2018 Alumni February 2018 News Spring 2018

Gift honors alumnus’ business acumen and love of sports

More than $5 million in contributions to his alma mater from a consortium of donors will honor SMU alumnus and energy industry leader Kyle D. Miller ’01. SMU Trustee Tucker S. Bridwell ’73, ’74 led the effort to assemble tribute gifts in recognition of Miller’s extraordinary success in the energy industry. Bridwell and his wife, Gina, personally contributed to the effort, along with other SMU alumni and industry colleagues.
In recognizing Miller’s expertise and accomplishment in the energy finance arena, the majority of the tribute will establish the Kyle D. Miller Energy Management Program and the Kyle D. Miller Energy Scholarship Fund in the Edwin L. Cox School of Business. Both initiatives will receive endowment and current-use funding. The gift also will include a naming opportunity honoring Miller and his love of athletics within SMU’s planned Indoor Performance Center.
“It’s a fitting tribute that Kyle’s colleagues have chosen to honor him by supporting both academic and athletic programs,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Kyle was named outstanding young alumnus for the Cox School of Business in May 2015, and these contributions will help position other students to find the kind of success he has achieved in energy finance.”
Read more at SMU News.

2018 February 2018 News

Technology, innovation and the law converge in new apps

In a new tech-focused class, three Dedman School of Law student teams developed consumer-friendly mobile apps designed to help legal aid organizations improve client services and streamline processes.

One app focuses on helping women who are survivors of gender-based harm, while another assists defendants in debt-claim cases who fall into the “justice gap.” A third app provides immigrants with information about their legal rights during encounters with law enforcement.
“The initiative and its valuable partnerships “benefit everyone involved,” said Jennifer Collins, Dean of SMU Dedman School of Law. “Students learn how to use technology in innovative ways to solve complex legal problems, legal aid groups can reduce cost and improve outcomes, and the law school can help underserved communities access the legal assistance they so desperately need.”
Read more at Dedman Law.

2018 Alumni February 2018 News

Charismatic career women inspire female students

A low-budget field experiment to tackle the lack of women in the male-dominated field of economics has been surprisingly effective, says SMU economist Danila Serra, the study’s author.
Top female college students were inspired to pursue a major in economics when exposed very briefly to charismatic, successful women in the field, according to Serra. The results suggest that exposing young women to an inspiring female role model succeeds due to the mix of both information and pure inspiration, Serra said.
SMU economics graduates Julie Lutz ’08 and Courtney Thompson ’91 spoke to four Principles of Economics classes in spring 2016. Serra told the speakers nothing of the purpose of the research project, but encouraged each alumna to explain to the class why she had majored in economics and to be very engaging.
“The specific women who came and talked to the students were key to the success of the intervention,” she said. “It was a factor of how charismatic and enthusiastic they were about their careers and of how interesting their jobs looked to young women.”
Read more at SMU Research.

2018 February 2018 News

Sophomore runner sets new Mustang record

Sophomore Hannah Miller set a new personal best and broke the existing SMU record in the 3000m at the Vanderbilt Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 20.
Miller placed fifth in the event with a time of 9:26.62, beating her own PR of 9:29.43 set in 2017 and the existing school record of 9:28.90 set by Mary Alenbratt in 2013.
Miller was named the American Athletic Conference Female Track Athlete of the Week, just days after she set the record.
Read more at SMU Athletics.

2018 Alumni February 2018

Meadows, Dallas Theater Center bring Frankenstein to life

SMU alumni and their guests are invited to a pre-show reception on Tuesday, February 13, when the Meadows Division of Theatre and the Dallas Theater Center present Frankenstein at the Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas. 

Based on Mary Shelley’s 200-year-old tale of scientific advancement and human tragedy, the hit play imported from London will be presented February 2–March 4. The cast will include Meadows faculty and students, while several alumni are involved behind the scenes: Jeff Colangelo ’13 serves as fight coordinator, and Wendy Blackburn Eastland ’12 is stage manager.

On February 13, before the curtain goes up, enjoy refreshments and remarks by Meadows School Dean Sam Holland. The reception will be from 6 to 7 p.m. Registration is $20 per person and includes complimentary parking, drinks, appetizers and show tickets. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Tickets are limited, so please reserve early

The Meadows School has a longstanding relationship with Dallas Theater Center. In spring 2017, Meadows collaborated with DTC to launch Public Works Dallas, a groundbreaking community engagement and participatory theater project designed to deliberately blur the line between professional artists and community members, culminating in an annual production featuring more than 200 Dallas citizens performing a Shakespearean play. The inaugural production was The Tempest, which will be followed by A Winter’s Tale in September 2018.

Read more at SMU Meadows.

2018 Alumni February 2018

Register now for the Black Excellence Ball on February 24

Join the Black Alumni of SMU and the Association of Black Students for the annual Black Excellence Ball on February 24, where 2018 History Makers and scholarship recipients will be honored.
The seventh annual event will be held in the Hughes-Trigg Ballroom on the SMU campus. Registration will open at 6 p.m, with the dinner and program to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Register now!

