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Meadows Students Go Global with Engaged Learning Projects

Twenty Meadows undergraduate students receive research funding as part of SMU's Engaged Learning program

This year’s recipients of SMU’s 2013 Engaged Learning grants include Meadows students whose research involves study in New Zealand, Ethiopia, France and other countries.

Engaged Learning is a campus-wide initiative that awards research grants to students, enabling them to learn beyond the classroom, tackle real-world issues and explore careers. The selected capstone-level projects center around civic engagement, professional internships or creative work with clear project and personal learning goals.

Projects span two years, with the first year concentrating on developing ideas, securing a faculty or staff member sponsor and initial stages of research. During the second year, the student continues research, gives a 5-7 minute presentation on the completed project at the annual Student Forum event in the spring and submits a final report the following fall. All reports are entered into the Engaged Learning Collection of the Central University Library Digital Repository at SMU.

Students work with a mentor throughout the project; the mentor is also an expert in the project topic.

This year, 20 Meadows students took advantage of this incredible opportunity to do undergraduate research.  Their names, majors and projects are listed below:

Senior Morgan Beckwith will intern with Mystic Ballet professional dance company in Stonington, Conn., to gain inside knowledge about the administrative and artistic sides of a successful contemporary dance organization. (Major: Dance, Art History; Mentor: Dr. Shelley Berg)

Junior Lauryn Bodden has begun a food-as-culture project locally and, while studying in London, will expand her knowledge of the global food movement, comparing Londoners’ attitudes about food and eating habits with Americans’ attitudes and habits. (Major: Applied Physiology and Sport Management, Communication Studies; Mentor: Dr. Owen Lynch)

Junior Claire Carson will write a script and produce a play to be produced by SMUST, the Meadows student theatre organization, based on her experience as a volunteer at Kidane Mehret Children’s Home in Ethiopia. (Major: Theatre; Mentor: Dr. Gretchen Smith)

Junior Maria Cross will create a short film to compare and contrast attitudes towards gun policy in the United Kingdom and the United States. (Major: Advertising; Mentor: Brice Campbell)

Junior Parminder Deo will contribute to the SMU residential commons initiative by researching the University of Oxford’s long-standing residential commons model. (Major: Biology, Journalism; Mentor: Jeff Grim)

Senior Jordan Fields will create a communications plan for the SMU Spanish Club. (Major: Communication Studies; Mentor: Dr. Rita Linjuan Men)

Junior Thomas Gelo will bring to life the view of a foreign culture from the eyes of a study abroad student through the medium of an avant-garde film. (Major: Theatre, Film; Mentor: Dr. Gretchen Smith)

Junior Michael Graves will research effective communication practices of the United Methodist church and contribute to a chapter of Dr. Maria Dixon’s book, In Between Sundays – Strategic Communication in the Church. (Major: Communication Studies, Religious Studies; Mentor: Dr. Maria Dixon)

Junior Derek Hawkes will research the successes and failures of technology usage by orchestras for revenue-increasing purposes and will publish a set of effective mobile use guidelines for similar groups. (Major: Music; Mentor: Dr. Maria Dixon)

Junior Kristen Kelso, while studying abroad in London, will research street performers and create a solo performance piece to communicate the challenging art of street performance. (Major: Theatre; Mentor: Dr. Gretchen Smith)

Junior Lauren Mishoe will create a mixed-media solo performance as a result of her time abroad studying female empowerment of the Maori people in New Zealand. (Major: Theatre; Mentor: Dr. Rhonda Blair)

Junior Sarah Montonchaikul learned conservation techniques while interning with the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project in Italy and is documenting the process to create instructional materials for the project. (Major: Art History, Foreign Literature; Mentor: Dr. Greg Warden)

Junior Mikaila Muñoz will produce a robot prototype as a hands-on educational toy for children ages 3-12 that promotes learning about electronics and programming. (Major: Creative Computation, Studio Art; Mentor: Assistant Professor Brittany Ransom)

Sophomore Gabriella Padgett will study the environment that fosters success in the classroom and the ability to think and perform creatively, comparing peer education in the U.S. and China. (Major: Mathematics, Creative Computation; Mentor: Dr. Ira Greenberg)

Junior An Phan will be a congressional intern in Washington, D.C., in order to learn about U.S. policy-making. (Major: Communication Studies, Spanish; Mentor: Mr. Rick Garza)

Sophomore Mei Mei Pollitt will attend the Festival D’Avignon arts extravaganza in Avignon, France, in summer 2013 and produce a media-based performance of her own. She will also begin building a database of global art festivals for the Meadows community. (Major: Theatre, French; Mentor: Dr. Gretchen Smith)

Senior Basma Raza is researching societal perceptions of herself as female, Muslim, married and student to explore similarities and differences between cultures and ethnicities. (Major: Communication Studies; Mentor: Dr. Owen Lynch)

Junior Alexandria Stinger will learn about the symbiotic relationship between urbanism, art and humanity while studying in London and will create a solo dance performance on those themes. (Major: Dance, Advertising; Mentor: Dr. Shelley Berg)

Junior Meredith Tavallaee will intern at the Louvre Museum in Paris to research recent acquisitions in the sculpture collections. (Major: Art History, English; Mentor: Dr. Pamela Patton)

Junior Rachel Wilson will produce a short film and installation piece of British hip-hop culture based on her exploration of the topic in London this summer. (Major: Film and Media Arts; Mentor: Dr. Shelley Berg)

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