Class of 2025

Adele Allawala Adeel Allawala hails from Coppell, TX. He chose SMU for a personalized and holistic academic experience as well as ample opportunity to apply classwork in real-world experiences. Adeel is pursuing majors in Biological Science and Data Science on the Pre-Health track and performs biophysics research in Professor Brian Zoltowski’s lab. He hopes to integrate a combined knowledge of biology and artificial intelligence to advance his research projects and eventually facilitate patient care. Adeel also serves as the Friday Prayer Chair for the SMU Muslim Student Association. In his free time, Adeel enjoys climbing, leatherworking, and sand volleyball.
 Olivia Avant is from Austin, Texas, and is majoring in Political Science with minors in Economics and Art History. While she spent the first ten years of her life living in London, she moved to the U.S in middle school. She graduated with honors from Saint Stephens Episcopal School, where she swam competitively. Olivia has also shot and directed small films, which were shown at the ISAS Arts Festival. Additionally, she volunteered regularly with Austin Pets Alive, a local no-kill shelter. Olivia chose SMU not only for the beautiful campus and positive community, but also because SMU will properly prepare her for the future, whether it is law school or the workforce. Currently, Olivia spends her free time volunteering with SEAL (Students Expanding American Literacy), baking, or teaching herself guitar. Her favorite movie is Mad Max: Fury Road, and her favorite book is The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne.
Feaven BasilFeaven Fasil chose SMU because of the tight-knit community along with easy access to professors, faculty, and research opportunities. Feaven graduated from L. D. Bell High School in Hurst, Texas, in the top 15 in her class. She is majoring in Biology and Health and Society with minors in Neuroscience and Psychology. On the Hilltop, she currently serves as an executive board member of the Association of Black Students, Women in Science and Engineering and Students Expanding American Literacy. She also works as a Research Assistant in Dr. Tabak's SCN Laboratory. In her free time, you can find Feaven listening to music, spending time with friends, lifting at the gym, or reading. Feaven's favorite book is Frankenstein, which she wrote about in her Honors writing course.

Jakub Kaczynski

 Jakub Kaczynski was born in Warsaw, Poland. Although his education began in Poland, during junior high school he moved to Guadeloupe, a French overseas district. There, he learned French and after five years, moved to Stanstead College, an English Canadian boarding school. During his free time, Jakub discovered his zeal for volunteering by helping in a retirement home and in a homeless shelter. He continued to volunteer during the summer by creating, developing, and teaching his own English classes in Guadeloupe. During his three years at Stanstead College, he also participated in the varsity swim team, the varsity tennis team, and the chess club. Jakub's ultimate dream is to become a pediatrician and he believes that SMU's academic rigor, research possibilities, and small classes will best prepare him for his future career. He will be majoring in Biology on the Pre-Health track. Jakub also hopes to continue being an involved student by developing his personal passions such as the Second World War history, coding, and learning Spanish, his fourth language. His favorite book is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
Sarah KhojaSarah Khoja was born and raised in Carrollton, Texas and graduated from Uplift North Hills Preparatory. Sarah chose SMU for its interdisciplinary curriculum and strong community of mentors and peers. In high school, Sarah was involved with Model United Nations and served as a co-founder for a youth activist podcast, which led to her interest in activism and policymaking. At SMU, she is majoring in Human Rights and Data Science with minors in Operations Research and Engineering Management (OREM) and Public Policy and International Affairs. Sarah is also a Tower Scholar and Provost Scholar as well as Engaged Learning Fellow. Outside of academics, Sarah serves on the board of SMU’s South Asian Student Assocation (SASA) and works for the Deason Criminal Justice Center with the Dedman School of Law. Sarah is passionate about the intersection of public policy and technology and after SMU, she hopes to work in justice technology. Sarah’s favorite book is Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry.
Daniel KultiDaniel Kulti grew up in Allen, Texas. He celebrates his rich Swedish heritage and has always been interested in sciences with a special curiosity for muscular dystrophy and the ways to enable a sustainable environment for oceanic life, leading him to serve as an ambassador for the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) and the SeaLife aquarium respectively. He graduated from Allen High School where he received the AP Scholar with Distinction Award while serving as a member of the National Honors Society. He chose SMU because of its excellent research opportunities, beautiful campus, and fun social events. Daniel is pursuing a degree in Biochemistry and currently serves as a Resident Assistant in Crum Commons. Outside of school, he is pursuing an acting career and has been seen in movies such as Anastasia and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Daniel also enjoys tennis, rock climbing, going to the beach, and other outdoor activities, as well as being active at church.

