Robin Roberts Tate Lecture

The Tate Lecture Series hosted at SMU brings prestigious speakers to campus that are either industry leaders, political figures, or influential thinkers who have experiences to share that are unmatched throughout the world. Most recently, I was able to attend the Robin Roberts Tate Lecture, which was both an entertaining and humbling experience. Roberts is a co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, an athlete, and a cancer survivor. Her story opened my eyes to the potential future challenges, but also encouraged me to remember that the power of an optimistic outlook can carry you through even the toughest of times.

Carissa Laughlin (far left, student ambassador), Jacob Conway, and Emily Hegi (student ambassador)

Carissa Laughlin (far left, student ambassador), Jacob Conway, and Emily Hegi (student ambassador)

Roberts shared personal stories, including the first time she reported for a sports news show on live television, and the time where she met the Queen of England. Her spirit was infectious, as she kept the crowd laughing the entire time. Even through the conversations about fighting cancer, Roberts was positive and candid. Roberts mentioned that although she does not agree with people who say cancer is the best thing that ever happened to them (because she said it definitely was not), that cancer did help her to prioritize and balance family time and relationships with her busy career.

I am a senior here at SMU graduating this May. Attending this Tate Lecture encouraged me to reflect on all of the other similar opportunities I have had as an SMU student over my four years. I was able to attend the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Institute opening, the opening of the new Residential Commons buildings, a dinner with the SMU Board of Trustees, and much more. SMU provides these unparalleled opportunities for its students across all majors and interests, and I believe this is something that makes SMU unique to all other universities.

By Carissa Laughlin

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Approaching the Semester’s End

As the spring semester winds to an end, one obstacle lies in the way of students returning home, starting internships, and even graduating: final exam week. During this week, students will spend time visiting with their professors and studying in the various libraries on campus in order to prepare for the semester’s end. After the semester, many students will begin internships set up through SMU’s MustangTrak, which allows them to experience a new job setting and build up one’s credentials for after graduation. For those who are graduating, this is a bittersweet time; the senior class will close a chapter in their lives and finally enter the real world!

Enjoying a Mavericks game!

Enjoying a Mavericks game!

Getting through finals isn’t an awful time at SMU because of the amenities that SMU provides for its students. There’s still fun activities going on. Every night at SMU’s Fondren Library, a “midnight breakfast” is catered for the students who are studying away during the night. The library staff makes us pancakes and waffles with all the toppings and, most importantly, hot coffee! SMU also provides puppies to play with during finals week to relieve stress and provide a break for students who are focusing on exams. Students even find time to explore Dallas during this busy season. Just the other day, we attended a Mavs game at American Airlines Center after having a great dinner at Victory Tavern.

Although exam week is a burden for most college students, SMU goes out of their way in order to help us succeed. And we just have to remember that summer is just a few weeks away!

By Adam Melson

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Spring Internships and the Allure of Employment

School is fun. While the work may be difficult at times, the other side of the scale containing the opportunity for increased knowledge, lifelong friendships, and a foundation for the future far outweighs the stress of finals. In some ways I wish it could go on forever, but as with many things in life once the end is near the anticipation of what lies ahead tends to consume us. So it has been with “real world” work – a job, a more adult life, and financial independence (for better or worse). It is an itch that I was growing increasingly anxious to scratch, and while I have done some summer internships before, this spring I finally got the chance to do one instead of school.

pwc logo

Within accounting this is actually a pretty common path. The program is set up so that seniors can do an internship with a firm the second semester of their senior year in addition to two condensed accounting classes that only last for a month. Since you can get 6 hours of credit for the internship, it is actually possible to remain a full-time student throughout this process. Most accounting majors take advantage of it, and while being away from school for part of senior year can be frustrating, the experience is a great taste of what the future holds. The frequent full time job offers that come out of it aren’t too shabby either!

In my internship I was put right onto a team in a firm’s forensic advisory office and learned a ton about business that I simply wouldn’t have been able to get from a classroom environment. However, without the foundation that came from my courses I don’t believe I would have been ready to absorb nearly as much. The internship really made me appreciate the classes and my time in school; it is a synergistic relationship that I believe has done a fantastic job of preparing me for life after college.

cox school

I have signed a job offer and will be working for the same firm after completing my education, but first I have one more year of classes. I am returning to SMU next fall, this time as a graduate student, to complete the Master’s in Accounting Program. I am excited to get started there as well, and while I can’t say that the allure full-time employment won’t remain in the back of my mind, I do know that I am going to make the most of my time in the MSA program. It has a lot to offer, and I know it will prepare me well. Also, like I said before… school is fun. Why not stop to enjoy it for a while?

By Ryan Herrscher

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SMU in Brussels

When I started my first semester at SMU, there were two things that topped my list of “Things I Must Accomplish In College.” Yes, I wanted to discover my career path and have the best four years of my life; but without exception, I was determined to study abroad and learn another language. Thanks to the French Department here at SMU, I’m currently spending a semester in Brussels, Belgium and having the best experience of my life.

