2018 News September 2018 September Main 2018

Creating a STEM-focused school in West Dallas

SMU, the Dallas Independent School District and Toyota are creating a new and innovative PreK-8 STEM school in West Dallas. The Toyota USA Foundation is granting $2 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, which will develop curriculum, advise on educational practices, provide professional development for teachers, coordinate nonprofits operating in the area and monitor and evaluate the program. The new school will be operated and staffed by the DISD’s Office of Transformation & Innovation.
Read more at the Simmons School.

2018 News September 2018

Don’t miss Family Weekend 2018, September 28–29

Get ready to enjoy “A Roarin’ Good Time” as the SMU Student Foundation presents Family Weekend 2018, September 28–29.
Events include:

Friday, September 28
Family Luncheon Weekend hosted by the SMU Mothers’ Club and the Student Foundation featuring student speakers and a message from the SMU Present R. Gerald Turner.
Taste of Dallas Dinner featuring entertainment by our talented students.

Saturday, September 29
Boulevard BBQ on the Clements Hall lawn before the SMU-Houston Baptist football game kickoff
Sunday, September 30
Spring Awakening student musical
See the full schedule of events here.

2018 News September 2018

Shaping world changers with cultural intelligence

In a new video, Professor Maria Dixon Hall discusses the Cultural Intelligence Initiative, or CIQ@SMU, and its mission to equip the SMU community with the skills to manage and communicate effectively in complex cultural contexts.
Read more at CIQ@SMU.

2018 Alumni News September 2018

SMU Distinguished Alumni Awards to be presented on November 1

The University community will honor Pierce M. Allman ’54, Tucker S. Bridwell ’73, ’74 and Jane Chu ’81 with Distinguished Alumni Awards and Kelvin Beachum, Jr. ’10, ’12 with the Emerging Leader Award on November 1.
The Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony recognizes extraordinary achievement, outstanding character and good citizenship in an event hosted by President R. Gerald Turner and the SMU Alumni Board.
Read more and purchase tickets.

2018 News September 2018

A national hub for data-driven decision making in the arts

SMU announces the merger of its National Center for Arts Research (NCAR), a leading provider of evidence-based insights on the nonprofit arts and cultural industry, with DataArts, the respected Philadelphia-based resource for in-depth data about U.S. nonprofit arts, culture and humanities organizations.
The two are joining forces to strengthen the national arts and cultural community through data, the knowledge that can be generated from it, and the resources to use it.
The combined entity, SMU DataArts, will integrate the strengths and capabilities of both organizations, which have been closely collaborating since 2012. The merger will continue the core operations of both organizations and build on their existing successful programs. NCAR’s research expertise, its partnerships with other data providers, and the resources of a major research university will be combined with DataArts’ existing data collection platform and relationships with arts organizations and grantmakers. SMU DataArts aims to make data useful and accessible to all in the arts and culture field, illuminating strengths, challenges and opportunities for individual arts organizations and for the sector as a whole, to help ensure long-term stability.
Since its founding, NCAR has integrated national data on arts organizations and their communities to provide evidence-based insights and tools to arts leaders as well as groundbreaking research on the impact and viability of the nonprofit cultural industry. NCAR’s research is available free of charge to arts leaders, funders, policymakers, researchers and the general public. Its findings and tools have been accessed nearly 100,000 times by users from all 50 U.S. states and 166 countries. Its Key Intangible Performance Indicators (KIPI) Dashboard, a free online diagnostic tool launched in July 2016, has attracted more than 7,600 unique users.
Read more at SMU DataArts.

