graduate studies

The Guildhall at SMU scores in Animation Career Review rankings

The Guildhall at SMUThe Guildhall at SMU,. Southern Methodist University’s master’s-level game design program, has earned high national and international rankings from Animation Career Review.

The Review ranks The Guildhall as one of the top 10 animation and game-design schools in the Southwest. Other schools to make the list include Brigham Young, UT-Austin and the University of Colorado-Boulder.

The Review cites The Guildhall’s partnerships with SMU undergraduate tracks in Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of the Arts among its attractive features, noting that The Guildhall’s Master of Interactive Technology program “has produced hundreds of successful graduates, employed at more than 140 video game studios around the world.”

In addition, the Review ranks The Guildhall in the top 100 (#76) among game animation programs worldwide. This ranking is especially noteworthy because The Guildhall’s four areas of study – Art Creation, Level Design, Production and Software Development – do not include an animation specialization.

> The Guildhall hosts 2013 Fall Exhibition Dec. 20

Animation Career Review launched in 2011 to provide “the most comprehensive … information for aspiring animation and game design professionals,” according to its mission statement. In creating its 2013 regional rankings, the Review considered more than 400 U.S. schools that offer programs geared towards animation or game design. Their ranking criteria include academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program and faculty, value as it relates to tuition, and geographic location.

The Guildhall at SMU is celebrating its 10th anniversary throughout 2013-14 with everything from a virtual yearbook to a brand-new career portal for its alumni. Additional details and upcoming events will be posted to The Guildhall website and Facebook.

When The Guildhall opened its doors in 2003, “The Tonight Show” had a field day.

“At Southern Methodist University they have opened a college of video games. It’s a school where the students can specialize in video games. Finally — a degree more useless than political science,” Jay Leno joked.

Since then, The Guildhall has proven the complexity and value of the education it provides.

“At our 10-year milestone, we have successfully answered the initial critics. A master’s degree in game development is not a passing fad,” he said. “And the growth in gaming and gamification will provide many more creative opportunities for our students, faculty and alumni.”

> Visit The Guildhall at SMU online

For the Record: Nov. 26, 2013

Book cover of 'The Millennial Sovereign' by A. Azfar Moin, SMUAzfar Moin, William P. Clements Department of History, Dedman College, has won two major awards this fall for his first book. The Millennial Sovereign: Sacred Kingship and Sainthood in Islam (Columbia University Press) earned the American Academy of Religion’s 2013 award for Best First Book in the History of Religions. It also received the 2013 John F. Richards Prize, awarded annually by the American Historical Association, as the most distinguished work of scholarship on South Asian history published in English. This prize will be awarded during a ceremony at the Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. in January 2014.

santiago-canon-valencia-solo-cdSantiago Cañón Valencia, a graduate student in the Division of Music, Meadows School of the Arts, released a new performance CD, Solo, in March 2013. The Strad magazine has praised the 18-year-old Colombian’s “technically flawless” and “simply tremendous” playing, calling the CD “one of the most persuasive programmes of solo cello music … to date.” He is a Performer’s Diploma candidate in cello under the instruction of Meadows professor and international concert artist Andrés Díaz.

SMU scientists celebrate Nobel Prize for Higgs discovery

Particle collision from the ATLAS ExperimentSMU’s experimental physics group played a pivotal role in discovering the Higgs boson — the particle that proves the theory for which two scientists have received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences today awarded the Nobel Prize to theorists Peter W. Higgs and François Englert to recognize their work developing the theory of what is now known as the Higgs field, which gives elementary particles mass. U.S. scientists played a significant role in advancing the theory and in discovering the particle that proves the existence of the Higgs field, the Higgs boson.

The Nobel citation recognizes Higgs and Englert “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.”

“A scientist may test out a thousand different ideas over the course of a career. If you’re fortunate, you get to experiment with one that works,” says SMU physicist Ryszard Stroynowski, a principal investigator in the search for the Higgs boson. As the leader of an SMU Department of Physics team working on the experiment, Stroynowski served as U.S. coordinator for the ATLAS Experiment’s Liquid Argon Calorimeter, which measures energy from the particles created by proton collisions.

The University’s experimental physics group has been involved since 1994 and is a major contributor to the research, the heart of which is the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator on the border with Switzerland and France.

Preliminary discovery results were announced July 4, 2012 at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, Switzerland, and at the International Conference of High Energy Physics in Melbourne, Australia.

