Our Team

The Institute is made up of a diverse team of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members and fellows. Our interdisciplinary program mirrors the structure and demands of a multidimensional world. Students who are studying engineering, communications, business, journalism, videography, web design, project management, and more work together on projects and research to solve challenges facing humanity. The Institute promotes layered mentoring. Undergraduate students work with other Institutes, Centers, graduate students, professors, social entrepreneurs and industry mentors throughout the course of their project.

A headshot of Eva Csaky, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Eva Csaky

Dr. Eva Szalkai Csaky is the Executive Director of the Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity at SMU and the co-founder of the Inclusive Economy Consortium.  Her work leverages transformational technologies, innovative financial mechanisms and social entrepreneurial approaches for climate-smart and inclusive economic development.  Previously Dr. Csaky worked for 18 years for IFC, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector, and has served as an advisor to the G20, OECD, UN agencies and various US organizations.  She has an MS in Finance from George Washington University and a PhD in Public Policy with a specialization in Globalization & Development from Duke University.

Hunt Institute

Jasleen Dhillon

Jasleen Dhillon serves as the Assistant Director of the Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity where she is responsible for the day-to-day leadership of the Institute. Prior to this role, Jasleen was an air quality analyst with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), where she was responsible for air quality modeling and analyses as part of the permitting process. Her time at TCEQ provided her with a deep understanding of air quality issues in Texas and fueled her passion for seeking sustainable solutions, particularly in underrepresented and under-resourced communities. Jasleen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from SMU and is currently pursuing a Master's in Sustainability and Development at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering.


Kasey Baus

As a research assistant at the Hunt Institute, Kasey Baus works with Dr. Eva Csaky on exploring the intersection of social entrepreneurship and psychology. With a background in security studies, intelligence, and law enforcement, Kasey brings a diverse perspective to the team and is committed to finding innovative solutions to global challenges through interdisciplinary collaboration.

A headshot of Candice Bledsoe, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Candice Bledsoe

Dr. Candice Bledsoe is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of leadership, innovation, and diversity and inclusion. She is the executive director of the Action Research Center in Dallas, Texas and is a professor in the SMU Cox School of Business, and the Hunt Institute of Humanity in the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University. She also holds a faculty appointment at Penn State University, Center for the Study of Higher Education, Anti-Racist Leadership Academy. The United Nations honored Dr. Bledsoe with the UN Global Leadership Award for Sustainable Goal 4: Quality Education in 2020 for her tireless efforts to increase access to education and school enrollment rates at all levels, particularly for girls. Dr. Bledsoe has published many articles and received numerous fellowships including: The National Endowment of the Humanities, the New Leadership Academy, National Center for Institutional Diversity, University of Michigan, and Boone Texas Project for Human Rights Education.

A headshot of Anna Grace, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Anna Grace

Anna Grace Carey is a Marketing Specialist at Sendero, a management consulting firm in Dallas. Prior to joining the marketing department, she worked as an Associate Consultant where she led various organizational change management initiatives in IT departments at two Fortune 500 companies. She graduated cum laude from Southern Methodist University in 2019 with majors in journalism, fashion media and political science; and minors in law & legal reasoning and history of visual & performing arts.

Outside of the office, she is a member of Genesis Young Leaders and volunteers through the Junior League of Dallas. She enjoys writing, traveling, and taking classes through SMU’s interdisciplinary Graduate Liberal Studies program.

A headshot of Anna M. Clark, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Anna M. Clark

Anna M. Clark is an author and a senior strategist in integrated marketing communication and environmental, social and governance (ESG). A fellow and Expert in Residence of the Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity and the co-founder of the Inclusive Economy Consortium, she was a key organizer of the 2015 Institute’s Climate Extremes conference, at the time the largest climate event ever held in Dallas. She began her consulting career with PwC and IBM, and in 2005, she founded EarthPeople Media, a sustainability communication consultancy. Since that time, she has worked with clients from cleantech startups and universities to Fortune 500s and the World Bank, creating strategies and content to support organizations in ESG communication. She holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Communication from Johns Hopkins University. A recipient of the Green Source DFW Sustainable Leadership Award in 2016, she also serves on the boards of several nonprofits. She lives with her family in one of the first homes in Dallas to earn a Platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

A headshot of Michaela Eamaa, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Michaela Eamma

Michaela is a research associate of the Hunt Institute and GIS project lead on the ImpactMap, an interactive information database of Texas' impact enterprise ecosystem across Texas that aims to empower impact entrepreneurs to magnify their impact through efficient access to relevant information and analytics as they fight poverty, inequality, climate change, and disparities in access to resources and opportunities. She recently received her MS in environmental engineering from Southern Methodist University in 2023 where she researched the impact of climate change on heavy metal sequestration.  She received a second MS in geology from Texas Christian University in 2020, where she held a thesis focus in soil modeling and mapping utilizing soil electrical conductivity, and her BS in geology from Baylor in 2018. Michaela is the founder of NEXUS Security, a precision agriculture social enterprise focused on bringing technology services to farmers in Texas considered at risk under climate change.

