SMU Magazine

SMU Magazine is updated monthly on this website and the print edition is published each spring and fall.

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Spring 2018 2020-05-12T14:11:55-05:00

Project Description

Spring 2018

Uncovering a hidden world of spectacular creatures

Myria Perez ’18 and more than 100 SMU undergraduate students painstakingly cleaned and preserved the fossils now on exhibit in Sea Monsters Unearthed: Life in Angola’s Ancient Seas at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

December 6, 2018|

There’s no time to lose. Answer the call.

For the 1,300 students who receive scholarships funded by current-use gifts, your investment in SMU means they’ll dream bigger and accomplish more this year. Create new opportunities for our world changers with your Pony Power gift.

October 30, 2018|

No argument here. SMU Debate ranks No. 1.

Over the course of more than 70 matches, students researched complex national and international policy issues and tested themselves against some of the best student advocates in the country to earn the top ranking in the nation.

October 30, 2018|

Thanks for your support!

When Mustangs band together, we empower students filled with passion and purpose. Thanks to YOUR support, SMU’s creators, innovators and problem-solvers will push harder, dream bigger and accomplish more this year. Because tuition only covers about 70 percent of a University education, your gift fills the gap with crucial funding for scholarships, research and so much more. There’s strength in our numbers. Thank you for banding together for these world changers to shape experiences they’ll never forget!

October 12, 2018|

Let the countdown to Moody Magic begin!

The Mustangs open the 2018–19 basketball season in Moody Coliseum, when the men’s team hosts Northwestern State on November 8 in Moody Coliseum, and the women’s team faces Louisiana Monroe on November 9.

September 25, 2018|

Navigating the intersection of commerce and compassion

In less than a year, Neha Husein ’19 has piloted Just Drive – a mobile app that awards points to drivers who lock their phones while driving – from a class assignment into a viable startup. Along the way, SMU’s innovation ecosystem put her on track for success. Her venture won financial awards from SMU, and faculty mentors helped steer her in the right direction. She even tapped into the Mustang alumni network to bring her idea to life.

August 15, 2018|

Gala to support Meadows Museum’s educational mission

SMU’s Meadows Museum will present its first-ever gala, “The Color of Dreams,” on Saturday, October 13, to raise funds to endow a director of education position. The theme is inspired by the art of Salvador Dalí, whose paintings will be on exhibit at the museum, September 9–December 9.

July 24, 2018|

Changing the world, one film at a time

Mollie Mulvey ’20 has always dreamed of telling her stories as a filmmaker. Now her dream is coming true at SMU, where she finds herself "free to express my creativity in ways that I may not have even expected.”

July 24, 2018|

Bringing ‘Sea Monsters’ to life in D.C.

How are paleontologist Louis Jacobs and a group of student researchers spending the summer? They’re preparing never-before-seen fossils from Angola for the exhibit Sea Monsters Unearthed, which opens at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on November 9 in Washington, D.C.

June 27, 2018|

Congratulations to the XPRIZE team!

A puzzle-solving smartphone game designed by SMU and Literacy Instruction for Texas experts to teach struggling adult readers is among five international finalists in the $7 million XPRIZE competition.

June 27, 2018|

Game on: Esports event debuts in September

SMU Guildhall and esports firm eGency Global are teaming up to present OP Live Dallas, a two-day gaming extravaganza featuring professional and amateur competitions as well as a showcase for games designed by SMU graduate students.

June 27, 2018|

Big idea: Nanoscale surgical robots

MinJun Kim’s research is catching up with the imaginations of science fiction writers. He creates tiny robots that may one help doctors see what’s going on inside the human body’s hardest-to-reach places.

June 27, 2018|

Crunching data to crush bacteria

Peng Tao, assistant professor of chemistry, received the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award to support his innovative computational strategy for fighting “superbugs.”

June 27, 2018|

Research and mentorship honored

Bonnie Jacobs has been elected a fellow of the international Paleontological Society for her contributions to the field of Cenozoic paleobotany as well as her stellar mentorship of students.

June 27, 2018|

Plunging into green engineering

Champion swimmer Adrienn Sánta ’18 blended her family’s green living experience with undergraduate research on mobile greenhouses to find her passion for building a sustainable future.

June 27, 2018|

From Big D to the Big Apple

Dancer Kelly Zitka ’15 intended to land a job in marketing, but the allure of the stage won out. Perseverance, and a little spontaneity, helped her find her footing in musical theater.