• Several contributors from SMU have made their mark on the project at various stages, including current Department of Physics faculty members Ryszard Stroynowski, Jingbo Ye, Robert Kehoe and Stephen Sekula. Faculty members Pavel Nadolsky and Fred Olness performed theoretical calculations used in various aspects of data analysis.

• University postdoctoral fellows on the ATLAS Experiment have included Julia Hoffmann, David Joffe, Ana Firan, Haleh Hadavand, Peter Renkel, Aidan Randle-Conde, Daniel Goldin and Sami Kama.

• SMU has awarded eight Ph.D. and seven M.S. degrees to students who performed advanced work on ATLAS, including Ryan Rios, Rozmin Daya, Renat Ishmukhametov, Tingting Cao, Kamile Dindar, Pavel Zarzhitsky and Azzedin Kasmi.

• Significant contributions to ATLAS have also been made by SMU faculty members in the Department of Physics’ Optoelectronics Lab, including Tiankuan Liu, Annie Xiang and Datao Gong.

“The discovery of the Higgs is a great achievement, confirming an idea that will require rewriting of the textbooks,” Stroynowski says. “But there is much more to be learned from the LHC and from ATLAS data in the next few years. We look forward to continuing this work.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Calendar Highlights: Fall 2013 exhibits at SMU

As the school year kicks off, be sure to make time for the five exhibitions at SMU this semester.

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Image c/o Meadows*

The Stewart Album: Art, Letters, and Souvenirs to an American Patron in Paris 

The Meadows Museum presents their recent acquisition of an “album for cartes de visite” compiled by William H. Stewart. The vast collection of artwork, photographs and letters gives insight into not only Stewart but other important Spanish artists of the modern era. The exhibit runs through Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 and is free for SMU faculty, staff and students.

Photographs from Taos, New Mexico by Debora Hunter 

SMU Associate Professor of Art Debora Hunter has photographed the cultural landscape of Taos for the past 10 years, focusing her work on the question of man versus nature. Her Photographs from Taos, New Mexico are on display through Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 in the Pollock Gallery, Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The exhibit is free. Hunter will also host gallery talks at noon Wednesday, Sept. 18 and 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. Both special events will detail the photographs in relation to consumer culture and the diminishing natural resources.

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Post Chiaroscuro: Prints in Color After the Renaissance 

This exhibit features artwork that “explores how color prints were made after the 16th century, when the technique known as chiaroscuro woodcut had been developed.” Specifically, there are three main printing techniques detailed in the exhibit: intaglio, relief and planographic. The Post Chiaroscuro exhibit is curated by Samantha Robinson, a second-year M.A. student in art history, and runs from Monday, Sept. 16-Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. The exhibit can be found in the Hawn Gallery of the Hamon Arts Library, Owen Arts Center, and is free and open to the public.

Manuscripts in the Islamic Tradition 

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Bridwell Library presents a collection of sacred texts in a new entry hall exhibition, Manuscripts in the Islamic Tradition. The show features manuscripts of the Quran and Dala’il al-Khayrat. All the manuscripts showcase detailed craftsmanship including calligraphy, painting and outstanding colors. The exhibit runs through Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 with free entry to the public.

Fifty Women 

Bridwell Library will showcase Fifty Women in the Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries through Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. More than 50 books will be featured, dating from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th century. All books were written, produced, owned or inspired by women, and the roles that women held – saints, queens, authors, artists, mothers.

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*Selection of Pages from The Stewart Album, 2nd Half of the 19th Century, Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum Purchase Thanks to a Gift from The Eugene McDermott Foundation and Ms. Jo Ann Geurin Thetford

For the Record: May 3, 2013

Anthony Cortese, Sociology, Dedman College, participated in an invited panel discussion, Outside the Silo: The Interdisciplinary Teacher-Scholar, at the annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Society, held March 23-27, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta. He also presented a paper, The Tucson and Norway Massacres: Deconstructing Competing Narratives, in a session on Types of Crime and Victims.

Ron Wetherington, Anthropology, Dedman College, has been selected as a panelist for the Texas Education Agency in the review of proposed new science textbooks for the state. He will assess high school biology texts for 2014 adoption by the state Board of Education. The review runs from May to July 2013.