2018 News September 2018

Visakh Madathil ’21: Using technology for social development

Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar Visakh Madathil ’21 spent his summer in Washington, D.C. as a data science/software engineering intern with the Chief of Technology Officer and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He talked about his experiences for the SMU Tower Center Scholar Spotlight.
Tell us about your internship.
I worked primarily on the data portfolio with the chief data officer. Using Natural Language Processing, we worked on understanding data needs across the department and how data stewards, analysts and other users access the data so we could ultimately make data sharing more efficient, responsible and secure. I worked on building an internal data-sharing system and was involved in web prototyping, technical data architecture, researching ways innovative technologies, such as machine learning and blockchain, could be used in this platform to facilitate data-sharing.
I worked to increase the use of data across different data silos, not just in the Department of Health and Human Services, but also in the healthcare sector in general.
What was your biggest takeaway from the experience?
One thing that I really realized is that in government especially, but also in any type of issue that we have – most of these things are people-problems. Technology isn’t going to solve all of our issues. Technology is inherently neutral—it’s not good nor is it bad, but it’s very important to understand the human side and the technology side so you can build innovative technologies that can help people and minimize the harm.
So my biggest takeaway is that the human-side is just as important. To understand people, understand their issues, understand the problems people face, is more important than understanding the underlying technologies that you’re using to solve those issues.
Read more at the SMU Tower Center.

2018 News September 2018

Blending business and science for a future in medicine

Holt Garner ’19 of Decatur, Texas, designed his own multidisciplinary “dream degree plan” to master both accounting and biology. He says his dual business and science perspectives provide a competitive edge as he prepares for medical school.
“SMU’s approach to interdisciplinary study has shaped me into a more critical thinker who can approach a problem from both business and scientific perspectives,” he says. “And as I prepare for medical school, my dual degree plan gives me a competitive edge. I am able to pursue diverse internship opportunities, including those that focus on the business and clinical aspects of health care.”

2018 Alumni September 2018

Writer-director Andrew Oh ’18 rolls with the punches

Creating a feature-length film is no small feat, particularly when the project is independently written and directed by a student. With no financial backing from a major production company, no outfit of hundreds of workers, and limited time and resources, recent Meadows graduate Andrew Oh has learned why entrepreneurial skills can make or break a film.
Oh has produced numerous class film assignments, most of which run from five to ten minutes and use a crew of one to ten people, but a 90-minute feature is an entirely different animal. “This is the biggest thing I’ve worked on,” says Oh. “It’s the culmination of my four years at SMU.”
With a cast and crew of about 50, Oh’s film The Book of Job is both written and directed by the 2018 B.A. alumnus and is the fifth film to be chosen for SMU Meadows’ Summer Film Production.
The Summer Film Production is a student-run, biennial program that offers film students the opportunity to learn what it takes to make a feature film or TV series pilot.
While working on The Book of Job, Oh gained greater clarity on what it takes to make a film and the importance of entrepreneurship in the filmmaking business. Doing extensive research and having a general knowledge of film is important, says Oh.
“And preproduction is key. The more work you do in preproduction the easier it is to make the film.”
Read more at Meadows.

2018 News September 2018

Indigenous hunter-gatherers actively shaped their environments

Native American communities actively managed North American prairies for centuries before Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World, according to a new study led by SMU archaeologist Christopher I. Roos.

Fire was an important indigenous tool for shaping North American ecosystems, but the relative importance of indigenous burning versus climate on fire patterns remains controversial in scientific communities. The new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), documents the use of fire to manipulate bison herds in the northern Great Plains. Contrary to popular thinking, burning by indigenous hunters combined with climate variability to amplify the effects of climate on prairie fire patterns.

The relative importance of climate and human activities in shaping fire patterns is often debated and has implications for how we approach fire management today.

“While there is little doubt that climate plays an important top-down role in shaping fire patterns, it is far less clear whether human activities – including active burning – can override those climate influences,” said Roos. “Too often, if scientists see strong correlations between fire activity and climate, the role of humans is discounted.”

Read more at SMU Research News.

2018 Alumni News September 2018

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

Enjoy this roundup of interesting videos and stories highlighting some of the people and events making news on the Hilltop.
Dalí: Poetics of the Small, 1929–1936 opens on September 9
Video: Watch as the Class of 2022 takes shape
SMU Mustangs Official App, the latest mobile must-have
OP Live Dallas to feature epic collegiate Overwatch tournament
Brigham Mosely ’10 unpacks identity crisis in Critical Darling
Register now for Perkins’ Fall Convocation
Tate Lecture Series season opens on September 25
Highlights from a great year at the Simmons School