Dallas-SMU.jpg SMU’s Big iDeas program has awarded nine student teams grants to investigate big challenges facing the Dallas area, including homelessness, immigration and health care.

The SMU community is invited to hear the students present their research projects during the Big iDeas Symposium, which begins at 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 2, at Hughes-Trigg Student Center, and is followed by a reception.

Big iDeas, an undergraduate research program launched by the Provost’s Office in 2008, awarded grants of up to $5,000 to the interdisciplinary teams. The students will report on their progress to the SMU community during a fall symposium.

“These students will be applying insights from many disciplines to real-world problems,” Provost Paul Ludden says. “Big iDeas is an example of the ‘Unbridled Learning‘ that is part of SMU’s new Quality Enhancement Plan, which is providing opportunities for learning outside the classroom.”

This year’s grant recipients are:

“Boxed In,” which seeks to continue work begun in 2010 on a documentary about undocumented college students and the economy, border security and politics.
– Proposed by Daniela Balderas (junior; marketing and Spanish major), Erik Burgos-Soto (junior; engineering), Elena Harding (senior; journalism) and Nyddia Hannah (senior; anthropology)

“ConfirMED Cards,” which seeks to help Burmese refugees communicate more effectively with health care professionals using flash cards.
Proposed by Lauren Rodgers (junior; psychology, with a minor in biomedical anthropology) and Jordan Wondrack (junior; public policy and international studies, with a minor in biomedical anthropology)

“Dream Big,” which provides sports camps for underprivileged communities in Dallas.
– Proposed by Brad Namdar (junior; journalism major, with a philosophy minor)

“The Empowerment of Small Enterprise in the Dallas Community through Microloans,” which seeks to provide microloans to small businesses in Dallas, particularly the Vickery Meadow area.
– Proposed by Amrita Vir (junior; finance major, with minors in Chinese, economics and international studies), Sean Zech (senior; finance major, with an economics minor), Lorena Lenth (first-year; accounting), Trigg Burrage (junior; management and theatre) and Weston Richter (junior; finance)

“Get Your Hands Dirty: A Community Garden Program,” which seeks to raise awareness about healthy eating among Dallas schoolchildren.
– Proposed by Udoka Omenukor (senior; mathematics, philosophy and management science), Dimitri Pilenko (senior; environmental studies major, with a minor in environmental engineering) and Aden Abiye (sophomore; business and biology)

Health Literacy Dallas, a continuation of a Big iDeas project which seeks to improve interactions between doctors and patients.
– Proposed by Mary Corey (junior; mechanical engineering), Austin Prentice (junior; chemistry and biology), Matthew Gayer (junior; public policy and political science, with minors in biology and economics), Michael Hammack (junior; finance and economics), Stephen Armstrong (junior; engineering), Vanessa Mavec (junior; anthropology), Patrick Probst (junior; biology) and Vincent Rossi (junior; biology)

“Pan-American Concierge,” which proposes a bilingual integration center for Mexican businesses relocating to Texas.
– Proposed by Luis Lemus (junior; markets and culture), Katia Todd (senior; advertising and Spanish) and Craig Jackson (junior; marketing)

“Power of a Nation,” which seeks to design an energy-efficient multipurpose workout machine that generates electricity.
– Proposed by James Matthew Parker (senior; marketing major, with a Spanish minor), Connor Smith (first-year; mechanical engineering), Joseph Esau (junior; electrical engineering), Seth Dennis (junior; management), Robin Hood (junior; mechanical engineering), Zewen Qu (first-year; advertising), Brett Legrow (junior; mechanical engineering), and Corbin Swagerty (junior; electrical engineering)

“The Recovery Card: A Card to Show You Care,” which will examine new ways to donate to the homeless.
– Proposed by Colton Jacobs (senior; management), Laura Lynch (senior; finance and Spanish) and Bonnie Madeley (senior; finance and French)