Our Team

The Institute is made up of a diverse team of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members and fellows. Our interdisciplinary program mirrors the structure and demands of a multidimensional world. Students who are studying engineering, communications, business, journalism, videography, web design, project management, and more work together on projects and research to solve challenges facing humanity. The Institute promotes layered mentoring. Undergraduate students work with other Institutes, Centers, graduate students, professors, social entrepreneurs and industry mentors throughout the course of their project.

Eva Csaky

Dr. Eva Szalkai Csaky is the Executive Director of the Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity at SMU and the co-founder of the Inclusive Economy Consortium.  Her work leverages transformational technologies, innovative financial mechanisms and social entrepreneurial approaches for climate-smart and inclusive economic development.  Previously Dr. Csaky worked for 18 years for IFC, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector, and has served as an advisor to the G20, OECD, UN agencies and various US organizations.  She has an MS in Finance from George Washington University and a PhD in Public Policy with a specialization in Globalization & Development from Duke University.

James Olivier, Ph.D.

As an adjunct professor, Dr. Olivier brings over 30 years of industry experience to his classes. His career spans from conducting research at Bell Labs to developing advanced technologies at Samsung and Navini Networks. As a technical consultant, his clients include major corporations such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Ericsson, Samsung, and Microsoft. Dr. Olivier has been recognized as an expert in such areas as Packet Switching, Cellular Networks, and Network Security in United States District Courts and before the International Trade Commission. Dr. Olivier currently chairs the IEEE Dallas Blockchain group, where he promotes transformational technologies.

Alex Radunsky, ScD MPH

Dr. Alex Radunsky is a public health scientist, Research Professor at the Hunt Institute, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Infectious Disease and Geographic Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. In practice, research, and teaching he uses interdisciplinary measurement and analytic approaches to solve systems challenges in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the United States.  His work focuses on social determinants of health and community wellbeing. He received his doctorate in Global Health and Population from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and holds an MPH in Epidemiology and a BA in Political Science.

Jacquelyn Wong

Jacquelyn is a current graduate student in the Masters in Sustainability & Development program at Southern Methodist University. A summer abroad studying sustainable best practices and innovations in Denmark led to her choosing to focus on exploring pathways in her graduate education into the field of urban planning and development. She works with the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity on campus, an organization who fosters partnerships with other locals working to serve and make a lasting impact in the Dallas area.

Farbod Tavakkoli Khomeini

Farbod holds a master’s in Smart and Resilient Infrastructure and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Science and a master’s in data science at SMU where he works as graduate research and teaching assistant. Farbod’s  Ph.D. dissertation focuses on the impact, urban green space poses on public health. Farbod is a data analyst for the Texas Tree Foundation where he aims to identify the contribution of environmental features to observed micro-climatic sensor data. Farbod is also a data scientist for The Center for Global Health Impact where he conducts data analysis and statistical modeling for a virtual reality game that aims to train surgeons in Zambia to treat cervical cancer.

Michaela Eamaa

Michaela is a research associate of the Hunt Institute and a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Engineering with a research focus on water quality modeling and contaminant transport. She received her MS in geology from Texas Christian University in 2020, where she held a thesis focus in soil modeling and mapping utilizing soil electrical conductivity, and her BS in geology from Baylor in 2018. Michaela is the founder of NEXUS Security, a precision agriculture social enterprise focused on bringing technology services to farmers in Texas considered at risk under climate change.

J. Paxton Marshall, J.D., L.LM.

Paxton practiced civil commercial law in New York and Florida, participating in multi-national class-action lawsuits internationally and domestically with an emphasis on labor, health, and human rights. At Tulane Law, Tuft’s Fletcher School and now at the Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity, his work has focused on analyzing regulatory oversight and policy tools, in particular standards and certifications, and their ability to promote environmental, social and economic benefits. Paxton leads the Institute’s ImpactMap efforts in collaboration with 25+ partners. Paxton has published with Human Rights Watch and earned the John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Award for defending juvenile wards with pending criminal charges. Paxton earned his J.D. from the Tulane Law School (Law Review & Order of the Coif) and his Masters in Law from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. He serves as Board Member of Restorative Farms.

