“The culture at SMU is inclusive and inviting. You knew people cared about you from the moment you got here.”

– Dr. Rachael Capua, Ed.D. Alumna

Susana Ruelas Perez

Susana Ruelas Pérez

Director of Admissions, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep

M.S. Human Relations/Business - Amberton University
B.B.A. International Business/Spanish - University of Texas at Arlington

"I am passionate about underrepresented populations and their plight to gain access and find success at the collegiate level. I knew I had to advance my education and SMU’s Ed.D. Higher Education Leadership Program aligned with my goals to gain knowledge on the latest data and research methodology to affect change and current practices. The cohort experience is invaluable as we work together in small groups, drawing on all of our experiences. While we are in session and in between sessions, the cohort support is immeasurable. 

Heather McClary

Heather McClary

Director of Research Compliance, Southern Methodist University

M.P.H. Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences -The University of North Texas Health Science Center
B.S. Biomedical Science -Texas A&M University

“I never intended to pursue a career in Higher Education; my path evolved organically. I am seeking an Ed.D. at SMU so I can learn more about all aspects of higher education and undergo the dissertation process. The knowledge and experience I will gain will further my career and give me the tools I need to facilitate institutional growth and improvement."


Joanna Wang

Victoria Babb

Kinesiology Instructor, Tarrant County College Northeast Campus

M.S. Kinesiology, Emphasis in Motor Control, Texas Christian University
B.S. Movement Science, Texas Christian University

"My passion for education guided my decision to pursue an Ed.D. at SMU. I have been able to maximize my effectiveness in serving my students and my institution through focused learning on the unique needs of higher education. The executive cohort model has allowed me to advance my knowledge, gain valuable insights from industry leaders, and stay actively engaged in my profession."

Joanna Wang

Vincent Battles

Doctor Recruitment, Heartland Dental

M.B.A., University of Texas at Dallas, Naveen Jindal School of Management

M.L.A., Southern Methodist University 

B.Sc. Speech Communication, Texas A&M University-Commerce

"Over the last fifteen years I have partnered with early career professionals to help them navigate the maze of searching, applying and interviewing for the ideal job.  I have helped, dare I say, thousands of individuals secure jobs or launch their career. Pursuing an Ed.D at SMU allows me to leverage my years of industry experience and working with graduate and professional degree seeking students to deepen my understanding of the talent pipeline for the 21st century workforce. I am thrilled to be surrounded by a cohort of brilliant minds."

Joanna Wang

Kate Belknap

Instructor of English, Colorado Mesa University

M.H. Humanities, Literature Concentration, University of Dallas
B.A. English, Sewanee: The University of the South

"I’m pursuing a degree in educational leadership because, after 24 years in the classroom, I am ready to transition to a different phase in my career. I am fascinated by the role of faculty in shaping the student experience, and the SMU EdD program has the all resources I need to pursue that interest. I chose SMU because it will provide me with the tools necessary to move into a role where I can help shape decision-making in the future. Additionally, the professors and the cohort model at Simmons will both prepare and challenge me as I work towards gaining a deeper understanding of the field of higher education."

Joanna Wang

Federico Diaz

Instructional Support Coordinator, Dallas College

M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas at Arlington
B.S. Chemistry, B.S. Mathematical Education, University of Puerto Rico

"The program has allowed me to develop my leadership skills to be an agent of change and navigate the challenges that higher education presents. The program has helped me create connections that have allowed me to broaden my vision and visualize opportunities for growth in every situation."


Joanna Wang

Jennifer (JJ) Jones

Assistant Director, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

 M.A. Liberal Arts, Southern Methodist University

B.A. Sociology, Southern Methodist University

"I am pursuing this degree because I love my work and as a leader within my division, it is important that I am fully equipped to lead."


Joanna Wang

Sungman (Tyler) Kim

Associate Director of MS Programs, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

M.Ed. Higher Education Leadership & Policy, Southern Methodist University
B.S.Political Science, 
Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea

"I wanted to expand my knowledge of international students’ experience within the higher education context, academically and I believed the EdD program gave me the opportunity to fully explore this interest. Moreover, I wanted to understand the larger organizational and institutional structures that benefit student life. The design of the EdD program afforded me to pursue this component as well, while working full-time as a Student Affairs personnel and being exposed to daily student engagement."

