Anthropology Ph.D. candidate Kerri Brown receives prestigious Fulbright-Hays grant


Originally Posted: Nov. 12, 2015

SMU anthropology Ph.D. candidate Kerri Brown recently received a Fulbright-Hays international education fellowship to support 18 months of research in Brazil. Brown leaves for Rio de Janeiro in January to continue work on her dissertation about public policy related to traditional medicinal plants in Brazil.

In Brazil, home to nearly one-fourth of the world’s plant species, many groups within the country have long relied on medicinal plants for basic health care. Pharmaceutical companies also use South American plants to create medications such as quinine for malaria and beta blockers for cardiovascular disease. But local groups’ knowledge of the natural world and pharmaceutical companies’ desire to better understand and export untapped resources has created a conflict resulting in international regulation, Brown says.

“I am interested in how international policy affects various communities’ uses of medicinal plants,” Brown says. “The regulation of medicinal plants is often a point of conversation for larger issues in Latin America, such as deforestation, biopiracy and the rights of marginalized people.”

Brown first became interested in Brazil as an undergraduate at the University of Texas in Austin. A psychology and anthropology major, she studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro and volunteered at Criola, an organization that seeks to empower Afro-Brazilian girls and women to become agents of change. At Criola she became interested in women’s access to health care and use of traditional medicine.

As part of her fellowship, Brown will spend nine months in Rio de Janeiro and then travel to Oriximiná, a small town in the Amazon, to continue her research.

“The Fulbright-Hays fellowship will give me so much flexibility,” Brown says. “It will enable me to travel, attend regional conferences and meet with other researchers in Brazil.”

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded $4.4 million in Fulbright-Hays grants aimed at increasing understanding between the United States and the rest of the world. Brown is one of 86 scholars nationwide to receive funding through the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad project.

Substance Over Buzz? A working paper by a group of DCII graduate fellows on interdisciplinary job ad analysis suggests some jobs aren’t truly interdisciplinary.

Inside Higher Ed

Originally Posted: October 27, 2015

Is true interdisciplinary work becoming more common, or is it simply a buzzword — or, perhaps worse, a trumped-up name for flexible academic labor? That’s what a group of graduate students at Southern Methodist University wanted to know, so they took what data were available to them — job ads — and analyzed them for possible answers.
They determined that ads for interdisciplinary academic jobs privilege teaching over interdisciplinary expertise, and that the jobs that appear truly interdisciplinary tend to be at institutions that have dedicated centers for such work. READ MORE

SMU Tower Center, Latino Center For Leadership Development Create Strategic Policy Institute

September 15, 2015

SMU-LCLD Sept152015_HJ
SMU’s John G. Tower Center for Political Studies and the Dallas-based Latino Center for Leadership Development (Latino CLD) announced a strategic new academic policy institute at SMU Sept. 15, the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Speakers at the kickoff event were, from left, Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Jorge Baldor, Latino CLD founder and SMU alumnus (’93); Joshua Rovner, acting director of SMU’s Tower Center; and Miguel Solis, Latino CLD. [PHOTO CREDIT] Hillsman S. Jackson / SMU
DALLAS (SMU) – On the first day of National Hispanic Heritage Month, SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies announced it has formed a strategic academic partnership with the Latino Center for Leadership Development (Latino CLD). The new Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Institute will identify and implement policy-focused solutions to the Latino community’s most pressing concerns, from educational and economic opportunities, to voting rights and immigration reform, to the under-representation of Latinos in elected and appointed roles at the federal, state and local levels, as well as corporate boards.

As part of this unique partnership, the Latino CLD will provide SMU’s Tower Center with $900,000 over five years. The funding will allow the new policy institute to attract and engage scholars and thought leaders in an interdisciplinary think-tank, creating a framework to analyze and develop policy priorities, provide public forums and outreach, and support greater understanding and influence for the Latino community.

“America is in the midst of a fundamental, Latino-driven demographic shift,” said Latino CLD founder and SMU alumnus Jorge Baldor ’93, citing Pew Research Center reports that Latinos will represent about 30 percent of the U.S. population by 2060. “With the growing number of Latinos comes a reciprocal responsibility to lead,” he said, adding, “Latino CLD is focused on developing the next generation of those leaders.” (For additional relevant data, see accompanying “Key Research Findings Underscore Need for Forward-Thinking Policy Planning Work.”)

“I’m pleased the Latino Center for Leadership Development and SMU are joining forces for a premier Latino policy institute. The research it produces will be an asset for policy makers, allowing for in-depth analysis and creation of policies that will improve the lives of people across Texas and throughout the nation.”

– Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings

The Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Institute will work in three major areas:

  • Provide influential voices and data to support research on policy issues
  • Offer two-year appointments for postdoctoral scholars who will research and publish their findings on public policy issues
  • Provide research grants and public seminars to promote stronger community understanding and dialogue about key societal issues

The relationship between the new SMU policy institute and Latino CLD also will allow promising leaders, such as those within the Latino CLD’s new Leadership Academy, “to develop as individuals and hone network skills necessary to assume positions of influence” while focused on policy and politics to help people from all spectrums of society, Baldor said.

“The Latino CLD-SMU Tower Center Policy Institute will provide an excellent opportunity to combine our expertise to focus on contemporary policy matters of major interest to this country’s diverse, growing Latino community,” said Joshua Rovner, director of studies at the Tower Center in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities
and Sciences

“As a hub for social-scientific issues, we will play a major role in cutting through the cacophony of numbers related to the Latino community, letting us take big issues and quickly drill down to ideas for thoughtful solutions and policy implementation,”
Rovner said.

