Fall 2023: Grad Students to Watch

Read about four accomplished graduate students currently enrolled in Meadows programs who are doing great things in school and beyond.

Sixth year Ph.D. student Arvin Maghsoudlou examines a piece of work for his art history program.
Sixth year Ph.D. student Arvin Maghsoudlou examines a piece of work for his art history program.

With master’s degree programs spanning more than nine disciplines, Meadows has no shortage of talented graduate students. Read on for profiles of four accomplished grad students currently enrolled in Meadows programs.



Advertising student Amber Bormann plays original music during the Temerlin Awards Ceremony.


ADVERTISING: Amber Bormann


A graduate student of Meadows’ renowned Temerlin Advertising Institute, Amber Bormann is one of only 15 students to be selected for her specialized area of study in the accelerated Master’s in Advertising program. She graduated from SMU’s undergraduate program in May of this year, earning her B.B.A. in Marketing and her B.A. in Advertising with a Digital Media Strategies Specialization, but one of the main reasons she looks forward to completing her master’s degree is because of the minors she earned in songwriting and music industry practices. Bormann’s ultimate goal is to work on the brand side in the music industry, either for artists, labels, or independent media companies.


“I want to make a difference in the world, and I believe that music has a unique power to unite people of all nations, backgrounds, and beliefs in a way that few other things can,” she says. “I want to be a part of spreading and sharing that with as many people as possible and connecting people together through song and emotion.”


With her many accolades and strong work ethic, Bormann has the drive to succeed in whatever career she pursues. While completing her undergraduate degrees, she received the Temerlin Advertising Institute Award for Academic Achievement in Digital Media Strategy; the Face of TAI Award, an award given to the top TAI student each year that professors believe best represents the Institute both in and out of the classroom; and was nominated for a Hilltop Excellence Award. She is currently the Marketing Assistant for Temerlin, where she handles the social media, communications, newsletter, blogs, and videos for the program, and is also working as a TA this semester for advertising professor Dr. Alice Kendrick’s Account Planning class. But Bormann’s passion for the music industry is not only part of her education, it’s personal. She is a singer-songwriter and has played her own music and gigs for years. Bormann ultimately hopes to eventually release an album, and when she does, she believes the skills she has developed through her degree will also help with her own production and release.



Sixth year Ph.D. student Arvin Maghsoudlou examines a piece of work for his art history program.


ART HISTORY: Arvin Maghsoudlou


Arvin Maghsoudlou is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Meadows’ Art History program with a focus on Sassanian silver vessels. During his studies, he has had the opportunity to examine the images and objects made by people who lived in different time periods that differ drastically from our own. Through these explorations, Maghsoudlou, who previously held the prestigious Andrew W. Mellon fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York,believes that art history is an important tool for understanding societies, cultures, and historical epochs, as well as serving as a window into the experiences and emotions of individuals.


“Our department boasts a diverse group of world-renowned scholars who are known for fostering innovative approaches in art history studies and pushing the boundaries of the discipline,” says Maghsoudlou of his experience in the art history graduate program. “The personalized mentorship offered by these scholars, coupled with the department's commitment to ensuring your success, is exemplary.”


Once Maghsoudlou completes his Ph.D. at Meadows, he plans to enter the world of academia himself due, in part, to his passion for research and teaching. While working on his degree, he has had the opportunity to teach undergraduate art history courses and even won the Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award from SMU's Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies last year. With his successful hands-on experience in the classroom coupled with his wealth of art history knowledge, Maghsoudlou will no doubt become a permanent asset to the field of education in the near future.



New MADI program student Angela Molinero is a Mexico native with an extensive design background.


DESIGN & INNOVATION: Angela Molinero


Mexico City native Angela Molinero is a first-year graduate student pursuing her M.A. in Design & Innovation (MADI), a unique collaborative program between Meadows and the Lyle School of Engineering. Her undergraduate degree in Industrial Design, as well as her desire to revisit the world of design, drove her to enroll in the MADI program in order to discover new trends, methodologies and approaches to the subject.


“MADI is a is a human-centered design program, which means a ton of research, a lot of brainstorming, huge amounts of prototyping, many trial-and-error sleepless nights, but also the immense satisfaction of knowing that your design is intended to improve human lives,” Molinero explains. “This program is everything I was looking for and it's filling my spirit immensely.”


Molinero, who has previously studied internationally in Denmark, Italy, and France, plans to spend the next two years of her program exploring new opportunities and passions within the industry and Dallas itself. And though it is only her first semester in the MADI program, Molinero knows that eventually she would like to return to her home country of Mexico and give back to the community utilizing the knowledge she will acquire through her degree.



Pianist Jialin Yao pursues his Artist's Diploma with mentor and renowned pianist Sergei Babayan.


MUSIC: Jialin Yao


Jialin Yao is currently earning his Artist’s Diploma with renowned pianist and new faculty member Sergei Babayan. After studying piano for two years at The Juilliard School in New York City, Yao relocated to Dallas in order to pursue an Artist’s Diploma and achieve a high level of artistic and technical proficiency in his craft. The training and flexibility of the program gives him the opportunity to truly advance to the next stage of his studies.


“Meadows’ piano program provides abundant performance and networking opportunities, including masterclasses, workshops, ensemble playing opportunities, and access to notable guest artists, enriching our musical development and potential career prospects in the field of piano performance,” explains Yao. “I feel not only safe and peaceful every day, but I also draw so much inspiration through the beauty and vibrancy from every corner of the campus.”


Yao sees earning his Artist’s Diploma as the last stage before entering a performing career in piano. With numerous prize-winning competition titles under his belt, including the Friuli Venezia Giulia International Piano Competition, the Singapore International Piano Competition, the Steinway National Competition, the Shigeru Kawai International Piano Competition, the Santa Cecilia International Piano Competition, and more, continuing to fine-tune his skills in piano and build connections in the industry will allow Yao to be fully prepared for the intensive performing life that lies ahead.