Joanna Wang

Alyssa Lowe

HR Generalist and Recruiter, Inwood National Bank

M.S.Ed. Higher Education & Student Affairs, Baylor University
B.S. Psychology, Tarleton State University

"Throughout my time as a Student Affairs professional I have found the most joy in developing engaging experiences that foster growth and learning, especially for students. Pursuing an Ed.D. in Higher Education provides the opportunity to build on my prior academic and professional experiences to advance the holistic development of students, colleagues, institutions, and the higher education profession. I am thrilled to learn from our cohort and outstanding faculty and contribute to our progress and success as higher education practitioners."

Joanna Wang

Maira Meki

Associate Director of Specialized Master’s Admissions, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

M.S. in Sport Management, Indiana State University
B.S. in Sport Management, Indiana State University

"Throughout my career in higher education, I have contributed to the recruitment, retention, successful degree attainment, and personal development of students through strategic project management, holistic advising, innovative tactics for building rapport with prospective and current students of diverse socio-economic backgrounds; and effective collaborations with key constituencies integral to student success.  I am pursuing this program because motivating and empowering students to pursue their career goals and aspirations, overcome barriers to academic success, graduate on time, and experience upward mobility has always been my passion. I am committed to expanding my knowledge and enhancing my leadership capabilities to become the world changer I strive to be."

Joanna Wang

Teresa Valerio Parrot

Principal, TVP Communications

M.P.A., Emphases in Local Government and Nonprofit Management, University of Colorado
B.A. Communications, University of Colorado

"I am in awe of the opportunities higher education affords students and the solutions that academic scholarship provides to our society and community. Pursuing-- and soon earning-- a doctoral degree allows me to participate in these conversations at a new level. I chose SMU's program and cohort model because I welcome opportunities to share with my peers what I have lived and hear of their experiences, both of which can help to bring our coursework to life."

Joanna Wang

Matthew Robinson

Client Solution Executive, Education Specialist, AT&T Education

M.Ed. Higher Education Administration, University of Oklahoma
B.A. Sociology, University of Oklahoma

"I decided to return to academia after finding my new passion working with historically underrepresented students. I plan on using this degree to help institutions implement effective programming and data-driven practices to ensure this population has all of the necessary competencies to graduate with a bachelor's degree."

Joanna Wang

Cynthia Alva

Professor of ESOL, Dallas College

M.Ed. Bilingual Education, Southern Methodist University
B.A. Sociology and Pre-Medicine, University of Notre Dame

"My immigrant parents instilled in me a love for education and a deep belief in the path to opportunity it can create, but my experience as an educator has confirmed the deep inequities that exist within the system. As a scholar practitioner of higher education leadership, I hope to move into roles where I can impact structural barriers that affect access and outcomes for minoritized communities."

Joanna Wang

Jennifer Ebinger

Director, Office of Engaged Learning, Southern Methodist University

M.A.T, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX
B.F.A, Hope College

"After working for over twenty-five years as a teacher, leader, and school improvement consultant, I have found myself in an exciting career in higher education.  Through the Simmons School’s enriching cohort model, I’m stretching my skills as an educator, I’m learning new things in abundance, and I’m developing an understanding of how to best serve college students and the university. It is truly a privilege to be nurtured and pushed, both intellectually and personally, by outstanding faculty and colleagues at SMU."

Joanna Wang

Christie Pearson

Director of Education Abroad, Southern Methodist University

M.L.S. Organizational Dynamics and Global Studies, Southern Methodist University
B.A. International Studies, French, and Political Science, Southern Methodist University

"I have a genuine passion for international education. Some of my proudest moments and greatest accomplishments come from studying abroad and working in higher education.  I know this Ed.D. program will not only open doors to more leadership opportunities, but also provide an academic-based approach to management, organizational improvement and achievements, in addition to providing an understanding of higher education’s history and theory so that we can build a better future."

Joanna Wang

Cynthia Aiken

Faculty Instructor, Galen College of Nursing

Master of Education in Student Services in Higher Education, University of the Incarnate Word

Master of Science in Biology, Jackson State University

Bachelor of Science in Biology, Jackson State University

"I wanted to expand my knowledge on first-generation college students experience within the higher education context, academically and I believed the Ed.D. program gave me the opportunity to fully explore this interest. Moreover, I wanted to understand the larger organizational and institutional structures that benefit first-generation college students. The design of the Ed.D. program afforded me the opportunity to continue working full-time as a faculty member with first-generation college students."