A headshot of Doric Earle, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Doric Earle

After 30 years managing large technology consultancies, Dr. Earle reinvented himself to help communities, social enterprises and entrepreneurs achieve collaborative, engaging and sustainable solutions. A Ph.D. in Public Affairs focused on Urban Planning drives an emphasis on economic development, communication and community engagement as a catalyst to unlock potential in underserved communities. Social impact drives his work including joining the boards or consulting for NPs such as; Frazier Revitalization, Bridge Lacrosse, Green Careers Dallas, and Miles of Freedom.  His consultancy Forward Planning LLC is developing support for local entrepreneurs. Dr. Earle is also a co-founder of Restorative Farms Hatcher Station Garden and Training Farm project.  These efforts will drive collaboration between the community, SMU and like-minded partners.

Dr. Earle teaches various courses depending on the semester; Social Innovation/NP Leadership, Applied Comm Theory, Financial Comm, and Group/Team Communication Leadership. He holds a BS in Management from Syracuse University, an MBA from University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from University of Texas at Dallas.

A headshot of Valecia Harris, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Valecia Harris

Valecia is a former Executive Officer from GM Financial services who served 19 years in the captive lending financial service industry. She focused on aligning strategic priorities with the company’s core values while mitigating compliance and regulatory risk. Valecia served as a council member for GM Financial employee rewards and recognition program and as a member of the first Diversity and Inclusion Council. Valecia is an MBA candidate at Southern Methodist University in the Cox School of Business, specializing in Strategy and Entrepreneurship. She serves as President of the Cox Graduate Entrepreneurship Club and the President of the Cox Graduate Women in Business. Valecia has been recognized as an award recipient for the Cox Legacy and Cox Dean’s Circle Business Leadership Center. As well as a recipient of the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation 2021 and 2022 for her leadership role in supporting entrepreneurs in their early-stage ventures. Valecia is a senior advisor to entrepreneurs whose focus is to guide them to a viable business model with scalable solutions. She holds a seat as a member of the board of directors for One i/e, a non-profit organization supporting entrepreneurial ventures.

Maria Harrison

Maria Harrison

Maria recently graduated from SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science in December 2023. She will begin her full-time career as a Software Engineer in July 2024. She is ecstatic to work at the Hunt Institute and offer assistance for projects that require a technical background in software and web development. Apart from her life at SMU, she enjoys volunteering at Operation Kindness, walking her two dogs, and reading contemporary fiction.

Rutuja Lele

Rutuja Lele

Rutuja is a Research Assistant at the Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity. She explores and works with Dr. Jessie Marshall Zarazaga and Dr. Eva Csaky on topics of GIS & participatory community mapping and creating a database of startups that work towards climate-smart economic development. Rutuja worked for four years in sustainable education as a Program Manager and Research Associate at Munich Business School, University of Applied Sciences for Business Administration in Germany before moving to Dallas.  She earned her B.Tech in Urban Planning from the College of Engineering Pune (COEP), India, and MSc in Sustainable Resource Management from the Technical University in Munich (TUM), Germany.  Her passion for sustainability encouraged her to pursue a Masters in Sustainability and Development at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering.

A headshot of J. Paxton Marshall, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

J. Paxton Marshall, J.D., L.LM.

Paxton practiced civil commercial law in New York and Florida, participating in multi-national class-action lawsuits internationally and domestically with an emphasis on labor, health, and human rights. At Tulane Law, Tuft’s Fletcher School and now at the Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity, his work has focused on analyzing regulatory oversight and policy tools, in particular standards and certifications, and their ability to promote environmental, social and economic benefits. Paxton leads the Institute’s ImpactMap efforts in collaboration with 25+ partners. Paxton has published with Human Rights Watch and earned the John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Award for defending juvenile wards with pending criminal charges. Paxton earned his J.D. from the Tulane Law School (Law Review & Order of the Coif) and his Masters in Law from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. He serves as Board Member of Restorative Farms.

