Past Team Members

Carson Dudick graduated with majors in History and Human Rights on the Public Policy Track with minors in Law and Legal Reasoning and Women’s and Gender Studies. During her second semester, she took part in Dr. Jill Kelly’s class on Oral History, starting her work with the “Voices of SMU Oral History Project.” She continued to work for the project as an Undergraduate and Summer Research Assistant. The rising scholar completed an internship with the SMU University Archives in hopes of establishing a Texas State Historical Marker to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech in 1966 on SMU’s campus.
Carson earned an Engaged Learning Fellowship grant to conduct research at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Archives for her honors thesis, “Eleanor Roosevelt: The Evolution of Public Opinion in The New York Times in Contrast to Personal Sentiment.” Carson was involved in numerous organizations on campus including her positions as treasurer for Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and Co-Chair of Academics for the Philosophy club. She was also a member of the History Ambassadors, Fair Care Club, Delta Gamma Sorority, and Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. Carson plans on attending law school and graduating in 3 years with honors. Outside of academics, Carson enjoys relaxing with her cat, working out, knitting, puzzles, road trips, and baking.
Sadiya Patel (Class of 2020) majored in Human Rights and International Studies (concentration in Asia) with minors in History and Political Science. A first-generation student and a proud community college graduate, she has actively participated in numerous campus and community organizations while conducting research as an undergraduate scholar. Sadiya became a Human Rights Fellow and drafted a sexual assault curriculum for faith-based institutions in DFW. She was also a McNair Scholar which provided her the opportunity to research issues in India’s society. For example, she investigated topics like India’s violence against women laws and flaws in the country’s judiciary and law enforcements systems. Moreover, the research focused on how the latter policies were enforced in rural areas.
In the Spring of 2020, Sadiya investigated sustainable development and social change in India as a Gilman International Scholar. Through this initiative, Sadiya studied grassroots organizing with an emphasis on gender justice and sexual violence. She hopes to continue exploring how to work with grassroots organizers to seek innovative ways to better enforce and improve gender violence laws, reform police institutions, research the effects of nationalism, and investigate gender themes in East/South Asian media. After graduating, she plans to continue her research at the graduate level and hopefully begin a career as a human rights and gender violence expert on South/East Asia. The aspiring scholar aims to accomplish this by obtaining a Masters in Asian studies and a JD in international human rights law. When not researching or community organizing, she enjoys travelling, protesting, scrolling on Instagram, watching cute animal videos, eating noodles, obsessing over her 7 cats and watching Asian dramas.
David is from Vancouver, Canada and attended SMU between 2019 and 2020. He sought degrees in Computer Science and Economics with minors in History and Math. He focused on promoting equality and inclusivity on campus by working for Voices of SMU. In addition to working on this project, David was a contributor to SMU Hilltopics, the Honors Program’s student-run magazine. As an O’Neil Center Advanced Reading Group participant, he engaged in weekly discussions on democracy, public policy, and economics.
Laurence Lundy (Class of 2021)

Laurence Lundy is from Plano, TX and majored in History and Journalism. He became a part of the Voices of SMU program to help record and understand the stories of minority students on campus and make SMU a healthier community. As an undergraduate research assistant, he worked to make Voices of SMU include consistent dialogue from within the student body at large to facilitate better understanding of the disparate experiences of minority students on campus. Laurence was a resident of the SMU Service House and worked in the surrounding community. He currently works with Nia Kamau in the Champions Mentorship Program, aiming to provide underprivileged youth with a firm foundation both spiritually and intellectually. In his free time, Laurence reads, writes, and works to become a better scholar to pursue a career in either civil rights law or journalism.

Sriya Reddy (Class of 2021)

Sriya is from Plano, TX and majored in Journalism, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, and History. She joined the Voices of SMU team to learn oral history methods and to help diversify SMU’s archives. Sriya is interested in the effect of representation on the student body and how SMU can support their students of color. Aside from being an undergraduate research assistant with Voices of SMU, Sriya was also the Engagement Editor for the Daily Campus and as well as an intern at The Dallas Morning News. She also participated in the SMU-in-Oxford Program as a student and a Program Assistant. In her free time, Sriya likes to journal, listen to NPR podcasts, and volunteer at community gardens. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism where she can focus on undercovered local issues.

India Simmons graduated with majors in Human Rights, International Studies, Political Science, and minors in History, Arabic, and Women & Gender Studies. As a Black Latina who grew up in a Puerto Rican household, issues of race, class, and gender are incredibly important to her. She views nearly all issues through a postcolonial lens, and her next step is pursuing her Masters in International Affairs, and ultimately obtaining her PhD. Her research interests revolve around transnational linkages (based upon anti-imperial endeavors in different global contexts); Global South relations; connections between domestic minority politics and remnants of imperialism; and argues largely for transnational racial solidarity as a potential means to liberation from neocolonialism.
Initially entering SMU as a Track and Field athlete, India became an Embrey Human Rights Fellow (from which she founded Redefining Mental Illness @ SMU), a McNair Scholar, a Gerald J. Ford Research Fellow, and Senior Research Assistant for the Voices of SMU Oral History Project. She has presented at over a dozen conferences and local speaking engagements, ranging from Merida, Mexico to Moscow, Russia, and has had her first article accepted for publication. But most importantly, India is a compassionate mother to two cats, roughly 76 indoor plants, and the pair of bunnies that like to play tag around her apartment.
Nia Kamau (Class of 2022)

Nia is from Little Elm, TX and is double majoring in Human Rights and International Studies with minors in Economics, Public Policy and International Affairs, and Arabic. As an undergraduate research assistant for Voices of SMU, Nia conducts interviews of and research on SMU alumni, focusing on how SMU can improve in the areas of diversity and inclusivity. At SMU, Nia is also an Honors Scholar, a Student Worker for the SMU Human Rights Program, and a 2020-2021 Residential Assistant. In Dallas, Nia co-directs the Champions Mentorship Program, which mobilizes college students to empower underprivileged youth with the tools to pursue higher education.

