The SMU Human Rights Fellowship (HRF) enables a small number of promising SMU students to develop the skills and leadership necessary to impact real world change.
The HRF provides a year of in-depth mentorship to exceptional students as they target pressing human rights problems through social innovation projects of their own design. It is the most prestigious Human Rights honor offered at SMU. Any current SMU undergraduate or graduate student can become an HRF, although Human Rights majors and minors are especially encouraged to apply.
Meet the Current SMU Human Rights Fellows!
From left: Neha Husein, Sadiya Patel, HRF Advisor and EHRP Associate Director Dr. Brad Klein, Averie Bishop, Visakh Madathil, India Simmons.
Averie is a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Human Rights and Sociology and minoring in Law and Legal Reasoning (as a Pre-Law Scholar). She will produce a peer-constructed and peer-led sexual education video series, for and by women of color, using the YouTube platform.
Neha is a fourth-year undergraduate studying Human Rights and Marketing, and minoring in Advertising and Sociology (with a nonprofit focus). She will develop a mobile application called "Just Drive," which will incentivize safe driving and reduce texting on the road by providing rewards for use at local businesses.
Visakh is a third-year undergraduate majoring in Economics and Physics and minoring in Math, Computer Science, Management Science, and Public Policy and International Affairs (as a Tower Scholar). He will create a web-based, artificial intelligence-driven platform that will enable nonprofits to measure impact, build partnerships, and analyze finances.
Sadiya is a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Human Rights and International Studies (with a focus on Asia) and minoring in History and Women's and Gender Studies. She will build a discussion-action group for college students to explore intersections of religion and women's rights, culminating in a spring conference at SMU.
India is a third-year undergraduate majoring in Human Rights, International Studies, and Political Science. She will create a new SMU organization to build awareness, provide resources, and facilitate dialogue on the topic of mental health as a human right.
Past SMU Human Rights Fellows
Benjamin Chi: Ben was a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Biochemistry and Health and Society. Ben worked with homelessness advocates, state government officials, healthcare specialists, and youth experiencing homelessness to change the Texas Family Code so that minors without guardians could consent to their own vaccinations and medical care, thereby allowing them to attend school and improving public health.
Greg Guggenmos: Greg was a third-year undergraduate majoring in Applied Statistics and Data Analytics and minoring in Computer Science and History. Greg launched his own nonprofit, the Dallas Community Bail Fund, which provided grants to indigent defendants awaiting trial in the Dallas County justice system and drew from best practices of organizations in other cities such as the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund (which Greg visited as part of a Richter Fellowship).
Tiffany Jelke: Tiffany was a Human Rights BA alumna and first-year MLS student focused on Human Rights and Social Justice. Tiffany produced titled "Refugee Stories: In Their Own Voices" under the auspices of her own human rights multimedia company while working as an Advocacy Associate with the International Rescue Committee on pro-refugee and pro-immigrant education and legislation.
MacKenzie Jenkins: MacKenzie was a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Human Rights and International Studies and minoring in Arabic and Public Policy and International Affairs. MacKenzie partnered with Dallas County judges Shequitta Kelly, Amber Givens-Davis, Lisa Green, and Stephanie Mitchell on their initiative called Pipeline to Possibilities: A Look Into Educational Equity and Discipline in Dallas ISD, an educational outreach program for at-risk middle and high school students that seeks to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline for at-promise middle and high school students.
Angela Wang: Angela was a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Biochemistry and Human Rights. In addition to interning with the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center as a Sexual Assault Advocate, Angela is created a toolkit for friends and family of survivors of sexual assault and sex trafficking called "Wait, I Can Actually Help??" that integrated interviews with experts and survivors, data demonstrating the importance of early intervention, and proven cognitive behavioral techniques.
Dominique Earland: Dominique was a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Human Rights and Biology and minoring in Biomedical Anthropology. She worked with the Dallas County Fetal-Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) of Parkland Hospital to teach healthcare rights and ensure the provision of appropriate services to mothers and babies at risk due to socioeconomic status, lack of citizenship documentation, or age.
