Alec Maulding ’19

Alec Maulding ’19

Student Analyst

  • Member of the Evie Project Phase II: Optimization in Growing
  • Aspires to hold a management position in the construction industry
  • Will graduate with Honors in the Liberal Arts with a Bachelor of Science in Math and Mechanical Engineering with a Biomedical specialization
  • Engineering Tech with the Texas Department of Transportation’s Project Management Office
  • Second Century Scholar
  • SMU Discover Scholar



“The Hunt Institute found me under the sun, digging in the dirt.  I was looking for opportunities to learn outside of the classroom, and one of those opportunities presented itself as a project to build a community garden on the outskirts of the SMU campus.  In one afternoon and with a few pair of hands, an empty lot was transformed into a place of growth and community.  I couldn’t have planned a better introduction to the Hunt Institute; although each member may not be an engineer by title, they are all, in a sense, biological engineers, or those who understand and utilize the natural processes by which small seeds, whether they be designed to grow in the soil or the mind, eventually bear an abundance of good fruit.” – Alec Maulding


Alec Maulding was a student analyst in the Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity in the Lyle School of Engineering. He graduated with the SMU class of 2019 with Honors in the Liberal Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Math and Mechanical Engineering.

Alec started his training for a construction management position with the basics; he spent a summer working as a laborer for a local construction company, Myers Concrete Construction, near his hometown of Buda, Texas. The following summer, Alec worked as an Engineering Tech for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in the Transportation Planning & Programming (TPP) division. Specifically, Alec assisted members of the relatively young Project Management Office. His work focused on the standardization and implementation of best practices by TxDOT’s project managers across the state. In this way, Alec has a foundation on which to build his career in construction.

In Alec’s first semester with the Hunt Institute in the Fall of 2017, he joined the second phase of the Evie project, in which he works to implement solar energy technology to make Evie a net-zero consumer of energy.

Alec was a recipient of SMU’s Second Century Scholar scholarship award, as well as the Lyle School of Engineering’s Discovery Scholarship. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi, Pi Tau Sigma, and The National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He was also a member of the SMU chapter of Engineers without Borders.


Contributors to this post:

Written by: Kim Strelke

Edited by: Alec Maulding & Maggie Inhofe

Photo by: Alissa Llort

DeVincent Martin ’18

DeVincent Martin ’18


  • SMU Class of ’18, Graduate Student
  • Masters in Sustainability and Development
  • US Army Veteran
  • B.A. in Environmental Studies/Biology from Austin College
  • Geo-mapping current and potential community gardens in South Dallas
  • Consultant, Restorative Farms in South Dallas
  • Member, Alpha Chi Honor Society at SMU



“Fighting for that which cannot defend itself is what I have learned defines me. You do not need war to have something worth fighting for. I choose to fight for socioeconomically oppressed people, locally, statewide, nationally and internationally. I choose to fight for protection of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the salt water that harbors life we have yet to discover. I choose to fight against the displacement of indigenous people and the loss of biodiversity caused by deforestation for cash crops like palm oil. I choose to fight against childhood hunger and the millions of children that go hungry in America daily. I choose to fight the fashion industry’s waste and their use of children to make garments. I choose to fight the meat industry for their mistreatment of animals. I choose to fight the agriculture industry because of their chemical uses on crops and their ocean dead zone consequences. Speaking as a war veteran, there is no real need for fighting among nations, but there is plenty worth fighting for in this world.” – DeVincent Martin

DeVincent graduated from SMU earning his Masters in Sustainability and Development. He is a US Army Veteran who served as a Radio Telephone Operator with 3rd Armored Division 4/18 Infantry during Desert Storm. Through the Veterans Administration Vocational Rehabilitation Program, DeVincent received his AA in General Studies from Collin College in May of 2013 and his B.A. in Environmental Studies/Biology from Austin College in May of 2016. DeVincent left the Vocational Rehabilitation Program in 2016 to continue his education through the Lyle School of Engineering Sustainability and Development Program.  He was inducted into the Alpha Chi Honor Society at SMU in the Fall of 2017, and will complete his graduate degree in May 2018.

DeVincent came to the Hunt Institute when his graduate adviser, Dr. Quicksall, realized that his passion for sustainable development of healthier food options within the so-called food desert of southern Dallas region was similar to work already being done through the Hunt Institute. Under the guidance of his mentors, Dr. Owen Lynch and Professor Jessie Zarazaga, DeVincent worked on geo-mapping the current and potential community gardens in South Dallas to gather data about produce yields and options for increasing their production. His geospatial data will provide networking, collaborating, and potential expansion opportunities for the non-profit community gardens in South Dallas. In addition, the data collected will provide a baseline for urban agriculture investment opportunities for profit within the often-neglected South Dallas area.