2018 Alumni February 2018

Two Mustangs headed to Major League Soccer teams

SMU’s Michael Nelson ’18 and Mauro Cichero ’18 were selected in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft Friday. Nelson was selected 20th overall by the Houston Dynamo and Cichero was picked 29th overall by FC Dallas. This is the eighth time the Mustangs have had multiple picks in the MLS SuperDraft.Read more at SMU Athletics.

2018 Alumni February 2018

Engineering an SMU-style experience in Egypt

Emulating his SMU mentors earned Amir Ali ’15, an assistant professor at German University in Cairo, Egypt, a sweet gift from his graduating seniors: a chocolate bar with a custom wrapper declaring, “To the Best Professor Ever! Thank You.”


After Ali earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Lyle School of Engineering, he returned to the German University in Cairo (GUC), where he received his MSc degree in mechatronics engineering  in 2010. GUC is a private Egyptian university established in cooperation with the State Universities of Ulm and Stuttgart, Germany.
In addition to teaching undergrads, he is the founder and director of the university’s ARAtronics Lab, a research group composed of more than 20 graduate and undergraduate students. This year the ARAtronics team was selected to join the Cairo Invents Program in cooperation with the Scientific Research Academy in Cairo.
“We follow the same model as my research at SMU,” says Ali.
His work in the field of micro-optical sensors aims to connect mind and machine. It may sound like science fiction to non-engineers, but advances in neural interfaces could have sweeping life-changing applications. For example, engineers are now working toward more lifelike prosthetic limbs that not only move more naturally but also “feel” sensations like heat and pressure.
The young academic was honored with the 2017 National Instruments Excellence Award in Academic Education and Scientific Research for the Middle East. And he recently published Principles of Sensing Based on Micro-optical Whispering Gallery Modes: Physics, Design, and Applications, a technical textbook.
In working with students from different faculties and diverse backgrounds, Ali draws inspiration from his Lyle experience.
He describes his SMU mentor and advisor Volkan Otugen, senior associate dean and the George R. Brown Chair in Mechanical Engineering, as his “role model.”
“I’ve emulated his way of thinking, interpreting problems and inspiring students,” he explains.
Edmond Richter, associate professor of mechanical engineering, has also been an important influence, he says.
Read more at Lyle Now.

2018 Alumni February 2018

New Perkins partnership sends scholars to England

Perkins School of Theology announces a new partnership with Wesley House, Cambridge in England that’s providing a unique international study opportunity for two recent Perkins graduates.
Adam White (M.Div. ’15) and Shuo En Liang (M.T.S. ’17) are spending the academic year studying at the University of Cambridge through Wesley House. They are living in Wesley House, an international, intentional community of Methodist scholars and students at the heart of the University city of Cambridge. Since Wesley House is also a member of the Cambridge Theological Federation, students are also exposed to ecumenical teaching, and classrooms.
The partnership offers an exceptional experience for the two Perkins graduates, according to Craig Hill, Dean of Perkins School of Theology.
“At Cambridge, you daily rub shoulders with fellow students and faculty from around the world, and you are exposed to an extraordinary parade of intellectuals and other leaders who pass through the city in any given year,” he said. “To study there is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Read more at Perkins School of Theology.

2018 February 2018 News

How ethical are we?

Ruhi Deshmukh ’21, a first-year pre-business major, connects the “morality gauges” she studied in a business ethics class with the vestiges of inhumanity she visited during the Holocaust Poland human rights pilgrimage over winter break. “Embracing and understanding this history in the rawest form is what can help us challenge our own morality and keep ourselves from committing such a crime against humanity ever again,” she says.

From Ruhi Dshmukh, a first-year pre-business major

How ethical are we actually?

This past semester I took a business ethics class where the last topic we discussed had to do with overconfidence of human morality. We like to think of ourselves as beings, that when placed in a difficult situation, would always take the high road.

However this is not necessarily the case. In this unit we discussed two types of morality gauges. The first theory explored how we are as ethical as our inner moral compass. Even if you don’t take action on something, as long as you believe it is wrong or feel the wrongness of the situation you are considered an ethical person. The other theory said that we are only as moral as our actions. Although we may have a moral compass, we are as ethical as the actions we take to keep unethical situations from happening.

On this trip I often think about what I learned in that class and how it applies to the Holocaust. I often wonder how did so many people just passively allowed this to happen.

Read more at SMU Adventures.
No Resting Place: Holocaust Poland, a new book from SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, features more than 200 contemporary photographs of Nazi-occupied Poland’s deadliest killing sites, historical vignettes and poignant personal observations shared by those who have experienced the nation’s most comprehensive, longest-running educational pilgrimage of its kind: SMU’s Holocaust Poland trip. Read more.

2018 Alumni February 2018 News

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

In case you missed it this month, please enjoy these interesting stories and videos.