April 2020 News

Making the most of staying indoors to buy time for others

For many SMU students, like Marie Joung ’20, a senior pre-med biology major and human rights fellow, and her husband, Benjy, sheltering at home during spring break was the right thing to do. Dallas Morning News columnist Sharon Grigsby wrote about the couple’s decision to self-quarantine as the nation’s beaches were packed with revelers. “But here in North Texas, I found plenty of smart young people who are taking the pandemic seriously. They aren’t freaking out over COVID-19, but neither do these unselfish 20-somethings want to contribute to people losing their lives or further destabilize a country they hope to continue living in.”
The following excerpt was published by The Dallas Morning News on March 18, 2020:

By Sharon Grigsby
The Dallas Morning News

We’ve hardly had time to come to terms with the new normal imposed by the coronavirus, but it shouldn’t look like a day at the beach.

Videos of revelers crowded together on the sand and in oceanfront bars — just daring the pandemic to cancel spring break — have flooded social media this week. The raucous invincibility drowned out the pleadings of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to stop this foolish behavior in order to protect themselves and others. …

That’s why Marie and Benjy Joung, sturdy Midwest millennials who have lived in Dallas since 2018, are self-quarantining in their 600-square-foot downtown apartment with their three pet rats, Leonard, Vern, and Nebuchadnezzar. They know the walls of their studio space are likely to close in on them more with each passing week, but they are determined to take deep breaths and stay put to buy time for other Americans.

Marie and Benjy are in great health, but they began socially distancing even before the first cases of coronavirus were reported in North Texas. Since Saturday, except for a few brief, cautious walks, they haven’t left the apartment that’s serving as their 24-7 work, study and living space.

The Joungs don’t want to catch a virus that doctors still know so little about, but their top reason for hunkering down is to protect others. “Neither of us wants to feel like somebody caught the virus because of our irresponsibility,” Benjy told me by phone after his remote workday ended Tuesday night.

Read more.

2019 Alumni January Main 2019 News

Laura Bush ’68 honored as 2018 Texan of the Year

Former First Lady Laura Bush ’68 was honored as the 2018 Texan of the Year for her “uncommon leadership,” education advocacy and dedication to causes around the globe to improve the lives of women, children and families. The Dallas Morning News editorial board announced the selection on December 30, 2018, in an article detailing her extraordinary accomplishments through the years.
Laura Bush earned a bachelor’s degree in education from SMU and currently serves on the SMU Board of Trustees.

Looking across the Lone Star State and surveying the world at large, there is one person who stands out for her quiet ability to unify people behind a common vision, to focus public attention on what’s critical for our society, and to produce change without concern for who gets credit. In a divided world, her graceful style has helped our country move forward on critical issues and enabled her to leave a lasting mark not only in the past year but over a lifetime of work. …

Laura Bush’s life and career have been about learning, and she has helped ingrain in our culture a deeper understanding of the need for public schooling and preserving our history — the need to both develop within our communities the skills necessary to thrive in life and the tools required to understand and expand free and democratic societies. …

Another important area to highlight in Mrs. Bush’s career is her record of leadership in creating new civil institutions. By our count, over the past two decades, she has founded or co-founded at least a half-dozen nonprofits and other initiatives that continue to improve our world. …

Read more at The Dallas Morning News.

2018 March 2018 News

Building a home for Frankenstein

SMU graduate student Amelia Bransky ’18 says her professors encourage her to “make scary choices,” so she jumped at the chance to design the sets for Frankenstein, a on stage at the Kalita Humphreys Theater through March 4. The play is the first full collaboration between Meadows School of the Arts and the Dallas Theater Center and features SMU students and faculty performing alongside DTC professionals. In a Dallas Morning News story published on February 6, 2018, Branksy said she loves set design because “I get to work with the director, actors, the other designers. We all come together to solve a problem. It’s a joy.”

Nancy Churnin
Theater Critic
The Dallas Morning News

Frankenstein is an old tale, but a fresh adaptation marks the dawn of something new for the Dallas Theater Center — and Southern Methodist University students such as Amelia Bransky.

Bransky has designed a stark, encompassing set for the show — her “favorite monster story,” the graduate student says — which debuts at the Kalita Humphreys Theater on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The production marks a new collaboration between DTC and the theater division of the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, with multiple students performing alongside working professional artists.

“One of my classes was focusing on monsters through art and painting,” Bransky says on the phone from SMU. “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was my favorite part. I love that it’s written by a young woman. I love how it speaks to humanity about the constant tension of nature and nurture and asks if we’re born evil or born good or can be made good or made evil.”

Read the full story.