Shannon Woodruff, a Ph.D. candidate in the research lab of Nicolay Tsarevsky, Chemistry, Dedman College, was one of four national recipients of the Ciba Travel Award in Green Chemistry awarded annually by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The annual award sponsors the participation of high school, undergraduate and graduate students in an ACS technical meeting, conference or training program to expand the students’ education in green chemistry. Woodruff used his award in April to attend the 245th National Meeting of the ACS in New Orleans, where he presented his research on “Well-defined functional epoxide-containing polymers by low-catalyst concentration atom transfer radical polymerization.” Tsarevsky’s lab focuses on the synthesis of polymers with controlled molecular weight and architecture, and precise placement of specific functionalities including biomedical applications such as controlled delivery and imaging.

For the Record: April 5, 2013

Anthony Cortese, Sociology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, presented a paper, “Ethical Approaches to Ethnoviolence: An Interdisciplinary Team-Taught Course,” at the 2013 annual meetings of the Pacific Sociological Association in Reno, Nevada in March.

Matthew Rispoli, a Master of Science candidate in electrical engineering in Lyle School of Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for study in condensed-matter physics. His graduate fellowship will provide a stipend of $30,000 per year for three years.

Jewel Lipps, a sophomore environmental science and chemistry major in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has received a grant through the NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites Program. She will participate in environmental research during Summer 2013 at the Forest Lakes site in New Jersey.

Han Na Kim, a senior political science and marketing major in Dedman College and Cox School of Business, has been awarded a 2013 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Korea.

For the Record: Feb. 26, 2013

Jodi Cooley, Physics, Dedman College, was named by the American Physical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women Physicists as its December 2012 CSWP Woman Physicist of the Month. She was nominated by students as “a physicist who has had an impact on [their] life or career, both past and present.” The award is open to students, teachers or any woman doing physics-related work.

Donna Dover, Office of the Provost, received a 2012 Award of Merit in a competition sponsored by the North Texas Lone Star Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. She was honored for her work on the print edition of SMU’s 2012-13 General Information Undergraduate Catalog. 

Louis Jacobs, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College, received the 2012 Skoog Cup from the Science Teachers Association of Texas for his “significant contributions to advancing quality science education.” The teacher association presents the Skoog Cup annually to a deserving faculty or staff member at a Texas college or university for a sustained record of leadership in science education, advocacy for quality K-12 science education for all students, contributions to science, and development of effective programs for pre-service and in-service teachers of science. Jacobs received the award at the Annual Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching, which took place in Corpus Christi in November.

K. Shelette Stewart, Executive Education, Cox School of Business, has received the 2012 Christian Literary Award in the Christian Living category for her book, Revelations in Business: Connecting Your Business Plan with God’s Purpose and Plan for Your Life (Tate Publishing and Enterprises). The award was presented in a ceremony that took place in November.

Michael McLendon, Higher Education Policy and Leadership, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, delivered a keynote address to the 2012 College of Education Dean’s Symposium at Florida State University in Tallahassee in October. The symposium’s theme, “Shared Dreams, Separate Interests: Higher Education Finance & Accountability,” focused on higher education performance, accountability and finance in an era of intense scrutiny of higher education in the United States and internationally.

Azfar Moin, History, Dedman College, presented a paper at the 2012 South Asia Research and Information Institute (SARII) conference at SMU in September. The SARII conference brings together leading historians of South Asia and specialists of Indo-Muslim cultures. Its 2012 theme of “Cities, Courts, and Saints” gathered new research on the way Islam spread across and became part of the Indian subcontinent.

Wes Abel and Jon Haghayeghi, Master’s degree candidates in the Department of Economics, Dedman College, were among three U.S. students chosen to participate in the ISEO Institute’s “Learn Economics from Nobel Prize Laureates” summer program June 23-30, 2012 in Iseo, Italy. Among the Summer 2012 participating Nobel laureates were Peter Diamond and Michael Spence.

For the Record: April 11, 2012

Anthony Cortese, Sociology, Dedman College, has published an entry, “Advertising” (pp. 8-13) in the Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization, edited by George Ritzer (New York: Blackwell, 2012). He participated in The Social Construction of Femininity and Self-Objectification at the Pacific Sociological Association in San Diego, California, and gave an invited presentation during the 2012 History of the Discipline and Association Plenary Session of the National Association for Ethnic Studies in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Megan Bond Hinrichsen, a graduate student in anthropology in Dedman College, has received a 2012 Fulbright Grant to study in Ecuador. She will conduct research there during the 2012-13 academic year.