Margarita Kuzin

 Margarita Kuzin was born in Chicago but has also lived in Appleton, WI and most recently Rochester, NY. Her parents immigrated from Kazakhstan, a former satellite state of the Soviet Union, so Margarita grew up speaking Russian at home and celebrating her rich heritage. Growing up bilingual led Margarita to love language learning and prompted her to actively study French. She hopes to continue the study of language at SMU by pursuing a minor in French, while majoring in Biochemistry on the Pre-Health track, with an immediate goal of pursuing research in medicinal chemistry. Margarita chose SMU due to its active engagement with its students, where professors are constantly looking to improve themselves and their students. She was thrilled by the liveliness when she first visited campus, and felt instantly that this could be her new home for the next few years. In addition, throughout high school she competed in taekwondo and won state in 2019. Margarita is also a huge car enthusiast, and so loves working on her car and going on long drives with the windows down and music blaring. In her free time she loves reading, and her favorite book is Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. Travel is another of her hobbies, and this summer Margarita was able to travel throughout France and experience cultural immersion while practicing the language. Finally, she enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, surfing, and going for walks.

Rachel Marchand

Rachel Marchand grew up in Keller, Texas, where she graduated as a homeschool student. Rachel was immediately drawn to SMU for its beautiful campus, the number of research opportunities, and its community outreach programs. She plans to pursue a degree in Psychology and minor in Human Rights. As a high school student, Rachel competed in both Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas Debate. Before she graduated, she became nationally recognized in both events. She also competed in multiple speech events, such as impromptu and persuasive speaking. In addition, she did dual enrollment throughout high school, which placed her in Phi Theta Kappa Honors society. Outside the classroom, Rachel developed a passion for all types of art, but specifically mixed media. When Rachel wasn't doing school, she was a primary caregiver to her grandfather through Alzheimer's and her mother during cancer treatment. She also enjoyed volunteering with kids at her local church on weekends. Her favorite movie is Arrival, and her favorite book is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  

Claire McCarterClaire McCarter graduated from J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas where she dedicated much of her time to choir and musical theater. She had the wonderful opportunity to participate in TMEA’s 2020 All-State Mixed Choir and was also selected for their 2021 choir. Claire was a National Honor Society member, AP Scholar with Distinction, and Mu Alpha Theta member. She chose SMU for its exceptional music program and the academic flexibility it provides for students interested in multiple disciplines and majors. Claire is pursuing majors in Mathematics and Music and minors in Computer Science, Statistics, and Chinese. On campus, she is the dance director for the Belle Tones, SMU’s premier all-female a cappella group, participates in orientation as a Stampede Guide, and is an Honors Mentor for Crum Commons. In her free time, Claire enjoys singing, dancing, and listening to music – especially K-pop. One of her favorite books is Heaven Official’s Blessing by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu.

Nadia Mustafa

Nadia Mustafa graduated from Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, Texas. She chose SMU because of the beautiful location, faculty, and research opportunities. However, the main reason she chose SMU is because of the people. Everyone at SMU makes her feel right at home, and she just knew it was where she was meant to be. At SMU, Nadia is most excited to step out of her comfort zone and push herself both academically and socially. She plans on studying biochemistry and business. Nadia graduated summa cum laude from her high school. At Carroll, Nadia served as an Honor Senator for the National Honor Society. She was also a part of Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Kappa, Science National Honor Society, Discover STEM and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Nadia was also a member of Carroll Medical Academy for four years, and she received the Carroll Medical Academy Excellence Award. In her free time, she likes to play with her two cats, spend time with friends, and stay active. Her favorite book is Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.

Neel PatelNeel Patel graduated from L. D. Bell High School in Hurst, Texas, and is pursuing majors in Biology and Health and Society with minors in Biomedical Anthropology and Psychology. He is excited to begin taking upper-level courses while shadowing and volunteering at a clinic to grow his passion for the medical field and get a clearer picture of what he wants as his future career. In addition to being a Dedman Scholar, Neel is part of Students Enhancing Academic Literacy, a volunteer organization on campus that helps connect students with volunteer opportunities at Dallas ISD elementary schools where they can go read to young children while helping them advance their literacy skills. He also serves as a Residential Assistant in Loyd Commons and is a Hamilton Scholar working in Dr. Brian Zoltowski’s structural biochemistry lab. In the lab, he focuses most of his time on plant circadian clock proteins. In his free time, Neel loves watching football, hanging out with friends, and spending time at the gym. His favorite book is Animal Farm by George Orwell.
Nathan PrinceNathan Prince graduated from Oak Park High School in Oak Park, California. During high school, he became interested in government and other cultures. His passions led him to become the president of his Model Legislature & Court delegation as well as the founder of the International Culture Appreciation Club. He chose Southern Methodist University because of the amazing number of opportunities to get involved both on and off campus. SMU’s location in Dallas and strong alumni network were also big factors in his choosing to attend. Nathan is currently studying International Studies with a specialization in Asian Studies, as well as minors in Business and Chinese. Outside of the classroom, he currently serves as a Pre-Major Senator for Student Senate, and the Director of Communications for Senate’s House of Representatives. Additionally, Nathan is a member of Student Foundation where he serves as the Development Chair and is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi. His favorite book is Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.

