Susan Kress

Students show their work during Family Weekend at 2015 Engaged Learning Symposium, Oct. 30

SMU Engaged Learning Symposium program - photo by Clayton T. SmithThirty students in research, service, creative and internship programs from across campus will talk about their work during Family Weekend at SMU’s Fall 2015 Engaged Learning Symposium. The event takes place 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

Find a complete list of participants at the SMU Engaged Learning homepage

Student presenters will include SMU’s Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellows, Summer Research Fellows and University Honors Richter Research Fellows, as well as two Engaged Learning Fellows. The lineup features the University’s Caswell Undergraduate Leadership Fellows and McNair Scholars.

The Engaged Learning Fellows participating in the fall symposium are on track to graduate in December. Watch for more about the Symposium in a future SMU Forum post.

> Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

Four student projects win recognition (and $5,000) in SMU’s 2015 Big iDeas Business Plan Competition

Four student teams combined winning pitches with solid business plans to earn $5,000 startup grants for their projects through SMU’s Big iDeas program on Jan. 30, 2015.

The four winning teams were chosen from a business plan competition featuring the winners of the Big iDeas Pitch Competition, which took place in October.

Beyond US logoThe projects were judged by a panel of volunteers from Executives in Action, a Dallas-area organization that helps strengthen North Texas nonprofits by matching them with senior-level executives for pro bono consulting services. The winners:

Beyond US Clothing (Hunter Rice and J.P. Buxbaum) – a for-profit clothing company that partners with charities to help underprivileged children in the United States by offering unique T-shirt designs for each partnership and donating a portion of the sales to charities with a focus on children and education.

Biolum Sciences logoBiolum Sciences (Edward Allegra, Miguel Quimbar and Jack Reynolds) – A smartphone-based imaging system that can detect the presence of asthma and reduce the current 40% misdiagnosis of asthma in the United States.

Helpple logoHelpple (Austin Wells and Irisa Ona) – an app that connects people who need help with people who are offering to help, ranging from tutoring to moving furniture to getting volunteers.

Out & About (Renita Thapa, Sam Hubbard and Raz Friman) – an app that promotes local businesses and organizations by showing its users what is going on in the community for easy planning, exploring and getting to know the area.

Out and About logo“The world needs big thinkers to address global challenges. It needs innovators to create solutions. It needs risk-takers to turn solutions into sustainable businesses. And at SMU, Big iDeas makes this happen,” said Engaged Learning Director Susan Kress, whose office also oversees Big iDeas.

The students will spend the next nine months developing their projects. They will present results in October 2015 at Big iDeas Demo Day for a chance to win another $5,000 to continue their work.

Visit SMU’s Big iDeas website at smu.edu/bigideas

Super students and Big iDeas take the spotlight during SMU’s 2015 Engaged Learning Week, Jan. 26-30

SMU Engaged Learning Symposium program - photo by Clayton T. SmithSMU’s Engaged Learning Week puts student achievement front and center with an expanded schedule for 2015 – including a business plan competition among the winners in the Fall 2014 Big iDeas Pitch Competition.

Other activities include open houses, exhibitions, performances and presentations from the University’s 2014-15 Engaged Learning Fellows.

This year’s event takes place Jan. 26-30 and is designed to help students learn more about expanding their education outside the classroom, from undergraduate research and community service to professional internships and creative projects.

The week will begin with the Lucky Cup, a free party taking place 4:30-6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26 in Café 100, Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Hosted by Engaged Learning students and staff, the festivities will include exhibitions and live performances by Engaged Learning seniors – as well as free hot drinks, contests, prizes, photos with Peruna, and celebrity baristas.

SMU Engaged Learning logoThe week’s centerpiece events take place Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 27-29, as graduating Engaged Learning Fellows present their projects. The Engaged Learning Symposium is scheduled for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. each day in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

This year, for the first time, student presentations will be grouped by type, with creative projects leading off on Tuesday, and research and service highlighted on Wednesday and Thursday. The new grouping is designed to make it easier for all undergraduates to schedule their attendance and to support and network with classmates who share similar interests.

