Each year, we spotlight our NexPoint Tower Scholar Seniors. We enjoy hearing about their journey through the program and how their perspective on the importance of public policy evolved when combined with their own academic interests. This year, we asked our incoming and current scholars to interview the seniors and were delighted by the conversations captured.
Sarah Khoja ’25 interviewed Joshua Hascall ’23 to learn more about his time as a NexPoint Scholar.
Tell me a bit about where you’re from, your majors, and why you chose them.
I’m from Denver, Colorado, majoring in Finance and Computer Science with a minor in Public Policy and International Affairs with a specialization in ALTS, or the Alternative Asset Management Program. I became interested in Finance and Computer Science as I enjoy problem-solving and using data and logic to find solutions that others may not consider. I want to specifically understand how to obtain and interpret data from a computer science standpoint and, on the other end, learn how to approach solutions from a business standpoint with finance.
How did you hear about the Tower Scholars Program? What or who encouraged you to apply?
I actually heard about the Tower Scholars Program through an email that went out and I was curious about the program itself. I’m fascinated by how decisions get made at high levels as well as organizational structures. I’ve always been interested in politics and wanted to explore my interests in a highly selective program like the Tower Scholars Program.
What are some of your favorite memories from the Tower Program or some of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
One of my favorite memories from the Tower Program was going to D.C. with my cohort and being able to build memories with my peers. Another memory that stands out was when George W. Bush visited our class over Zoom. Someone had asked about his reaction and response during 9/11 and it was fascinating to see what was going through his mind at the time and how a leader of a country reacts in a time of crisis.
What else are you involved with on campus?
Outside of the Tower Center, I’m a Don Jackson Fellow and the President of the Boulevard Investment Group, which I found out about through the Tower Scholars Program. I’m also on the Computer Science Student Advisory Board and a part of the Bridwell Reading Group.
What advice would you give to underclassmen or incoming freshmen?
I would definitely recommend to underclassmen to learn how to prioritize. Invest your energy into things that you care about as SMU is an amazing place to develop breadth and experience in things that you may have never thought about. My advice to freshmen would be to assume that you don’t know what you want to do and to try new things that pique your interest. Think about what you want to do and think about how you’re going to get there.
What public policy issue means the most to you?
I currently work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and this experience has made me realize that everything that the Federal Reserve does affects people and has a massive impact on their day-to-day lives. I’m specifically passionate about the relationship between fiscal policy and world affairs and how the interactions among nations is based on fiscal and monetary policy decisions. The state of the world, especially now, is volatile, and I’m fascinated with the role that fiscal policy plays in the decisions that nations make.