Four Sociology majors inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

The Department of Sociology congratulates Marlon Carbajal, Erica Renstrom, Aubrey Richardson, and Kristen Yule for their academic accomplishments over the last four years. All four were inducted into Phi Betta Kappa honor society on March 1, 2015.

Q&A with author who’ll speak at SMU on Armenian genocide

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: March 13, 2015

When Peter Balakian was a small boy, his grandmother filled him with stories seeped in magical realism, with mysterious yet baffling lines.

“A long time ago there was and there wasn’t,” she’d say.

Perhaps his tender grandmother was just nurturing a fellow poet and soon-to-be historian of one of the great epic traumas opening the 20th century. She was a survivor of the Armenian genocide 100 years ago in April 1915.

Her grandson would eventually become her scribe, portraying her in his award-winning memoir, Black Dog of Fate.

Balakian, now a Colgate University professor, has made the genocide a key part of his life’s work as an award-winning writer, poet and genocide expert. He will talk about his work at Southern Methodist University’s Dallas Hall at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at an event sponsored by St. Sarkis Church of Carrollton and SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program.

He recently discussed his writing and more with The Dallas Morning News. READ MORE

SMU scholarship named after Santos Rodriguez, 12-year-old killed in ’73 by Dallas cop

Dallas Morning News, The Scoop Blog

DIANNE SOLÍS
Published: March 11, 2015 3:50 pm

Santoss77

A Southern Methodist University scholarship will offered in the name of Santos Rodriguez, a 12-year-old boy killed in July 1973 by a Dallas police officer in a horrific episode in the city’s history.

The young boy’s death caused fury and protests in Dallas, particularly among Mexican-Americans. The scholarship seeks to dignify his life and the impact on Dallas.

“The Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship will celebrate the life of this young boy by providing other young persons with an opportunity that he never had – the opportunity for a college education,” reads the SMU website on the scholarship announced today. “It will also dignify the memory of July 24, 1973 by perpetually transforming the terrible injustice of that day into a positive force for change.”

One requirement for the scholarship: The student major in human rights at SMU. SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program is one of seven U.S. universities offering such a bachelor’s degree.

The first scholarship will be for $10,000 and available for the 2015-2016 year, SMU officials said.

“Our intention, on behalf of the program, is to revive the historical memory of Santos,” said Roberto Corona, community outreach coordinator for the Embrey Human Rights Program. “We hope new generations know who Santos was and how he was murdered and we also want to create this opportunity that maybe Santos could have had–to go to college and study.”

Rodriguez and his then-13-year-old brother David were taken from their home just north of downtown Dallas in the middle of the night by police officer Darrell Cain. Shoeless and in handcuffs, the boys were questioned in a police car about a theft of change from a soda machine at a nearby gas station. Then the officer placed the trigger of his revolver near the temple of Santos in Russian roulette-style questioning. The trigger was pulled. Santos died instantly.

Later, fingerprints at the robbery scene didn’t match up with the boys.

Cain was indicted–a rare occurrence for a police officer. When the police officer was sentenced to five years, protests again erupted in Dallas. Cain served about half his prison sentence.

Last year, some four decades later, a Dallas County grand jury indicted another Dallas police officer in connection with an on-duty police shooting. READ MORE

Read more about the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship

Read SMU’s press release announcing the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship

Students Travel To Selma For 50th Anniversary Of Civil Rights Marches

KERA

Originally Published: March 7, 2015

group_pic

Today, March 7, marks the 50th anniversary of a bloody milestone in the Civil Rights Movement – when marchers in Selma, Alabama were attacked by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On Friday, a busload from SMU began retracing the route a group of students, faculty and staff took a half century ago. LISTEN

 

SMU Students Mark History Milestone With Trip To Selma

CBS DFW

Originally Published: March 6, 2015

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – They are marching back in history to mark a major milestone. Students from Southern Methodist University loaded into buses Friday and set off — bound for Selma, Alabama.

They know it will be an emotional trip and it’s one they’ve planned for more than a year.
There are 36 students and four adults on their way to Selma. The group is largely made up of young people with majors in Human Rights and Anthropology – majors that are a part of part SMU’s political science department.

But the pilgrimage wasn’t by exclusive invitation; it was also offered to all students at SMU.

LaQuencia Dorsey’s grandmother was among the thousands who participated in the march from Selma to Montgomery 50 years ago.

“It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster for me,” she said. “Especially [since], my grandmother was part of it as well. It’s really unique for me to be able to touch the bridge, to actually feel where things happened.”

Facilitator Ray Jordan explained that the American civil rights movement and the experience of events in Selma aren’t mutually exclusive to African Americans. “It’s incredibly important that this becomes American history,” he explained. “Sometimes it’s segregated or sectioned into Black History, but this is the history of our country.”
Unlike those who made the trip from SMU in 1965, those who left on Friday are not afraid for their safety.

It was 50 years ago, on the eve of his bus ride to Montgomery that retired SMU Professor Kenneth Shields says a group of African American janitors came to his door. He recalled, “They said, ‘you don’t realize the dangers you are going into.’”

Shields explained that he and the others who left from SMU 50 years ago were motivated by what happened on Bloody Sunday. “I have always felt an identification and empathy for people who are marginalized.”

Friday Shields was there to help send off the next generation of activists. “I wish very much that I could be going along with you,” he told the group.

On March 25, 1965, Professor Shields says he marched next to a girl who could’ve been more than 14-years-old.

