Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA) Student Academic Engagement & Success

Cheering on our June Mustang Champions

Another exciting month of celebrating our Mustang Champions! This month we are highlighting four Mustangs who continue to work hard in the summer months while preparing for the upcoming 2024-2025 competition season and academic year. We are happy to highlight the student-athletes that embody the S.P.I.R.I.T of what it takes to be successful on and off the field.

Chance Puryear (MBB)

  • Chance is a Freshman Forward from Dallas. He is a three-star signee who is ranked as high as No. 12 overall in Texas and 34th nationally at his position.  During his first semester on the Hilltop, he is a highly motivated and responsible college student. He possesses valuable knowledge and is committed to long-term goals. Through hard work and discipline, he is confident in achieving success as a Mustang!

Romello (Mello) Brinson (FB)

  • Mello is a Junior from Miami, Florida that has dedicated himself to his academic performance this summer and is making huge strides! We are so proud of his commitment to the team and his academics. He is leading by example and continues to have a positive influence on his teammates.

TK Pitts (WBB)

  • TK continues to be a leader both on and off the court. She supports her teammates, encouraging them to push harder and believe in themselves by creating a welcoming and connected environment. Her presence on BSAAC is another way she leads off the court. Her BSAAC involvement gives her the opportunity to spread her good influence even further!

Aubrey Brown (WSOC)

  • Aubrey Brown is a Dallas native, coming from Irving, Texas. She plans on majoring in Political Science and Data science during her time as a Mustang. Aubrey is an excellent student and an excellent teammate. Her attendance and participation in class are consistent and insightful, always asking great questions. Aubrey is an engaged student and a dedicated player, representing the best of SMU at every step.  She is active on campus, besides being a valued member of our soccer team, she is a pre-law scholar, member of the Association of Black Students, and BSAAC.
Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Success & Retention

General Education and Student Success & Retention offices to move July 29 and 30

The Office of General Education and the Office of Student Success and Retention will be moving on July 29 and 30. Both offices will close during this time.

The Office of General Education will move from Suite 100 within the Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building (6185 Airline Road) upstairs to Suite 338.

The Office of Student Success and Retention will move from Suite 301 of the Perkins Administration Building to Laura Lee Blanton Student Services Building (6185 Airline Road) to Suite 102.

Our departmental emails, phone, and booking links will remain the same, but we look forward to welcoming you to our new spaces on August 1, 2024. Please update any websites and printed materials that may have included our former physical locations.

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

Pathways to Success: Student Spotlight on Ritney Coleman

Ritney Coleman is a rising senior pursuing a B.S. in Economics with Financial Applications. A military veteran, he initially aimed to major in accounting and become a CPA, but decided on a different career path where he felt he could make more of a societal impact. Ritney found the Non-Profit Organization and Concept Primer course (offered through the Economics department) to be “one of the most impactful courses and added to my understanding of non-profits and how they are managed.” This course provided the theoretical concepts needed to thrive in the non-profit sector, while Ritney’s internships and volunteering brought classroom concepts to life.  

Ritney credits SMU’s vast resources with helping him focus on his passion for research and non-profit leadership. During his junior year, Dr. Wendelin Donahue, SMU Director of Community Engagement, helped Ritney gain practical experience by collaborating with local non-profits through community events. Ritney’s goal is to develop a non-profit that serves disadvantaged youth by providing various opportunities through field trips, seminars, sports programs, and college access support.   

Ritney emphasizes the importance of networking and engaged actively with professors to uncover learning opportunities. This summer, he is a research assistant for Dr. Elizabeth Wheaton-Páramo, Research Associate Professor in Economics through the Office of Engaged Learning’s Summer Research Intensive. In his work with Dr. Wheaton-Páramo, Ritney is using the SMU human trafficking data warehouse to gather data on organized crime groups transition between smuggling and human trafficking. Sometimes it’s difficult to relate the theoretical course work to practical experiences, but Ritney noted that the knowledge obtained in his Introductory Econometrics class has helped him “feel confident analyzing data” in his summer research project.  

When asked about his advice for incoming first-year students, Ritney said, “the opportunities are available, but students need to be active, not passive, in their networking pursuits. I was able to get an internship by simply asking my professor.” Ritney recommends first and second year undergraduate students schedule an appointment with the Hegi Family Career Development Center early for resume prep and to build their LinkedIn profile. He also credits his peers in the Economics department for providing him with useful resources.  