Here in Brussels, I’m a student with a program called Internships in Francophone Europe (IFE). Available in Brussels, Paris, and Strasbourg, IFE is a fairly small program that focuses on cultural integration, and fortunately for me, it also has a great relationship with the French Department here at SMU. This semester-long program consists of 5 weeks of courses that are all taught in French, one week of vacation time to travel, and then an interest-specific internship that continues until the end of the semester. Each student is also required to write a 30 page research paper in French which, contrary to my initial belief, is actually much more fun (did I just say “fun” with “research paper?”) than it might sound. I’m currently half-way finished with my internship with the Brussels branch of the International Federation for Human Rights where I work with communications between human rights organizations and the European Union.

Outside of the Belgian Federal Parliament (I'm second row, on the right)

Outside of Parliament (I’m second row, on the right)

Throughout the 3 months that I’ve spent in Europe, I’ve visited 7 countries, immensely improved my second language of French only to begin to learn another (Dutch), and eaten more Belgian waffles and fries than I care to admit. Aside from the numbers, however, I’ve learned more about myself and the world than I ever thought possible. I’ve always known that studying abroad would be an incredible experience, but I never expected it to change me as much as it has.

Even though I often find myself missing Dallas Hall Lawn and the incredible people that I left at SMU, I’m always grateful for this opportunity that SMU has provided for me. Aside from receiving academic credits from the other side of the world, I’m receiving an experience of a lifetime that I know will help me change the world.

By Katie Maiers

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Sopranos Anonymous

This coming Friday, I have the opportunity to partake in something completely unconventional and absolutely awesome. I will be performing in an operetta written and directed by one of SMU’s very own Vocal Performance Graduate students. She presented her piece of work to the Opera Director within Meadows, and he has allowed her to cast it, direct it, and now we will be performing it! The performance is free and is located in the Meadows lobby. It’s quite the perfect opportunity both for the student body to enjoy a musical work of art that is accessible to them as well as for us to perform for our peers. The operetta incorporates several very well known arias and musical theater pieces. It’s entitled “Sopranos Anonymous” because it is set up as a support group for the typical soprano ‘diva.’

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It is not often that you get to play into the stereotypes of your major in front of an audience in a completely ironic and comedic work of art. It is extraordinary fun and great exposure and experience for us young singers. I am proud to be performing in one of my friend’s own works of art, and am more thankful every day to Meadows and SMU for opportunities like this one.

By Shannon Conboy

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ESPN College Game Day

This past month, College Game Day came to SMU, and it was one of the best days for SMU basketball. The day started at 8AM bright and early on a Saturday when they aired the show at our very own Moody Coliseum. As soon as I arrived, we were given free grilled cheese (who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese), and I got to take a picture with our live mascot Peruna. They also handed out tons of spirit items such as game day hats and posters.

ESPN Game day

Then SMU and its biggest fans filled the coliseum to support our basketball team. T-shirts were thrown throughout the whole event, and I actually caught one, which was a first for me. The day continued with a half court shot contest where an SMU student won $18,000 right at the buzzard. It is the second time this season that State Farm has given out $18,000.

The day continued with the big game that night against UCONN. SMU basketball ended up winning 73-55 making the college game day one for the books.

GAme day 2

By Kelsey Buttrell

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A New Era For SMU Football

On December 1st, 2014, Chad Morris was named the new SMU Head Football Coach. Coach Morris comes to the Hilltop after five seasons as the offensive coordinator for Clemson. Morris brings a new level of excitement to the team, something we haven’t seen in a while. In just 64 days, Coach Morris and his staff were able to attract a strong initial recruiting class of 22 Texas guys. I can’t even begin to imagine what he will be able to do with an entire year of recruiting. There are however a few things everyone should know about Coach Morris and his staff before our first football game at home against Baylor on September 4th, so here they are:

Athletics Football Head Coach Chad Morris Announcement

1. Everything is fast paced. Have you seen #Tempo or the amount of Red Bull Coach Morris drinks?
2. “You never answer the phone on the first ring and you never show anybody that you’re tired” – Coach Morris
3. This coaching staff knows that there are a lot of players within a $10 tank of gas so they want to keep recruiting within Texas and especially within DFW.
4. Coach Morris has a “you’ve got to kill me to beat me attitude” and is ready to overcome in obstacles or challenges that are put in his way.
5. Lastly, Coach Morris WILL turn this football program around. He hasn’t taken a break from recruiting or working on the playbook since he arrived on campus. Coach Morris said it best himself, “You’re going to see an exciting brand of football. We’re going to be on of the biggest turnarounds in college football before this is over with.”

Spring practice begins after spring break. I can’t wait to see all the hard work that these players and coaches have put in this off-season in the weight room and on the field pay off. It’s a new era of Pony Football and I hope you all will be there to support Coach Morris and our SMU football team this fall!

