Class of 2024

Alana Adams graduated from Malibu High School in Malibu, California, but over the course of her high school career attended four schools. She completed freshman year at Berkshire School, a boarding school in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Her sophomore year was spent abroad: the first semester in Zermatt, Switzerland at a technology-free and athletically-challenging program called Swiss Semester, and the second semester at Gordonstoun, a boarding school in Elgin, Scotland. She chose to attend SMU because of its location and surrounding area, but also because she felt that she belonged here. Everyone at SMU and everyone who talks about SMU is so excited and welcoming, and Alana knew that she wanted to be part of this community. During high school, Alana participated in multiple medical internships, ranging from cardiology to plastic surgery. She was also part of the Model UN team, a National AP Scholar, and is fluent in German. Alana plans to major in biology on the pre-med track, but will continue her studies of Spanish, English, and statistics, either with an additional major or minors. After her many peregrinations she currently lives in Aspen, Colorado and enjoys hiking with her dog and spending time outdoors with her brothers and sister. Alana’s favorite movie to watch is Iron Man and favorite book is Catch-22.

Reena Alame graduated from Fort Worth Country Day and intends to double major in biological sciences and business while on the pre-med track. She also hopes to further develop her Spanish language skills. Reena chose SMU after a campus visit and loved the university’s close-knit community and emphasis on interdisciplinary study. Reena looks forward to getting involved in undergraduate research, intramural sports, and meeting new people. In high school, Reena was a member of her school’s honor council, Mu Alpha Theta, and graduated salutatorian of her class. She also participated in varsity field hockey and track and field. In her free time, Reena enjoys drawing and exploring new hobbies. Her favorite book is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

Anastasia Benkowski was born in Houston, Texas and graduated from high school in Fort Worth. She intends to major in political science and human rights. It was the human rights major in particular that drew her to SMU—not many universities have this course of study, and Anastasia was intrigued by the course offerings, the ability to get involved in creating change, the travel and study abroad opportunities (such as the Holocaust trip to Poland), as well as a culture that fostered independent research. Able to read Polish and French, Anastasia is interested in the wider world and is eager to become a force for change. In high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society, Vice President of the Junior World Affairs Council Club, and the French Honor Society, and was an active member of the Debate, Math, Asian, and German clubs.

Kate Bouis graduated from Leadership Prep School in Frisco, Texas and plans to double major in mathematics and computer science with minors in psychology and French. She chose SMU because of the beautiful campus and the university’s encouragement to explore a variety of fields and major in multiple subjects. Kate is most excited about getting involved in campus life and meeting new people, and expanding her knowledge. In high school, Kate served as the National Honor Society secretary, the Student Council secretary, and a member of her school’s Student Leadership Organization. She attended 2019 Girls’ State and graduated valedictorian of her senior class. Kate volunteered as a teacher every Sunday at First Frisco United Methodist Church and worked regularly with Metro Relief to feed underserved communities. She was heavily involved with her school’s theatre program and enjoys dancing, shopping, photoshoots, exploring new places, and hanging out with friends. Her favorite book is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Silvio Caroselli hails from League City, Texas and chose SMU because of its small class sizes, location, and faculty. He is most excited about the university’s undergraduate research opportunities and the chance to get to meet new people. He plans to major in one of the lab sciences on the pre-med track in pursuit of becoming a medical specialist. In high school, Silvio participated on several athletics teams including track, cross country, and basketball and also played clarinet in the school band. He also was a member of National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. In his free time Silvio enjoys hanging out with friends, participating in athletic events and listening to music. Silvio is a big fan of classic fiction novels and his favorite is Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend.

Donald Duggan graduated from the Keystone School in San Antonio, and chose SMU because of its clear investment in its students and the resources the school provides for taking advantage of the many experiential and pre-professional opportunities in Dallas. Donny will be pursuing a degree in biological sciences on the pre-med track and training as an EMT in preparation for medical school. He also plans to minor in music, history, and as many of his other interests as possible in order to fully develop his understanding of the world on the way to his career. In high school, Donald participated in the Voelcker Biomedical Research Academy at the UT Health Science Center where he was introduced to the medical sciences on a professional level and worked in an HIV research laboratory. He also served as an officer in his Model UN club, performed in Keystone’s theatre production of Into the Woods, and competed in Academic WorldQuest. Donny was a member of Boy Scout Troop 59 in San Antonio and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the spring of 2020. In his free time, Donny enjoys reading, working on hobby projects, and learning guitar. His favorite author is J. R. R. Tolkien.

