“The culture at SMU is inclusive and inviting. You knew people cared about you from the moment you got here.”

– Dr. Rachael Capua, Ed.D. Alumna

Susana Perez Headshot

Susana Ruelas Pérez

Senior Director, Campus Administration, Dallas College Mountain View Campus
M.S. Human Relations & Business, Amberton University
B.B.A. International Business/Spanish, University of Texas at Arlington

"To be totally honest, I never thought pursuing a doctoral degree, during my early years of motherhood, working full-time was even possible. As an immigrant and having learned English by watching Sesame Street in the summer between 1st and 2nd grade, SMU and EdD were never part of the plan. However, as an educator with over 20 year's experience within the PK -16 landscape I know there are students who need to see themselves on campus, in me. It is my life’s work to support underrepresented populations and their plight to gain access and find success at the collegiate level. I am grateful to the world class faculty that have supported my nonlinear path to graduation. "

EdD Headshot of Freddie Diaz

Federico Diaz

Instructional Support Coordinator, Dallas College
M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas at Arlington
B.S. Chemistry, B.S. Mathematical Education, University of Puerto Rico

"The program has allowed me to develop my leadership skills to be an agent of change and navigate the challenges that higher education presents. The program has helped me create connections that have allowed me to broaden my vision and visualize opportunities for growth in every situation."

EdD Headshot of Jennifer Ebinger

Jennifer Ebinger

Director, Office of Engaged Learning, Southern Methodist University
M.A.T, Trinity University
B.F.A, Hope College

"After working for over twenty-five years as a teacher, leader, and school improvement consultant, I have found myself in an exciting career in higher education. Through the Simmons School’s enriching cohort model, I’m stretching my skills as an educator, I’m learning new things in abundance, and I’m developing an understanding of how to best serve college students and the university. It is truly a privilege to be nurtured and pushed, both intellectually and personally, by outstanding faculty and colleagues at SMU."

EdD Headshot of Christie Pearson

Christie Pearson

Director of Education Abroad, Southern Methodist University
M.L.S. Organizational Dynamics and Global Studies, Southern Methodist University
B.A. International Studies, French, and Political Science, Southern Methodist University

"I have a genuine passion for international education. Some of my proudest moments and greatest accomplishmeants come from studying abroad and working in higher education. I know this Ed.D. program will not only open doors to more leadership opportunities, but also provide an academic-based approach to management, organizational improvement and achievements, in addition to providing an understanding of higher education’s history and theory so that we can build a better future."

EdD Headshot of Cynthia Aiken

Cynthia Aiken

Faculty Instructor, Galen College of Nursing
Master of Education in Student Services in Higher Education, University of the Incarnate Word
Master of Science in Biology, Jackson State University Bachelor of Science in Biology, Jackson State University

"I wanted to expand my knowledge on first-generation college students experience within the higher education context, academically and I believed the Ed.D. program gave me the opportunity to fully explore this interest. Moreover, I wanted to understand the larger organizational and institutional structures that benefit first-generation college students. The design of the Ed.D. program afforded me the opportunity to continue working full-time as a faculty member with first-generation college students."

EdD Headshot of Carla Arellano

Carla Arellano

Director of Undergraduate Admission and Enrollment, The University of Texas at Dallas
M.F.A. Creative Writing, University of Texas at El Paso
B.A. Creative Writing, University of Texas at El Paso

"Education, for me, has been a lifeline. The mechanism that life used to move me between worlds and one that has provided me with a meaningful life purpose. I believe in higher education, and I believe that we have to embody the change we truly want to see in our communities. By pursuing this doctoral degree, I want the young women in our Texas communities, who like me, grew up reading secondhand books, took two buses to get to class, and flourished because of those humble beginnings, to see that it is possible to become the leaders of these same communities.”

EdD Headshot of Vitia Bosch-Martinez

Vitia Bosch-Martinez

Director, Dallas Admissions Center, Office of Admissions, University of Texas at Austin
M.A. Higher Education Administration, Sam Houston State University
B.A. English, Texas A&M University

"Working in higher education has allowed me the opportunity to impact students as they navigate through the next chapter of their lives. Helping students reach their potential after high school is my professional career's goal. The driving force to pursue my Ed.D at SMU stems from these opportunities. SMU's program will allow me to continue to grow professionally while obtaining leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to be a leader within an ever-changing field."

EdD Headshot of Curt Herridge

Curt Herridge

Associate Chief Information Officer, Southern Methodist University
M.B.A., Southern Methodist University
B.B.A., University of Texas at Austin

"I am pursuing the Doctorate of Education to understand the inner workings of higher education. As a technologist at heart, I am at my best when I understand the intersection of technology and business, and I want to have a more global view of higher education."