For students interested in data analysis and practical skills development, Ritney suggests exploring the Bloomberg Terminals in the Business Library, where he is currently pursuing the Bloomberg Market Concepts Certificate. 

To find out more information about the SMU Pathways to Business and Industry, please contact 

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

The Office of Engaged Learning welcomes Neha Husein as Entrepreneurship Fellow

We are thrilled to welcome Neha Husein as the 2024-2025 Entrepreneurship Fellow in the Office of Engaged Learning. Neha’s journey as a Big iDeas alumna to successful entrepreneur and mentor embodies the spirit of innovation and social impact that we strive to cultivate in our community. 

Neha graduated from SMU in 2019 with degrees in Human Rights and Marketing. Her academic background laid the foundation for her commitment to making a positive difference in the world. Recognizing the growing issue of distracted driving after being rear-ended by a distracted driver, Neha channeled her passion for social entrepreneurship into creating Just Drive, an app dedicated to rewarding undistracted drivers with coupons good for local businesses.  

Today, Neha serves as the Senior Event Producer for Vegandale, an international festival that celebrates vegan food, music, and art. In addition to her professional achievements, Neha is deeply passionate about mentoring and supporting collegiate entrepreneurs. As a former student herself, she understands the unique challenges that come with starting and growing a venture in college and is dedicated to helping students navigate these hurdles. Neha’s mentorship provides invaluable guidance, inspiration, and practical advice, empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. 

As the new Entrepreneurship Fellow, Neha will play a pivotal role in enhancing our programs and initiatives aimed at fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and increasing women entrepreneurs. We believe that her experience and insights will undoubtedly inspire and encourage more women to develop their entrepreneurial skills. 

We are excited to have Neha Husein join the Office of Engaged Learning team and look forward to the positive impact she will have on our Big iDeas community. Please join us in welcoming Neha!  

Honors and Scholars National Fellowships UHP Spotlight University Honors Program

SMU Junior Wins Prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Article reprinted from SMU news. Original can be found here.

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU junior biochemistry major Shriya Siddhartha’s white lab coat glows with spots of hot pink and orange fluorescent dye, evidence of her research on a new fluorescent tool biologists can use to study lung cancer cells.  Siddhartha has worked in chemistry professor Alex Lippert’s lab since the beginning of her first year at SMU, volunteers in other professors’ labs to learn new techniques and has collaborated with researchers in New York.

She is one of six students selected nationwide to receive the 2024 Goldwater U Award, one of the most prestigious national science awards presented to undergraduate students pursuing a medical research career. Winners are selected for the caliber of their research and aspirations for a future research career.

The scholarship, which honors former Sen. Barry Goldwater, encourages outstanding students to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics and provides up to $7,500 toward tuition, fees, books and room and board.

Siddhartha has known she wanted to be a scientist since she was in fourth grade and later chose to attend SMU because of its undergraduate research opportunities. Her inspiration comes from her paternal grandparents, who were scientists, and particularly her paternal grandmother, who was accepted to a prestigious medical school in India but forbidden to attend by her parents, who considered a female doctor less marriageable.

“I’d like to carry on my grandmother’s plan,” Siddhartha said.

She is well on her way.

After exploring the work of various SMU researchers on the University web site, Shriya contacted Professor Lippert the summer before she came to SMU, expressing particular interest in his work with chemiluminescence molecules.

“It is very rare for a student to start in the laboratory so early and excel right at the start, which speaks to Shriya’s remarkable aptitude to perform high quality research,” Lippert said.

In addition to her work with Professor Lippert, she co-authored a manuscript with a separate collaboration with researchers at Georgetown University, conducted a research internship at UT Southwestern and is learning molecular biology techniques for cloning, protein expression and purification, said Brian Zoltowski, professor of chemistry and Shriya’s organic chemistry professor.