Symposium attendees are invited to drop in for any and all of the presentations. Each will be followed by a Q&A, in which the student presenters have the opportunity to talk informally with the audience.

On Friday, Jan. 30, SMU Engaged Learning hosts Big iDeas Demo Day noon-5 p.m. in The CUBE, 600 Expressway Tower, East Campus. The schedule includes a free buffet lunch and the Big iDeas Pitch Competition Winners Fair from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Expressway Tower lobby. Later, the Pitch Competition winners will vie to receive up to $5,000 in project funding in the Business Plan Competition, 2-5 p.m. in The CUBE. Their proposals will be judged by a panel of experts from Executives in Action.

Find a full schedule at the SMU Engaged Learning Week homepage
Check the 2015 schedule of Engaged Learning students and presentations

2014 Engaged Learning Symposium showcases SMU student projects Friday, Oct. 24

SMU Engaged Learning Symposium program - photo by Clayton T. SmithTwenty-five students in research, service, creative and internship programs from across campus will talk about their work during Family Weekend at SMU’s Fall 2014 Engaged Learning Symposium. The event takes place 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

Student presenters will include SMU’s Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellows, Summer Research Fellows and University Honors Richter Research Fellows, as well as two Engaged Learning Fellows.

In addition, this year’s lineup features the University’s Caswell Undergraduate Leadership Fellows and McNair Scholars.

Watch for a complete list of participants at the SMU Engaged Learning homepage

The Engaged Learning Fellows participating in the fall symposium are on track to graduate in December.

For the second year in a row, this annual fall event will take place during SMU Family Weekend, which provides unique opportunities for parents to see the scope of their students’ achievements, says Director Susan Kress.

“As opportunities for undergraduate research and community service across the campus grow, we are delighted to host students engaged in high-level activities at the fall symposium,” she adds.

> Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

SMU’s 2014 Engaged Learning Expo connects students with opportunities on Wednesday, Aug. 27

SMU Engaged Learning group photo, 2014-15Community agencies and campus organizations are looking for highly motivated SMU students who want to learn outside the classroom, tackle real world issues and explore potential careers. They’ll have an ideal opportunity to get to know each other at the 2014 Engaged Learning Expo.

This year’s Expo takes place 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, in the Miller Event Center, Moody Coliseum.

Read about 2014-15 Engaged Learning student projects

The event is a valuable networking opportunity for faculty members who want to develop courses with community components, as well as staff members who want to expand their programs, says Susan Kress, director of Engaged Learning.

The following campus programs and community partners have confirmed their attendance at the 2014 Expo:

Campus programs

  • Big iDeas
  • Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education
  • Caswell Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program
  • Center for Global Health Impact
  • Clinton Global Initiative University
  • Community Engagement and Leadership
  • Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute
  • Embrey Human Rights Program
  • Hamilton Scholars
  • Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity
  • Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility
  • McNair Scholars
  • TEDxSMU – Young Fellows
  • Tower Center for Political Studies
  • Undergraduate Research

Community partners

  • Brother Bill’s Helping Hand
  • Buckner International
  • Dallas Holocaust Museum
  • Group Excellence
  • Interfaith Housing Coalition
  • Kids-U
  • Nexus Recovery Center
  • Reading Partners
  • Texas Discovery Gardens
  • Trinity River Audubon Center
  • Unite/Initiative
  • United Way Dallas
  • Uplift Education
  • Workers Defense Project

More about events and exhibits scheduled for the Expo

The Expo also celebrates 69 undergraduate Engaged Learning Fellows who are working on significant projects this academic year, and will provide opportunities to mix and match interested students with campus programs as well as DFW-area community partners.

Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

Students shine in 2014 Engaged Learning Week Feb. 5-7

Originally published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 – updated.