June 27, 2018|

Congratulations to the Class of 2018, our newest alumni!

At the all-University Commencement ceremony on May 19, featured speaker Randall L. Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, challenged members of the Class of 2018 to “make every effort not to live your life in a straight line.” The day was filled with hugs, laughter and pony ears as the new graduates looked back on their four exciting years on the Hilltop and forward to their futures as world changers.

June 5, 2018|

SMU continues its climb

A new report by University leadership makes 14 bold recommendations for continuing SMU’s ascent by further elevating overall academic quality and bolstering local, national and global impact.

June 5, 2018|

Powering achievement across the Hilltop

Thanks to your commitment to SMU excellence, Pony Power outpaced the first-year goal and raised more than $57 million to fuel today’s students, faculty and programs. Let’s make an even greater impact in Year Two!

June 5, 2018|

Jasmine Liu ’18 discovers her future in the stars

Jasmine Liu ’18 planned a future in the corporate world, but after joining physicist Robert Kehoe’s research team, she was star struck. Fueled by SMU’s high-performance computing power, her work helped reveal a variable star in the Pegasus constellation. Now she sees a future in astrophysics or astronomy.

June 5, 2018|

Honoring the achievements of business alumni

Cox School of Business honored Distinguished Alumni Clark Hunt ’87 and James M. “Jim” Johnson ’70, ’71 and Outstanding Young Alumni Chris Lowe ’04, ’14 and Jeff Owens ’01, ’02 at its 2018 awards luncheon on May 11.

June 5, 2018|

The start of something big

When school district budget constraints stalled a field trip intended to reward Rusk Middle School students for their hard work in the classroom, SMU stepped up and treated the eighth-graders to a campus visit unlike any other.

June 4, 2018|

Art in high gear: Julia Jalowiec ‘18

Julia Jalowiec ’18 is in her 40s, has four children and never created art before a battle with cancer spurred her to go back to school. She earned her bachelor’s degree in May, and her art is getting noticed.

June 4, 2018|

Enjoy this roundup of interesting videos and stories highlighting some of the people and events making news on the Hilltop.

June 4, 2018|

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos speaks at SMU during Bush Center Forum

During the Closing Conversation of the George W. Bush Presidential Center Forum on Leadership, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos said the key to his company’s success has been staying true to the core values of “customer-obsession, eagerness to invent, long-term thinking and operational excellence.”

May 8, 2018|

A new campus drawing card begins to take shape

The annual spring football game featured the new-look Mustangs under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes and celebrated the new SMU Indoor Performance Center, a reflection of the University’s commitment to a first-class and competitive athletic program.

May 8, 2018|

Mustangs ready to kick off their NFL careers

Three teams tapped Mustang football standouts to join their rosters during the NFL Draft 2018. SMU wide receiver Courtland Sutton was selected by the Denver Broncos, defensive end Justin Lawler was picked by the Los Angeles Rams, and wide receiver Trey Quinn was chosen by the Washington Redskins.

May 8, 2018|

Three cheers for our national champions!

SMU Cheer crushed it again, winning a third consecutive national title on April 6. The team set an SMU record in the competition for the second year. Senior cheerleader Nate Williams ’18 was thrilled. “We always say that we are our biggest competition and, in a way, we are."

May 8, 2018|

Faculty gift creates endowed chair in Cox

Andrew H. Chen and Elaine T. Chen have made a $2 million gift to the SMU Edwin L. Cox School of Business to establish The Andrew H. Chen Endowed Chair in Financial Investments Fund. The gift will include $1.5 million for the endowment of the faculty chair and $500,000 for operational support.

May 8, 2018|

New partnership amplifies economic research impact

A new economic growth initiative launching on June 1 will combine the Bush Institute’s action-oriented policy approach and SMU’s world-leading research and analyses to promote domestic economic growth and strengthen the nation’s global competitiveness.

May 8, 2018|

NATO alliance survives through adaptability

The ability to change with a changing world gives NATO staying power, according to Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General. He was on campus April 5 for a town hall moderated by SMU Provost Steven Currall and featuring Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison.

May 8, 2018|

Game changer: SMU Indoor Performance Center

Come out to cheer on the Mustangs under new Head Coach Sonny Dykes at the annual spring football game in Ford Stadium on April 14 and be part of the celebration as halftime festivities kick off the construction of the SMU Indoor Performance Center.

