student news

Save the date: SMU Research Day 2018 scheduled for March 28-29

Research Day 2017SMU Research Day is growing so much that in 2018 it will take two days to share the experience. Save the dates for Tuesday and Wednesday, March 28-29, in Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

March 28 is devoted to the Poster Session, which is scheduled for 2-5 p.m. in the Promenade Ballroom. SMU graduate students and a select cohort of undergraduates will present results of ongoing and completed University-based research. The session aims to “foster communication between students in different disciplines, give students the opportunity to present their work in a professional setting, and share the outstanding research being conducted at SMU with their peers and industry professionals from the greater Dallas community,” according to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

New this year: the Three Minute Thesis Competition, which will take place 9 a.m.-noon on March 29. The 3MT competition format, developed by the University of Queensland, gives graduate students 180 seconds in which to explain their work, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. It is designed to help students cultivate, integrate and hone their academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

> Visit the SMU Research Day homepage

SMU Debate wins 2018 Texas state championship

SMU Debate at the 2018 TIFA State Championships - Darcy Wyatt, Chip Myers, Dr. Ben Voth, Matthew Lucci, Maggie Cook-Allen

Four SMU debaters brought home multiple awards, including a team title, at the 2018 TIFA State Championships. Left to right: Darcy Wyatt, Chip Myers, Dr. Ben Voth (SMU Debate director), Matthew Lucci, Maggie Cook-Allen.

SMU Debate brought only four team members to the state championships, but that was all they needed. The team brought home multiple awards in the 2018 Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) state championships, held at Blinn College in Bryan over the Feb. 3-4 weekend.

Competing against 13 other Texas universities and colleges, they took home top speaker, top scoring school and top novice debater, among other honors, in the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) division. SMU competed exclusively in IPDA-format events; the tournament also featured competition in Parliamentary and Lincoln Douglas divisions.

> Follow SMU Debate on Facebook

Some of the highlights:

  • Matthew Lucci (B.S. Mechanical Engineering ’18) won top speaker and was undefeated through all seven rounds of debate.
  • Lucci and Maggie Cook-Allen (B.A. Political Science, B.A. Philosophy ’21) defeated rivals from Texas A&M and Tyler Junior College to claim first and second place for SMU in the open division tournament. “Open division” is open to varsity, junior varsity or novice competitors. The four SMU debaters are junior varsity or novice.
  • Mark “Chip” Myers (B.A. History ’21) won top novice IPDA debater.
  • Darcy Wyatt (B.S. Biochemistry ’21) was the 8th-rated debater in the state of Texas in IPDA.
  • SMU had three of the top eight debaters in the quarterfinals, more than any other school at the tournament.
  • The University also took first place in the IPDA sweepstakes awards.
  • In addition to placing first in the state in the category of International Public Debate, SMU placed fifth in overall speech and debate awards.

The debate team’s director is Ben Voth, speech associate professor in the Meadows School of the Arts’ Division of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. Assistant coaches include Keith Milstead and Ross Sloan. The program is funded and sponsored by the Meadows School and the SMU Vice President of Student Affairs.

> Read the full story at the SMU Meadows website

Save the date: SMU Engaged Learning Week is Feb. 6-8, 2018

SMU Engaged Learning logoSMU celebrates student innovation during 2018 Engaged Learning Week Feb. 6-8, showcasing achievement in undergraduate research, community service, professional internships and creative projects.

The schedule includes the following sessions:

Tuesday, Feb. 6

  • 10 a.m. Creative Project Panels
  • Noon Lunch Seminar – Projecto PaleoAngola: A Paleontological Exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution with senior Engaged Learning Fellow Myria Perez and faculty mentor Louis Jacobs

Wednesday, Feb. 7

  • 10 a.m. Natural Science Research Panels
  • 2 p.m. Film: Particle Fever, with moderated Q&A by the Department of Physics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Thursday, Feb. 8

  • 10 a.m. Research Across Disciplines Panels
  • 11:30 a.m. Service Project Panels
  • 12:30 p.m. Engineering Solutions Panels

> Find a full schedule of student presentations at the Engaged Learning homepage

Visit the SMU Engaged Learning website: smu.edu/engagedlearning

SMU Guildhall students play games for good during 2017 Extra Life Game-a-Thon Dec. 2-3

Extra Life logo 2017This weekend, you can join SMU Guildhall for 24 hours of esports excitement and gaming for good – all from the comfort of your living room.