SMU Engaged Learning logoSMU’s 2014 Engaged Learning Week puts student achievement front and center with open houses, exhibitions, performances and presentations from the University’s 2013-14 Engaged Learning Fellows.

This year’s event takes place Feb. 5-7 and is designed to help students learn more about expanding their education outside the classroom, from undergraduate research and community service to professional internships and creative projects.

The week will begin with the Lucky Cup, a free party taking place 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5 in Café 100, Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Hosted by Engaged Learning students and staff, the festivities will include exhibitions and live performances by Engaged Learning seniors – as well as free hot drinks and Girl Scout cookies, contests, prizes, photos with Peruna, and celebrity baristas. One lucky student will win a LYFEBox package, the Big iDeas brainchild of SMU students and brothers Myles and Kaleb Lee. Other prizes include two tickets to the 2014 Empty Bowls event benefiting the North Texas Food Bank, each of which includes a souvenir dish handcrafted by a Texas artist and food from 18 of North Texas’ finest restaurants.

Participants in SMU's 2013 Engaged Learning Week

Participants in SMU’s 2013 Engaged Learning Week gather on the Main Quad. The 2014 event takes place Feb. 5-7.

The week’s centerpiece event takes place Thursday, Feb. 6, as 40 graduating Engaged Learning Fellows present their projects. The Engaged Learning Symposium is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. The participants will share their work in the areas of research, service, internships and creative activities.

Symposium attendees are invited to drop in for any and all of the presentations. Each will be followed by a Q&A, in which the student presenters have the opportunity to talk informally with the audience.

On Friday, Feb. 7, SMU Engaged Learning hosts an open house 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in G13 Clements Hall.

Scheduled events include:

  • 11 a.m.: Provost’s Office presentation on how Engaged Learning fits into an SMU education
  • Noon: Free buffet provided by Buca di Beppo
  • 1 p.m.: Faculty members Gretchen Smith, Theatre, and Thomas Osang, Economics, on “The Joy of Mentoring”
  • 2 p.m.: Engaged Learning Director Susan Kress on how to create a successful Engaged Learning Fellowship proposal

Find a full schedule at the SMU Engaged Learning Week homepage
Check the schedule of Engaged Learning students and presentations (coming soon)

SMU students have Jan. 17 deadline to apply for CGI U 2014

SMU students at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University meeting in St. Louis

SMU students (L to R) Chibundu Nnake, Ashley Wali, William (Timm) Wooten, Joshua Bakarich, Rahfin Faruk and Daisuke (Dennis) Takeda at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University meeting in St. Louis. Applications are now being accepted for CGI U 2014 in Phoenix; the deadline is Friday, Jan. 17.

SMU has renewed its membership in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Network, and students have until Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 to submit plans of action for potential funding.

The CGI University Network includes almost 40 colleges and universities that support, mentor and provide seed funding to student leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who are developing solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The University provides $10,000 in funding to be divided among SMU students who are selected to pursue their Commitments to Action at CGI U 2014, to be held March 21-23 at Arizona State University.

Commitments to Action, a unique feature of the CGI U model, are specific and measurable initiatives that address global challenges across CGI U’s five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health. Director of Engaged Learning Susan Kress mentors student commitment-makers.

“Six of the 1,200 students from 80 countries who attended the CGI U 2013 meeting were SMU students. They were able to network with their global peers and hear from thought leaders, politicians, academics and other experts in the fields of their projects. Today their projects continue on campus, in Dallas and in Bangladesh,” says Kress.

Since its inaugural meeting in 2008, CGI U has brought together more than 5,500 student leaders from 135 countries and more than 800 schools. Past speakers include Madeleine Albright, Jack Dorsey, Muhammad Yunus, Hawa Abdi Diblawe, and Jon Stewart.

Students can apply online at cgiu.org/apply and learn more about the University’s involvement at the SMU Engaged Learning homepage.

