News Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research

2023 Fall Research Symposium

On November 1, 2023, the Office of Engaged Learning held the annual Fall Research Symposium, where 23 undergraduate and graduate students from select research and service programs presented on issues affecting communities locally and globally. The event was a wonderful celebration of the scope of research taking place across campus. Thank you to the scholars and everyone who attended! To see more photos from the event, check out @smuengagedlearning on Instagram.

News Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research Student Academic Engagement & Success

The Office of Engaged Learning welcomes new ELFs

The Office of Engaged Learning is happy to introduce the new Engaged Learning Fellows for 2023! Engaged Learning Fellowships award up to $2500 for student pursuing capstone projects in research, service, and creative activities.

Tyler Chapman ‘24
Fight the New Drug
Mentor: Mark Allen (Temerlin Advertising Institute)

Isis Kazadi ‘24
Am I My Brother’s Keeper: A Rational Dissection into the Family Unit’s Political Response to Incarceration
Mentor: Kara Sutton (Sociology)

Kevin Nguyen ‘24
The Synthesis of HEMI and Biodegradable Polymers
Mentor: David Son (Chemistry)

Theodore Morris ‘24
SMU Guildhall Capstone Recording Sessions: Year Two
Mentor: Robert Frank (Music Composition)

Anika Saiprabhu ‘26
Prisoner of the Strings: The Dystopia of Book Bans and Censorship in Schools
Mentor: Lane Harder (Music Composition)

Anna Su ‘24
Early Interventions in STEM Education: Examining Spectrums of Youth Interest in Engineering
Mentor: Richard Duschl (Caruth Institute for Engineering Education)

Yvonne Yang ‘24
Mentor: Rebecca Flores (Film and Media)

Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research

Fall Research Symposium

The 2023 Fall Research Symposium will take place on Wednesday, November 1 from 4-7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. All are invited to join for refreshments and to learn about the various projects conducted by these scholars.


Time Room 118 Room 120 Room 121
4:00 Brianna Freshwater
4:15 Nina Castaneda Ella Dabney
4:30 Gopika Shah Kennedy Honors Sadikshya Sitaula
4:45 Siji Deleawe Paige Edwards
5:00 Princess Igwe-Icho Tricia Tsang Shriya Siddhartha
 5:15  Ella Skelsey Sana Omar Ria Parpelli
 5:30 Oluwaseun Taiwo
 5:45 Kathryn Cross Anish Senthilkumar
 6:00 Lilly Chapman Alina Munoz Kevin Nguyen
 6:15 Jason Jordan Ryenne Reiter
 6:30 James Martin Alexis Schroeder

2023 Presenters

Nina Castaneda (Hamilton Scholar). Mentor: Chrystyna Kouros. Adolescents’ Cognitive Vulnerability for Depression in the Context of Family Stress: A Test of the Weakest Link Model

Lilly Chapman (Maguire Fellow). Mentor: Andrew Davies. The Impact of Hourly Rates on Indigent Defense

Kathryn Cross (Maguire Fellow). Mentor: Kacy Hollenback. If Tenth Street Could Talk: Counter-storytelling with Archives, Oral History, and GIS

Ella Dabney (Engaged Learning Fellow). Mentor: Barbara Hill-Moore, Carolyn Smith-Morris. Voice Disorders and Personality

Siji Deleawe (Maguire Fellow). Mentor: Tamara Lewis. Storytelling and Spirituality in Yoruba Culture.

Paige Edwards (Engaged Learning Fellow, McNair Scholar, Summer Research Fellow). Mentor: Brad Klein. Re-Imagine Paradise:  The Impacts of the Illegal Annexation of Hawai’i and Tourism on Native Hawaiians.

Brianna Freshwater (Engaged Learning Fellow). Mentor: Kara Sutton and Sondra Barringer. Advanced Placement Participation in Minority White Schools.

Kennedy Honors (McNair Scholar). Mentor: Kenitra Brown. Social Determinates of incarceration: Factors affecting incarceration rates between Washington Dc 2nd and 8th Wards

Princess Igwe-Icho (Maguire Fellow). Mentor: Linda Evans and Jill Kelly. Resilience in Transition: Navigating Change and Discovering Hope at the Father McKenna Center.

Jason Jordan (Maguire Fellow). Mentor: Maryann Cairns. Bicycle mobility and community engagement

James Martin (Maguire Fellow). Mentor: Steve Long. The Primacy of Local Community for Royal Lane Baptist Church

Kevin Nguyen (Summer Research Fellow). Mentor: David Son. The Synthesis of HEMI and Biodegradable Polymers.

