SMU announces five 2016 Ford Research Fellows

grants and fellowships

SMU announces five 2016 Ford Research Fellows

SMU Ford Research Fellows, 2016

Meghan Ryan, Ali Beskok, Frederick Chang, Jodi Cooley-Sekula and Mark Chancey (with SMU Provost Steven Currall) were honored as SMU’s 2016 Ford Research Fellows during the Board of Trustees meeting in May. Photo: SMU/Hillsman S. Jackson

Five distinguished SMU professors received awards for their scholarship and support for their research when there were named 2016 Ford Research Fellows during the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 5.

This year’s recipients are Ali Beskok, Mechanical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Mark Chancey, Religious Studies, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Frederick Chang, Computer Science and Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Jodi Cooley-Sekula, Physics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Meghan Ryan, Dedman School of Law.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from trustee Gerald J. Ford, the fellowships help SMU retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

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June 3, 2016|For the Record, News, Research|

Embrey Human Rights Program selects five SMU students as Community Outreach Fellows

For the second cohort of Community Outreach Fellows (COF), the most prestigious honor the Embrey Human Rights Program (EHRP) offers, only five students were selected. This year-long program offers students the opportunity to serve the Dallas community and develop the skills necessary to make real world change.

After a competitive application process, fellows create a year-long project in conjunction with a local placement organization. They identify relevant community needs, establish feasible goals and objectives and see the project to its end, working around 200 hours over the year. Throughout this time, they receive dual mentorship from the EHRP staff and their placement organization.

The 2015 -16 Community Outreach Fellows are currently finishing up and reflecting on their projects. Here is what they have been working on:

Daryl Parker: Parker is graduating in May with a Master’s degree in human rights and social justice. He is currently working alongside the Innocence Project of Texas (IPTX), to provide free investigative services to indigent defendants in pursuit of post-conviction relief on the grounds of actual innocence. His daily work uncovers prosecutorial misconduct, law enforcement error and the negative role money plays in the criminal justice system. With only a two-person staff to handle numerous time-consuming cases, Parker’s services provide unparalleled support for IPTX. Parker had previously volunteered with the organization as part of the service requirement for Dr. Rick Halperin’s human rights course. He was intrigued by the opportunity because of his background as a former criminal investigator. Once he saw how poorly some of the cases had been handled he was committed to the cause. Since his involvement in the COF program, he has learned that “social justice work is a marathon, not a sprint and it takes a lot of people with the right priorities and resources to effect change.”

Liliana Garcia: Garcia is a junior studying international relations. She is also involved in Kappa Delta Chi sorority, inc. and College Hispanic American Students (CHAS). As a first-generation graduate from a Dallas Independent School District (DISD) school, she was inspired to create workshops to prepare students like herself for college. She knew how hard the college application process was and has since been making it easier for those who are following her. She focuses primarily on first-generation Hispanic students and encourages them to attend four-year universities. She works closely with parents and students from the North Dallas region and Roberto Corona, EHRP Community Outreach Coordinator. As a COF, Garcia has learned how to deal with challenging situations, how to find the resources she needs for her projects and how others (especially those in her cohort) are targeting the various issues in the Dallas community.

Sam Butz: Butz is a junior studying creative advertising and fashion media. She was recently awarded a local silver American Advertising Award for her work in product promotion. She is also a member of SMU’s Division I Swim Team and an Engaged Learning Fellow. She has combined her love for fashion, her interest in human rights, and her participation on a swim team that wears SMU purchased uniforms for this project. For the past year, she has researched and developed campaigns on labor rights surrounding the apparel at SMU. This idea first came to her when she was enrolled in Professor Carina Heckert‘s Health as a Human Rights class, which she signed-up for without any knowledge of or interest in the area. Her semester project was on Alta Garcia, a living-wage garment factory in the Dominican Republic. She researched and visited the factory and quickly realized that there was a void on campus surrounding garment worker’s rights. She saw the fellowship as an opportunity to incite change on campus and bring light to the issues at hand. Through her work she has learned how much time goes into research and changing existing systems and because of that, she has also learned that even a small step of progress is a success.

