This year I started the Masters of Science in Accounting program at SMU after I graduated in May with a bachelor degree in accounting from the Hilltop. I knew a few things before starting graduate school. I love Dallas and SMU’s presence in the city, so I knew I didn’t want to leave just yet. I knew that this year would be very different from my undergraduate years, but was hoping that some of the great things about SMU would carry over into my graduate studies. After a few weeks into the program, I am pleased to say that ALL of the great things about SMU have carried over.

The majority of my friends studying accounting in my undergrad years followed suit and joined the masters program with me; there is definitely the Mustang Spirit still in the graduate school. Thanks to attending SMU for my undergraduate studies, I have seen or have had most of my professors. I believe that this has fostered a better learning environment since that relationship is already in place. As a student in the MSA program, I still have all the access to SMU facilities and campus perks, am able to cheer on the Mustangs at Boulevards every home game and still have all the opportunities for networking and career help that SMU provides all students. The Cox School of Business has made what would feel like a year in limbo feel like a year as part of a community.

In conclusion, I am so happy I am attending SMU again for my graduate studies. I now understand how truly great SMU is; it makes every student whether they are undergraduate, transfer or graduate, feel a part of the SMU community.

-Liz Crowell


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Time in England!

Coming into college, I knew that studying abroad was something I wanted to do during my undergraduate career. As a double major, however, I was worried that it was going to be impossible. Thankfully, SMU made it possible for me to go to London, England this past summer.

During the three months I was abroad, I took four classes, completed an internship, and conducted research on immigrants. I worked in the middle of Camden Town at a community center called Castlehaven where I did public relations and event planning. Each day for lunch I got to explore the infamous Camden Market—just a block away from Castlehaven. With over 700 shops and vendors, the market is one of London’s biggest and most eclectic. In light of missing Dallas’ Tex Mex, I often found myself at one of the Mexican food stands for a burrito. Austin Whittle

Beyond my internship, I had some amazing experiences in London such as going to Wimbledon, the London Pride Festival, and seeing Fleetwood Mac at the O2. From London, I also travelled to Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels and more. But now that I am back in America, I miss the things that became a significant part of my English lifestyle: the pubs, the high tea, and the front row seat of the double-decker Tube bus to work. Although I had some of the best times of my life abroad, it’s great to be back at the place that made such opportunities possible!

-Austin Whittle


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SMU’s Centennial Homecoming

Caroline Gurley

I got to visit with President Turner after handing out prizes to Homecoming Queen and King winners!

This year’s Homecoming Celebrations are going to be remembered for a long time to come. SMU had its one hundredth birthday on Thursday, September 24th-the Thursday of Homecoming week! Because of this momentous achievement, SMU celebrated the achievements of the past century and the goals of the next all throughout the week. Students filled their free time by participating in the Homecoming activities and competitions held by SMU’s Student Foundation. I got to participate this year in Homecoming by leading it; I had the honor of being this year’s Student Foundation Homecoming Chair. This means that I got to work with an amazing group of students to plan the whole week. I’ll take some time now to describe what we did.

The week began on Friday, September 18th with candidate interviews. The candidates quickly showed the judges how involved they are at SMU and how much SMU means to them. Float building began the next day. Each year, student organizations build floats that are seen in the Homecoming parade. It is a large part of the competition for Homecoming spirit points, so teams give their best effort to make their float the best!

Sunday was a day full of fun. While float building continued, members from each organization participated in Field Day. Field Day is a race around campus. Each team must figure out a clue to find their next location and perform a task at that location. Each location was a blast!

Each day during the school week had a ton of activities planned as well! On Monday, each organization cheered loud at Rock The Vote, a pep rally celebrating the Homecoming candidates. Coach Chad Morris made an appearance and spoke to everyone about the game coming up. It was awesome! Tuesday was CANstruction. CANstruction is the philanthropic event of Homecoming. Organizations build structures out of cans that are then donated to the North Texas Food Bank. Wednesday was the Centennial Concert Celebration hosted by Program Council. They brought Cam and the Eli Young Band to campus to celebrate the University’s birthday at midnight. Thursday was the university’s 100th birthday. The day was full of celebrations and ceremonies; one that was particularly special was the Centennial Celebration. Thursday was also the night for late night float building that lasted until 2am. The organizations were working hard to finish their floats!

Finally, the weekend arrived! Saturday was a big day for everyone. The parade kicked off the celebrations for that day. Following the parade was the boulevard and then the football game against the James Madison Dukes. Following the game, SMU ended the birthday celebration with the best fireworks show Dallas has ever seen. SMU and the surrounding community came together to celebrate this momentous event. It really was a week that will be remembered for a long time to come!

-Caroline Gurley

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August Term in Taos

Niki CarenzaThis past August I got to study Business Law and Outdoor Adventures at SMU’s second campus in Taos, New Mexico and it was absolutely one of my favorite SMU experiences so far! Our campus is about 20 minutes outside the town of Taos and is entirely SMU students and faculty living and learning on campus. Courses offered range from business to anthropology to biology. Every day, students are in class from 9 am until noon. Afternoons free to explore all Taos has to offer! We have hiking trails right on campus and tons of other trails just minutes away that can take you up the neighboring mountains and show you absolutely breathtaking views. Living in the beautiful mountains of Taos provided the perfect opportunity for going on a hike and getting lost in nature! In my  outdoor adventure sports class, we got to go hiking during the week and on the weekends we got to go rock climbing, whitewater rafting, fly fishing, and horseback riding.