DeVincent plans to research how using commercial urban agriculture to apply alternative food production techniques can aid in minimizing the food desert in southern Dallas, and add to economic and community development within the area by employing locals. By using company tax dollars to contribute to local community gardens, he aims to reduce the carbon footprint from transportation, reduce water usage and reduce electricity needed to run an urban agriculture company in Southern Dallas.

DeVincent worked with Restorative Farms in South Dallas to help initiate a pilot seedling farm at the MLK Center, which will provide seedlings to the local community gardens. The program plans to minimize one of the most tedious and unsuccessful stages of growing produce — seed to seedling stage. By providing the gardens with seedlings, the produce yields are expected to increase. On top of that, by providing seedlings and training, the program expects non-profit gardens to become sustainable and potentially expand.


Contributors to this post:

Written by: Kim Strelke

Edited by: DeVincent Martin & Maggie Inhofe

Photo by: Alissa Llort

Ali Llort ’19

Alissa Llort ’19

Creative Team Lead

  • Advertising major with a focus on Strategic Brand Management
  • Pschology minor
  • SMU Class of ’19
  • Multicultural Academic Award of Excellence
  • Tau Sigma Transfers Honor Award
  • Marketing and Advertising Specialist
  • The Hunt Institute Creative Team Lead



“I love working in The Hunt Institute because I am able to pursue my creative passion to help other people. Coming from El Salvador, I am aware of all the help needed around the world. With the skills and opportunities to give a helping hand, The Hunt Institute has been the perfect fit to serve, learn and grow from these unique experiences, sharing ideas with students from a whole different major and creating a masterpiece as a result. “ -Alissa Llort

Alissa graduated from SMU majoring in Advertising, focusing in the Strategic Brand Management branch, and minoring in Psychology.

Having the creative passion in her fingertips ready to create, explore, and inspire is what drove her to the advertising path.

Alissa has developed various advertising projects for the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity to help their ongoing social projects. For Evie’s campaign, she was able to enter a film competition at Earth Day Texas 2017 to showcase the mobile greenhouse project. She won First Prize for the Social Engagement Short Film award.

Also, Alissa was a member of the Women Ambassadors Forum, which is a non-profit organization that empowers women with an annual forum held here in SMU. She was the Marketing Director, managing Graphic Design, Social Media, PR and Branding Teams. Throughout the past few years, she has interned in several advertising agencies in El Salvador: Publicidad Comercial, APEX BBDO, and ON Creative Studio.  These experiences have helped her grow as an advertiser, learning from every agency’s different environment and work style.


Contributors to this post:

Written by: Kim Strelke

Edited by: Alissa Llort & Maggie Inhofe

Meet Adri

Adrienn Santa ’18

Senior Design Team Leader

  • Mechanical Engineering & Mathematics Major
  • Engaged Learning Fellow 2017-2018
  • Lyle Research Fellow 2017 Summer
  • Full Athletic Scholarhip
  • Athletic Director’s Honor Roll
  • Varsity Letter Winner
  • All Conference Honor – American Athletic Conference
  • Best Newcomer Award – Women’s Swimming and Diving (2014-2015)

“My parents have always encouraged me to help people in need.  The Hunt Institute gives me the opportunity to work on problems which could help people, who does not have enough resources or knowledge, to find solutions to their problems which affects their everyday life.  I am also very passionate about the field of renewable energies, which is an environmentally friendly way to produce energy.  They have a great potential to replace other non-renewable energy sources in the future.”

Adrienn Santa is a senior at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, pursuing Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics.  Her studies in engineering have prompted interest in energy generation, because of this she is considering pursuing a Master’s degree in Renewable Energy.

Adrienn was working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant with the Hunt Institute and as a Lyle Research Fellow over the summer which helped her realize the importance of development of urban farming and gardening. Her future goals are to be able to design sustainable solutions for low-income communities and people who do not have access to fresh heathy food.

One potential solution would be to use the vacant lots and buildings for food production. An innovative low-cost heating and cooling system, efficient irrigation system, and vertical gardening would also make urban farming more accessible for communities in need.

Adrienn grew up in a very sustainable family in Hungary, where everything is homemade and all vegetables and fruits are grown in her grandparents’ garden.  This also motivates her to help other people who do not have access to these resources. The reason Adrienn likes working at the Hunt Institute is because it gives her the opportunity to utilize her passion towards creating these solutions.

Adrienn’s favorite free time activity, swimming, took her overseas as she was granted with a full athletic scholarship at SMU in 2014. Other interests of hers include traveling to different places, countries and getting to know other cultures, as well as participating in different extreme sports.


Contributors to this post:

Written by: Kim Strelke

Edited by: Adrienn Santa & Maggie Inhofe

Photo by: Alissa Llort

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