Class of 2024 Student Awards

On May 10, 2024, the 97th graduating class was hooded in Moody Coliseum. The 2024 Student Awards presented during the ceremony are below:


Olivia Cahill graduated from SMU in 2021 with a B.A. in Political Science. While pursuing her J.D. at SMU, Olivia served on the SMU Law Review Association as Air Law Symposium Editor and participated in SMU Dedman School of Law's Corporate Counsel Externship Program where she worked for HF Sinclair Corporation.

As a part of her work for SMU Law Review, Olivia's Student Comment was published in the Journal of Air Law & Commerce's December 2023 publication. Olivia also served a a teaching assistant for Professor Jennifer Stagen's 1L Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy course and Professor Gregory Crespi's Contracts class.

After the bar exam, Olivia will join Vinson & Elkins' Mergers and Acquisitions/Capital Markets group in Dallas.

John E. Kennedy Memorial Scholarships

Given in honor of Professor John Kennedy who served on the faculty with distinction for 20 years until his untimely death in 1989. Professor Kennedy was a beloved teacher and had a strong commitment to the law as a service profession.

The award is given in his memory to two J.D. graduates who were deemed by their classmates to exemplify the spirit of service by working tirelessly to benefit the law school community.

Karen Nobrega served as a Chief Counsel in the Child Advocacy Clinic where she advocated on behalf of children in ongoing legal cases. In the fall of her 3L year, she participated in the Corporate Counsel Externship Program where she worked with Susan G. Komen.

Throughout her law school career, Karen was active in SMU Dedman Law's Student Bar Association, as president, secretary, and 1L representative. She also founded and led the SMU Dedman Law Movement Running and Walking Club and was active in the Women in Law organization.

Karen is interested in working in litigation practice after taking the Bar exam.

Miriam Wang was the president of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association. She also served as the online executive editor of the International Law Review Association, vice-chair of the Off-Campus Appellate Advocacy of Board of Advocates, and wellness committee chair of the Student Bar Association.

Outside of school, she was the law student liaison for the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, where she worked with the Community Service Committee to help plan and participate in local service events.

Miriam is also a champion of the 2022 Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition and a quarter-finalist of the 2023 Wagner National Labor and Employment Law Moot Court Competition. She also worked as a legal intern for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. 

A fun fact about Miriam is that as Miss Korea, she placed in the top 10 for Miss World, the largest international pageant.

Miriam will work at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP following the bar exam.

Sarah McQuillen Tran Award

The Sarah McQuillen Tran Award honors beloved faculty member Sarah Tran, whose selfless service and unyielding commitment to her students and her scholarship in the face of personal adversity represent the very best of our profession. This award is presented to the graduate who has demonstrated exceptional resilience and determination in overcoming personal challenges, while also making a significant contribution to the law school community through their acts of service. The recipient of this award embodies the school's values of perseverance, compassion, and service and serve as a shining example to their peers.

Christopher Edwards has consistently demonstrated exceptional dedication to his legal studies during his time at the law school. Beyond his academic achievements, he has also been an active and integral member of our community. He has taken on a significant role with the SMU Black Law Students Association, where he served as treasurer. He interned with the Senior District Judge M.G. Barbara Lynn of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Texas and externed with the legal department at Trinity Industries through the Corporate Counsel Externship Program.

What truly sets Christopher apart, however, is his unwavering commitment to using his legal education for the betterment of his community and to advocate for those who often go unheard. He assisted with a family law pro bono case his first year in law school and as a third-year student he worked with Allies Against Slavery, a human trafficking data tracking project.

This fall Christopher will join Zelle Law LLP as a litigation associate.