SMU students take top national and global honors

SMU students who excel in their areas of study receive some of the world’s most prestigious fellowships and awards.


DALLAS (SMU) — SMU students who excel in their areas of study often receive some of the world’s most prestigious fellowships and awards, providing them with meaningful research opportunities and life experiences. For the 2010-11 academic year, those who can claim such recognitions include:

Fulbright Fellowships

Two SMU students have received Fulbright Fellowships for 2011-2012:

Jordan JohansenSMU senior and President’s Scholar Jordan Johansen will work as an English teaching assistant and study Greek at Cypriot University on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Johansen, a native of DeSoto, Texas, will receive degrees this year in anthropology, history and music. Read more.

Carla MendiolaSan Antonio native Carla Mendiola, an SMU Dedman College graduate student in history, will use her Fulbright Fellowship to help fund the research and writing of her dissertation in Canada. She also has received a Government of Canada Doctoral Student Research Award, which will help fund research travel. Read more.

An estimated 1,600 students out of more than 9,000 applicants will be honored with the Fulbright grant, made possible by the U.S. Congress and U.S. Department of State.

Goldwater Awards

Deland Goldwater
Kent Fischer

Junior Katherine Deland of Beaumont and sophomore Kent Fischer of San Angelo have been awarded 2011 Goldwater Scholarships, which recognize students who have shown excellence in the fields of science, mathematics and engineering.

Fischer was rewarded for his research project focused on the extraction of rare earth lanthanide elements crucial for electronics and other high-tech manufacturing.

Deland’s research work involved investigating the role of a specific gene in suppressing the reproduction of cancer cells. Read more.

Truman Scholarship

Matthew GayerPresident’s Scholar Matthew Gayer has been selected as a 2011 Truman Scholar. The national award recognizes college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in government and public service. Gayer, a St. Louis native, was one of 60 students chosen from 54 U.S. colleges and universities to receive the award, which provides up to $30,000 to help students pursue a graduate school education. Read more.

Gilman Scholarships

Larry Anthony
Ryan Swick
Ankita Krishnan

Three SMU students will be studying in Europe and Asia this summer after winning Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships, which are given to two-year and four-year university and college students who receive federal Pell Grants and wish to study overseas.

Larry Anthony, a junior from Dallas majoring in political science and history with a minor in Arabic, will be studying in Morocco with SMU Arabic language lecturer Liljana Elverskog. Ryan Swick, a sophomore from Austin majoring in political science, public policy and economics with a minor in Chinese, will be participating in the SMU in China language program. Ankita Krishnan, a sophomore from Mumbai, India, majoring in French and psychology, will study in the south of France with other SMU students. Read more.

AAF Most Promising Minority Student

Sean CasaSMU student Sean Casa was named by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) as a winner in the AAF’s Most Promising Minority Students national competition for 2011. Casa, a Hispanic student from Coppell, Texas, is a senior advertising major in the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. In addition, Casa was named by AAF as one of four recipients of a CNN Impact Grant for academic excellence and community service. Casa was recognized for his contributions to the community through the campus ministry group PULSE. Read more.

ASA Quality & Productivity Award

Yalan Hu
 Long (Michael)Luo
Yalan Hu
and Long (Michael) Luo, SMU doctoral candidates in the Dedman College Department of Statistical Science, have taken top honors in the Quality & Productivity Student Competition sponsored by the American Statistical Association (ASA). The award was bestowed on their research group, including Mississippi State student He Yang, after it offered a solution for greatly improving the Watfactory, a virtual manufacturing process designed to teach statistical methods for process improvement within a tight budget. Read more.

Canadian Doctoral Student Research Award

Carla MendiolaIn addition to winning a Fulbright Fellowship, SMU Ph.D. candidate Carla Mendiola also has received a Government of Canada Doctoral Student Research Award to conduct part of her dissertation research in Canada. These awards are offered each year to a select number of students who can provide research contributing to a better knowledge of Canada, its relationship with the United States and its international affairs. Mendiola, a native of San Antonio, is a fourth-year Ph.D. student currently researching and writing her U.S. history dissertation focused on comparative North America borderlands. She is one of six award recipients for 2011. Read more.

Marcia Silverman Minority Student Award
John D. Graham Scholarship

Sana MerchantSMU senior Sana Merchant won two awards from the Public Relations Society of America Foundation. The first is the 2010 Marcia Silverman Minority Student Award, a $5,000 scholarship presented to a minority senior college student who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement, leadership skills and a commitment to entering the public relations profession. The second award is the John D. Graham Scholarship, funded by Fleishman-Hilliard, a $3,000 award given to a college senior in a journalism or public relations program who plans to enter the PR field. Read more.

PRWeek Student of the Year

Taylor ReedTaylor Reed, a sophomore majoring in communication studies at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has been named one of the top two national winners of the PRWeek Student of the Year competition, which encourages bright students to enter the PR profession. It also celebrates creativity and strategic thinking around real-world communications topics. This year’s assignment was to create a campaign for SanDisk Corporation, the global leader in flash memory cards. Read more.

SAS Data Mining Shootout

Data Mining Team SMU economics students Subhojit Das, Greg Johnson and Jacob Williamson took second-place honors in the 2010 SAS Data Mining Shootout competition. Das and Johnson are third-year students in the Economics Ph.D. program and Williamson is a second-year Applied Master of Arts student in the Economics Department. The team focused on the economic benefit of reducing the Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) of a select number of individuals by 10 percent and determining the cost savings that would accrue to the Federal Government’s Medicare and Medicaid programs, as well as to the economy as a whole, from the implementation of the proposed BMI reduction program. Read more.

STEM Video Game Challenge

STEM finalistsThe team of SMU Guildhall graduate students David Vaught, Eden Simpson, James Brawley and Vicki Smith was one of three finalists in the National STEM Video Game Challenge. The group was recognized for their educational game Slime Garden for its potential to reach underserved communities, originality, scalability, educational impact and gameplay. The game teaches scientific methodology by incorporating experimentation and simulation. Read more.

Wine Label Design Contest

Anna MembrinoAnna Membrino, a first-year Master of Fine Arts student at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, has been named one of three national winners of the 2010 Canvas Artist Series Contest sponsored by Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Folio Fine Wine Partners. 

The three contest winners were selected by public online voting and a panel of judges comprised of Folio and Hyatt executives, as well as other wine industry professionals. In addition to having artwork displayed on the Canvas bottle, each winner received a $5,000 scholarship from Hyatt. Read more.

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