Sandra Ostad: Ostad is a second-year Masters in Liberal Arts student studying Human Rights and Refugees. After interning in the development department at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) of Dallas, Ostad decided to apply for the Community Outreach Fellowship to continue her work with the refugee populations of Dallas. She has been working to connect the IRC with refugee communities and to expand their immigration department. A bulk of her work has been focused on developing and implementing a sustainable citizenship education program to help refugees and legal permanent residents become U.S. citizens. She is also working on building and strengthening the IRC’s relationships with community partners, religious sites and other resettlement organizations in Dallas. These partners can then work alongside the IRC to ensure that refugees know who to turn to for legal advice and assistance. Her time thus far as a fellow has been exceptionally beneficial in helping her grow intellectually and professionally.

Vanna Ngo: Ngo is a Masters students studying Human Rights and Social Justice. She is working on introducing a restorative justice program into Residence Life and Student Conduct. These measures would work alongside regular adjudication methods and be offered when a student is deemed eligible for participation in a facilitated dialogue. She has worked with the University of Michigan and University of Oregon to develop a training manual. She is now working with SMU’s Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management and the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for implementation. She has been able to learn how over 30 colleges and universities in the U.S. have created restorative justice programs of their own and have been successful. She has been inspired by restorative justice programs ability to give victims a voice and to foster a greater sense of community and healing. Ngo also co-founded the non-profit, Peace is Possible, where in conjunction with EHRP they hold a Peace Day Conference each year on the UN declared International Day of Peace.

EHRP Assistant Director Brad Klein has worked closely with this year’s COFs and they’ve each looked to him for motivation and advice through the process. “I am impressed and inspired by this year’s Community Outreach Fellowship projects,” says Klein. Each fellow started one year ago with an idea of how to address a human rights problem. With hard work, determination, and passion, those ideas developed into practical strategies for change. Along the way, the fellows were supported by professionals on campus and in the community who graciously shared time and expertise. All the projects – whether focused on wrongful convictions, migrant education, worker rights, refugee support, or restorative justice – have impacted the SMU and Dallas communities in positive ways.”

Applications for the 2016-17 program are due by April 15. All SMU students who will be enrolled in courses during the fellowship are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit the COF website or contact Klein.

March 31, 2016|For the Record, News|

Eleven SMU professors receive 2015-16 Sam Taylor Fellowships

Eleven SMU faculty members have received 2015-16 Sam Taylor Fellowships from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

The Fellowships, funded by income from a portion of Taylor’s estate, award up to $2,000 for full-time faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities in Texas. Any full-time faculty member is eligible to apply for the Fellowships, which support research, “advancing the intellectual, social or religious life of Texas and the nation.”

Applications are evaluated on the significance of the project, clarity of the proposal, professional development of the applicant, value of the project to the community or nation and the project’s sensitivity to value questions confronting higher education and society.

The winning professors for this academic year, and their projects:

• Karisa Cloward, Political Science, Dedman College, for field research on NGOs in Kenya

Anna Kim, Advertising, Meadows School of the Arts, for analysis of effectiveness of narrative advertising

Stephanie Langin-Hooper, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, for reproduction of museum artifacts in an upcoming article on Babylonian figurines

Karen Lupo, Anthropology, Dedman College, to collect sediment cores in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a study of the central African rainforest

Jamal Mohamed, Music, Meadows School of the Arts, for travel to Indonesia to study Gamelan music of west Java

Sid Muralidharan, Advertising, Meadows School of the Arts, to collect survey data to study effectiveness of environmental advertising

Alexandra Pavlakis, Education Policy and Leadership, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, for a research study in a Dallas after-school center for homeless students

Nicolas Sternsdorff-Cisterna, Anthropology, Dedman College, for travel to Japan for a study on food safety after Fukushima

Hervé Tchumkam, World Languages and Literatures (French and Francophone Studies), Dedman College, for travel to research Cameroonian deaths and disappearances

Roberto Vega, Physics, Dedman College, to support collaborative research on high-energy physics

HyeJin Yoon, Advertising, Meadows School of the Arts, for a survey to analyze effectiveness of health public-service advertising

December 18, 2015|For the Record, News|

Law Professor Chris Jenks receives 2014-15 Fulbright Grant

Chris Jenks, SMU Dedman School of LawChris Jenks, an assistant professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholars Grant to spend six months in Australia researching how emerging technologies impact accountability in armed conflict.