SMU Football Schedule

Check out and use the hashtag #PonyUpTempo on social media throughout the season to track SMU’s success!

By Sarah Woodruff

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A Passion Rediscovered

When I was 6 years old, my mom bought my twin sister and me our first Dixie Chicks CD. She used to travel for work a few times a month, and one of the weeks that she was away, my dad helped my sister and I learn to sing the song “Long Time Gone” together. After a whole week of practicing, we performed it for my mom, and that performance was the beginning of my passion for music and – more specifically – for singing. My sister and I started singing everywhere we went: Christmas parties, the streets of downtown Dallas, the French Quarter in New Orleans, Times Square (right next to the “Naked Cowboy”!), and pretty much anywhere we could get the attention of a few people and sing for them. As I grew up, I got so distracted with preparing for college and doing homework and filling out applications that I stopped focusing on music. My junior year of high school, I started a local indie-rock band with my best friends, and we started playing at benefit concerts and coffee shops, and all of a sudden, I fell in love with singing and performing again.


But wait – what does any of this have to do with SMU?

Well, fast forward to college. Life gets busy again, band members scatter amongst different universities, and I forget, once again, to pursue what makes me feel the most alive. Thankfully, though, SMU helped me to remember.

At SMU, during Family Weekend every year, we have a talent show with acts ranging from singing to dancing to beat-boxing. The new drummer in my band and I got together and decided to audition with one of our original songs. We made it through auditions and we were able to actually perform at the talent show. It was absolutely exhilarating. If you’ve never performed something personal and precious on stage for your peers and family members, you might not know how nerve-wracking, yet rewarding it feels, and words could never do this feeling justice. But because of the opportunities that SMU provides for its students to really engage in what they love, I got to experience this feeling once again.


In addition to the Family Weekend Talent Show, I was given another opportunity to perform the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with one of my best friends at Celebration of Lights, one of SMU’s most notable traditions that takes place in early December every year and involves hot chocolate, live music, and Christmas lights. Once again, SMU afforded me the opportunity to show an audience what I love and what keeps me excited about life. I’m not a music major, and I could probably never be at the talent level of the students in Meadows School of the Arts, but I still get to live out my passion for music on a large scale because of SMU.

So, I might not be singing Dixie Chicks songs anymore, but I’m constantly reminded to pursue that 6-year-old’s dream here at SMU, 14 years after it all started.


By Jacqui Jacoby

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Making an Impact at SMU

At the end of last semester I had the incredible opportunity to attend the annual Net Impact Conference in Minneapolis with students and business professionals from all across the country. SMU sent 5 students to the conference to explore fields such as corporate social impact, entrepreneurship, clean energy, international development, impact investing, and many more. After realizing my personal interest in pursuing a career that incorporates business and sustainability, this conference was the perfect way for me to explore opportunities with businesses nationwide as well as network with potential employers and fellow peers with similar interests.


Going to the conference opened my eyes to how many sustainability issues our global population is facing, but at the same time I was motivated to further educate myself about these issues and learn what I can do to help. We all come to college looking for ways that we can make an impact on the world through our careers, but one of my favorite things about SMU is the amount of opportunities there are provided for students to explore whatever they’re passionate about! This conference was just one opportunity SMU has given me to think outside the box and expose myself to tons of unique careers and prospects in order to determine what I’m most interested in. The SMU network is incredibly far-reaching and even all the way up in Minneapolis, I ran into the Executive Director of Philanthropy for AT&T who recognized me from an event she had spoken at on campus – a true testament to the positive reputation SMU has nationwide!

Nikki 2

By Nikki Carenza

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Dogs of SMU

My family has had a dog for my entire life. Whenever we moved (which was 6 times), our dog, Coco the Chocolate Labrador came with. So when I came to SMU, I was very sad to leave my dog. However, I didn’t really dwell on it when I was packing up my bags.

I quickly found out that I really missed having a pet to play with! However, when I moved into Loyd Residential Commons this year, I found out that I could add a new addition to my pet family; Buster and Winston. Our FIR (Faculty in Residence) Professor Fontenot has two Shih Tzu puppies who happen to be brothers! Better yet, we have opportunities as Loyd Residents to play with the puppies every week at Professor Fontenot’s “Breakfast Crew” events every Sunday at 8:30, and can sign up to go walk the dogs around campus!

Buster wants to play!

Buster wants to play!

I have found out that it isn’t just my Residential Commons that has a dog, many of the SMU Commons’ FIR’s are following in Fontenot’s footsteps. Almost every Residential Commons has a Common Dog, and they are around for any SMU student to play with.

As I have attended more events in my Commons, I have found out how thankful I am that SMU Professors understand how much dogs mean to us! I am so excited to watch Buster and Winston grow, and I can’t wait to come back and see them when I’m an Alum!

(PS. The dogs in the Commons are hypoallergenic so everyone can join in on the puppy loving!)

Posted in Ambassadors, Campus Life, Residence Life and Student Housing | Leave a comment