Abby Herrera (Class of 2024)

Abby is a Freshman from Springdale, Arkansas and is majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Law and Legal Reasoning. She also intends to apply for the selective Health and Society major in the fall. As an undergraduate research assistant for Voices of SMU, Abby hopes to transform campus culture by sharing the stories of underrepresented, yet overachieving SMU alumni. She is passionate about highlighting the outstanding Latinx history of SMU to grow the Latinx population on campus in years to come. At SMU, Abby is the Mary-Hay, Peyton, Shuttles Commons Council Freshman Chair, Student Worker Lead at the newly renovated Hughes-Trigg Student Center, Rotunda Scholar, and 2020 Elect Her Conference alumni. In AK, she is a Pharmacy Clerk at the Springdale Community Pharmacy. In her free time, Abby enjoys spending time with animals and reading books about America’s healthcare system.

Ruth Demissie (Class of 2022)
Ruth is a rising Junior majoring in History and Psychology with a minor in Health Science. As an undergraduate research assistant, Ruth hopes to see Voices of SMU encouraging students of color who are having challenges finding their place on campus. Ruth observes differences between transfer students and incoming freshmen and how this shapes a student’s experience for the remainder of their SMU career. She is also interested in seeing how the university can meet students where they are at. Ruth currently works with Residence Life and Student Housing as an ambassador and sits on the Young Ethiopian Ambassadors Committee that serves under the Mutual Assistance Association for Ethiopian Community. In her free time, she loves to read, paint, and attempts to learn Italian every now and then.

Tia Taylor (Class of 2024)

Tia Taylor is a rising sophomore from Dallas, Texas and is majoring in Biological Sciences and Health & Society with a minor in Spanish. As an undergraduate research assistant for Voices of SMU, Tia hopes to give a voice to SMU members from underrepresented groups as well as to share their experiences as a means of inspiration and mentorship for the SMU community. In addition to working on this project, Tia also is involved with the ADAPT research lab, Mustang Heroes, SMU ambassadors, and Presidents Scholars. After undergraduate, Tia plans to attend medical school seeking to serve underprivileged areas and address medical inequalities in her community. In her free time, Tia enjoys working out, listening to both crime podcast and music, and hanging out with friends.

Keeana Esmaeeli (Class of 2022)

Keeana is from Carrollton, TX and is double majoring in Biological Sciences and Psychology. As an undergraduate research assistant for Voices of SMU, Keeana gets the opportunity to connect with alums from decades past to the most recent graduates, which allows her to highlight the experiences and perspectives of students of color at SMU across decades for a broader audience to see. Additionally, she aims to help expand the range of students who can contribute to the project by starting a new branch for the series, specifically for Middle Eastern alums from SMU. At SMU, Keeana is an active member of Student Foundation, as well as a member of the Middle Eastern Student Association and the Detente Collective. In her free time, Keeana enjoys hanging out with her friends in the city, taking her dog on hikes, playing sand volleyball, and reading up on interesting events in the histories of the Middle East, U.S., and Latin America.

Hannah Hall (Class of 2022)

Hannah is a senior at SMU, double majoring in human rights and French studies and minoring in environmental anthropology and history. As an undergraduate research assistant for Voices of SMU and SMU Pride, Hannah conducts interviews and research on LGBTQIA+ identifying alums of SMU to give their stories of a more diverse SMU a voice on campus. At SMU, Hannah is also an honors student, the Communications Director for the SMU Human Rights Council, the Vice President of the SMU Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Chapter, and the Service and Social Media Student Coordinator for the Hilltop Scholars Program. She is honored to have been a Summer 2020 Maguire Public Service Fellow, a Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center Scholar, and a 2021-2022 Engaged Learning, Caswell, Mayer, and Tower Center Fellow at SMU for her independent social justice research.

Bradley Kucera (Class of 2022)

Bradley is a Junior majoring in Human Rights and History with a minor in African/African-American Studies. He prepares videos for presentations and social media sharing the experiences of students and alumni of color to facilitate a much-needed discussion on campus for the archives and Voices of SMU. Bradley also works as a Research Assistant in SMU’s Sociology Department and teaches in the summer for the DeBusk Enrichment Center for Academically Talented Students in Dallas, TX. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, exploring new places, learning history, reading, and writing screenplays.

Valeria Reynosa (Class of 2022)

Valeria is a junior from El Paso, Texas majoring in History and Political Science with minors in Philosophy and Law and Legal Reasoning. As a research assistant, Valeria strives to amplify the voices of underrepresented groups in the SMU Community while documenting their individual experiences and interests. In addition to working on this project, Valeria is involved within the SMU History Department, serving as a History Ambassador and a history intern at the Bywaters Special Collections. She is also the secretary of the Philosophy Club, a features editor for The Daily Campus, and a Student Facilitator for a first-year course. In her free time, Valeria enjoys hiking, running, and listening to history podcasts.