Class of 2017

Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars

Kovan Barzani

Kovan is a business analyst at Capital One in Plano, Texas, where he is from. He triple majored in Economics, Public Policy and Management with a minor in political science. He enjoys basketball, studying history, and international politics. Kovan plans to go to graduate school to earn an MBA and a master's in public policy.

Read about Kovan in SMU's annual report! (Pg. 26-29).



A.J. Jeffries

A.J. is a student at Stanford Law School. He is from Downers Grove, Illinois, and he triple majored in history, economics, and public policy with a double minor in philosophy and public policy. He also played on the SMU men's soccer team.




Sara Jendrusch

Sara works for a public relations firm in Dallas. She is from The Colony, Texas, and majored in English and Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, with minors in Public Policy and International Affairs and History. She was a Dedman College Scholar, a Second Century Scholar, a Richter Fellow, a Bauer Scholar, a member of the University Honors Program, and a member of the Robert S. Hyer Honor Society. Sara was involved in the SMU Catholic Ministry as a first-year small group leader and Awakening staff member; Mustang Mavericks as a lieutenant; Dedman College Ambassadors; and Sigma Phi Lambda sorority. She was also a Resident Assistant in Armstrong Commons and a Mustang Corral 2014 Group Leader.

Stefanie Lohse

Stefanie is going to medical school. She is from Allen, Texas and is majored in biochemistry. Her lifelong dream has been to combine international relations/public policy and medicine. Stefanie's SMU activities and honors include: Ballroom Dance Team, violin (private study), University Honors Program and Dedman College Scholars. She has played violin extensively in the United States and Europe, and is a high level competitive figure skater.



Kate Moody

Kate is a student at the University of Texas School of Law. She is from Tampa, Florida and majored in international studies and human rights with a minor in Spanish. She was a Resident Assistant in Loyd Residential Commons and serves on the Leadership Team for the SMU Wesley Foundation. Kate was a member of the University Honors Program and the Dedman College Scholars Program. Kate received an International Baccalaureate Diploma and the George Washington University Book Award. Kate’s public policy interests include researching the use of the death penalty in the United States.


Matthew Reitz

Matthew Christian Reitz will attend graduate school at Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy after gaining two years of work experience in the D.C. area. He is from Fort Worth, Texas and was the 2015-2017 Edwin L. Cox Undergraduate Research Fellow. He was a Hilltop Scholar and part of the University Honors Program. Matthew worked alongside Dr. Hiroki Takeuchi as part of the Hamilton Scholars research program and is co-authoring a paper titled "Is Japan Militarized?: Wither Japan's Security Policy" which explores the role of pacifism and nationalism in contemporary Japanese security policy. In the fall of 2016, Matthew interned at Hunt Mexico to research free-trade's impact on wages in the energy sector.

Thomas Schmedding

Thomas is a people operations fellow for Komaza in Kilifi, Kenya. He is from Apex, North Carolina and majored in management, international development & social change, and public policy with minors in economics and international affairs. He was an intern for a public-private partnership between USAID and The Kaizen Company, as well as SMU's Student Representative to the Board of Trustees for Student Affairs. Thomas also has seven completed internships in the public, private, and social sector, both in the United States and abroad. Thomas enjoys cooking and studying social innovation.