April 5, 2018|

We appreciate your generosity, Mustangs!

Thank you to the more than 2,200 alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends who contributed over $747,824 during Mustangs Give Back. Missed the deadline? There’s still time to fund meaningful projects for our world changers.

April 5, 2018|

AT&T CEO to deliver Commencement address

Pioneering business and technology leader Randall L. Stephenson will speak at the all-University ceremony on Saturday, May 19, where SMU expects to award more than 2,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.

April 3, 2018|

A visionary approach to research and innovation

With a significant gift from Dallas business leaders Linda Wertheimer Hart ’65 and Milledge (Mitch) A. Hart, III, SMU will establish the first university-wide initiative focused on interactive network technologies created at a major research university.

April 3, 2018|

Knee-deep in the business of politics

With the midterm elections squarely in his sights, economics major Zach Miller ’19 relied on the SMU network as he scaled “the next level in politics” by starting a political consulting firm and serving as finance director for a Texas Senate hopeful.

April 3, 2018|

Giving voice to a stronger student community

As Student Body President David Shirzad ’18 winds down his term and prepares for graduation, he reflects on his high-spirited campus involvement and ultimate goal of shaping a community “where all people have a voice, and they believe they’re being heard.”

April 2, 2018|

Couples should assume less, communicate more

Family psychologist Chrystyna D. Kouros is the lead author of a new study that finds couples pick up on one another’s feelings pretty well, when the emotion is happiness, but they often fail to recognize when a partner is sad, lonely or feeling down.

April 2, 2018|

Keeping an eye on the oil patch from space

An analysis of radar images by a team of SMU geophysicists indicates that a large swath of the West Texas oil patch is heaving and sinking at an alarming rate. According to the researchers, two giant sinkholes near Wink, Texas, may just be the tip of the iceberg.

April 2, 2018|

Congratulations to the SMU Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018

Former student-athletes Janielle Dodds ’07, Denny Holman ’67, Wes Hopkins ’83, Hank Kuehne ’99, Cheril Santini ’95 and the late Clyde Carter ’35 have been named to the SMU Athletics Hall of Fame and will be recognized at the annual banquet and induction ceremony on Friday, May 4 at Moody Coliseum.

March 30, 2018|

Sign up now for summer learning fun

No boredom allowed this summer, thanks to SMU’s wide-ranging learning activities for kids. Youngsters will create code, learn the fundamentals of engineering, express themselves artistically and fine-tune their athletic abilities at summer camps offered at SMU-in-Plano and on the main campus in Dallas.

March 29, 2018|

SMU and LIFT team up to reduce adult illiteracy in Dallas

Codex: Lost Words of Atlantis, an engaging game with an educational mission, earned the SMU/LIFT team, People ForWords, a place among the eight semifinalists chosen from 109 international teams competing for the $7 million Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

February 14, 2018|

Army chaplain Jeff Matsler ’93 helps veterans work through ‘moral injury’

For more than a decade, U.S. Army Major Jeff Matsler ’93, a chaplain and bioethicist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, has made it his mission to study “moral injury.” Members of the armed forces return from war not only psychologically and emotionally battered but also spiritually injured. “Soldiers on the front line need to hear the message of forgiveness and redemption,” he says.

February 13, 2018|

Wearing many hats – and a crown

It’s hard to keep up with Averie Bishop ’19. The reigning Miss Asian American Texas and SMU junior has her hands full as a double major in human rights and political science, vice president of Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity, co-founder of a humanitarian charity and 24-Hour Musical star.

February 12, 2018|

A seat at Regina Taylor’s table

SMU alumna Regina Taylor ’81 planned a career in journalism before she fell in love with acting as a student at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. While collecting a trove of acting accolades, she never stopped putting pen to paper.

January 8, 2018|

A Founders’ Day salute to the Bush Center

Celebrate the fifth anniversary of the George W. Bush Presidential Center during Founders’ Day Weekend, April 20–22. Highlights include a sold-out address by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the Bush Center’s Forum on Leadership; Family Day at the Meadows Museum, featuring family-friendly art activities; and Sing Song, the annual student musical competition

February 27, 2018|

Bringing fresh water to a Bolivian village

Spencer Meyer ’19 was on top of the world over winter break – at least that’s what it felt like at 13,000 feet on the Bolivian altiplano. He and other members of SMU’s Engineers Without Borders continued work on a project to bring clean water to a remote Bolivian village. Mustangs Give Back support will help them complete water towers, piping and a tap system.