Shriya Siddhartha is a South Indian woman with dark brown hair cut to her shoulders. She wears a navy blue blazer and a yellow blouse. She stands on the Dallas Hall Lawn with Dallas Hall as the backdrop.
Shriya Siddhartha is one of six students selected nationwide to receive the 2024 Goldwater U Award, one of the most prestigious national science awards presented to undergraduate students pursuing a medical research career. Photo by Hillsman S. Jackson, SMU

Siddhartha is carefully planning her steps to reach her long-term goal, to become an ophthalmology surgeon, optic nerve researcher and medical school professor, at least ten years of additional education after graduating from SMU. In the meantime, she is an active undergraduate  member of several campus honors groups – a Dedman Scholar, a Hamilton Research Scholar, a Tower Scholar and a Richter Scholar. She’s also vice president of the SMU Asian Council and a volunteer with Mustang Heroes, a campus community service organization. She is determined to promote the importance of health equity throughout her career.

This busy student relaxes with music. She performs classical South Indian music with her sister and mentors younger musicians. Siddhartha also plays the guitar with a rock band made up of high school friends. The band, “Vacuum,” is releasing a new song later this summer.


Hilltop Scholars Honors and Scholars Student Academic Engagement & Success

Logan Swafford joins Honors & Scholars

Logan Swafford (They/Them) is the coordinator for both the Hilltop Scholars Program and Honors & Scholars. Originally from San Antonio, Logan moved up to Denton to attend the University of North Texas as a first-generation student where they received a bachelor’s in both Communication Studies and History, with a minor in LGBTQ & Women Studies. While there Logan became a member of the service-focused fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, where they completed over 200 volunteer hours and servant leadership became their guiding philosophy and frame for their personal and professional path. After graduating in 2020, Logan continued to hold a variety of positions within the non-profit and education world, often focusing on their passion of community engagement and leadership development.

Outside of the office, Logan enjoys spending time playing a variety of video games, reading/listening to fiction books, and playing with their 3 dogs (Charles the Corgi, Nirvana the GSD, Thunderstorm the Great Dane) and Wednesday the tortoiseshell cat.

Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA)

Celebrating National Black Women in Sports

Let’s Hear it for the Black Women in Sports Who Make the ADSA Shine! 

This past Sunday, July 7th, was National Black Women in Sports Day, and the Academic Development of Student-Athletes (ADSA) couldn’t be more thrilled to celebrate the incredible Black women who power our department and the entire sports industry. 

We’re especially grateful for the dedication and expertise of our very own Black women on staff: 

  • Dr. Teiana Jones, our visionary leader who guides ADSA with her commitment to student-athlete success. 
  • Associate Director: Keyana Smith, who brings her expertise to ensure our programs run smoothly. 
  • Senior Counselors: Jordon Smith and Alana Owens, who provide invaluable support and guidance to our student-athletes. 
  • Interventionist Kelly Franklin, whose dedication helps student-athletes overcome challenges and reach their full potential. 

Their passion for student-athlete success is truly inspiring, and they each play a vital role in shaping the future of SMU athletics. 

The Future is Bright! 

National Black Women in Sports Day isn’t just about looking back; it’s a celebration of the incredible potential that lies ahead. Black women are changing the game in sports, and we at ADSA are excited to see what the future holds! 

Join ADSA in Celebrating! 

Let’s keep the momentum going! Here’s how you can be a part of the movement: 

  • #blackwomeninsports: Share your favorite Black sports moments or athletes on social media using this hashtag. 
  • Support the Cause: Organizations like Diverse Representation are working for more equity in sports. Consider getting involved! 
  • Learn & Be Inspired:  Research the achievements of Black athletes, coaches, and leaders in sports. You’ll be amazed! 

By celebrating Black women and advocating for their continued success, we can create a future where sports are truly inclusive and everyone can thrive. 

Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA) Student Academic Engagement & Success

ADSA Hiring Academic Tutors for 2024-2025 Academic Year

Do you have a passion for helping others meet their academic goals?  Do you have professional aspirations to be an educator?  Are you trying to get experience for a future graduate teaching position (TA)? 

If you said yes to any of the above questions, then the Academic Development of Student-Athletes (ADSA) wants YOU! The ADSA directly reports to the office of the Provost and is seeking enthusiastic and knowledgeable tutors to join our team. The main purpose of our tutors is to help student-athletes better understand specific course content through 1:1 or small group sessions.  This is a paid opportunity to get valuable teaching experience working with peers, in a fast-paced D1 athletic environment. Our tutors play a vital role in supporting student-athletes by providing subject-specific tutoring in a variety of undergraduate courses.  

 Why Tutor with ADSA? 