Another awesome part of studying in Taos was experiencing the local community. Every teacher made sure to take field trips to expose us to the local culture through visits to the local Native American pueblo, a sustainable living community called Earthships, and the Taos Ski Valley. Taos is a fun and funky little town with lots of art and music shops to explore, as well as some incredible restaurants that impressed us – even coming from all the delicious restaurants in Dallas! Taos locals rely on chile peppers in their cooking and it didn’t take us long at all to embrace their style of southwest cooking (even if Dallas Tex Mex will always hold #1 in our hearts!). Overall, the best and most memorable part of Taos was the instant community we all formed being on the smaller campus together and all the days and nights spent exploring Taos and enjoying everything it had to offer!

-Niki Carenza

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A Whole New Era for SMU

This year campus feels different. Yes, the improvements being made on campus are hard to miss, and so are the changes to the menu in Arnold, but the real difference is the student body’s renewed confidence in our football program. The past few years haven’t exactly been the best for our team, but it’s already apparent that this season we can expect great improvements from SMU football.

We love our team

The arrival of Chad Morris signaled a new, better direction for our team. The former offensive coordinator for Clemson, Coach Morris seemed excited to be at SMU from the moment he got here. He brought with him some new staff, but more importantly, new energy for the football program. In his first few weeks at SMU, along with recruiting he spent time at other SMU events: he was at the welcome for the basketball team after they beat UConn away, stopped by the sorority houses in February, and went above and beyond to make sure campus felt his arrival and sensed his commitment to our team. Yes he just got here, but it’s hard not to notice the impact Chad Morris’s presence has had on our campus.

Our team has also improved in some pretty marked ways over past several months. The football players seem more cohesive; at the games they seem to genuinely enjoy themselves, playing or not, they can be spotted all over campus together on their hoverboards, jetting from class to class. It’s been a pleasure to watch them play with a confidence I haven’t seen since I started at SMU two years ago. Matt Davis has done a wonderful job leading the team as quarterback, the offense and defense have both stepped up in big ways thus far, and everyone who has a big hand our games in other areas: the band, the cheerleaders, the Pom squad, and the fans have this football season’s experience–even with only two games played so far–distinct from any other I can remember.

-Tammy Winter


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A Perfect Saturday

Katie Maiers White Rock Lake

A picture of the lake before I began paddle boarding.

Is summer truly over in Dallas? Nope. I refuse to admit it. As excited as I am for fall, I hate saying goodbye to the warm days of summer, and I especially hate saying goodbye to endless hours in/on the water. But let’s face it: Dallas weather will keep us warm for a bit longer, and even though it’s the middle of September, lake days haven’t disappeared just yet.

This past Saturday, I spent the day paddle boarding at White Rock Lake with SMU Outdoor Adventures. Outdoor Adventures (OA) is a program within the Department of Recreational Sports here at SMU. They sponsor a variety of trips and workshops for students to essentially get outdoors and explore all that nature has to offer. Whether you want to go skydiving, backpacking, or anything in between, the OA supplies equipment, an opportunity to meet other students, and a guaranteed good time.

On Saturday morning, our group of nine participants and two trip leaders headed out to the lake with a trailer of kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and materials to cookout what would be one of the most well-deserved lunches of my life. Although I’m not an ultra athletic person, I had paddle boarded a few times before in my hometown of Austin, Texas, but my previous experiences were nothing like this.

This trip was different. Yes, the current was stronger than we anticipated and I ended up paddling on my knees rather than standing up (I wanted to actually propel myself forward more than I wanted to stand; doing both was not possible), but this trip was so much better than anything I had done before. I was totally at peace, and I continuously thought about how happy I was to be on the water (Hoku’s “Perfect Day” might have been referenced a few times; I hummed it proudly). I had an opportunity to simply enjoy the day, and the best part was that I got to bond with many students whom I had never met before. We encouraged each other, we ate more chips and burgers than we care to admit together, and when we got back to Dallas and watched our football team grab a win against UNT, we somehow managed to make the day even better.

I’m sure that fall will bring more incredible Saturdays to come, but this one will be tough to beat!

-Katie Maiers

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Football; Our First Big Win with Chad Morris!

Chad Morris getting dunked by our football players!

Chad Morris getting dunked by our football players!

Excitement is really building at SMU! My last blog post featured the hiring of Coach Chad Morris and this one is about his first win at SMU. On Saturday, September 12th, the SMU football players walked off their buses and headed down the boulevard for the Mustang Walk. The Mustang Walk is something the team does before every home game. It gives the fans a chance to interact with the players prior to the game and it gets everyone excited for the game. The Mustang Walk ends at the stadium where the players head in and get prepared for the game. Just sitting in the stands, I could feel everyone’s excitement as they entered the stadium that afternoon. The energy was incredible.

SMU played the University of North Texas and in remembrance of 9/11, the players wore new blue helmets with an American flag on the Mustang. This day also marked the end of a 665-day streak since the Mustangs last won in Ford Stadium. SMU won 31-13 that day. As someone that gets to work with these players every day in the training room, I can tell you that I have never seen them more excited than they were after the game on Saturday. One of our wide receivers even dunked Coach Morris with Powerade after the game.

To celebrate, some of the training staff headed to Whataburger after the game and you wouldn’t believe who we saw pulling through the drive through: none other than Coach Morris himself with his wife Paula!

Less than 24 hours later, the team was back in the weight room and on the field practicing to get ready for their game on September 19th against TCU. The win over UNT was the first of many more wins to come. This was the motivational video played for the team before beating UNT: If this doesn’t get you excited for the new era of SMU football and Coach Morris, then I’m not sure what will!

Pony Up and Beat TCU!

At the football game!

At the football game!

By: Sarah Lynn Woodruff

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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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