The Guildhall’s Extra Life Game-a-Thon returns Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, 2017, to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network. The student-led event features online battles in both popular titles and new student-designed games, and the event will be streamed from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. both days on the SMU Guildhall Twitch channel.

Watch Extra Life 2017 live at Twitch.TV/SMUGuildhall

Guildhall graduate students have raised more than $12,000 for Children’s Medical Center Plano during their two years of Extra Life competition. The team has set a 2017 goal of $7,500, with The Hersh Foundation pledging to match dollar-for-dollar all funds raised up to $10,000. The Dallas-based foundation was created in 1997 by Kenneth A. Hersh, president and CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, and his wife, Julie, who serves as its president.

> Visit Team SMU Guildhall’s Extra Life direct-donation link

The students will return with some of the most popular competition titles, including Mario Party, Rocket League Tournament and Overwatch. New this year: Mowin’ and Throwin’, a full-length game designed by Guildhall alumni that began as a 24-hour design challenge during last year’s game-a-thon.

> Sign up for a Mowin’ and Throwin’ play test at House Pixel Games

A partial list of this year’s tournament titles:

The event will include an appearance by local esports team Dallas Fuel, competitors in the new Overwatch League. They will discuss the life of a professional esports gamer beginning at 5:15 p.m. on Sunday. In addition, SMU Guildhall will give away two copies of Star Wars Battlefront II provided by alumni donors; more giveaways and fun activities will take place throughout the weekend and will be announced during the streams of each game.

Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $30 million for sick children through thousands of gamers from around the world, raising funds from friends and community to help heal sick and injured kids. One hundred percent of donations, which are tax-deductible, go to local Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

> Read the press release from the SMU Guildhall website

> Learn more at the SMU Guildhall Extra Life team page

Celebration of Lights opens SMU’s holiday season Monday, Nov. 27, 2017

SMU Celebration of Lights 2016

As Thanksgiving Break ended, SMU ushered in the holiday season with one of its most beloved annual traditions: the Celebration of Lights. Sponsored by the SMU Student Foundation, the 2017 ceremony took place Monday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. on the Main Quad.

The ceremony features thousands of decorative lights, luminarias lining the sidewalks, seasonal songs performed by student musicians, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner reading the Christmas Story. The public was invited to attend and to share cookies and hot chocolate with the campus community before the ceremony began.

The festivities continue with other beloved traditions:

  • Advent Worship ServiceSMU’s Perkins School of Theology celebrates its Advent Worship Service on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Perkins Chapel. Both services, under the theme “Ero cras…I shall come tomorrow,” will feature the Seminary Singers, directed by Simon Hill ’17 and accompanied by Hannah Cruse. The 8 p.m. service will include a special performance by the Orpheus Chamber Singers, led by founder and Artistic Director Donald Krehbiel ’83. Readers for the service will be Perkins faculty and staff members including Charles L. Aaron, associate director, Intern Program; Carlos F. Cardoza Orlandi, director, Doctor of Ministry Program; Laura Figura, coordinator of student life; Craig C. Hill, dean; Tamara E. Lewis, assistant professor of the history of Christianity; Evelyn Parker, associate dean for academic affairs and Susanna Wesley Centennial Professor of Practical Theology; Margot Perez-Greene, associate dean for enrollment management; and Mark W. Stamm, professor of Christian worship.
  • All-University Holiday Celebration: President and Mrs. Turner invite all SMU faculty and staff members to their annual holiday reception Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.
  • December Commencement Convocation: SMU celebrates its 2017 December Commencement Convocation Saturday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum. Retired and current faculty members will assemble for procession in academic dress no later than 9:40 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club. The ceremony will be livestreamed at smu.edu/live beginning at 9:45 a.m.

