Maguire Public Service Fellows to help at-risk communities

Students’ efforts will focus on research and programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic

DALLAS (SMU) – This summer, ten SMU students will serve as Maguire Public Service Fellows, with much of their work focused on research and programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Maguire Center, with financial assistance from the Irby Family Foundation, awards summer fellowships to SMU students who wish to devote time to public service or ethics research. Over the past 20 years, the Maguire Center has awarded summer fellowship stipends totaling over $400,000 to 181 SMU students, including volunteers in more than 150 agencies across 18 states, 25 countries, and five continents.

“I’m very proud of this group’s desire to serve others during this unprecedented time. This pandemic is likely to be a defining moment in their lives and their dedication to their research work is awe-inspiring,” said Rita Kirk, distinguished professor of communications and director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

The 2020 class of Maguire Center Public Service fellows brings together six graduate students and four undergraduate students. The fellows are:

Johnathan Angulo

Ph.D. candidate, History

Project: Co-creation and management of the “Class of COVID Oral History Project” with SMU Archives (joint project with Ashton Reynolds). The project will document how SMU’s graduating students, both undergraduate and graduate, navigated ethical questions of personal and community responsibilities.

Nusaiba Chowdhury

Ph.D. candidate, Clinical Anthropology

Project: Volunteering with International Rescue Committee (Dallas, TX) Intensive Case

Management Team for Refugee Resettlement, including opportunity to research challenges and gaps in service in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Meghan Lowrey

Ph.D. candidate, Clinical Anthropology

Project: Working with Access Esperanza Clinic in McAllen, TX, to build a comprehensive curriculum for their sexual health education program. Her work and research at the clinic lay important groundwork for her dissertation in the ethics of migrant reproductive health.

Mark Pierce

Ph.D. candidate, Philosophy of Education

Project: Researching adaptable models of distance learning that can be implemented for highly mobile students by collecting data from Dallas area family shelters and children’s support organizations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ashton Reynolds

Ph.D. candidate, History

Project: Co-creation and management of “Class of COVID Oral History Project” with SMU Archives (joint project with Jonathan Angulo). The project will document how SMU’s graduating students (both undergraduate and graduate) navigated ethical questions of personal and community responsibilities.

Janice Rabian

MFA candidate, Stage Design

Project: Examining the future of the American Theatre Industry and the success of various companies' attempts to maintain operations and engagement in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caroline Gutowski

Senior, Biological Sciences and Health and Society double major, pre-med

Project: During this unprecedented time, health crises and diseases continue to plague the most vulnerable individuals. Working for the Bridge Breast Network, serving underserved populations and stressed healthcare systems to research and conduct community outreach on breast health awareness, the importance of early detection and access to healthcare.

Vanessa Larez

Senior, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs major

Project: Conducting research on how global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic shift or influence political attitudes and civic engagement among Hispanic voters in North Texas.

Hannah Hall

Junior, Human Rights and French Studies double major

Project: Collecting and analyzing research for SMU’s Deason Center for Criminal Justice Reform, constructing a data set of criminal justice policies affecting prisoners and their human rights while incarcerated during a pandemic.

Joseph Lee

Junior, Human Rights and Chinese double major, pre-med

Project: Working with UT Southwestern Medical Center Dr. Elizabeth Heitman to develop an online policy library for the ethical use of advanced technology in end-of-life care. This collection of policies will be an important resource in developing hospital guidelines and understanding practice standards across the country.



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, communities and the world.