The announcement of the new policy institute follows on the heels of the Tower Center’s Sept. 8 launch of its new Texas-Mexico Program during Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s historic visit to Mexico.

“SMU is becoming a major presence in Latino-focused research and education,” said Thomas DiPiero, dean of Dedman College. “It’s also a propitious moment to bring new expertise and scholarship to bear both nationally and locally,” he said, noting that the Dallas-Fort Worth region, with 7 million people, is the nation’s fourth-largest population center, and growing rapidly.

“Looking ahead, the success of this institute will allow SMU and the Latino CLD to contribute vital public policy research while based in DFW — a U.S. political and economic center of gravity with strong global connections,” DiPiero said.

# # #

Click here for the full press release and key research findings.

SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

In the spirit of John Tower’s commitment to educate and inspire a new generation of thoughtful leaders, the Tower Center seeks to bridge the gap between the world of ideas, scholarship and teaching, as well as the practice of politics. The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. The Tower Center is an academic center where all parties and views are heard in a marketplace of ideas, and the Center pursues its mission in a non-partisan manner.

Latino CLD is a privately funded foundation with a vision of developing future leaders with an understanding of Latino-focused policies and actionable items for solutions resulting from such partnerships as the Latino CLD–SMU Tower Center Policy Institute.

The three pillars of Latino CLD involve the annual Leadership Academy, which brings together national future leaders; a policy institute; and ongoing strategic initiatives to address critical current topics, including, which led bi-partisan efforts to preserve in-state tuition at Texas universities for all of the state’s residents.



Follow Christopher Kiahtipes, Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, on SMU Adventures blog

SMU Adventures

Updated: July 6, 2015

Christopher Kiahtipes is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His work includes reconstructing past environments in tropical Central Africa to better understand the links between culture, ecology and climate. He is spending part of the summer in Europe to present his research at the 8th International Workshop on African Archaeobotany (IWAA) in Italy and to visit libraries and botanical collections at the University of Montpellier in France. READ MORE


SMU Adventures: Katherine, Maguire Fellow and Medical Anthropology grad student in San Francisco

Originally posted: June 25, 2015

Katherine is a graduate student in the medical anthropology program. She was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship for summer 2015 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU for her research on struggles for LGBTQ immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area. 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



English Doctoral Lecture Series featuring Julianne Sandberg

EVENT: December 5, 2014

Doctoral Lecture Series featuring Julianne Sandberg. On December 5 Julianne Sandberg will give a talk on “John Donne’s Body and Eucharistic Allegory.” The lecture will be at 3:30pm in 101 Dallas Hall

The Makings of Jane Austen

Professor Devoney Looser, Arizona State University, will present her research on the reception of Jane Austen from the late nineteenth century forward in a Gilbert Lecture on November 13, 2014 in McCord Auditorium. Receptions begins at 6:00 PM.

For more information: Gilbert Lectures

William Steding, senior fellow at the Center for Presidential History, featured in D Magazine

D Magazine, November 2014

How Technology Is Helping Investors
New tools are helping to put their money where their mouse is.

There was a time when William Steding was like many investors, his eyes glued to CNBC as he made day trades facilitated by newly developed software. Over the last decade, though, Steding gradually came to realize that financial planning and wealth management firms were becoming much more sophisticated technologically, and he had an epiphany.

“Clients like me said, ‘I don’t want to do it anymore. You guys handle it,’ ” says Steding, a former broadcasting mogul who’s now a senior fellow at the Center for Presidential History at SMU. Thanks to online planning and performance-reporting tools offered through firms such as Dallas-based True North Advisors, he doesn’t have to spend so much time tuned to CNBC. “I don’t have to worry about watching the market,” Steding says. “And I really only talk with True North about my stuff quarterly, or every five or six months. It gives me peace of mind, more than anything else.” READ MORE

10 colleges with the highest paid psychology graduates

USA Today

Originally Posted: Oct. 17, 2014

Psychology majors explore different personality types, how humans develop, how we respond to our environment and why we behave the way that we do. A degree in this field of study can lead to careers in social work, marketing, human resources and public health programs, with more opportunities arising for those who choose to pursue an advanced degree.

The average starting salaries across all graduates with a bachelor’s in psychology is $35,000.

Most graduates who work in this field find they have to pursue an advanced degree to find more competitively paying positions. However, the college you attend can also play a big role in how much you earn.

Certain schools have a track record of creating a high earnings boost that allows their graduates to make more money than other psych majors.

This list rounds up the top 10 colleges with the highest paid graduates in psychology, based on salary data provided by PayScale.

Note: Although we believe that knowing the average salaries of graduates gives you some very useful information about these colleges, note that this ranking is based only on salary data and is not meant to rate the overall quality of the school. Also note this list is based only on the salaries of students with bachelor’s degrees and does not take into account those who have gone on to get advanced degrees.


Founded in 1911, Southern Methodist University is a private research university. The school offers small classes and promotes research and discussion, two major elements of a psychology program. Psychology graduates from this program may only earn an average starting salary of $39,000, but they have the potential to earn the highest mid-career average salary of $109,000. The school is also ranked as the 3rd best university in the state of Texas.