Grace M

Grace Moundas

Grace Moundas serves as the Communication Analyst for the Hunt Institute of Engineering & Humanity. She is currently an undergraduate at SMU majoring in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs with a minor in Business. During an internship at Ninth Street Capital Partners, Grace gained valuable insights into private equity, honing her skills in corporate communications and the intricacies of deal processes, while also exploring the implications of AI in the sector. Her commitment to social causes is evident in her co-founding of POTS Strong and her role in the National Charity League.

A headshot of James Olivier, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

James Olivier, Ph.D.

As an adjunct professor, Dr. Olivier brings over 30 years of industry experience to his classes. His career spans from conducting research at Bell Labs to developing advanced technologies at Samsung and Navini Networks. As a technical consultant, his clients include major corporations such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Ericsson, Samsung, and Microsoft. Dr. Olivier has been recognized as an expert in such areas as Packet Switching, Cellular Networks, and Network Security in United States District Courts and before the International Trade Commission. Dr. Olivier currently chairs the IEEE Dallas Blockchain group, where he promotes transformational technologies.

A headshot of Rebecca Pearce, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Rebecca Pearce

Rebecca is the Program Manager at the Hunt Institute and a current graduate student in the Masters in Sustainability & Development program at Southern Methodist University. After graduating with a BS in International Business Management in 2012, she worked as a Sales and Training Manager for an International Company across Oceania, Southeast Asia, and the United States of America. Having made Dallas her home, she began actively seeking organizations that were involved in the climate and sustainability movement. Now an advocate for food sustainability and justice, Rebecca hopes to make positive impact in our regional and worldwide food systems.

A headshot of Alex Radunsky, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Alex Radunsky, ScD MPH

Dr. Alex Radunsky is a public health scientist, Research Professor at the Hunt Institute, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Infectious Disease and Geographic Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. In practice, research, and teaching he uses interdisciplinary measurement and analytic approaches to solve systems challenges in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the United States.  His work focuses on social determinants of health and community wellbeing. He received his doctorate in Global Health and Population from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and holds an MPH in Epidemiology and a BA in Political Science.

A headshot of Farbod Tavakkoli Khomeini, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Farbod Tavakkoli Khomeini

Farbod holds a master’s in Smart and Resilient Infrastructure and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Science and a master’s in data science at SMU where he works as graduate research and teaching assistant. Farbod’s  Ph.D. dissertation focuses on the impact, urban green space poses on public health. Farbod is a data analyst for the Texas Tree Foundation where he aims to identify the contribution of environmental features to observed micro-climatic sensor data. Farbod is also a data scientist for The Center for Global Health Impact where he conducts data analysis and statistical modeling for a virtual reality game that aims to train surgeons in Zambia to treat cervical cancer.

A photo of Jessie Zarazaga, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Dr. Jessie Zarazaga

Working across the boundaries of urbanism, landscape mapping, and public engagement, Zarazaga explores ways to connect culture and community to place. Using GIS and participatory community mapping, she explores the impact of civil and environmental choices on the design of communities. Her research spans education and practice, working on the integration of community research into project-based learning. Her work overlaps areas of GIS mapping, global sustainable urbanism, design and creativity. She undertook a Fulbright in Valparaíso, Chile, to investigate, and map, devices of landscape as inspirations for the orders of community space.  Jessie earned her Ph.D. in Applied Science in Engineering at SMU, a BA and MA in architecture from Cambridge University, and a BA in Design from Williams College. She is a Registered Architect with the RIBA.

A headshot of Nadia Zrelli Ben Hamida, a member of the Lyle School of Engineering Faculty.

Nadia Zrelli Ben Hamida

Nadia Zrelli Ben Hamida is a PhD in economics, a World Bank expert in PPP projects, an International Specialist M&E, a former Consultant at the Ministry of Major Public Projects, Tunisian Presidency of the Government, and is currently and associate professor at the Institute of the Advanced Commercial Studies of Carthage and Chair of the Tunisia Policy Circle. She is the national coordinator of the BIDEYA program at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Nadia is a graduate from the We Lead Program, Women's Initiative, Bush Institute and the LAD Program of the Center of International Private Enterprise CIPE. She is a member of the think tank ARDES, responsible for the pole labor market and entrepreneurship. She is part of the Leadership for Development Network at Stanford University and she participated in the conception of open start-up with Columbia University New York City. Its main topics of scientific research are youth unemployment, labor market, quality of higher education, over-education, gender disparities, Islamic finance, and entrepreneurship.