Lillian Duma graduated from Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, Texas, and chose SMU for its challenging academics, competitive athletics, campus size, and energetic student life. She is most excited to meet new people for insightful and fun conversation both inside and outside of the classroom. During her time at SMU, Lillian intends on exploring her interests of political science, psychology, history, debate, and pre-law. While at Carroll Senior High, she was a recipient of the Carroll Medical Academy Excellence Award, a four-time recipient of the Dragon Scholar Award, and a two-time recipient of Varsity Swimming’s Hardest Worker Award. She was also a select student-applicant for the American Studies program, a National and Spanish National Honor Society member, an AP Scholar with Distinction, Vice President of Feminist Club, and a Summa Cum Laude graduate. During the summer of 2020, Lillian was a select applicant for Students Demand Action’s Activist Institute, where she worked to increase voter registration and participation in Texas. An accomplished athlete, Lillian has competed in swimming and water polo, and will be joining SMU’s rowing team. In her free time, Lillian enjoys listening to music and podcasts, drinking caffeinated beverages, and playing with dogs. She also is a connoisseur of books. Her favorite novel is John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.

Miles Gensler is from New Orleans, Louisiana, and plans to major in biological sciences and minor in business on the pre-med track. He chose SMU for its undergraduate research opportunities, student and faculty mentorship programs, and multitude of clubs and organizations. He is excited to meet new people while studying in an intellectually stimulating environment. Miles graduated from Saint Paul’s School as salutatorian, where he received the Hammer award for his dedication towards the Habitat for Humanity Club, and was recognized as a National Merit Commended Scholar. During his time at Saint Paul’s, he volunteered with Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity, served on student council, and participated on the track and field team as a high jumper. In his spare time, he enjoys staying active and spending time with friends. Miles’s favorite book is Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild.

Sofia Goff graduated from Westwood High School in Austin, Texas. She intends on majoring in economics and political science and is interested in diplomacy. Despite visiting the hilltop frequently with her mother, an alumna, it was not until she experienced SMU’s collaborative classroom setting firsthand that she decided to become a Mustang. Sofia is looking forward to studying abroad and getting involved in undergraduate research. At Westwood, she was a National AP Scholar, a National Hispanic Scholar, and the Economics Student of the Year. Additionally, she volunteered over 1,000 hours as Head Coach of the National Hispanic Institute’s Austin Region debate team, ran varsity cross country, and served as the president of Peer Assistance and Leadership. Sofia enjoys hiking, reading, and traveling: she has explored five continents. Her favorites books include Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Peter Zeihan’s The Accidental Superpower.

Claire Janssen graduated from Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio and plans to major in chemistry and minor in neuroscience and psychology on the pre-med track. She was drawn to SMU's Residential Commons system, abundant research opportunities, small class sizes and the campus's goal of equality and inclusivity. In high school, Claire was president of her school's chapter of National Honor Society and received First Honors as well as the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership. Her favorite service projects were leading weekend retreats at her school and various fundraisers for Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Along with her passion for service, Claire's interest in psychiatric research was strengthened after interning as a clinical research assistant, and she hopes to continue conducting research while at SMU. She rowed for Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club, was on Earth Action Team and was a member of Peers as Leaders, an organization to support underclassmen. In her free time, she likes to rock climb, hang out with friends, listen to music and read. Her favorite book is Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle.

Emma Kogut attended Nardin Academy in Buffalo, New York. She chose SMU because its close-knit community and endless opportunities would create the family she was looking for. SMU's emphasis on interdisciplinary study also attracted her as she has wide-ranging interests including film, psychology, business and medicine. She looks forward to four years of intellectual exploration. In high school, Emma was a competitive dancer who won numerous awards at regional and national competitions. She shared her love of dance by volunteering to assist the younger elementary dancers at her studio. Emma also was an AP Scholar with distinction, a member of National Honors Society, and co-president of her high school's Peer Helpers Club. Her favorite film is Call Me By Your Name.