Alex Rentz Headshot

Alexander Jennings-Rentz

Associate Director for Residential Experience at Texas State University
M.Ed. Higher Education Leadership, Valdosta State University
B.S. Management Information Systems, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

“A degree in educational leadership will provide me access to opportunities to enact system-level change to improve the educational experience for future generations of students.”

EdD Headshot of Krystel Kaloust

Krystel Kaloust

Institutional Research Associate, University of Texas at Dallas
M.S. Business Administration (Management), Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Lebanon
B.B.A. (Business Computing), Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Lebanon

Pre-doctoral research qualification: AE Clermont Auvergne School of Management, France

“A degree in educational leadership will provide me access to opportunities to enact system-level change to improve the educational experience for future generations of students.”

EdD Headshot of Jennifer Malone

Jennifer Malone

Assistant Director, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University
M.S. Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin
B.B.A. Finance, The University of Texas at Austin

"I am passionate about higher education and supporting students in reaching their goals. Pursuing SMU's Ed.D. in Higher Education has been life changing. The content of the courses, the amazing professors, and the supportive environment make this program outstanding. I am building upon my experiences in academic advising, administration, and student affairs while having the opportunity to study college student mental health."

EdD Headshot of Marissa McIntyre

Marissa McIntyre

Assistant Dean, Student Services, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University
M.S. Educational Leadership, Oklahoma State University
B.S. Business Administration, Oklahoma State University

"The Ed.D. program provides the opportunity to synthesize my professional experiences with a research based curriculum. With the ever-changing landscape of higher education, programs, policies, and practices need to need to shift and adapt to ensure that student success is kept at the forefront."

EdD Headshot of Hannah Park Lee

Hannah Park Lee

Director, Student Services, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University
M.S. Educational Leadership, concentration in College Student Development, Oklahoma State University
B.S. Business Administration, Oklahoma State University

"My goal is to create scholarship and research on understanding AAPI/APIDA student experiences - specifically the impact diverse curriculum can have on student development. I hope to continue to work to decolonize higher education while continuing to support underrepresented individuals within the system."

EdD Headshot of Chandler Short

Chandler Short

Assistant Athletic Director of Corporate Sales and Marketing
M.Ed., Intercollegiate Athletic Administration, University of Oklahoma
B.S., Physical Education and Health, McPherson College

"Pursuing this degree concurrent with my work in athletics gives me both a strong foundation and an opportunity to connect what I’m learning with my day-to-day experience. Ultimately this program is providing me with ways to grow and serve my current institution and staff in better ways. This program has shaped me as a leader and will continue to influence and drive my work in higher education."

EdD Headshot of Sheila Thomas-Boone

Sheila Thomas-Boone

Retired K-12 Texas Public School Administrator, Adjunct Educator at Texas Public Institutions of Higher Learning
M.Ed. Educational Leadership, Dallas Baptist University and Grand Canyon University
B.S. Therapeutic Recreation, Oklahoma State University

"Educators are forever in pursuit of knowledge whether it's for instruction, research, or service. Education has been and will continue to be my life's work. I am pursuing a Doctorate in Higher Education to contribute to my profession while continuing to be a lifelong learner."

EdD Headshot of Lisa Tran

Lisa Tran

Managing Director, Corporate Engagement & Strategic Partnerships, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University
M.Ed. Higher Education, University of North Texas
B.B.A Finance, Southern Methodist University

"I believe in the importance of lifelong learning and building lasting relationships. And pursuing an Ed.D. in educational leadership is the perfect discipline that will help me grow in my higher education career by learning with and from my fellow cohort members and faculty who represent all areas of higher education."

EdD Headshot of Jason Warner

Jason Warner

Executive Director, Academic Technology Services, Office of Information Technology, Southern Methodist University
M.Ed. Education, Southern Methodist University
B.A. English and History, Baylor University

"Information technology services, tools and especially people increasingly play foundational and facilitating roles throughout higher education. I aspire to contribute to research regarding the changing characteristics of technology staffing and organizational design that can best serve the unique academic and business needs the modern university."

EdD Headshot of Sara Cucinotti

Sara Cucinotti

Assistant Director for Development Research, Southern Methodist University
M.L.S. Organizational Dynamics, Southern Methodist University
B.A. Political Science, Southern Methodist University

"My area of focus looks at the intersection of development, student life, and academics. Through the Ed.D. program, I am able to collaborate with a diverse group of professionals, with unique backgrounds and experiences in higher education, in order to gain a more holistic understanding of the challenges impacting students and institutions."

EdD Headshot of Clayton Ellis

Clayton Ellis

Director of Development for Dedman College, Southern Methodist University
M.L.S. Organizational Dynamics and Humanities, Southern Methodist University
B.A. Theatre Performance, Baylor University

"I think the Ed.D. is the MBA for aspiring administrators. By equipping myself with such a degree, I believe I will be a better asset to my institution as well as the general field. In addition to the systematic applications that the Ed.D. teaches, it prepares candidates to be empathetic leaders and earn the trust of others through its comprehensive curriculum and shared experiences of the cohort."