SMU Dance Marathon benefiting Children’s Health Dallas returns Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017

SMU Dance Marathon logo

SMU students are throwing a dance party to benefit sick children, and the entire community is invited to join in.

The second annual SMU Dance Marathon is scheduled for 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. And as a follow-up to its wildly successful debut, the student-led organization wants to bring in more faculty and staff attendees and participants, says senior Kimberly Rose, Dance Marathon president.

The organization raises money year-round for Children’s Health Dallas, a Children’s Miracle Network nonprofit hospital. The biggest part of those funds come from the marathon itself, which Rose describes as both a grand finale for the fundraising year and “a celebration of the children we work so hard to benefit.”

In 2016, the Dance Marathon raised more than $32,000, about $10,000 of it during the event itself. “It was a great start to what we hope is a longstanding tradition here at SMU,” says Rose, a journalism major minoring in advertising, fashion media and European studies. “You don’t have to be good at dancing in the slightest. It’s all about having fun, and opening up your heart to a cause we can all connect with – helping sick children.”

And dancing isn’t the only thing on the entertainment menu, she adds. “We have live performances, hospital stories, fund-raising, a rave hour, T-shirt sales, and so much more.”

Marathon organizers encourage students to stay for the entire event, “to honor the struggles of children who fight illness all day, every day,” Rose says. Faculty and staff members are welcome to register as participants – but all are welcome even if you don’t dance.

“We encourage anyone – faculty, staff or student – to come by, even for a few minutes, and enjoy any part of the event,” Rose says. “We want to be really welcoming to SMU, so that SMU will continue to welcome us.”

> Register for the 2017 SMU Dance Marathon, or donate online

Three SMU graduates receive 2017 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Awards

Three recent SMU graduates have received 2017 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Awards (ETA). The program place Fulbright recipients in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to local English teachers. The ETA’s help teach the English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States.

Adam GarnickAdam Garnick, a graduate of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has received an ETA to teach next year in Budapest, Hungary.

Garnick earned a Master of Education degree in May. A native of Philadelphia, Garnick is an eighth-grade history teacher at Dallas’ E.H. Cary Middle School and a member of the Teach for America program. In Hungary, he will be teaching English with a focus on academic writing at Budapest Metropolitan University.

“My teaching along with my courses at SMU have provided a great foundation for what’s next,” Garnick said. “I feel prepared to teach at a university. I’m going to take the strategies I’ve learned in teaching English language learners to Budapest.”

At Simmons, Garnick conducted research on the “flipped classroom” as part of a technology and discourse course taught by Dara Rossi, clinical associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. In a flipped classroom, students use classroom time for exploratory and collaborative work, and watch video lectures at home to prepare. “It’s a strategy I’ve been able to use in my classroom,” Garnick says. “I’m convinced it’s the future of education.”

Kristen BiedermannMaster of Education graduate Kristen Biedermann has accepted an ETA to spend 10 months teaching English at the University of Cauca in Popayan, Colombia, starting at the end of summer 2017.

“I had an opportunity to travel to Guatemala to help one of my professors with research and professional development for Guatemalan teachers on behalf of SMU,” Biedermann says. “I learned that when people acquire more than one language, it gives them an ability to connect across cultures, which is important to me, so I’ve become passionate about helping people cross barriers through learning a second language.”

That international classroom experience – and the time she spent teaching in bilingual Dallas-area classrooms before earning her Master’s in 2016 at SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development – sparked Biedermann’s interest in pursuing her studies further.

“When I come back from Colombia, I would love to go into the Ph.D. program, become a professor and do research on retention and promotion of language-minority students at the university level,” Biedermann says. “I hope to be able to work on a campus and help adult English-language-learner students succeed in higher education and conduct research that eliminates the inequities that exist at that level.”

Jennie LeeBachelor of Music and world languages graduate Jennie Lee has accepted an ETA to spend 10 months teaching English in Germany.

