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

SMU Magazine: Dedman College Alumnus Leandre Johns ’02 Talks Uber Career And Detours Along The Way

By: Patricia Ward

Originally Posted: May 4, 2015
Dedman Alumni Leandre Johns ConversationA passion for innovation drives Leandre Johns ’02, general manager of Uber Technologies for North and West Texas. Johns returned to the Hilltop to discuss his trajectory from SMU student to tech executive in a conversation with Thomas DiPiero, dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, April 28.

Johns, a native of Garland, Texas, was a Hunt Leadership Scholar and active in the campus community while earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SMU. He encouraged students in the audience at Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible while they are undergraduates.

“Test yourself. Make the most of it. Get involved,” he said. Learning to deal with so many different personalities in a variety of situations as a student “made me a more dynamic person.”

While at SMU, he thought he had his future mapped out. During an SMU Abroad semester in Copenhagen, he was involved in children’s cancer research, which shaped the next phase of his education. He graduated from SMU determined to help cure cancer and pursued a master’s degree in public health at the University of Chicago. As a graduate student, he interned for UnitedHealthcare, then spent three years with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago as a healthcare and financial consultant. READ MORE

Markets and Culture & Sociology Gathering for Students and Alumni

When: Tuesday, March 3rd, 5:00-6:30
Where: Dallas Hall, Room 115

Markets and Culture and Sociology alumni from various career paths will share their insight and perspectives on the job search and how they have been able to leverage their SMU academic and extracurricular experience in their careers. Come as you are and connect with people who were once in your shoes and are eager to be a resource and support to you.

Dedman College alum Craig Pearson is Texas’ first state seismologist

Texas Tribune

Posted: Feb. 6, 2015

For State’s Seismologist, Quakes Will Be the Easy Part
by Jim Malewitz

David Craig Pearson remembers the first time he felt the earth tremble beneath his feet. Mother Nature wasn’t to blame. The U.S. military was.

Pearson stood on the White Sands Missile Range, a sprawling base in south-central New Mexico, on that day some three decades ago. Federal Department of Defense workers fired off a weapons test. Pearson, then a wide-eyed doctoral student, recorded the earthquake it triggered.

“Since then, I was hooked,” he said in an interview. READ MORE

Dedman College alumna Brittany Merrill Underwood talks about the Akola Project, a nonprofit she founded

Dallas Business Journal

Originally Posted: December 18, 2014

Brittany Merrill Underwood was working at a boarding school in Uganda one summer when she met Sarah.

Sarah was raising 24 children she had taken in off the street. She was using all of her savings to spare the children from a poor Ugandan orphanage. Underwood said the story touched her in a way that she will never forget.
Months later, Underwood broke her hip while studying abroad. While she was on bed rest, she couldn’t get her mind off Sarah. When Underwood recovered, she decided to find a way to help Sarah and her family. Watch Video

Underwood has a B.A. degree from SMU with a major in journalism and a minor in political science. Read More about Brittany Merrill Underwood


Gartner Lecture Series: NoViolet Bulawayo, Sept. 15

EVENT: Sept. 15. 5pm. Umphrey Lee Center, Mack Ballroom

Gartner Lecture Series: NoViolet Bulawayo. SMU alumni and author of this year’s common reading book, We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo (Elizabeth Tshele, M.A. ’07), will discuss her remarkable coming-of-age story and share her experience of leaving her home country of Zimbabwe to pursue the American dream. For more information.


Cindy Yeilding, 82′ geology graduate, now a BP executive

Cindy Yeilding earned her MSc from the University of North Carolina after receiving a BS in Geology from Southern Methodist University. She has worked as an exploration, production, appraisal and well-site operations geoscientist and is currently BP’s Vice President, Gulf of Mexico Appraisal. Her most recent roles include Chief Geoscientist for the Gulf of Mexico, Global Geoscience Technology and R&D Manager for BP, and Exploration Leadership positions in the US and Venezuela. READ MORE