World changers making the grade

Stories from the Class of 2017

Following are stories about graduating students:

From the graduating class of fall 2017

Sutton and SMU Lean on Each Other for Success

Courtland Sutton leaves SMU with numerous records as one of its top wide receivers, but also as an accomplished student, graduating in just three and a half years as a Sport Management major in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development.


Celebrating five years and (truly) counting

Alumni of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, now in it's 5th year, share insights with this year’s grads pursuing similar career paths. Read more.

Biko McMillan

SMU student lives up to legacy

Biko McMillan was supposed to be named "Stanley," after his grandfather, but his father wanted a name that came with a legacy so he named him after South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. Read more.

Michael Taylor

Cyber grad’s road to SMU took a necessary detour

Michael Taylor will be the first to tell you that he was not ready for college when he graduated from high school, but his disciplined approach to life, honed through five years in the Marine Corps, earned him a master’s degree from SMU. Read more.

Senior launching company with ‘Veterans First’ hiring policy

Iraq war veteran Jason Waller, 40, knows how challenging it can be for veterans to find civilian work when they leave the military. He heard it firsthand from the men and women he served with during his own deployments overseas. Read more.


From the graduating class of spring 2017

Jessica Cole

Long-forgotten love letters inspire student filmmaker

Jessica Cole had a simple wish for her grandmother on that summer evening in 2015 – she wanted a challenging day for Sybil Gregory to end on a good note. Read more.

Jonathan Wilfong

Graduating senior launches national literacy charity

SMU basketball fan favorite Jonathan Wilfong, concerned that "Two thirds of kids who can’t read at grade level by fourth grade" co-launched “Coaching for Literacy." Read more.

Hope Anderson

'The March Continues’ for Hope Anderson

SMU graduate receives John Lewis fellowship that will address some of Atlanta’s biggest social problems. Read more.

Dominique Earland with Mom 

Student creates life-saving toolkit for women

Dominique Earland used grants from SMU’s Community Outreach Fellowship and Engaged Learning Program to create and share a 36-page life-saving toolkit for women who may become mothers. Read more.

Olivia Nguyen

Parents struggle inspires student to help others

As a child, Olivia Nguyen saw her immigrant Vietnamese parents struggle with adjusting to a new country. She has taken knowledge of her parents’ challenges to help others. Read more.

Monique Scales

Texas earthquakes provided career inspiration

Monique Scales was in SMU's Fondren Library on Jan. 7, 2015, when an earthquake rumbled across Dallas and Irving. She realized she didn't know as much about earthquakes as she thought she did. Read more.

Kovan Barzani and mother

Refugee parents inspire student to help others

Kovan Barzani not only has exceeded his Kurdish-American parents’ expectations, but has worked with the International Rescue Committee to offer literacy and technology skills to those served by the IRC. Read more.

Lyle Senior Project

Students develop device to measure muscle health

SMU engineering students create device to improve the lives of those with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neuromuscular diseases. Read more.

Tammy Winter

From the middle of The Mob

Whenever the men’s basketball team was in the house this season, so was one of the proudest members of The Mob. Tammy Winter, majoring in economics and public policy, never missed a game. Read more.

Eric Bing and Dylan DeMuth 

SMU global health professor mentors others

For SMU senior Dylan DeMuth, a challenge from Professor Eric Bing led the premed student to teaching health workers in Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and the U.S. Read more.

Arya McCarthy and John McCarthy

Student's research inspired by grandfather

Graduating senior Arya McCarthy has been a frequent presence on SMU’s campus practically since the day he could walk, inspired by his grandfather John McCarthy, an SMU biology professor. Read more.

Lawson Malnory

Love of music ‘bridges the gap’

Lawson Malnory's positive experiences with music and the joy that it brings him led him to join the the Bridge the Gap Chamber Players to bring music to those who might not get regular exposure. Read more.