SMU Lyle student uses management science principles to refine the art of dance

Talia Markowski (’23) finds innovative ways to apply her management science skills to improve her choreography. The double major at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering and Meadows School of the Arts combines proficiency in science with love of dance.

“I love trying to mesh my two worlds together,” Talia says. “It's a fun little challenge. And it's really rewarding at the same time.”

Talia’s journey from young competitive gymnast in Colorado Springs to engineer at SMU Lyle has given her unique skills and the creative freedom to improve her choreography on stage, she said. She uses her degree work in management science to refine her performances and develop new ways to express herself.

“The best way I can describe it is that it’s a degree in efficiency, like planning, organizing, scheduling, and how you can optimize things. We just did a show at the Winspear Opera House, and I was in a dance that was 35 minutes long. So, when I'm dancing, I ask, ‘What's the most efficient way? How can I sustain my energy for that long?’ That's all management science.”

Talia will complete two bachelor’s degrees in the spring – one in Dance and the other in Management Science. Talia has accepted a position with McGuire Sponsel tax consulting firm, where she will work as she completes her master’s degree through SMU Lyle’s accelerated pathways program.

Learn more about SMU Lyle's accelerated pathways.

The accelerated pathways program allows SMU Lyle students to apply in their junior year to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree in just five years. Students like Talia who are accepted into the program begin taking graduate-level courses before they earn their undergraduate degree.

Talia has gained inspiration and guidance from family members along the way. Her mother taught math at her Colorado high school, and her stepfather was a police officer with Colorado Springs Police Department for 33 years. One of her brothers is now a police officer with Dallas Police and another brother flies Cobra helicopters for the marines.

Talia has participated in Student Choreography Showcases at Meadows, and some of her professors at SMU Lyle have attended her performances. She will graduate in May 2023 with her Bachelor's degree. She plans to pursue a career in both engineering and dance while she finishes her Master's.

About the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering 
SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, founded in 1925, is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest. The school offers twelve undergraduate and 29 graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees, in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Engineering Management, Mechanical Engineering and Operations Research and Engineering Management. As a Lyle student, you have 24/7 access to the unique Deason Innovation Gym, which provides the tools and space to work on immersion design projects and competitions to accelerate learning, innovation and leadership. In addition, we have multiple student-led clubs, including Mustang Rocketry, Hilltop Motorsports, Society for Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, and more. What sets Lyle apart is our intention to build engineers who are not only technical experts, but excellent communicators and leaders. Part of the way we do that is to offer participation in centers and institutes to help students pursue personal passions. Lyle’s centers and institutes include the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, which helps cultivate engineering leaders by providing leadership training, mentorship, community outreach opportunities, networking, professional development, and career services; Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity, which is dedicated to developing and scaling sustainable and affordable technologies and solutions to address challenges facing under-resourced communities; Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, which conducts real-world research to achieve fundamental breakthroughs in cybersecurity; and Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, which strives to increase the number and diversity of students interested in pursuing engineering to meet the ever-increasing demand for a well-educated high-tech workforce.

About SMU 
SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, community and the world.