2022 Alumni March 2022 News

Reaching a significant milestone

Thanks to the generosity of the Mustang community, SMU Ignited has garnered more than $800 million in donations, more than halfway toward our $1.5 billion goal. Learn how you can be part of this extraordinary drive to make a positive difference in the world around us.
Rest of story

2022 March 2022 News

National recognition for scientific contributions

Elizabeth G. Loboa, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Zhong Lu, the Shuler-Foscue Chair in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Loboa and Lu will be inducted into the organization later this year as part of the 2021 class of AAAS Fellows, which includes 564 scientists, engineers and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines who are being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements.
AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers and innovators who have been recognized by their peers in the organization for their achievements across disciplines ranging from research, teaching and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.
“Provost Loboa and Dr. Lu are respected scientists and their work and contributions continue to advance SMU as a premier research and teaching university,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The AAAS recognition from their peers is well deserved, and SMU is fortunate to benefit from their expertise and commitment to excellence in teaching, research and scientific discovery.”
Read more.

2022 March 2022 News

Partnership yields game-changing medical technology

BALANCED Media|Technology, in partnership with the Retina Foundation of the Southwest and SMU, has announced a patent-pending medical imaging technology (U.S. Patent Application Serial No.16/538,662) that uses automated software and a video game to provide standardized, accurate and precise identification of ocular diseases including age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of visual impairment in the world.

BALANCED, the Retina Foundation of the Southwest and SMU also signed a 10-year exclusive license, development and commercialization agreement for BALANCED to bring the medical imaging technology to the $35 billion artificial intelligence (AI) health care market.

BALANCED created and crowdsourced an original video game, Eye in the Sky: Defender. The game uses optical coherence tomography (OCT) retinal images embedded in the game’s environment to create human-computational image segmentation. As players predict the path of the alien force in the game, they unknowingly learn to trace lines used to perform diagnostic measurements of OCT retinal scans and create new datasets.

When integrated with BALANCED’s HEWMEN AI platform, these new datasets were used by experts at the Retina Foundation and SMU researchers to provide the information needed to train a machine learning (ML) algorithm to analyze OCT images more accurately and precisely.

“Human and machine collaboration is the next step in machine learning and AI,” says Corey Clark, deputy director of research and assistant professor of computer science and engineering for SMU Guildhall, an assistant professor of Computer Science at SMU Lyle School of Engineering and CTO at BALANCED. “This application is a great example showing how injecting human knowledge and intuition into the machine learning process is able to create something that neither were capable of doing on their own. This is just the first step. I believe we will see many more exciting things come from these collaborations in the future.”

Read more at SMU Research.

2022 Alumni March 2022 News

Compelling authors booked for Dallas Literary Festival

SMU’s Dallas Literary Festival is back March 12–22. This annual celebration of writers and literature will feature more than 100 acclaimed national and local authors as well as special events across the city. Authors representing relevant and diverse voices will converge at a series of in-person events on the SMU campus, at Fair Park’s African American Museum and at other locations throughout Dallas.
SMU football great and NFL Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson ’84 will deliver the keynote conversation at noon Saturday, March 19, in Dallas Hall. After a prolific and often contentious career, Dickerson is telling his side of the story in his new book, Watch My Smoke. Capping the day will be the Friends of the SMU Libraries Tables of Content fundraiser, featuring the presentation of the 2022 Literati Award to culinary historian Adrian Miller, author of Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue. Tickets are required, and proceeds from the event benefit the Friends annual grants program.
2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story and recipient of the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work–Nonfiction, will close the festival at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at SMU.
The festival’s theme, resilience, was chosen when organizers expected to be looking back at how the country survived the turbulence of 2020 and 2021, says Sanderia Faye Smith, Dallas Literary Festival executive director, SMU creative writing faculty member and author of the award-winning novel, Mourner’s Bench.
“As the festival date approaches, we realize we’re going to need even more resilience to stay the course and not give up,” Smith says. “As Toni Morrison says, ‘During hard times, writers should not remain silent and readers should read, heal, gain knowledge and escape within the pages of a book.’”
While related events begin March 12, the first official festival event is Friday, March 18, featuring National Book Award finalist David Treuer and scholar, poet and author DeMaris Hill. Treuer’s The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is a new narrative that demonstrates how Native Americans have maintained their culture and civilization through dark years. Hill’s Breath Better Spent: Living Black Girlhood is a narrative in verse that takes a personal and historical look at the experience of Black girlhood. Treuer and Hill will speak at 7 p.m. at SMU’s McCord Auditorium in Dallas Hall.
Two full days of author panel discussions, readings and interviews follow, March 19 and 20, with national award winners, memoirists, scholars, romance writers, poets, historical fiction writers and authors of gems you might not have heard of yet, but soon will.
Unless otherwise noted, events are free and open to the public.
Among the highlights:
Saturday, March 19, Dallas Hall, SMU

  • Novelist Nathan Harris, author of The Sweetness of Water, Oprah’s June 2021 Book Club pick.
  • Joaquin Zihuatenejo, National Poetry Slam finalist and Grand Slam Spoken Word champion.
  • W. Bruce Cameron, author of the New York Times bestselling triology, A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Way Home and A Dog’s Courage.
  • Long-form narrative writer Catherine Prendergast, author of The Gilded Edge, named by Artnet as one of top 20 books about art in 2021.