Building on the interests and activities she discovered at SMU before graduating in 2016, she’ll teach English through extra-curricular activities like after-school yoga classes and singing lessons.

“I studied opera in college and got a degree in vocal performance and world languages,” says Lee, who came to the University from a traditional conservatory prep school background and earned a place in the musical honor society Pi Kappa Lambda.

“The thing that drew me to SMU is the ability to get conservatory-style training – a super-intense program where I would study arts and music – but also have the opportunity to double major, because I wanted to do that too and a lot of schools don’t offer that,” Lee adds. “That was a huge pull for me.”

> Read more of their stories from SMU News

SMU honors outstanding achievement, service at 2016-17 Hilltop Excellence Awards, Honors Convocation

Laurel wreath stock photoSMU faculty, staff, administrators and students were recognized with teaching awards, service honors and the University’s highest commendation, the “M” Award, at the 2016-17 Hilltop Excellence Awards Monday, April 17.

Earlier in the day, the University honored its best students at the 20th Honors Convocation. The address was delivered by Jo Guldi, assistant professor of history in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

> Find a complete list of award winners from Honors Convocation 2017

A native Dallasite, Guldi studies the history of Great Britain and the British Empire, landscape history, legal history, property law, infrastructure, digital methods, international development, and agrarian studies. As a digital and data historian, she also oversees the lecture series “Data is Made Up of Stories: University-wide Futures From the Digital Humanities,” offered through the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. Among other things, the series illustrates how text mining is used across different disciplines – from digital mapping of the transatlantic slave trade to an app that captures the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Guldi is the designer of Paper Machines, a free, open-source software toolkit that allows users to visualize large amounts of text for historical and political analysis over time and space, without requiring special computational resources or technical knowledge. She is the author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (2012, Harvard University Press) and co-author with David Armitage of The History Manifesto (2014, Cambridge University Press), currently being translated for publication in six languages. She graduated from Harvard with an A.B. degree in literature, earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of California-Berkeley and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital History at the University of Chicago. She was also a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and served a fellowship in the metaLAB (at) Harvard. Prior to joining SMU, she served as an assistant professor of history at Brown University.

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Meadows Theatre presents New Visions, New Voices festival of student playwriting March 29-April 2, 2017

New Visions, New Voices 2017 table read

SMU theatre students in rehearsal for New Visions, New Voices 2017. The festival of student playwriting features full-length works by graduating seniors in Meadows School of the Arts.

SMU theatre students put their best work forward during the Meadows School of the Arts’ 23rd annual New Visions, New Voices playwriting festival. Performances will take place March 29-April 2, 2017 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Produced by Associate Professor and Head of Theatre Studies Gretchen Smith, the festival features graduating theatre students each presenting a staged reading of one of their full-length plays .

Featured works and their showtimes include:

  • Black and White by Reece Graham, Wednesday, March 29, 8 p.m.
  • Nihilistsmas by Alec Petsche, Thursday, March 30, 8 p.m.
  • Bodies by Joanna Coogan, Friday, March 31, 8 p.m.
  • Bathtub Love by Marcus Pinon, Saturday, April 1, 2 p.m.
  • Casserole by Hunter McConnell, Saturday, April 1, 8 p.m.
  • Perambulatory: Preambleastory by Haley Nelson, Sunday, April 2, 2 p.m.

All performances are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Meadows Box Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

> Follow the action on social media with the #NVNV2017 hashtag

Celebrate student achievement during SMU Research Day 2017, Tuesday, March 28

 

SMU graduate students, and select undergraduates, from a wide variety of disciplines share their work today as part of the University’s 2017 Research Day. All SMU faculty, staff members and students are invited to the Promenade Ballroom in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom on Tuesday, March 28, to meet the student researchers and discuss their results.

The event takes place from 2-5 p.m, and awards will be presented at the end.

See highlights from last year’s event by clicking the YouTube screen, or click here to watch a video from SMU Research Day 2016 in a new windowvideo

> Find a full list of 2017 SMU Research Day presentations (PDF format)

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