  • Make a Difference: You’ll have a direct impact on the academic success of SMU’s student-athletes, helping them excel in the classroom; clearing up concepts, and answering questions. An opportunity to give back to the University!
  • Flexible Schedule: Tutoring sessions are offered throughout the week (Monday through Friday), and you can choose the hours that work best for you, accommodating your class schedule and other commitments. 
  • Positive Work Environment: Join a team dedicated to student success in a supportive and collaborative environment.

What We’re Looking For: 

  • Strong academic background (minimum of B+ in relevant coursework) 
  • Minimum of 3.0 cumulative GPA 
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills 
  • Ability to explain complex concepts in a clear and concise manner 
  • Passion for helping others learn 
  • Able to be professional and maintain confidentiality  
  • Current enrolled SMU undergraduates, graduates, TA’s, or Faculty are all encouraged to apply. Pay is based on experience.

We are currently recruiting tutors for all subjects in the Fall but especially for APSM, MATH, STAT, HIST subjects.

If you’re interested in applying: 

Contact the ADSA Tutor Coordinator, Valerie Vining at 214-768-4857 or for more information or apply directly at this link: 

 Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the SMU community and make a positive impact on student-athletes! 

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

Mid-Summer Highlights from the Office of Engaged Learning

As Summer 2024 unfolds, the Office of Engaged Learning is driving forward multiple programs and initiatives that support undergraduate research, foster student connections, and nurture academic growth. Here are some key highlights:

The OEL and Dedman College Department of Statistics and Data Science hosted their second annual summer Data Science Hackathon on June 28 and 29. This event brought together undergraduates from the “Data Science for Social Good” NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates and Summer Research Intensive as well as graduate students from the Masters of Science in Data Science program. Working in teams over a 24-hour period, 18 students tackled complex datasets to extract valuable insights around the theme of “happiness”. Special thanks go to Dr. Jon Carman (Office of the Chaplain), Dr. Adam Scott Neal (Office of Engaged Learning) and Dr. Monnie McGee (Dedman College Department of Statistics and Data Science) for their expertise.  Additional thanks to Dr. Eric Godat (Office of Information and Technology) and Duwani Gonzalez and Kevin Wang (PhD Candidates at SMU) for their coaching support and Kelly Chandrapal (OEL) for organizing the event.  Finally, another special thanks go to Dr. Stephen Robertson (Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute) and Dr. Dustin Grabsch (Office of General Education), and Dr. Lynne Stokes (Professor Emeritus, Dedman College Department for Statistics and Data Science) for judging the competition.

Students in the Summer Research Intensive are hard at work on projects for their faculty mentors. Each week they also attending professional development workshops that focus on research related skill sets with Dr. Adam Scott Neal (OEL). In these highly interactive workshops, students are developing their communication skills by learning about storytelling, presentation structure and aesthetics, elevator pitches, and networking. The SRI program will culminate in a Three Minute “Thesis” competition on July 25, 2-5pm in the Hughes-Trigg Chamber.  All are invited to attend!

The SMU Pathways to Business and Industry (PBI) initiative, under the leadership of Alisha Bailey (OEL), has been working closely with university service partners and academic departments over the summer to launch new programs and events for the upcoming fall and spring semesters. PBI students can anticipate engaging workshops focused on certifications in business, finance, and Microsoft Office. Additionally, they will have access to professional development workshops hosted by the UAC, Hegi Family Career Center, and Office of Engaged Learning. Stay tuned for the “Introduction to PBI Red, Blue, and YOU!” podcast episode later in July.

The Mustang Mentors Peer-Mentoring Program is preparing to welcome a full cohort of mentors and mentees this fall. The Mustang Mentors Core Team, headed by Olivia Prioleau (OEL), has been strategic and resourceful in recruiting students over the summer. The core team’s spheres of influence include First-Generation Initiatives, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Success and Inclusive Excellence, the University Advising Center and Transfer Office, the Office of Engaged Learning, and Residential Life and Housing.

Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Success & Retention University Testing Center

Undergraduate Education and Academic Success publishes annual report

Undergraduate Education and Academic Success is an area within the Office of the Provost’s Division of Student Academic Engagement and Success, which oversees a wide range of academic support and engagement office units.

Our 2023 – 2024 offices and initiatives included:


A copy of the annual report is now available for download.

Questions, comments, and feedback can be directed to Dr. Dustin Grabsch (