EdD Headshot of Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza

Lecturer & Translator, University of Texas at Arlington
M.A. Modern Languages, University of Texas at Arlington
M.A. Spanish Translation & Interpretation, University of Texas at Brownsville

"I am pursuing an Ed.D because I am passionate about serving marginalized communities through teaching and research. My area of focus examines the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender and Latinx identities to identify barriers and drivers to accessing professional and academic opportunities. I am interested in understanding how Spanish translation and interpretation tools can be utilized to increase equity and inclusion in higher education and exploring ideas for cross-cultural connections among students."

EdD Headshot of Kevin Gunter

Kevin Gunter

Senior Lecturer, Class Piano Coordinator, Southern Methodist University
M.M. Piano Performance and Pedagogy - Southern Methodist University
B.M. Piano Performance - Samford University

"In considering terminal degrees, I knew that pursuing an Ed.D. would allow me to continue to stand out in my field while opening up doors for career advancement. In researching schools, I was intrigued and impressed by the SMU program's cohort model and noted professors. I know this unique collaborative experience will provide me with the knowledge, strategies, and skills to tackle future challenges and confidently blaze my own path in higher education."

EdD Headshot of Julie Maas

Julie Maas

Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Enrollment and Engagement, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University
M.Ed. Higher Education, Southern Methodist University
B.S. Computing Science, Sam Houston State University

"My passion for education and love of my work has motivated me to pursue a doctorate of education degree. The Ed.D. will allow me to raise my level of expertise and continue my growth as a leader in development of policies, programs, and procedures to best serve students and the Cox School."

EdD Headshot of Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy

Associate Director of Student Center & Activities, Southern Methodist University
M.S. Leadership, Northeastern University
B.B.A., Texas A&M University

"It is my goal to be able to positively impact students on a regular basis. I believe that through my Ed.D. studies, I will enhance my perspective on what that means and how to do it, and eventually I aim to influence policy in order to directly contribute to student success."

EdD Headshot of Asmara Hussain Saleemi

Asmara Hussain Saleemi

Professor of Government, Dallas College
M.A. Political Science, University of North Texas
B.A. Political Science and International Studies, Southern Methodist University

"I strongly believe an individual should lead through service, and it is important for me to pursue a career and degree that align with this value. Teaching in higher education allows me to serve and have a positive impact on the North Texas community. With a doctorate in higher education, I can pursue leaderships roles that will help societies solve problems and meet the demands of a rapidly changing and highly connected world.”

EdD Headshot of Marissa Anchia

Marissa Anchia

Higher Education Advisor, Education Is Freedom
M.L.S., Southern Methodist University
B.A., St. Mary’s University

"I believe every student has potential. It is incumbent upon us to be leaders who understand and address even the most complex problems at the forefront of education. This program will give me the opportunity to delve into various topics and work alongside my cohort, faculty, and staff to find meaningful solutions to these challenges. "

EdD Headshot of Deva Arumugam

Deva Arumugam

Professor of English, El Centro College
M.A. English Linguistics, University of North Texas
B.A. English, University of North Texas
B.A. Teaching and English, University of Malaya

"I have been in higher education for 27 years in various different capacity, i.e. in instruction, administration, and teacher training. I am passionate about teaching and learning. The SMU Higher Education degree will give me the opportunity to understand how institutions of higher education are transforming in the 21st century. This SMU program will help me to be a part of the current AI innovations and conversations in higher education. "

EdD Headshot of Dorie Beitchman

Dorie Beitchman

Senior Academic Advisor, Lyle School of Engineering, Southern Methodist University
M.Ed. Educational Leadership and Policy, The University of Texas at Austin
B.A. History, The University of Texas at Austin

"Building relationships with my students and colleagues is the greatest joy of my higher education career. I'm especially drawn to the Ed.D. program as a means to serve others. Having the opportunity to learn from a cohort with diverse backgrounds, jobs, and viewpoints will provide me with valuable context as a higher education leader. Ultimately, I aspire to create life-changing collegiate experiences for all students."

EdD Headshot of Molly Brooks

Molly Brooks

Residential Community Director of Armstrong Commons at SMU
M.Ed in Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel, Kent State University
B.S. in Psychology and Child Learning and Development, University of Texas at Dallas

"I fell in love with the field of higher education very quickly into my time in undergrad. I am passionate about helping students transition from high school to college in the best way for them and helping students feel confident in solving their own problems. I am excited to learn from my professors and classmates throughout this program."