Sunday, March 20, African American Museum, Fair Park

  • Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, which was a 2021 Good Morning America Buzz Pick and named one of the best books of 2021 by Barack Obama, The Washington Post and NPR.
  • Elisa Dusapin, author of Winter in Sokcho, 2021 National Book Award winner for translated literature.
  • Scholar and commentator Jelani Cobb, author of The Matter of Black Lives: Writing from The New Yorker.
  • Culinary historian Adrian Miller, author of Black Smoke.
  • Daniel Black, author of Don’t Cry for Me, February 2022 Book of the Month selection.

Additional related events include:

  • Saturday, March 12: South Dallas Cultural Center will present a women’s poetry workshop.
  • Tuesday, March 15–Tuesday, March 22: Dallas Public Library will host a series of in-person and online events supporting the Dallas Literary Festival, including craft and story-making projects, readings, a Shakespeare Adventure Walk and writing workshops.
  • Monday, March 21: SMU’s Tate Lecture Series will present biographer Walter Isaacson. Tickets required.

Find more information at Dallas Literary Festival.

2022 March 2022 News

Mustangs savor the experience of Dallas Open competition

SMU’s Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex was the venue for the inaugural Dallas Open February 6–13. With Dallas and SMU hosting the only ATP Tour indoor championship held in the U.S., Mustangs got the opportunity to take part in the event. All four SMU student-athletes faced off with featured players ranked inside the world’s top 200 in singles or doubles.
Caleb Chakravarthi ’22, Liam Crall ’24, Adam Neff ’24 and graduate student Ivan Thamma went toe to toe with top players and came away with a new perspective.
While the match was tough, the overall experience is one Chakravarthi came to relish.
“Watching a few of the matches and practicing with the guys has motivated me to try and achieve greatness in tennis. Being with these pros you see how small the margins are and the differences between a college tennis player and a pro,” Chakravarthi says. “It definitely has motivated me to be the best tennis player I can and has motivated me to play professional tennis after my time at SMU.”
Read more at SMU Athletics.

2022 March 2022 News

Placing neighborhoods in focus

SMU researchers combined street-level investigations with the University’s supercomputer power to reveal infrastructure deserts. Their study lays the groundwork for improving neighborhoods.
Residents of a neglected corner of southeast Dallas daily navigate crumbling sidewalks, pothole-riddled streets and neglected intersections. Few trees shade their streets, and the lack of access to basic services like internet, health care and grocery stores isolates them within a thriving city. Like residents of 61 other Dallas neighborhoods, they live in an infrastructure desert.

What are infrastructure deserts? Why do they matter?

Those two questions get to the heart of a multiyear research project led by SMU’s Barbara Minsker, a nationally recognized expert in environmental and infrastructure systems analysis.
To find answers, Zheng Li, a Ph.D. student in civil and environmental engineering, and other team members created a computer framework with the ability to assess, at census-block level, 12 types of infrastructure. Neighborhoods were evaluated and compared by infrastructure deficiency, household income and ethnicity.
“This framework enables us to collect data from a huge variety of sources, then analyze the patterns that emerge to discover new information that can be used by scientists, policymakers and residents to improve their neighborhoods,” Li says.
Read more.

2022 Alumni March 2022 News

Breaking out on her own

From a very early age, Lacey A. Horn ’04, ’05 knew she wanted to use her talents on behalf of her tribe. The former treasurer of the Cherokee Nation now serves as a strategy and financial consultant to tribal leaders as CEO of Native Advisory and heads Horn CPA, a niche cryptocurrency consultancy.
Rest of story

2022 March 2022 News

Mustang football kicks off September 3 at UNT

Six big games come to Ford Stadium this fall, highlighted by the Battle for the Iron Skillet against TCU September 24 during Family Weekend and a matchup with 2021 CFP participant and AAC Champion Cincinnati October 22 during SMU Homecoming.
Rest of story

2022 March 2022

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Enjoy these quick links to stories and more about the people, programs and events making news on the Hilltop.