2019 Alumni June 2019 News

Cox honors industry veterans and rising stars

The SMU Cox School of Business honored four alumni at the school’s annual Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Luncheon on May 10. Two Distinguished Alumni Awards and two Outstanding Young Alumni Awards were presented at the luncheon ceremony in the Collins Executive Center on the SMU campus. Award nominations are submitted to the SMU Cox Alumni Association for consideration by a selection committee.

In alphabetical order, this year’s SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni Award winners are Steven J. Lindley and Bruce Robson, both BBA ’74. The Cox School’s 2019 Outstanding Young Alumni honorees, also alphabetically, are Courtney Caldwell, BBA ’00, and Ryan Dalton, BBA ’01.
Read more at SMU Cox.

2019 June 2019 News

Life’s hat trick is junior Thomas Hodge’s specialty

Thomas Hodges ’20 is a full-time student majoring in journalism with a sport management minor. He stays close to his family to help his mom, who is battling cancer. And he has a rigorous practice schedule as the emergency goalie for the Dallas Stars professional ice hockey team.
On the other end of the line was the assistant general manager for the Dallas Stars. Thomas Hodges, a junior at SMU, couldn’t believe the news he had just received. He was going to be the emergency goalie for the Stars.
“I was excited, maybe a little nervous too, but it didn’t sink in until my first practice a few weeks later,” Hodges said.
This has been a dream of his ever since he attended his first Stars game when he was 11 years old.
Read more at the SMU Daily Campus.

2019 June 2019 News

Leveling up cancer research with a video game

Fans streaming a recent video game tournament that raised funds for kids with cancer had a chance to help SMU researchers by playing Omega Cluster, an interactive game designed to pinpoint promising compounds to add to the chemotherapy arsenal.
Three-time Super Bowl winner and NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin  and two-time Madden NFL champion Drini Gjoka competed in a video gaming tournament alongside patients and families at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. The tournament consisted of a live Madden NFL 19 streaming game via Twitch and ExtraLife.
A Twitch interactive gamed called Omega Cluster also allowed people watching the gaming tournament to help SMU researchers.
In the Omega Cluster game, each player acted as a spaceship pilot who must warp from location to location gathering energy crystals before enemies’ lock onto their position and destroy their ship. The process of collecting and sorting crystals was actually sorting by proxy a set of chemotherapeutic co-medications compounds that have been tested in the SMU Center for Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery’s laboratory. The game let players explore these compounds and identify what has allowed some to be successful in lab testing while others have not.
Read more at SMU Research.

2019 Alumni June 2019

Fusing art and engineering into a multidimensional education

Senior Meredith Burke ’19 is a third-generation Mustang who thrives on taking on challenges like juggling a hectic academic and extracurricular schedule. She is triple-majoring to earn bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering (ME), art and math and working toward her master’s degree in ME. “Fusing these majors cultivates my creativity and ingenuity from a fresh interdisciplinary perspective,” Burke explains. “The way I see it, engineering and art have a yin-yang relationship. There’s a crossover between a ceramics in technology class and an engineering materials class because they both involve hands-on learning with similar materials.”
Burke has frequently been recognized as an up and coming engineer during her time as an undergraduate. In 2018, she was named the ASME North Texas Section Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Student of the Year and received an honorable mention for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, based on her summer brain tumor research at UT Southwestern. In 2017, Burke was one of only 11 students to be selected for DiscoverE’s sixth annual New Faces of Engineering College Edition. Students selected for this honor exemplify the vision, innovation and leadership skills necessary for a successful engineering career.
Burke sharpens her soft skills through the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership by attending a variety of seminars, workshops, mock interviews and career fairs. “For me, the Hart Center solidifies SMU’s slogan, ‘World Changers Shaped Here.’ With the Hart Center’s support, students learn essential leadership skills, foster those skills, and then apply them outside of the university,” she shares.
An aspect Burke particularly values about the center is the Hart Leadership Assessment, which gauges a student’s strengths and identifies areas for improvement. “I found ways to apply this knowledge, not only in my engineering and other academic classes but also in a broader sense—it has changed the way I work and connect with people,” Burke says.
Burke is actively involved in many clubs and activities across campus. Her long list of accomplishments includes being a Hunt Scholar, an honors mentor in Armstrong Residential Commons, an ambassador for both Lyle and Meadows School of the Arts, the treasurer for SMU’s Ballroom Dance Team, and the incoming president of Mustang Rocketry Club. As a member of the “Hub of SMU Spirit,” Burke plays the piccolo and is a section leader in the Mustang Band.
“What sets SMU apart from other schools is the ability to pursue multiple majors and experience a strong academic program while exploring various interests. I’ve found SMU is the perfect sized school where undergraduate students feel supported and encouraged to have a multidimensional college education,“ she states.
Burke used her Engaged Learning Fellowship, in which select undergraduate students receive funding to engage in capstone-level scholarly research, to design and build a toaster that can launch a piece of toast greater than 20 feet. She is currently building a circuit to heat the bread. This summer, Burke interned at Raytheon and hopes to use her knowledge of materials and heat to work in the defense industry. Meanwhile, she expects to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest popping toaster and use that experience encouraging young women to consider an engineering career.
“If I am successful in breaking the world record, I would like to visit local schools and Girl Scout troops to show them the fun, inventive power of engineering.”
This story was originally published in the fall 2018 issue of LyleNow, a publication of the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering at SMU.

2019 Alumni June 2019 May 2019 News

Creating new opportunities for Marine vets

Military veterans aspiring to SMU’s innovative graduate education in engineering and business have a new scholarship opportunity with The Milledge A. Hart, III Scholarship Fund for Veterans of the United States Marine Corps. The endowed fund was established in January by prominent Dallas business leader Linda Wertheimer Hart ’65 to honor her husband, SMU Trustee Emeritus Milledge (Mitch) A. Hart, III, on his 85th birthday. The Harts are among SMU’s most generous donors.
“We thank the Harts for their generous and wide-ranging support of visionary initiatives at SMU,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Having Mitch Hart, a Marine Corps veteran who served our country with distinction, associated with this scholarship will hold special meaning and be a point of pride for the military veterans on our campus who will benefit from it as they pursue advanced degrees.”
Each year, in perpetuity, the scholarship will support one or two graduate students who are U.S. Marine Corps veterans and enrolled in the Lyle School of Engineering or the Cox School of Business – and may be applied to tuition, fees, housing, meals, books or supplies.
“Providing learning environments and new opportunities at SMU for students to pursue bold ideas has brought both Linda and me such joy,” said Mitch Hart, a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who served five years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. “A scholarship in my name that opens doors for military veterans heading toward boundless achievement is a wonderful tribute.”
Graduate programs in the Cox School and the Lyle School have the highest enrollments of military veterans, and both schools offer additional financial aid options as well as transitional and educational support.
“The Marine Corps values have guided Mitch’s life. Ethical leadership, service, determination and integrity are qualities that we should be fostering in leaders who will inspire others to take on the world’s challenges,” Linda Hart said. “Mitch has always led by example, and I can think of no better way to pay tribute to him than a scholarship that supports Marine Corps veterans as they prepare to change the world in innovative ways.”
Read more at SMU News.

2019 June 2019 May 2019

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Enjoy these great videos and stories about the people and events making news on the Hilltop.