News

Geothermal energy conference May 18-20, 2015

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The SMU Geothermal Laboratory will host its seventh international energy conference and workshop on the main campus May 19-20, 2015. The conference is designed to promote transition of oil and gas fields to electricity-producing geothermal systems by harnessing waste heat and fluids from both active and abandoned fields.

More than 200 professionals – ranging from members of the oil and gas service industry, to reservoir engineers, to geothermal energy entrepreneurs, to lawyers – are expected to attend “Power Plays: Geothermal Energy in Oil and Gas Fields.”

Topics of discussion will include:

  • Power generation from flare gas
  • Power generation from waste-heat and geothermal fluids
  • Research updates on induced seismicity, as well as onshore and offshore thermal maturation
  • Play Fairway Analysis – a subsurface mapping technique used to identify prospective geothermal resources
  • Technology updates

Researchers from the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences will present results from their Fall 2014 Eastern North American Margin Community Seismic Experiment (ENAM CSE) research. In addition, equipment such as one-well systems, desalination and other new technologies will be explored. READ MORE

Why is oil and gas activity causing earthquakes? And can we reduce the risk?

The Conversation

Originally Posted: May 11, 2015

If you’ve been following the news lately, chances are you’ve heard
image-20150507-1212-1qgtj56about – or even felt – earthquakes in the central United States. During the past five years, there has been an unprecedented increase in earthquakes in the North American mid-continent, a region previously considered one of the most stable on Earth.

According to a recent report by the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Oklahoma alone has seen seismicity rates increase 600 times compared to historic levels.

The state has gone from experiencing fewer than two magnitude-three earthquakes per year to greater than two per day, the report found. Similarly, my home state of Texas has experienced a near 10-fold increase in magnitude-three earthquakes or greater in the past five years.

The recent uptick in earthquakes in Texas, Oklahoma and several other central US states raises an obvious question: What is causing all of this seismicity? READ MORE

Dedman College’s Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellowship Program Names SMU Student to Inaugural Class

Dallas, TX, May 11, 2015—The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) today announced the selection of its first class of Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows, and Ena Janet Saavedra, MLS student in SMU’s Simmons School of Education, has been awarded this prestigious Fellowship and will spend the next year learning to effectively address the social factors that impact health and developing lifelong leadership skills. In doing so, she will follow the example set by famed physician-humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, for whom their Fellowship is named.

Saavedra plans to develop a wellness program for teenagers living in East Dallas that helps the participants increase their physical fitness and nutritional knowledge as well as leadership development and personal growth.

Saavedra will join nine other Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellows from Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center as they 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.

“The DFW Schweitzer Fellowship, allows the Fellows to not only learn how to innovate and lead, but also gives them the opportunity to learn from the community they work with as well as the rest of the Fellows in their class,” said Courtney Roy, Program Director of the Dallas-Fort Worth Schweitzer Fellowship. “These students will have the chance to create positive change with the people they serve through their Fellowship projects, truly embodying Dedman College’s goal of ‘minds moving the world.’”

The Dallas-Fort Worth Fellows will join over 200 other 2015-2016 Schweitzer Fellows working at 13 program sites, 12 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 2015-2016 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 is the newest chapter for the organization, and also marks a unique collaboration between eight Dallas-Fort Worth universities. Housed at Southern Methodist University, 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.

2015-2016 Dallas-Fort Worth Albert Schweitzer Fellows

Paul Abraham, UT Southwestern Medical School

Abraham is addressing nicotine dependence among men experiencing homelessness in Dallas by establishing a smoking cessation program at a local men’s shelter. The program will provide information about the long-term effects of smoking, group therapy for those seeking to quit, and follow-up resources and tools for further support. Men who attend the classes will be encouraged to set a “quit date” when they will stop smoking and will be guided through a process of mentally preparing for withdrawal and relapse. Community Site: Union Gospel Mission, Calvert Place Men’s Shelter

Whitnee D. Boyd, Texas Christian University, College of Education

Boyd is working in the Morningside community in Fort Worth, Texas to increase knowledge of college access and planning by partnering with the Morningside Children’s Partnership. Boyd’s project will focus on building a focus on college in the community through outreach to parents, students, and the entire community. She will work with churches, schools, community partners, and leaders to provide information on resources to make college possible. Additionally, she will work with parents and students to begin planning for college earlier and raise awareness about available resources. Ultimately, the project will help to build a “cradle to career” environment in the Morningside community. Community Site: Morningside Children’s Partnership

Jamila Hokanson, UT Southwestern Medical School

Hokanson is working with East Dallas parents to improve the health of their families by partnering parents with local resources to address their healthcare needs. This project will utilize surveys and focus groups to identify the most important resources and information that parents require to effectively manage their family’s health. In addition, she will collaborate with parents and community resources to implement intervention plans focused on the top need areas. Community Site: Lumin Education.