Karen Lin attended James Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, and graduated as a member of its STEM Academy. She was drawn to SMU for its numerous research opportunities, close-knit community, and interdisciplinary education offered. Karen intends on pursuing a major in biology and a minor in neuroscience. While in high school, Karen was elected as the Vice President of Psychology Club, Secretary of National Honors Society, and Public Relations Officer of Science National Honors Society. She has studied the violin for over 10 years and served as the concertmaster of the Martin High School Symphony Orchestra, which was named the 2019 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Honor Full Orchestra. Karen was also the concertmaster of the TMEA Region 5 Orchestra and a three-year TMEA All-State musician. In addition to her musical accomplishments, she is an AP Scholar with Honor, received the AP Scholar + Project Lead the Way award, and earned three gold medals on the Texas Music Teachers Association Whitlock Theory Test. Additionally, Karen has volunteered at Missions Arlington and Arlington Memorial Hospital, and performs in a string quartet. Her favorite book is Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women for the warmth it brings to everyday truths and the light it sheds on the individual strengths of women.

Jack McManus was raised in Austin, Texas, where he graduated from Westlake High School. He was drawn to SMU because of its academic flexibility and rigor, vibrant student life, and the abundance of career placement resources and research opportunities the University offers. His course of study at SMU includes intended majors in economics and history in addition to minors in Spanish and cognitive science, as well as programming in the Pre-Law Scholars Program. His other academic interests include art history and Christian theology. As an editor of his high school’s student news magazine, he won several national awards for news writing and photojournalism, was a member of the Quill & Scroll national honor society, and was named to the National Scholastic Press Association Honor Roll. Other distinctions included being an AP Scholar with Distinction and receiving the National Spanish Examination Bronze Medal. He competed in varsity rowing and track & field, and is currently a member of SMU’s club rowing program. One of his favorite books is Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.

Evan Miles chose to attend SMU because of the beautiful campus, job opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, and tight-knit community of students. Evan graduated from Kearney High School, a small suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. He is pursuing degrees in both business and statistical science on the pre-law track. Evan is not only a part of the Dedman College Scholars community but is a Hegi Career Leader and a Pre-Law Scholar as well. In high school Evan was president of National Honor Society, a captain of the varsity football team, the captain of the varsity golf team, an officer of Future Business Leaders of America, and the first chair trombone. Evan was selected as a Missouri 100 scholar in which The Missouri Education Department selects the top 100 scholars in Missouri based on leadership, academics, and community service. He also received the Most Outstanding Senior Scholar from the Kearney School District and Most Likely to Succeed from his peers. His childhood dream was to move to Texas and become a cowboy - now instead of riding the mustang, he is the mustang!

Travis Nolan intends to double-major in geology and biology and minor in mechanical engineering with the goal of pursuing a career in paleontology. Travis has been fascinated with paleontology since a very young age, and joined the Dallas Paleontological Society in 2009. He has since spent countless hours volunteering with organizations such as the Arlington Archosaur Site and Whiteside Museum of Natural History. Travis decided to attend SMU for its world-renowned paleontology resources, and proximity to the Whiteside Museum. He is especially excited about conducting independent research and taking paleontology classes. In 2018, Travis began volunteering with Paper for Water, a local charity organization that raises money for water wells by trading origami ornaments for donations. Through the organization, he started a project that raised more than $30,000 to fund a well in Butere, Kenya. Travis received numerous awards prior to his arrival at SMU, including Paper for Water’s 2019 Youth Volunteer of the Year Award, the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2019, third place worldwide in the "own design" category of the 2018 International Origami Internet Olympiad, and a scholarship to attend the OrigamiUSA National Convention in 2018. His favorite books are Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Robert Lang’s Origami Design Secrets.

