyone’s child — some 42 years after his Dallas death.

Remember his tomorrows in each day, said Seattle’s civic poet Claudia Castro Luna, as his mother gazed up at her in a crowded former schoolhouse here. READ MORE

Embrey Human Rights Program names first scholar, Karly Zrake, to honor Santos Rodriguez


Sophomore human rights and anthropology major Karly Zrake, active in community service since childhood, is SMU’s first recipient of the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship in honor of a 12-year-old whose 1973 shooting death by a Dallas police officer briefly imprisoned for the crime remains one of the nation’s most troubling civil rights incidents.


The endowed scholarship, funded by Dallas’ Latino Center for Leadership Development in partnership with the Embrey Human Rights Program, will help Zrake and future students earn an undergraduate degree in human rights at SMU. And as they celebrate the award to Zrake, the Embrey program also is helping Santos’ mother, Bessie Rodriguez, attend a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) tribute to her son in Seattle on Monday, Nov. 2.

Karly’s passion for human rights will help drive positive change in our society, which is the goal of this scholarship – to educate people while honoring the memory of Santos,” says Dallas businessman and SMU alumnus Jorge Baldor ’93, who launched the Latino CLD in March with Miguel Solis, Dallas ISD school board vice president.

“As the scholarship’s first recipient, Karly will be an ambassador for human rights education at SMU, which is one of only seven universities in the country to offer such a program,” says Bradley Klein, assistant director of the Embrey Human Rights Program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “She’ll have many opportunities to create dialogue on racial, economic, gender and cultural differences.”

Since joining SMU in 2014, Zrake has been a Dedman Scholar, maintaining a 4.0 grade point average while working part-time for the Embrey Human Rights Program, assisting Roberto Corona with Latino community outreach initiatives and helping coordinate the program’s first 10-day study trip in June focused on past and present human rights struggles of Native Americans.

Zrake plans “to enlighten others about Santos’ story, especially those in my generation who may not know about the tragedy,” she says. “My hope is for his name to live on and be associated with change and justice.”


Santos and his 13-year-old brother, David, were illegally taken from their Dallas home July 24, 1973, handcuffed, and put in a police car. In an effort to elicit information on a recent burglary of less than $10 from a soft-drink machine, one of the officers in the car placed a revolver against Santos’ head and killed the boy in a forced game of Russian roulette. Physical evidence discovered at the burglary site supported the brothers’ innocence.


The incident sparked national public outcry and led to the only race riot in Dallas history. Officer Darrell Cain was sentenced to five years in prison, but released after half that time. In 2013 – 40 years after the incident – Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued an official apology on behalf of the city of Dallas to the Rodriguez family.


To create the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship, the Latino CLD pledged $100,000 to be used in a 2:1 challenge grant, with a goal of raising $300,000 by Dec. 31, 2016. Once the endowment is funded, it will offer $10,000 in annual scholarship support to a SMU human rights major.

After the scholarship was announced this spring, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings became the first private donor to contribute to the fund, offering a personal check of $10,000.

The scholarship is operating with the approval of the Rodriguez family. Santos’ mother, Bessie, is advising the campaign, and supports Zrake’s eagerness to work on behalf of her son’s memory.

“Karly, one of the first scholarship applicants, showed us how moved she was by Santos’ story,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin. “She showed us how compelled she is to channel her energy and creativity into shedding light on injustice and helping communities and families wounded by it. She’s a great representative of this scholarship, for the program and the family. Everyone who meets her can tell she really wants to make a difference in the world.”

Zrake has been helping others since second grade, when, inspired by her mother’s volunteer work, she started a program to help special-needs students. By eighth grade, she was working with the Music Therapy Center of California, raising money to help send special-needs students to summer camps dedicated to improving students’ social and fine motor skills. In high school she promoted anti-bullying efforts and organized student visits to a senior living facility, where one event included a prom.

“I’m immensely grateful for the financial support at SMU,” says Zrake, who was raised in a single-parent household. “It’s helped me see that if you want to dedicate your life to others, there are ways to make it happen.”

Learn More & Give

To find out more about the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship campaign and learn how to contribute, visit