For the Record: March 3, 2011

Anna Membrino's winning paintingAnna Membrino, a first-year M.F.A. student in Meadows School of the Arts, has been named one of three national winners of the 2010 Canvas Artist Series Contest sponsored by Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Folio Fine Wine Partners. She won for her design of the merlot label (pictured right) for the Canvas wine brand. The three contest winners were selected by public online voting and a panel of judges comprised of Folio and Hyatt executives, as well as other wine industry professionals. In addition to having their artwork displayed on the Canvas bottle, the winners each receive a $5,000 scholarship from Hyatt. Read more from SMU News.

Carla Mendiola, a Ph.D. candidate in history in Dedman College, has been selected for a Government of Canada Doctoral Student Research Award, which “promotes research that contributes to a better knowledge and understanding of Canada, its relationship with the United States, and its international affairs.” The grant will allow her to conduct dissertation research in Canada.

The SMU Office of Public Affairs won five awards in the 2011 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District IV competition. The Content Group received two prizes in the Blog category: a Gold Award for SMU Adventures and a Silver Award for the SMU Forum. The SMU Research news site received a Silver Award in the World Wide Web Sub Site or Section category. Kim Cobb received a Silver Award in the Medical/Scientific News Writing category for “SMU-led Research Center Aims to Connect Brain Signals to Robotic Limbs,” and Eva Parks received a Bronze Award in the Film or Video-Feature category for “The World’s Oldest Christmas Card.” The winners were announced Feb. 22 at the CASE Fusion annual conference in New Orleans.

For the Record: Dec. 2, 2010

Anita Ingram, Risk Management, was inducted as 2010-11 treasurer of the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA) at the organization’s 41st annual conference in Pittsburgh on Oct. 12, 2010. URMIA is an international nonprofit educational association promoting “the advancement and application of effective risk management principles and practices in institutions of higher education,” according to its press release. It represents more than 500 institutions of higher education and 100 companies.

Beth Newman, English, Dedman College, attended the North American Victorian Studies Association conference in Montreal Nov. 11-13, 2010, where she read a paper titled “Walter Pater, Alice Meynell, and Aestheticist Temporality.” The next weekend she read a slightly expanded version of the paper at the Clark Library (UCLA), at a symposium titled “Cultures of Aestheticism.”

Emily George Grubbs ’08, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, wrote an article published in Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, published by the Dallas Historical Society. The article, “Texas Regionalism and the Little Theatre of Dallas,” discusses the collaboration between local artists and the Little Theatre of Dallas in areas such as program cover design, stage sets and publicity posters. Early in their careers, architect O’Neil Ford and artists Jerry Bywaters, Alexandre Hogue and Perry Nichols were among those who collaborated with the theatre.

Grant Kao and Justin Nesbit, graduate video game design students in The Guildhall at SMU, have been chosen to receive national scholarships presented annually by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Kao and Nesbit will receive $2,500 each through the Randy Pausch and Mark Beaumont scholarship funds, respectively. The scholarships are awarded by the AIAS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AIAS. Read more from SMU News.

SMU’s Data Mining TeamSubhojit Das and Greg Johnson, third-year students in the economics graduate program; and Jacob Williamson, a second-year graduate student in applied economics – has placed second in the national 2010 SAS Data Mining Shootout competition. Their faculty sponsor is Tom Fomby, Economics, Dedman College. Winners of the national competition were announced Oct. 25 at the SAS Data Mining Conference in Las Vegas.

SMU 2010 Data Mining Team in Las VegasThe competition’s problem statement was to determine the economic benefit of reducing the Body Mass Indices (BMIs) of a select number of individuals by 10 percent and to determine the cost savings to federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, as well as to the economy as a whole, from the implementation of the proposed BMI reduction program. This is the third year in a row that the University’s Economics Department has fielded one of the country’s top three data mining teams; SMU finished as national champions in 2008 and 2009. Read more from SMU News.

(In photo, left to right: Tim Rey of Dow Chemical Company; Subhojit Das, Tom Fomby, Greg Johnson and Jacob Williamson, all of SMU; and Tracy Hewitt of the Institute for Health and Business Insight at Central Michigan University. Dow Chemical and the Institute for Health and Business Insight were co-sponsors of the competition, along with the SAS Institute of Cary, North Carolina.)

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