Veda Ramakrishnan

 Veda Ramakrishnan hails from San Jose, California, where she graduated from Valley Christian High School. She spent her first two years of high school in India and came back to the US for her junior and senior year. At SMU, she hopes to pursue majors in Biochemistry and Health and Society, and possible a minor in music. She chose SMU for its abundance of research opportunities, close-kit environment, and accessibility to quality mentorship. Throughout her high school career, she has been actively involved in children's rights advocacy through the Child Awareness Project nonprofit - as their youngest executive leader, she has had the opportunity to lead a virtual, internationally collaborative soft-skills curriculum development initiative to assist Indian Schools during the pandemic. She was also the secretary of her school's UNICEF Club and scribed for students with special needs taking their final exams. Veda is also classically trained in South Indian vocal (Carnatic) music and has been learning and performing for the past twelve years. She was a soloist and band member of her international school's music department and has composed pieces in jazz and classical genres. Her hobbies include yoga, listening to audiobooks, and watching Netflix, and her all-time favorite book is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
 Zoe RobertsZoe Roberts graduated magna cum laude from her tiny high school in the tiny town of Macomb, IL. In high school, she was a facilitator at a High Ropes and Climbing Tower course and was training to be a professional dancer. Prior to transferring to SMU, Zoe spent a year dancing in the nation’s top liberal arts collegiate dance program. She chose SMU because of the flexibility it offered in degree planning, and the opportunities for undergraduate research and interdisciplinary studies. She is majoring in Public Policy, Economics, and Human Rights. She is also minoring in French, Dance Performance, History, and Political Science. Zoe hopes to further her studies in various graduate programs, as well as attend law school. She would like to go into public defense or criminal justice. At SMU, Zoe is a member of the University Honors Program, Phi Alpha Delta, and the Tau Sigma Honor Society. She is an Honor Transfer Scholar and a Center for Faith and Learning Scholar. She also works as a Student Ambassador, a Resident Assistant, and as a research assistant in the Deason Criminal Justice Center in Dedman Law School. Every Tuesday night she hosts trivia at Hillside Tavern, near SMU. In her spare time Zoe loves to read romance novels and anything by Rainer Rilke. She always makes sure to stop and smell the flowers, and to pet every dog that she meets.

Vivan Thai

 Vivian Thai graduated with an International Baccalaureate Diploma from Garland High School and chose SMU for its plentiful undergraduate research opportunities, interdisciplinary programs, close-knit community, and vibrant student life. She is a prospective Biochemistry and Health and Society double major, and Neuroscience and Human Rights double minor on the Pre-Health track. During high school, Vivian found various ways to serve her community, working within Key Club as the District Secretary and District Editor for the Texas-Oklahoma District of Key Club International and serving as the UNICEF president. She has also been a competitive pianist for 10 years, as the first chair pianist of Texas Music Educators Association Region 3's 2021 Orchestra, second place winner of the Lois Boyer Senior Pianist award, and the co-founder of a free piano program at her high school. In addition, she received the distinctions of National AP Scholar and National Merit Commended Scholar while graduating in the top 1% of her class. At SMU, she is excited to broaden both her academic and personal horizons by joining student organizations, taking advantage of pre-professional opportunities, and meeting passionate students and faculty. She enjoys trying new recipes, playing tennis, and traveling. Her favorite book is On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.

Cole Wagner

 Cole Wagner graduated from Blue Springs South High School in Blue Springs, Missouri. During his time there, he served his student body as Student Senate President, National Honor Society President, and a member of the Superintendent Advisory Council. Through his involvement in these varied organizations, he organized and executed numerous service projects that made a positive impact all over the Kansas City area. Because of this, he was named District Student of the Month for the Blue Springs School District in April of 2021. Cole was also captain of the football team and was named Academic All-State for two years. At the end of his career, he was awarded both the Tylor Tayrien Memorial Award and the Missouri State High School Activities Association Award of Excellence. Cole was also in the top 1% of his graduating class and was selected to speak at his graduation. Cole plans to pursue a double major in Biological Sciences and Business. He chose SMU because of the university's encouragement of interdisciplinary studies, strong academic reputation, and the opportunities provided to students within the Dallas area. He is most excited to meet new people who will push him to grow and become the best version of himself. Cole's favorite book of all time is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.


Dylan Wolchko

Dylan Wolchko graduated from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, California. He is on the Pre-Health track, pursuing his undergraduate degree in Biological Science. In addition to being a Dedman College Scholar, Dylan is a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and the University Honors Program. While in high school Dylan was a member of the National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation Honor Society, First Honor Roll, and an AP Scholar with Honors. He was awarded the John A. Dickie Award, John Paul Cadden Award and the Charles F. Buddy Award. In addition, he served as a CCHS Ambassador, Global Leadership Connection Student Leader, and played on the CCHS soccer team. He played for San Diego Surf Soccer Club for most of his childhood, playing on both the National Premier Leagues and U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams where he served as captain. He worked as a research intern for a publicly traded biotech company, where his poster with off-the-shelf iPSC-derived cancer cellular immunotherapy in conjunction with Harvard Medical School was presented at the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy annual meeting. He was a member of Teen Volunteers in Action where he was very active with volunteerism throughout his community.