Joanna Wang

Carla Arellano

Assistant Director of Transfer Admission, Southern Methodist University

M.F.A. Creative Writing, University of Texas at El Paso
B.A. Creative Writing, University of Texas at El Paso

"I believe that we have to epitomize what we believe and embody the change we truly want to see in our world, that is the biggest reason I decided to pursue this doctoral degree.  I want the young women in our Texas communities, who like myself, grew up in low- socioeconomic backgrounds, are first-generation college graduates, daughters of immigrants, minorities, and at times felt like all odds were against them, see that it is possible to be leaders in these same communities." 

Joanna Wang

Vitia Bosch-Martinez

Director, Dallas Admissions Center, Office of Admissions, University of Texas at Austin

M.A. Higher Education Administration, Sam Houston State University
B.A. English, Texas A&M University

"Working in higher education has allowed me the opportunity to impact students as they navigate through the next chapter of their lives. Helping students reach their potential after high school is my professional career's goal. The driving force to pursue my Ed.D at SMU stems from these opportunities. SMU's program will allow me to continue to grow professionally while obtaining leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to be a leader within an ever-changing field."

Joanna Wang

Krystel Kaloust

Graduate Assistant for the Master's in Counseling, Southern Methodist University

M.S. Business Administration (Management), Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Lebanon
B.B.A. (Business Computing), Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Lebanon 

Pre-doctoral research qualification: AE Clermont Auvergne School of Management, France

"The Ed.D. in Higher Education will help me improve my knowledge and skills so that I can have a positive impact on the development of the Higher Education sector. My professional and educational paths will allow me to pursue roles in academic leadership where I can contribute to the enhancement of the overall student learning experience, organizational effectiveness, and quality assurance. I am eager for the new opportunities that are awaiting me during and after this program!"

Joanna Wang

Marissa McIntyre

Director, Student Services, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University

M.S. Educational Leadership, concentration in College Student Development, Oklahoma State University
B.S. Business Administration, Oklahoma State University

"The Ed.D. program provides the opportunity to synthesize my professional experiences with a research-based curriculum to prepare me to be a continued leader in higher education. The focus on data-driven decision making allows me to create an environment for change and ensure student success is at the forefront of higher education practices."

Joanna Wang

Hannah Park Lee

Honors and Scholars Program Specialist, Southern Methodist University

M.Ed. Higher Education Leadership & Policy, Southern Methodist University
B.A. Psychology, Southern Methodist University

"My goal is to build the bridge between academic affairs and student affairs to holistically develop students into the best versions of themselves. In addition, I hope to decolonize higher education while continuing to support underrepresented individuals within the system."

Joanna Wang

Alexander Rentz

Assistant Director of Residence Life, Southern Methodist University

M.Ed. Higher Education Leadership, Valdosta State University
B.S. Management Information Systems, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

“A degree in educational leadership will provide me access to opportunities to enact system-level change to improve the educational experience for future generations of students.”


Joanna Wang

Chandler Short

Director of Athletics, McPherson College

M.Ed., Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, University of Oklahoma
B.S., Physical Education and Health,  McPherson College

"Pursuing this degree concurrent with my work as director of athletics gives me both a strong foundation and an opportunity to connect what I’m learning with my day-to-day experience. Ultimately this program is providing me with ways to grow and serve my institution and staff in better ways."


Joanna Wang

Sheila Thomas-Boone

Retired K-12 Texas Public School Administrator, Adjunct Educator at Texas Public Institutions of Higher Learning

M.Ed. Educational Leadership, Dallas Baptist University and Grand Canyon University
B.S. Therapeutic Recreation, Oklahoma State University

"Educators are forever in pursuit of knowledge whether it's for instruction, research, or service.  Education has been and will continue to be my life's work.  I am pursuing a Doctorate in Higher Education to contribute to my profession while continuing to be a lifelong learner."


Joanna Wang

Lisa Tran

Managing Director, Corporate Engagement & Strategic Partnerships, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

M.Ed. Higher Education, University of North Texas
B.B.A Finance, Southern Methodist University

"I believe in the importance of lifelong learning and building lasting relationships.  And pursuing an Ed.D. in educational leadership is the perfect discipline that will help me grow in my higher education career by learning with and from my fellow cohort members and faculty who represent all areas of higher education."