Jenks, who joined the Dedman Law faculty in 2012, teaches and writes on the law of armed conflict and criminal justice. He also is director of the law school’s Criminal Justice Clinic. Beginning in January 2015, he will work in Melbourne at the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law (APCML), a collaborative initiative between the Australian Department of Defense and Melbourne Law School.

At the APCML, Jenks will work closely with Bruce Oswald and Tim McCormack, two of the world’s foremost experts on international humanitarian law. McCormack, the founding director of the APCML, also serves as Special Adviser on International Humanitarian Law to the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

“The APCML is the only entity in the world applying a systematic and holistic approach to technology and the law of armed conflict,” Jenks says. “It’s the best place in the world  to study the subject. I’m very excited by and for this opportunity.”

Jenks explains his Fulbright research: “Right now if there’s an air strike and civilians are killed, the law of armed conflict and state practice provide a framework through which we can determine when someone is criminally liable. But when the air strike is autonomous, or it is a cyber attack, who’s to blame? The commander? The software designer? A civilian programmer who may have entered the wrong line of code two years prior? We need to think more about and address such issues before they inevitably arise,” he says.

An internationally respected expert on the law of armed conflict, Jenks is co-author of a law of armed conflict textbook and co-editor of a forthcoming war crimes casebook. He served as a peer reviewer of The Tallinn Manual on the international law applicable to cyber warfare and the U.S. Army’s field manual on the law of land warfare. He has published articles on drones, child soldiers, extraordinary rendition, law of war-based detention, targeting and government contractors.

Jenks came to SMU following a 20-year career as an officer in the U.S. Army. In 2003, he was the lead prosecutor in the Army’s first counterterrorism case. In 2004, he deployed to Mosul, Iraq and served as chief legal advisor on investigations and as prosecutor for crimes against the civilian population, detainee abuse and friendly-fire incidents. Rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel, Jenks worked as the deputy chief of the U.S. Army’s litigation division, as an attorney adviser at the Department of State and the United Nations, and as chief of the International Law Branch of the Office of The Judge Advocate General in the Pentagon.

Jenks has received the Valorous Unit Award, the Bronze Star, and the Expert Infantryman and Parachutist Badges. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, the University of Arizona College of Law, the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, and Georgetown University Law School.

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story from SMU News

April 7, 2014|For the Record, News, Year of the Faculty|

Ten SMU professors receive 2013-14 Sam Taylor Fellowships

Ten SMU faculty members have received 2013-14 Sam Taylor Fellowships from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

The Fellowships, funded by income from a portion of Taylor’s estate, award up to $2,000 for full-time faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities in Texas. Any full-time faculty member is eligible to apply for the Fellowships, which support research “advancing the intellectual, social or religious life of Texas and the nation.”

Applications are evaluated on the significance of the project, clarity of the proposal, professional development of the applicant, value of the project to the community or nation, and the project’s sensitivity to value questions confronting higher education and society.

The winning professors for this academic year, and their projects:

• Tim Cassedy, English, Dedman College, for research at the Library of Congress for his book Language Makes the Difference, a history of ideas about language and identity at the turn of the 19th century.

• Michael Chmielewski, Psychology, Dedman College, to study the appropriateness of commonly used psychological tests and measures for diverse populations.

• Michael Corris, Art, Meadows School of the Arts, for interviews and illustration reproductions for his book The Armchair in the Studio: The Engagement of Art and Philosophy Since the 1960s.

• Benard Cummings, Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts, for a theatre adaptation of Babette’s Feast set during the Civil War.

• Kate Engel, Religious Studies, Dedman College, for archival research in Great Britain and Germany on international Protestantism at the time of the American Revolution.

• Blake Hackler, Theatre, Meadows School of the Arts, to take part in advanced training with the SITI Theatre ensemble and conduct research on embodied actor training methodologies.

• Andrea Meltzer, Psychology, Dedman College,  for a study of newlywed couples and weight-maintenance motivations.

• Lisa Pon, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, to support reproduction of images for her upcoming book on the Madonna of the Fire.

• Candace Walkington, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, to build a website containing mathematics problems that are personalized to middle and high school students’ interests.

• Eric White, Special Collections, Bridwell Library, to complete the first comprehensive documentary history of every surviving copy of the Gutenberg Bible, encompassing their discovery, changing ownership and rise in cultural significance.

November 7, 2013|For the Record, News, Research|
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