Dr. Jessie Zarazaga

Working across the boundaries of urbanism, landscape mapping, and public engagement, Zarazaga explores ways to connect culture and community to place. Using GIS and participatory community mapping, she explores the impact of civil and environmental choices on the design of communities. Her research spans education and practice, working on the integration of community research into project-based learning. Her work overlaps areas of GIS mapping, global sustainable urbanism, design and creativity. She undertook a Fulbright in Valparaíso, Chile, to investigate, and map, devices of landscape as inspirations for the orders of community space.  Jessie earned her Ph.D. in Applied Science in Engineering at SMU, a BA and MA in architecture from Cambridge University, and a BA in Design from Williams College. She is a Registered Architect with the RIBA.

Candice Bledsoe

Dr. Candice Bledsoe is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of leadership, innovation, and diversity and inclusion. She is the executive director of the Action Research Center in Dallas, Texas and is a professor in the SMU Cox School of Business, and the Hunt Institute of Humanity in the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University. She also holds a faculty appointment at Penn State University, Center for the Study of Higher Education, Anti-Racist Leadership Academy. The United Nations honored Dr. Bledsoe with the UN Global Leadership Award for Sustainable Goal 4: Quality Education in 2020 for her tireless efforts to increase access to education and school enrollment rates at all levels, particularly for girls. Dr. Bledsoe has published many articles and received numerous fellowships including: The National Endowment of the Humanities, the New Leadership Academy, National Center for Institutional Diversity, University of Michigan, and Boone Texas Project for Human Rights Education.

Valecia Harris

Valecia is a former Executive Officer from GM Financial services who served 19 years in the captive lending financial service industry. She focused on aligning strategic priorities with the company’s core values while mitigating compliance and regulatory risk. Valecia served as a council member for GM Financial employee rewards and recognition program and as a member of the first Diversity and Inclusion Council. Valecia is an MBA candidate at Southern Methodist University in the Cox School of Business, specializing in Strategy and Entrepreneurship. She serves as President of the Cox Graduate Entrepreneurship Club and the President of the Cox Graduate Women in Business. Valecia has been recognized as an award recipient for the Cox Legacy and Cox Dean’s Circle Business Leadership Center. As well as a recipient of the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation 2021 and 2022 for her leadership role in supporting entrepreneurs in their early-stage ventures. Valecia is a senior advisor to entrepreneurs whose focus is to guide them to a viable business model with scalable solutions. She holds a seat as a member of the board of directors for One i/e, a non-profit organization supporting entrepreneurial ventures.

Anna Grace

Anna Grace Carey is a Marketing Specialist at Sendero, a management consulting firm in Dallas. Prior to joining the marketing department, she worked as an Associate Consultant where she led various organizational change management initiatives in IT departments at two Fortune 500 companies. She graduated cum laude from Southern Methodist University in 2019 with majors in journalism, fashion media and political science; and minors in law & legal reasoning and history of visual & performing arts.

Outside of the office, she is a member of Genesis Young Leaders and volunteers through the Junior League of Dallas. She enjoys writing, traveling, and taking classes through SMU’s interdisciplinary Graduate Liberal Studies program.

Grant Rodriguez Amlani

Grant is a Master’s Candidate in Sustainability & Development within the School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University. His studies have focused on waste management and the circular economy. Currently, he is the Environmental Justice & Recruitment Coordinator for the U.S. Plastics Pact. For the Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity, Grant organizes monthly Impact Nights on issues related to an inclusive economy. He is also a Clinton Global Initiative University Fellow for Environment & Climate Change, working to improve recycling outcomes on college campuses in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Grant holds a Bachelor of Science in Geography with minors in Mathematics & Spanish from the University of North Texas.

Doric Earle

After 30 years managing large technology consultancies, Dr. Earle reinvented himself to help communities, social enterprises and entrepreneurs achieve collaborative, engaging and sustainable solutions. A Ph.D. in Public Affairs focused on Urban Planning drives an emphasis on economic development, communication and community engagement as a catalyst to unlock potential in underserved communities. Social impact drives his work including joining the boards or consulting for NPs such as; Frazier Revitalization, Bridge Lacrosse, Green Careers Dallas, and Miles of Freedom.  His consultancy Forward Planning LLC is developing support for local entrepreneurs. Dr. Earle is also a co-founder of Restorative Farms Hatcher Station Garden and Training Farm project.  These efforts will drive collaboration between the community, SMU and like-minded partners.

Dr. Earle teaches various courses depending on the semester; Social Innovation/NP Leadership, Applied Comm Theory, Financial Comm, and Group/Team Communication Leadership. He holds a BS in Management from Syracuse University, an MBA from University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from University of Texas at Dallas.