Joanna Wang

Jason Warner

Executive Director, Academic Technology Services, Office of Information Technology, Southern Methodist University

M.Ed. Education, Southern Methodist University
B.A. English and History, Baylor University

"Information technology services, tools and especially people increasingly play foundational and facilitating roles throughout higher education.  I aspire to contribute to research regarding the changing characteristics of technology staffing and organizational design that can best serve the unique academic and business needs the modern university."


Joanna Wang

Curt Herridge

Associate Chief Information Officer, Southern Methodist University

M.B.A., Southern Methodist University
B.B.A., University of Texas at Austin

"I am pursuing the Doctorate of Education to understand the inner workings of higher education. As a technologist at heart, I am at my best when I understand the intersection of technology and business, and I want to have a more global view of higher education."


Joanna Wang

Jennifer Malone

Senior Advisor, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

M.S. Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin
B.B.A. Finance, The University of Texas at Austin

"During my different roles in higher education, I have witnessed the importance of all aspects of the student experience toward student success. I am pursuing SMU’s Ed.D. in Higher Education to expand my understanding of improving the student experience by enhancing my leadership and research skills."


Joanna Wang

Sara Cucinotti

Advancement Researcher, Southern Methodist University

M.L.S. Organizational Dynamics, Southern Methodist University
B.A. Political Science, Southern Methodist University

"I am eager to learn about the intersection of development, student life, and academics. The Ed.D. program will provide me with the tools to synthesize these aspects of the university in order to foster a rewarding educational experience for a diverse population of students."


Joanna Wang

Clayton Ellis

Director of Development for Dedman College, Southern Methodist University

M.L.S. Organizational Dynamics and Humanities, Southern Methodist University
B.A. Theatre Performance, Baylor University

"I think the Ed.D. is the MBA for aspiring administrators. By equipping myself with such a degree, I believe I will be a better asset to my institution as well as the general field. In addition to the systematic applications that the Ed.D. teaches, it prepares candidates to be empathetic leaders and earn the trust of others through its comprehensive curriculum and shared experiences of the cohort."


Joanna Wang

Abigail Gamble

Senior Learning Experience Designer, Baylor University

M.S.Ed. Learning Design and Technology, Purdue University
B.A.A.S. Applied Technology Training & Development, University of North Texas

"My area of focus supports faculty at the intersection of teaching and technology, specifically in hybrid and fully online programs. This space is full of challenges, yet I am committed to preserving positive, high-quality experiences for the students and faculty who occupy it. I know I will gain the knowledge and research capabilities I need to make a positive impact in this critical area of growth. I chose SMU’s Ed.D. in Higher Education because of the high-caliber program design and the caring community in which I can form meaningful connections with colleagues." 

Alicia Garza

Lecturer & Translator, University of Texas at Arlington

M.A. Modern Languages, University of Texas at Arlington
M.A. Spanish Translation & Interpretation, University of Texas at Brownsville

"I am pursuing an Ed.D because I am passionate about serving marginalized communities through teaching and research. My area of focus examines the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender and Latinx identities to identify barriers and drivers to accessing professional and academic opportunities. I am interested in understanding how Spanish translation and interpretation tools can be utilized to increase equity and inclusion in higher education and exploring ideas for cross-cultural connections among students."


Julie Maass

Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Enrollment and Engagement, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

M.Ed. Higher Education, Southern Methodist University
B.S. Computing Science, Sam Houston State University

"My passion for education and love of my work has motivated me to pursue a doctorate of education degree. The Ed.D. will allow me to raise my level of expertise and continue my growth as a leader in development of policies, programs, and procedures to best serve students and the Cox School." 

Sean Murphy

Associate Director of Student Center & Activities, Southern Methodist University

M.S. Leadership, Northeastern University
B.B.A., Texas A&M University

"It is my goal to be able to positively impact students on a regular basis. I believe that through my Ed.D. studies, I will enhance my perspective on what that means and how to do it, and eventually I aim to influence policy in order to directly contribute to student success."

Asmara Hussain Saleemi

Professor of Government, Dallas College

M.A. Political Science, University of North Texas
B.A. Political Science and International Studies, Southern Methodist University

"I strongly believe an individual should lead through service, and it is important for me to pursue a career and degree that align with this value. Teaching in higher education allows me to serve and have a positive impact on the North Texas community. With a doctorate in higher education, I can pursue leaderships roles that will help societies solve problems and meet the demands of a rapidly changing and highly connected world.”