February 27, 2018|

Michael Bloomberg receives Medal of Freedom

The businessman, philanthropist, author and former New York City mayor was honored for “extraordinary contributions for the advancement of democratic ideals and to the security, prosperity and welfare of humanity.”

February 27, 2018|

Crunching data and crushing cancer

Tests on three drug-like compounds, discovered computationally via SMU’s supercomputer, confirm their ability to bolster the effectiveness of chemotherapy in treating some of the most commonly aggressive cancers.

February 27, 2018|

Building a home for Frankenstein

Graduate student Amelia Bransky says her professors encourage her to “make scary choices,” so she jumped at the chance to design the sets for Frankenstein, a Dallas Theater Center-SMU co-production on stage through March 4.

February 27, 2018|

Flipping a switch, igniting success: Aleena Taufiq ’18

Aleena Taufiq ’18 recently landed her dream job as a data engineer working in artificial intelligence at Verizon, a career she never imagined four years ago. She also expanded her Geared Up middle school enrichment program to schools across the country. Alumni support created opportunities for her every step of the way.

February 14, 2018|

An education mixologist’s bold blend of science and the arts

Dedman College Scholar Sam Weber ’18 says he’s the “type of person who likes to stay busy.” That’s an understatement. As a student researcher,
he trains others working on cell biology experiments and explores the use of the performing arts in public health education. And he’s currently directing his second 24-Hour Musical. The senior dynamo says everything he has done at SMU has prepared him for his next goal: medical school.

February 14, 2018|

Primed for data-driven innovation

Dallas made Amazon’s shortlist of potential locations for its second headquarters. With the University's investment in supercomputing infrastructure and data-driven research, SMU is ready to take advantage of new opportunities and ambitious challenges.

January 30, 2018|

Engineering an SMU-style experience in Egypt

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

January 29, 2018|

How ethical are we?

Ruhi Deshmukh ’21 connects tenets learned in a business ethics class to the Holocaust and concludes that understanding history is the best path to preventing “such a crime against humanity ever again.” 

January 29, 2018|

Honoring a legacy of service and sacrifice

The University community will join the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the annual Dallas parade on January 15 and honor his life and legacy during SMU’s Dream Week, which includes the campus Unity Walk on January 23 and MLK Day of Service on January 27.

January 8, 2018|

This star athlete’s power play? Earning his degree

During his time on the Hilltop, football star Courtland Sutton ’17 made it clear how highly he values his education. In just three and a half years, he earned a degree in sport management. “That degree is something no one can take away once my playing career is over,” he says.

January 8, 2018|

Meet SMU’s first Schwarzman Scholar

Benjamin H. Chi ’18 will study in Beijing, China, for a year as a Schwarzman Scholar. He plans to return with a master’s degree in global affairs and a better understanding of how the Chinese view the United States.

January 8, 2018|

Cyber grad’s road took a necessary detour

No one was more surprised than Michael Taylor when SMU admitted him in 2014. He graduated in December as an “outstanding student in computer science and engineering” with a master’s degree and a Raytheon ticket to a Ph.D.

January 8, 2018|

Continuing a legacy of attracting top students

A $15 million gift from the Nancy Ann Hunt Foundation secures the long-term future of the Hunt Leadership Scholars Program, one of the University’s signature scholarship programs attracting academically talented student leaders from throughout the United States to SMU.

December 6, 2017|

Investing in a data-empowered future

President R. Gerald Turner outlined SMU’s impact on the region’s economy through data-powered teaching and research at a gathering of top business and civic leaders at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas on November 13. The University’s $85-million investment in high speed computing and data science curriculum will deliver more bang for the research buck.

December 6, 2017|

Does symmetry affect speed?

The New York Times covered SMU Locomotor Performance Laboratory researchers’ study of Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest human, that reveals the mechanics of his stride may vary between his right and left legs, upending conventional wisdom that an uneven gait slows down runners.

August 7, 2017|

Spring 2018

SMU Magazine Spring 2018 Cover
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SMU Magazine

SMU Magazine is updated monthly on this website and the print edition is published each spring and fall.

Browse the Archives