Minor in Public Policy & International Affairs

Meet the 2018 Class of HCM Tower Scholars


Fairooz Adams

Research: Fairooz is doing an Engaged Learning project to determine to what extent the demographic characteristics of a speaker influences an audience’s perception of the validity of a speaker’s views. 

Bio: Fairooz Adams is a pre-law junior majoring in political science, and intending to major in international studies and communication studies. He is from Lewisville, Texas, where he began his active participation in politics by challenging a school board decision to split his class. At Southern Methodist University, Fairooz is returning as President of SMU College Democrats, is a cofounder and Secretary of the United Students Association, Dedman Senator and Vice Chairman of the Student Concerns Committee in Student Senate, and Chairman of the Organizations Committee for Not On My Campus, as well as an AIPAC campus liaisonOutside of SMU he is serving as the Treasurer of the Young Democrats of Denton County. He is a Bauer Scholar and a part of the University Honors Program.  Fairooz’s interests in politics and societal concerns range from climate disruption and education to America's national security and the defense of our strategic interests. He joined the Tower Scholars Program primarily because of his desire to gain valuable experience to one day develop answers to challenges with which America is confronted. Upon completion of his undergraduate career, Fairooz intends to attend law school and later enter public service.



Grace Caputo

Grace is a Sophomore from Frisco, Texas double majoring in Political Science and Human Rights with a double minor in Law and Legal Reasoning and Public Policy and International Affairs. Her interest in public policy is to further protect and expand human rights, especially for people who suffer mental illnesses. Grace is also a Pre-Law Scholar and a member of Phi Alpa Delta, as well as involved in Best Buddies, Emerging Leaders, Club Ultimate Frisbee and NSCS. She is a Boaz resident and serves as the Boaz Commons Council Executive Public Relations Coordinator. Grace intends to research U.S. policy regarding the regulation of mental health facilities as well as the rights given to the patients in hopes of improving the safety and well-being of Americans. After graduation, Grace hopes to attend SMU law school.



Diana Cates

Diana is from Fort Worth, Texas and is pursuing majors in International Studies and World Languages (Spanish/Russian) along with a minor in Arabic. In her free time she loves running marathons, volunteers with Allies in Youth Development, takes dancing lessons, and writes poetry. In addition to being a full-time student, she is also a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserves and is stationed with Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion 14th Marine Regiment in Grand Prairie, Texas. She has honorably served with the Marines for eight years as an administrator and has worked in various countries across the world, such as Djibouti, Uganda, Morocco, Italy, and Spain. Upon graduation, she looks forward to continuing her career in the Marine Corps as an officer within the Intelligence sector. Her decision to become an HCM Tower Scholar was influenced by her lifelong commitment to public service, her passion for cultures and languages, and her constant endeavor to challenge herself in every manner. 


Ryan Cross

Ryan is from Westport, Connecticut and is majoring in political science and international studies with minors in Spanish, history, and public policy and international affairs. At SMU, he is a member of the University Honors Program, the Hilltop New Century Scholars Program, the Career Development Ambassadors, and the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He was drawn to the Tower Scholars Program knowing it will provide a public policy lens to his broader political science education. Additionally, he is intrigued by its opportunities for real-world policy application and the exclusive coursework related to the program's interdisciplinary minor. Throughout his undergraduate career, he intends to study human rights and the politics of Asia and Latin America. 


Isabelle Gwozdz

Isabelle is from Greenwich, Connecticut and is majoring in Political Science and History with a minor in English. She is a Hilltop New Century Scholar and a Cornerstone Scholar. Her involvement at SMU includes the SMU Medieval Club, the SMU Women’s Lacrosse team, and her membership in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Isabelle enjoys volunteering with local youth organizations and has a specific interest in international human rights. She is currently an ambassador for the Janada Batchelor Foundation for Children in Kitongo, Tanzania. After graduation, Isabelle hopes to attend graduate school and work for an international non-profit organization. Isabelle chose to become an HCM Tower Scholar because she wishes to combine her academic interest in public policy with her passion for international human welfare and environmental issues. 


MacKenzie Jenkins

MacKenzie is a sophomore from Richardson, Texas and is majoring in Human Rights and Political Science with a minor in Arabic. She is an Honor Roll recipient, a Rotunda Scholar and is part of the University Honors Program.  MacKenzie serves as the Peer Academic Leader for Ware Residential Commons and also serves as a Peer Mentor for the Rotunda Scholars Program. In the community, she tutors local students from Woodrow Wilson High School on Saturdays with the Mustang Heroes-College Bound Chapter. Additionally, she is a part of the Voices of Inspiration Gospel Choir and the Association of Black Students.  MacKenzie’s public policy interests lie in education policy, specifically the “school-to-prison pipeline” theory and access to education for women and children in the Middle East and Africa. MacKenzie is excited for the opportunity to gain real-word experience with policy making and becoming a change-agent in education both domestically and internationally.


Brian O’Donnell

Brian is a sophomore from Fairfield, Connecticut. He is double majoring in Finance and Public Policy with minors in Public Policy and International Affairs, Economics, and History. Along with being an HCM Tower Scholar, Brian is a Hilltop New Century Scholar and Francis Ouimet Scholar, and has consistently been on the Honor Roll with Distinction. Outside of the classroom, he is an avid sports fan and is the current Sports Editor for the SMU Campus Weekly. He is also involved in the SMU Catholic Campus Ministry as Treasurer and Mustang Awakening staff member. Brian’s areas of interest include fiscal and monetary policy as well as globalization and international trade. Beyond graduation, Brian hopes to do global macroeconomic research for an investment firm, work for the State Department or Federal Reserve, and eventually run for public office. 


David Shirzad

David Shirzad is a sophomore from Washington, D.C. majoring in Finance and Public Policy along with a minor in Public Policy and International Affairs. David has previously interned at the Office of George W. Bush, the European Union Delegation to the United States in Washington D.C., and for Congressmen Peter Roskam (R-IL), John Boehner (R-OH), and Michael McMahon (D-NY). David is currently an SMU Ambassador, a Peruna Handler, and on the Conduct Board. In the summer of 2015, David was an AARO leader (Academic Advising Registration and Orientation), and in his free time he likes to mountain bike and participate in Best Buddies. David chose to become an HCM Tower Scholar because he wants to be an influential policy maker for international economics and analyze its effects on domestic politics in Washington D.C.


Drew Wicker

Drew is a Sophomore from Prosper, Texas double majoring in Finance with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, with a minor in Public Policy and International Affairs. His policy interests are wide-ranged with passions for international politics and strategy, US domestic policy issues, and global economics. He has served as the inaugural Chief of Staff for Crum Commons, and currently serves as the President of Crum Commons. He also serves as a founding member and Vice President of Young Americans for Freedom and as a VIP Member and Advisor for the CUBE. After graduation he plans to attend graduate school for a masters in International Political Economy, after which he would like to start his own business and eventually run for political office.