“She was still bandaged from being beaten on Bloody Sunday. And I said, ‘what do you think of the sheriff and the people who beat up on you?’ And she said, ‘I love them.’”
The group traveling then found that advice from janitors proved to have merit. In 1965, the bus company provided box lunches for the marching students’ ride home. When they opened them they found them full of garbage.

The 2015 group will reach Jackson, Mississippi Friday night and will be in Selma by Saturday morning. READ MORE

Litfest lineup includes Liam Callanan, Peter Turchi

Dallas Morning News- Arts Blog

Posted: March 5, 2015

On a frosty late-winter morning, it’s good to be able to focus on the harbingers of spring. Southern Methodist University’s Litfest may be just such a harbinger.

The annual festival, which has an excellent record of bringing in rising literary stars, takes place March 19-21.

The poetry-heavy lineup this year includes Alan Shapiro, Elizabeth T. Gray Jr., R. Flowers Rivera and Jeffrey Renard Allen plus novelist Joe Milazzo (Crepuscule W/ Nellie), short story author/essayist Liam Callanan (Listen) and Peter Turchi, author of A Muse and A Maze: Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic.

“The goal of Litfest is to bring the best of new and emerging writers to the SMU campus and the Dallas community,” SMU’s creative writing director David Haynes told me in an email. “I’m particularly excited this year that, first, we’re expanding our offerings to include writers of creative nonfiction and also that this year our guests include so many writers who are working on multiple genres. It’s a genuinely versatile group of writers. And a quite diverse one, too.” READ MORE

Students honor Dedman College professors’ excellence with 2015 HOPE Awards

SMU’s Department of Residence Life and Student Housing honored 45 exceptional University educators, 26 Dedman College professors, at the 2015 HOPE Awards Banquet.

HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Award recipients are named through student staff member nominations as professors who “have made a significant impact to our academic education both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Congratulations to all of the Dedman College 2015 HOPE Award honorees:

Adriana Aceves, Mathematics
Paul Avey, Tower Center for Political Studies
Greg Brownderville, English
David Michael Crow, Psychology
LeeAnn Derdeyn, English/Discernment and Discourse
Melissa Dowling, History/Classical Studies
John Duca, Economics
James K. Hopkins, History
Vanessa Hopper, English
Matthew Keller, Sociology
Michael Lattman, Chemistry
David Lee, Anthropology
Judy Newell, Mathematics
Rachel Ney, World Languages and Literatures/French
Jennifer O’Brien, Chemistry
Wei Qu, World Languages and Literatures/Chinese
Stephen Robertson, Statistical Science
Bivin Sadler, Statistical Science
Martha Satz, English
Sam Ross Sloan, English
Tom Stone, English
Thierry Tirado, World Languages and Literatures/French
Nick Tsarevsky, Chemistry
John Wise, Biological Sciences
Patty Wisian-Neilson, Chemistry
Brian Zoltowski, Chemistry

READ MORE

Four student projects win recognition (and $5,000) in SMU’s 2015 Big iDeas Business Plan Competition

Congratulations to Hunter Rice, Edward Allegra and Rax Friman on their winning projects. These Dedman College students were part of four student teams that competed in SMU’s Big iDeas Business Plan Competition.

More on the competition and the projects below:

Four student teams combined winning pitches with solid business plans to earn $5,000 startup grants for their projects through SMU’s Big iDeas program on Jan. 30, 2015.

The four winning teams were chosen from a business plan competition featuring the winners of the Big iDeas Pitch Competition, which took place in October.

The projects were judged by a panel of volunteers from Executives in Action, a Dallas-area organization that helps strengthen North Texas nonprofits by matching them with senior-level executives for pro bono consulting services. The winners:

The projects were judged by a panel of volunteers from Executives in Action, a Dallas-area organization that helps strengthen North Texas nonprofits by matching them with senior-level executives for pro bono consulting services. The winners:

Beyond US Clothing (Hunter Rice and J.P. Buxbaum) – a for-profit clothing company that partners with charities to help underprivileged children in the United States by offering unique T-shirt designs for each partnership and donating a portion of the sales to charities with a focus on children and education.

Biolum Sciences (Edward Allegra, Miguel Quimbar and Jack Reynolds) – A smartphone-based imaging system that can detect the presence of asthma and reduce the current 40% misdiagnosis of asthma in the United States.

Helpple (Austin Wells and Irisa Ona) – an app that connects people who need help with people who are offering to help, ranging from tutoring to moving furniture to getting volunteers.

Out & About (Renita Thapa, Sam Hubbard and Raz Friman) – an app that promotes local businesses and organizations by showing its users what is going on in the community for easy planning, exploring and getting to know the area.

“The world needs big thinkers to address global challenges. It needs innovators to create solutions. It needs risk-takers to turn solutions into sustainable businesses. And at SMU, Big iDeas makes this happen,” said Engaged Learning Director Susan Kress, whose office also oversees Big iDeas.

The students will spend the next nine months developing their projects. They will present results in October 2015 at Big iDeas Demo Day for a chance to win another $5,000 to continue their work.

READ MORE

• Visit SMU’s Big iDeas website at smu.edu/bigideas

SMU Environmental Society makes being ‘green’ look easy – and fun

Green Source DFW

Originally posted: March 2, 2015

By Rita Cook

Environmental awareness is growing across local campuses and for over a decade, Southern Methodist University in Dallas has had its own student organization broadcasting the green message.

The SMU Environmental Society is a student-run organization that educates students about ways to live an environmentally sustainable life while having a good time and building friendships.

Organization president Wendy Alyea says that the group began in 1999 and attracts a variety of students who want to promote environmental initiatives on and near campus. READ MORE