Kathleen Nguyen came from Frisco, Texas, where she graduated from Prosper High School. She decided to attend SMU because of its ample research opportunities, great campus life, notable faculty, and the overall opportunities offered in the Dallas area. In comparison to all the other colleges she visited, she felt most comfortable and excited while standing on the Hilltop. After meeting so many amazing people during her tours on the campus, Kathleen looked most forward to experiencing a fun and meaningful college life alongside new friends and to participating in many activities that would allow her to contribute to the SMU community. She plans to major in biochemistry, possibly minor in psychology, and pursue the pre-health track. Back in high school, Kathleen never dropped below 3rd rank in her class and was a National AP Scholar, National Merit Commended student, and a part of the National Honor Society. She also interned throughout her junior and senior year in the hospital and nursing home, becoming a Certified Nurse Aide by the end of junior year, and participated in the Symphonic Orchestra. Outside of school, Kathleen enjoyed figure skating, drawing comics, and writing short stories. Her favorite book series is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and her favorite movie is the Studio Ghibli film Howl's Moving Castle. Kathleen has made it her goal to grow through her experience at SMU: to learn through her interactions with the community and develop her sense of leadership, confidence, and understanding.

Alexia Nzali decided to attend SMU because of the research opportunities, smaller class sizes, and to attend courses by professors who are specialized in their field. At SMU, she looks forward to the networking opportunities and being able to participate in medical organizations. Alexia intends to major in biology and health and society on the pre-med track, with a possible minor in French. She hopes to pursue a career in obstetrics or surgery. Alexia was involved in the Health Science magnet at Richardson High School. She was the secretary of the French Honors Club and was involved in Mu Alpha Theta, National Honors Society, and Girl Up. Seeking out a challenge, Alexia later participated in Richland Collegiate High School and graduated as valedictorian on the President’s Honor Roll. Alexia volunteered at Dallas Public Library throughout high school and was able to earn the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the Chancellor’s Volunteer Service Award from Dallas College. Alexia also completed a Capstone project during her senior year of high school, on the topic of health illiteracy. During her free time, Alexia enjoys reading and spending time with family. Her favorite book is Graceling, a science fiction book from her childhood. She hopes that her time at SMU will allow her to grow as an individual and in her field of study.

Hayden Ovanes graduated from Masconomet Regional High School in Boxford, Massachusetts and chose to attend SMU due to the wealth of research and internship opportunities available. The positivity of the student body seemed to her like the ideal scenario for college life. Hayden also appreciates the university’s dedication to creating a diverse and inclusive environment where the students and professors respect one another. She intends to major in chemistry on the pre-law track while developing her interests in public policy and human rights. While in high school, Hayden was a member of National Honor Society and National French Honor Society, as well as an AP Scholar and a recipient of the Smith Book Award. She participated in Model United Nations where she served as treasurer during her senior year, French club, and the Math team. Outside of school, Hayden coached a U-12 girls’ soccer team and worked at a restaurant. Hayden describes herself as a passionate learner who wants to continue to grow within the education provided at SMU. Her favorite books are Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper and James McBride’s The Color of Water.

Emily Pinson is a native of Mandeville, Louisiana and plans to major in political science on the pre-law track, while also minoring in history and international studies. She was drawn to SMU by its gorgeous campus, strong academic reputation, and exciting study abroad programs. Emily most looks forward to getting involved in Commons Council, making connections with faculty, and participating in Greek life. She also hopes to study abroad in Europe at some point during her undergraduate career. Emily graduated first in class and was voted the Friendliest at Mandeville High School. She was also the president of Yoga Club, an AP Scholar with Distinction, and a part of National Honor Society. Outside of school, she worked at Culinary Kids, teaching children how to cook and managing the All Abilities Cooking Class. On weekends, Emily volunteered as a youth Sunday school teacher at her church and performed for residents at various assisted living communities. Her hobbies include scuba diving, singing, and playing the piano, ukulele, and banjolele. Emily’s favorite book is Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing.