In addition, SMU’s CGI U representatives, Josh Bakarich and Lauren Castle, will conduct two information sessions for fellow students: noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4 in G11 Clements Hall; and an informal drop-in session Tuesday, Dec. 10 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons.

For more information, contact Meleah Chriss, 214-768-3223.

Students show their work in Fall 2013 Engaged Learning Symposium

Engaged Learning Week 2013, Michael Tran, photo by Clayton T. Smith

Michael Tran ’13, now an SMU master’s degree candidate in mathematics, presented his project during Engaged Learning Week in January. Students in programs from across campus will participate in the Engaged Learning Symposium during Family Weekend 2013. Photo by Clayton T. Smith.

Twenty-two students in research, service and internship programs from across campus will show their work during Family Weekend at SMU’s Fall 2013 Engaged Learning Symposium. The event takes place 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

Student presenters include Maguire and Irby Family Public Service Interns, Summer Research Fellows and University Honors Richter Research Fellows, as well as students taking part in Engaged Learning projects (now known as Engaged Learning Fellows).

Their investigations range from biometric applications for cloud computing, to second-language learning to improve self-esteem, to how Russia recycles.

Engaged Learning Fellows participating in the fall symposium are on track to graduate in December.

For its second fall symposium, the Office of Engaged Learning wanted to include student engagement that happens across campus programs, says Director Susan Kress. “We are delighted that our colleagues in the Maguire, Honors and Undergraduate Research programs have accepted our invitation to host their students’ summer work.”

Kress believes the symposium’s audiences, ranging from SMU faculty members to parents of undergraduates, “will appreciate the variety of presentations packed into one event,” she says. “And how lucky are we that it falls on Family Weekend?”

> Find a full schedule at the Engaged Learning website

SMU’s 2013 Engaged Learning Expo takes place Sept. 5

SMU Engaged Learning studentsSMU students who want to learn outside the classroom, tackle real world issues and explore potential careers as part of their university experience will find representatives from DFW-area organizations and agencies who want their help at the 2013 Engaged Learning Expo from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, in the Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

The event also will be of interest to faculty who want to develop courses with community components and staff who want to expand opportunities for their programs.

> Find lists of campus programs and community partners scheduled for the Expo

The expo will celebrate 70 SMU undergraduates who worked on significant projects this summer, and provide opportunities to mix and match interested students with different campus programs as well as DFW-area community partners.

“A student who engages in a learning activity beyond the classroom has the opportunity to transfer the knowledge and skills of the classroom to a real-life situation, learn from the experience, reflect on it and use it as a basis for further learning,” said Susan Kress, director of Engaged Learning at SMU. “This is a taste of what it means to be a lifelong learner, and, for some, the first step in living a life of meaning and success in a complex world.”

Read about 2013-14 Engaged Learning student projects from SMU News
> Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

51 students to take on Engaged Learning projects in 2013-14

Engaged Learning students for 2013-14SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning has selected 51 undergraduates from throughout the University to take on self-designed projects in research, civic engagement, creative work and internships in 2013-14.

The students will participate through the SMU Engaged Learning initiative and will work with 39 different faculty and staff mentors in 12 countries to complete their projects.

The University community will have the opportunity to meet the 2013-14 Engaged Learners for pizza and discussion of their projects at the 2013 Engaged Learning Meet-Up, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

Learn more about the meet-up at SMU’s Engaged Learning homepage

The new Engaged Learning cohort represents another significant increase in the total number of participating students. Thirty-seven undergraduates undertook Unbridled Projects during 2012-13; three conducted projects during the program’s first year in 2011-12.

The Office of Engaged Learning provides institutional support for SMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), created as part of the University’s reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). “Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” allows all SMU undergraduate students to participate in at least one extensive experiential learning activity prior to graduation.

A full list of students pursuing 2013-14 Unbridled Projects appears below the link.

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