Suzanne Massey: Suzanne was a MA candidate in Sustainability and Development, as well as an SMU administrator. She worked with Kids-U and the Injury Prevention Center of Greater Dallas to implement a PHOTOVOICE project in the Forest/Audelia neighborhood where youth will be taught to use art in increasing community safety and disrupting cycles of violence and poverty.
Kate Moody: Kate was a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Human Rights and International Studies and minoring in Public Policy and International Affairs. She completed an independent applied research project by gathering comprehensive data on the cost effectiveness of the death penalty in Dallas county, with the goal of renewing dialogue around effective criminal justice procedures.
Syed Rizvi: Syed was a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Human Rights and Political Science and minoring in Arabic. He coordinated with major mosques in the Dallas area to integrate and teach human rights modules within their Islamic religious education curricula for children.
Stephanie Staton: Stephanie was an MDiv candidate seeking ordination in a Christian denomination. She organized two local United Methodist church congregations – Kessler Park and White Rock – to create a leadership and dialogue training program bringing together members of the congregations and refugee neighbors recently resettled to the area.
Samantha Butz: Samantha was a third-year undergraduate majoring in Fashion Media and Advertising and minoring in Graphic Design and Photography. Drawing on support from faculty at the Meadows School of the Arts, Samantha cataloged SMU apparel practices, created a grassroots campaign advocating for worker rights in the garment industry, and worked with SMU administrators to update all university purchasing standards with non-negotiable human rights guidelines.
Liliana Garcia: Liliana was a third-year undergraduate majoring in International Studies and minoring in Human Rights. Working with Pueblo Sin Fronteres and the League of United Latin American Citizens, Liliana created an education program to increase academic achievement, family support, and retention rates for children of migrant workers in the Dallas Independent School District.
Vanna Ngo: Vanna was an MLS student focusing on Human Rights and Social Justice. Working with the SMU Residential Commons, Vanna created a restorative justice curriculum to motivate constructive dialogue across and around difference, increase student investment in community health and safety issues, and provide an alternative conflict resolution platform in the SMU Residential Commons.
Sandra Ostad: Sandra was an MLS student focusing on Human Rights and Social Justice and Global Studies. Interning with the International Rescue Committee, Sandra facilitated their citizenship education curriculum, assisted with development campaigns, created a volunteer training structure, and wrote a successful grant proposal for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency which alloed the Dallas office of the IRC to significantly expand its citizenship instruction and naturalization application services.
Daryl Parker: Daryl was an MLS student focusing on Human Rights and Social Justice and Creative Writing. Daryl built on his background as a Marine and police officer to launch a new nonprofit organization, Actual Innocence Review, which conducted criminal investigations in cases of wrongfully convicted persons and successfully won a new judicial hearing for Gustavo Mireles, a man who has been in prison on a murder charge for fifteen years.
Anna Norkett: Anna was a third-year undergraduate with majors in Economics and Public Policy and a minor in Business Administration. She worked as Project Leader for College Bound Dallas to administer a tutoring and mentoring program for underprivileged high school students and raise awareness of education inequality in the United States.
Amanda Steinke: Amanda was a fourth-year undergraduate with majors in Environmental Engineering and Human Rights. In conjunction with the Lyle Engineering in the City program, she facilitated a 1200 square foot aquaponics project at St. Philip's School and Community Center in south Dallas, an area identified as a food desert.
Karma Orfaly: Karma was a fourth-year student with majors in Human Rights and Political Science and a minor in Law and Legal Reasoning. She worked with Ma’Ruf Dallas, a Muslim social justice and refugee service organization, to serve as a translator, educator, and service provider with Syrian recently relocated to the United States.
Ketetha Olengue: Ketetha was a fourth-year undergraduate with majors in Computer Science and Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics. She led grassroots campaigns and built international relationships as a Social Media, Communications, and Development specialist with Minga Peru.
Shelbi Smith: Shelbi was a fourth-year undergraduate with a major in Human Rights and minors in Women’s and Gender Studies and History. She worked with Human Rights Initiative of North Texas to provide legal assistance to refugees and immigrants who were victims of human rights abuses.