Students Conduct Research Around the World as Richter Fellows

Students in the University Honors Program are fanning across the globe this summer to conduct independent research. As recipients of Richter Research Fellowships, they are investigating topics including classical music festivals in Switzerland, health care in Spain and writers in New Mexico.

SMU is one of a limited number of private colleges and universities nationwide that offer the fellowships, which are supported by the Paul K. and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Funds. Honors students interested in applying must formulate their own research ideas and find a professor to sponsor their projects.

Davis3.jpg Alexandria Davis, a senior art history and English major from Colleyville, and Jean Paul Destarac, a sophomore from Tyler majoring in economics with financial applications and markets and culture with a minor in French, received a Richter Research Fellowship to study the effects of cultural tourism in Guatemala during winter break. They spent two weeks in the villages surrounding Lake Atitlan, observing the culture and interviewing indigenous people and the mayor of Guatemala.

(In photo: Alexandria Davis in Guatemala.)

“The Richter Fellowship made it possible for us to experience the research firsthand,” Davis says. “The information we gathered on site has been valuable to our research, and we are so grateful to have been given such an amazing opportunity.”

Read about this summer’s Richter Fellows below.

Follow student and faculty bloggers around the world on SMU Adventures.
Read about other top honors awarded to students in 2010-11.


Hannah Bliss, a sophomore political science and accounting major and Spanish minor from St. Louis, and Lashlee Warner, a sophomore from New Orleans studying Spanish and biology. They are researching the quality of health care for African immigrants in Valencia and Madrid, Spain.

Danielle Dudding, a Fort Smith, Arkansas, native and junior majoring in international studies with minors in music, Italian area studies, human rights and medieval studies. She will compare and contrast classical music festivals in Vail, Colorado, and Lugano, Switzerland, and analyze their strategies to combat declining attendance.

Tyler Harris, a sophomore from Newport, Arkansas, with majors in financial consulting and political science and a minor in history, and Alex Morgan, a sophomore from Allen majoring in political science and religious studies with a history minor. They are studying Islam’s place in primary and secondary schools in England.

Bernardo Lopez, a sophomore from San Antonio majoring in economics and history with a minor in political science; and Alex Mace, a sophomore from St. Louis majoring in political science, economics and Spanish. They are analyzing the impact of the Spanish language on Equatorial Guinea after the African country gained independence in 1968. They will conduct their research from Madrid.

Rachel Stonecipher, a sophomore from Grapevine majoring in cinema-television and anthropology and a minor in human rights. She is researching the institutional cultures of immigrant detention mechanisms in southern Arizona.

Jakob Schwarz, a junior from Dallas studying English and cinema-television. He will study the cultural significance of the Roma people in Germany and France.

And at SMU-in-Taos:

Margaret Fegan, a biology and anthropology major from Dallas. She is investigating medicinal and herbal remedies in Taos, particularly those of a healing couple in the city.

Katherine Rossi, a senior business and psychology major from Huntington Beach, California. She is studying peyote and the Native American Church in Taos.

Alexandra Thibeaux, a sophomore history major and political science major from DeSoto. She is studying how the writings of poets and authors in New Mexico are influenced by the landscape and culture of where they live.

- Chris Dell ’11

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