Erik "EJ" Rorem grew up in Washington State before moving to Plano, Texas where he graduated as a home-school student. EJ was drawn to SMU by the school's ample opportunities for undergraduate research and personalized education, as well as the school's excellent faculty and community. EJ plans to explore majors in biological sciences, political science, and international studies. As a high school student, EJ competed in speech and debate for six years, eventually earning the Second Place Lincoln-Douglas Debate Speaker Award at the NCFCA National Championship in 2019. EJ has worked as a volunteer attorney at the Collin County Teen Court, taught Sunday School at his local church, and served as President for his speech and debate club. He also worked as a Programs Intern at the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Ft. Worth where he received the Pat & Mary Ann Murray Intern Award. EJ was a National Merit Commended Scholar, National Hispanic Scholar, and an AP Scholar with Distinction. He is an avid reader, news junkie, and entomology enthusiast with a budding interest in Dungeons & Dragons. Two of EJ's favorite books are Bram Stoker's Dracula and Thomas Hager's The Alchemy of Air.

Bhavna Singh graduated from Longview High School in Longview, Texas and intends to double major in psychology and corporate communication and public affairs with a minor in neuroscience. She chose to attend SMU because of its location and celebratory attitude towards interdisciplinary study. Bhavna is most excited about getting involved in the campus community through undergraduate research, student leadership, attending sporting events, and Boulevarding. While in high school, Bhavna was part of the International Baccalaureate Program, Honor Society, UNICEF Club, Zonta Club, and the Varsity Lobo Tennis Team. She also served as Student Council President, organized the Backpack Initiative Project, which provided low-income students with necessary hygienic products, and volunteered at her local hospitals, nursing homes, and pet shelters. While she enjoys spending time outdoors and with friends, she also enjoys staying in and watching Criminal Minds or Grey’s Anatomy. Her future goals include practicing medicine as a surgeon.

Anna Su is from Southlake, Texas and plans to double major in biological sciences and economics on the pre-med track. She chose SMU for its dedicated faculty, wealth of opportunities, and location in the heart of Dallas. Anna is excited to get involved on campus, create new relationships, and seek out undergraduate research opportunities. She graduated summa cum laude from Carroll High School where she was recognized as a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar, served as a member of the National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and as a peer mentor, managed the girls’ soccer team, and volunteered at the local hospital. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, watching movies, following fashion, and playing the piano.

Jake Welton graduated from Westview High School in San Diego, California and intends to pursue a major in international studies, while advancing his interests in political science and history. He chose SMU because of the caring community, excellent study abroad programs, and variety of undergraduate research opportunities. Jake is eager to avail himself of all SMU has to over including sporting events, clubs, and the many different academic opportunities on offer. While at Westview, he served as a member of the National Honors Society and the California Scholarship Federation, two organizations that encourage academic excellence and giving back to one’s city through volunteer work of all kinds. There Jake founded a 501(c)(3) charity called Support Young Athletes. The purpose of the charity is to aid critically injured or ill young athletes in covering medical costs and any other financial burdens sustained during recovery. An enthusiastic athlete himself, Jake also played football, basketball and practiced the martial art of Muay Thai in high school. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music of all kinds, keeping up with international politics, watching sports, and hanging out with friends. One of Jake’s favorite authors is Jack London.

Dylan Zlatinski was blown into Texas (against his will) from the Windy City at the tender age of 4. While he finished in the top five percent of his class at Liberty High School in Frisco, Dylan seeks to stand out as a role model for more than just academic excellence. He hopes his classmates will remember him for his dedication to serve on a local and international level. As President of his People to People International chapter, he organized and led a humanitarian project designed to help refugees in North Texas. The long-term endeavor was awarded a nine-hundred-dollar chapter grant upon its conclusion. During his junior year, Dylan's counselor nominated him to represent his high school in the annual Texas Boys State held in Austin, Texas. At Boys State, Dylan reconfirmed his love for political science while running to defend the truth as a Justice of the Supreme Court. Dylan appreciates the flexibility of the SMU career path as he plans to double major in political science and finance on route to his ultimate goal of attaining a spot in a top-tier law school. In a world that's full of half-truths and insincerities, he respects the SMU Motto of "The truth will set you free". Outside of class, you can find Dylan involved in several extracurricular organizations, competing in intermural sports, and serving as a Hegi Career Leader.