Neha Gaddam, UT Southwestern Medical School

Gaddam is addressing food insecurity in Dallas, Texas amongst people who are HIV-positive and living significantly below the poverty line. As a supplement to existing case management resources, this program will provide individualized nutritional information for clients at the Resource Center, a local clinic. The focus of the project will be a series of workshops to increase access to food assistance programs and educate on food selection and budgeting, meal preparation, and the interaction between health, prescriptions, and diet. Community Site: Resource Center.

Antoinette Moore, UT Southwestern Medical School

Moore is addressing the pervasive mental and physical health disparities found among survivors of family violence living in a temporary emergency shelter environment. This project, based in an established clinic within a Dallas County shelter, aims to work in partnership with the families, through identifying and receiving the health education opportunities most pertinent to their transition into a life free from violence. The project will also identify community partnerships to help bridge medical care received in shelter into a medical home, with the goal of creating continuity of care during this pivotal moment in their lives. Community Site: The Family Place

Jamie Pfaff, UT Southwestern Medical School

Pfaff is addressing sickle cell anemia in Dallas by creating a leadership program for teenagers aged 13-14 attending Camp Jubilee. This leadership program will help adolescents at Camp Jubilee feel empowered and provide them an opportunity to give back to their own community, acknowledging that they are living with a chronic illness but that it does not have to define them. The program will continue during the school year through monthly meetings where teenagers will assist in preparing materials and ultimately advocating for their community through volunteer recruitment and improved educational awareness of sickle cell anemia at local universities. Community Site: Camp John Marc

Priya Raja, UT Southwestern Medical School

Raja is focusing on disparities in cervical cancer incidence and mortality by creating a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine counseling and case management program for adolescents. Given the paradigm shift in cervical cancer prevention, the HPV vaccine has become an increasingly important factor in ensuring that women are adequately protected against developing cervical cancer. This program hopes to address the challenge of vaccine completion and the cultural and social factors surrounding HPV vaccine uptake by ultimately allowing adolescents to make empowered decisions that comport with their needs and their health. Community Site: TBD

Ena Janet Saavedra, Southern Methodist University Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development

Saavedra is addressing teenage obesity and culture identity in East Dallas by establishing a holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle. Addressing behavioral change is one aspect of this program; another component will be incorporating leadership development and parental engagement by encouraging a focus on growth for all students who will participate. Physical fitness, nutritional knowledge, and personal discipline will all be addressed. Community Site: Jubilee Community Center

Brandy Schwarz, Texas Christian University College of Education

Schwarz is addressing health literacy in pregnant women and new mothers in Tarrant County by creating a program to increase access to and understanding of health information. In addition, the program will provide the women with the encouragement and knowledge to become an advocate for their own health and the health of their children. Ultimately, the goal of the program is to help mothers to get the healthcare they need, lead healthier lifestyles, and to set a positive role model for their children. Community Site: The Parenting Center

Vivian Zhu, UT Southwestern Medical School

Zhu is addressing Diabetes Mellitus in West Dallas by establishing a diabetes workshop for the people who receive medical care at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic. This workshop will help the people who attend feel empowered in the context of managing their disease. In addition to weekly workshops on diabetes education, the program will also incorporate health screening methods and one-on-one counseling to the patients, helping bridge language and cultural barriers so that the patients can adequately utilize the information to form their own healthy practices. Zhu’s program will foster community awareness about diabetes management, as well as how to avoid the devastating complications of uncontrolled diabetes through a mentoring and positive relationship with the patients. Community Site: Brother Bill’s Helping Hand Clinic

 

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About The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) is improving the health of vulnerable people now and for the future by developing a corps of Leaders in Service—professionals skilled in creating positive change with and in our communities, our health and human service systems, and our world.