EdD Headshot of Monique Christian-Long

Monique Christian-Long

Assistant Director of Administrative Services & Diversity Officer, Southern Methodist University Libraries
M.L.S. Archives & Records Management, North Carolina Central University
B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies: Nonprofit & Public Administration, University of Toledo

"Over the last 10 years I have served in different capacities within the field of librarianship. During this tenure, I have focused on implementing equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives (DEI). I am interested in organizational development as it pertains to DEI in academic libraries. Particularly, I aim to study recruitment and retention practices. Therefore, I am pursuing an Ed.D. in higher education to explore how DEI in academic libraries support the overall success of the university and organizational effectiveness. I am excited to learn from the diverse group of professionals in my cohort and ready to share my expertise as well."

EdD Headshot of Ryan Cole

Ryan Cole

Assistant Dean for Recruitment & Admission, SMU Meadows School of the Arts
M.Ed. Higher Education Policy and Leadership, Southern Methodist University
B.M. Music Education, Southern Methodist University

"There is something magical about being a part of a student's journey toward building a successful future. It's what makes my participation in higher education worthwhile. Through the Ed.D. program at SMU, I will have the opportunity to apply research to my practice. The better informed I am as an admission professional to prioritize students when considering access, equity, and institutional goals, the brighter everyone's future becomes."

EdD Headshot of Claudia Hart

Claudia Hart

Executive Director of Enrollment Services & Director of International Office
M.A. in Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management, Southern Methodist University
B.A. Humanities, Southern Methodist University

"I am passionate about being a role model for high school graduates who face challenges accessing higher education. As a first-generation graduate and former international student, pursuing my doctorate in Higher Education is another step toward advancing my career goals and being an example for Latinos, women, and international students. I want students to know we can achieve anything with passion, hard work, discipline, and perseverance. I want to be the voice for those who don't have the platform to be heard and be a reason for significant change in higher education for underrepresented communities."

EdD Headshot of Elena Hicks

Elena Hicks

Assistant Vice Provost and Dean of Admission, Southern Methodist University
Master of Liberal Arts, Texas Christian University
Bachelor of Arts, French and Speech Communication

"'Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.' This quote by Maya Angelou epitomizes the way I live my life. It applies to so much, but for me the knowing is my goal in life. As I know more, I do more and I'm better for it. My doctorate is a key launching pad in this endeavor.”

EdD Headshot of Peter Kenn

Peter Kenn

Director of Olympic Sports Performance, Southern Methodist University
M.Ed. Higher Education, Iowa State University
M.S. Exercise Science, Appalachian State University B.S. Exercise Science, Appalachian State University

"My goal is to provide continued support to the student-athletes I work with in all aspects of the higher education system. Continuing my education within this program will allow me to effectively communicate with administration and understand the outside barriers we must overcome to be successful in producing student-leaders.”

EdD Headshot of Ellicia Money

Ellicia Money

Assistant Director of Athletic Mental Health, Southern Methodist University
M.S. Counseling and Development, Texas Woman's University
B.S. Psychology, Langston University

"Higher education has been an important component of my professional journey, and through this program I hope to gain knowledge and additional expertise to provide an avenue for the next generation. ”

EdD Headshot of Lauren Searway

Lauren Searway

Assistant Director of Employer Relations at the Hegi Family Career Development Center, Southern Methodist University
M.Ed. Higher Education Leadership & Policy, Southern Methodist University
B.B.A. Management, Texas State University

"The transformative power of education is important to me, and I want to contribute to the improvement of higher education in America. This Ed.D. program will not only allow me to grow personally in my field but also to expand on existing research with the hope of improving the college experience for future generations."

EdD Headshot of Jessica Wickersham

Jessica Wickersham

Lecturer, Southern Methodist University
M.S. Statistics, Texas A&M University
B.S. Education, John Brown University

"As a statistics educator I teach students to recognize quality data and learn from the stories it tells. Unfortunately, whether due to messages from our society, their families, or former teachers, many approach math with a fixed mindset. My objective is to help them identify and break down the barriers that exist between them and their goals. Regardless of their background, each learner has innate worth as a human with unique and valuable experiences, ideas, and contributions to the world. As such, I am continually adapting my teaching methods to a universally accessible design, in a setting that explicitly welcomes each scholar. Further exploring these concepts within their sociopolitical and institutional contexts through the Ed.D. coursework will enhance my ability to enact lasting change in a larger arena."

EdD Headshot of Gabriella Zuniga-Jairala

Gabriella Zuniga-Jairala

Managing Director, Workforce Development Centers, Dallas College
M.B.A, University of Essex
B.S. Psychology, B.S. International Affairs, Florida State University

"My journey has been tiled with academic, professional, and personal experiences that have steered me to pursue an Ed.D. in Higher Education today. I seek to prepare myself for better seats at the table to continue researching and advocating for the changes and challenges students will continue to face in higher education. Obtaining this degree from SMU will take me to the next level by further equipping me with the knowledge and resources I need to help solve problems and bridge organizational gaps, ultimately leading to improved student success.