Sana Omar (McNair Scholar). Mentor: Neely Myers. Understanding the Knowledge Attitudes and Practices of Opioid Use within Somalia.

Ria Parpelli (Hamilton Scholar). Mentor: Pia Vogel. Effects of Specific Metal Nanoclusters on Cancerous and Non-Cancerous Cells

Ryenne Reiter (Engaged Learning Starter Award). Mentor: Adam Neal. The Role of Gender Expectations and Stereotypes in Eating Disorders

Alexis Schroeder (Engaged Learning Starter Award). Mentor: Nia Parson. Neoliberalism in Biomedicine Regarding Medical Ableism.

Anish Senthilkumar (Tower Scholar). Mentor: Paola Buckley. Beyond the classroom: The effects of France’s secularist policies in education.

Gopika Shah (Maguire Fellow). Mentor: Carla Reyes. Banking on Ethics.

Shriya Siddhartha (Hamilton Scholar). Mentor: Alex Lippert. Photocaged Nitric Oxide Donor and Probe Systems

Sadikshya Sitaula (Engaged Learning Fellow). Mentor: Adam Neal. ADHD and LD Awareness in Nepal.

Ella Skelsey (Cooper-McElvaney Fellow). Mentor: Lisa Garvin. The relationship between speech and religion in the Czech Republic

Oluwaseun Taiwo (McNair Scholar). Mentor: John Buynak. Design, Synthesis and Evaluations of Structurally Modified Carbapenem Antibiotics.

Tricia Tsang. (McNair Scholar). Mentor: Dr. Holly Bowen. Connecting Affect & Perception in the Context of COVID-19

Office of Engaged Learning

Save the Date!

The Fall Research Symposium 2023 will take place in Hughes-Trigg Student Center on Wednesday, November 1st.

Each fall, students in select research and service programs are invited to give oral presentations in a miniature professional conference. The programs include: Engaged Learning FellowsSummer Research FellowsCooper McElvaney Peace and Justice FellowsHamilton ScholarsMaguire Public Service FellowsMayer FellowsMcNair ScholarsRichter Fellows, and Tower Scholars.

Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning - Entrepreneurship Student Academic Engagement & Success

Congratulations to the 2023 Big iDeas Pitch Contest winners!

 On Friday, September 29th during SMU Family Weekend, the Office of Engaged Learning hosted the annual Big iDeas Pitch Contest in the Hughes-Trigg Chamber. A panel of Judges watched 22 SMU students give 90-second pitches for their businesses.  

Big iDeas provides funding, training and coaching for entrepreneurial projects to undergraduates of any major. 13 student teams were awarded funding at the Pitch Contest. 

Among the winners were senior Tiffany Jones, who proposed the Next Chapter, a collection of resources for adolescents aging out of foster care. Junior Jude Lugo proposed LectureLogger, an attendance tracking solution that uses secure QR codes to enhance classroom efficiency and learning outcomes. Junior Nrithi Subramanian proposed Mantra and Co., a service-based apparel and accessories brand seeking to create unity within the South Asian community. 

Special thanks to our judges Michael Kelly (Co-Founder of Resolute Future), Mona El-Gharby (Founder & CEO of CURLē), Tia Nayar (Founder & CEO of Wildflower Insight), Dr. Seth Orsborn (Director of the Deason Innovation Gym), Kat Weaver (Founder of Power to Pitch).

 Congratulations to the following winners:

A’Style Productions
Atrion Sorrells ‘24

Rohit Patnala ‘23

Speed Gregory ‘23

Jude Lugo ‘25

Mantra and Co.
Nrithi Subramanian ‘25

Yaw Boateng ‘23

PREVO Streaming
Ryder McNeal ‘24

Eric Vu ‘25

Reflectly AI Inc.
Trevor Gicheru ‘25
Bernadette Cruz ‘27

Nick Ludwig ‘24

Sallie’s Halo
Kennedy Honors ‘25

The Next Chapter
Tiffany Jones ‘23

Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning - Entrepreneurship Student Academic Engagement & Success

Spread the word about the Big iDeas Pitch Contest!

Applications for the Big iDeas $1000 Pitch Competition are due this Wednesday, September 27 at 9:00am. Be sure to spread the word! Students can go to to apply.