Through community-based, mentored direct service and a multidisciplinary, reflective leadership development program, ASF is building community capacity and training a professional workforce that is:

  • skilled in addressing the underlying causes of health inequities;
  • committed to improving the health outcomes of underserved communities; and
  • prepared for a life of continued service.

To date, nearly 3,000 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 13 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.

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

Alan Brown, Psychology, How to Remember Anything

Time.com

Originally Posted: May 9, 2015

The best way to pick a password or hiding spot you’ll remember is to choose one quickly because you want something that will return to mind quickly:
Via Why We Make Mistakes:

The key to picking a good hiding place is hiding place is making a quick connection between the thing being hidden and the place in which it is hidden, says Alan Brown. Brown is a professor at Southern Methodist University who has studied where and how people hide things. Not long ago he surveyed adults between the ages of eighteen and eighty-five, asking them all sorts of questions about where they hide things. Their answers have provided some illuminating differences. Older adults, for instance, typically hide jewelry from thieves, whereas younger adults tend to hide money from friends and relatives. And while the places they choose may vary, the successful strategies didn’t. One key to picking a good hiding place— or a good password: do it quickly. “I think the only successful way to do it—and this is true with both hiding places and passwords—you have to do it quickly,” said Brown.
Faces can be made more memorable by ignoring physical characteristics and focusing on personality traits. Does this person look trustworthy or likable? This makes your brain process the face more deeply, promoting learning.

Via Why We Make Mistakes:

They found that when faces are judged not by their surface details but for deeper emotional traits—like honesty or likability—the faces are subsequently better recognized than faces judged for physical features like hair or eyes. Why should traits be more memorable than features? Traits appear to require the brain to engage in a greater depth of processing; it takes more work to figure out whether someone has an honest face than it does to determine, say whether he’s got curly hair. And that greater effort seems to make the face stick in the memory. So strong is the effect that one of the leading researchers on face recognition once offered this advice: “If you want to remember a person’s face, try to make a number of difficult personal judgments his face when you are first meeting him.”

Is there a technique that works across the board for improving memory? You can improve recall of most anything by matching the context of where you learned it. READ MORE

Rick Halperin, Embrey Human Rights Program, quoted in Chronicle of Higher Education about the history of student hunger strikes

Chronicle of Higher Education

The History — and Health Implications — of Student Hunger Strikes

A hunger strike at Tufts University stretched into its sixth day on Friday, with five students refusing to eat until the administration reverses a decision to lay off 20 janitors. Tufts officials say the strikers, and a larger group of students who are camping on the university quad, are free to remain as long as they comply with the Massachusetts institution’s policies.

By choosing to fast, the students have joined a long tradition of campus activism: Hunger strikes have always been part of the repertoire of nonviolent protesters, at colleges and elsewhere. The strikes can be uniquely difficult for colleges to deal with, both because of concerns over participants’ health and because there’s no playbook pointing to a clear response. Here are answers to some key questions about campus hunger strikes. READ MORE

Alumnus, Asad Rahman, Muslims say recent events should not overshadow diversity in North Texas

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: May 8, 2015

For some North Texas Muslims, Sunday’s attack on Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center was yet another moment to brace against anti-Muslim sentiment expressed either online or in hateful personal encounters.

“My first reaction was ‘Crap. Here we go again,’” said Carole Sturm, 50, of Arlington, who converted to Islam in college.

But among the more than 150,000 Muslims who live in the area, many say such encounters are not a part of daily life.

“My experience has been that in Texas, we are incredibly diverse and that diversity is for the most part either celebrated or just very much accepted,” said Amir Omar, 43, a former Richardson City Council member who may have been the state’s first Muslim elected official in 2009. READ MORE

Aaron Crawford, The Center for Presidential History, did Bill Clinton have the lowest net worth of any president entering office?

Politifact.com

Originally Posted: May 7, 2015

Former President Bill Clinton is back to making claims about his family’s humble financial roots.

A year ago, he was defending Hillary Clinton for claiming that they left left the White House “not only dead broke, but in debt” (which rates Mostly False).

“I had the lowest net worth of any American president in the 20th century when I took office,” Clinton said then (Half True).

This time, it’s amid scrutiny of all those lucrative speeches and foreign government donations to his family foundation.

“I’m grateful for our success,” Clinton told NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden in an interview that aired May 4. “But let me remind you. When we moved into the White House, we had the lowest net worth of any family since Harry Truman.” READ MORE