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The Official Newsletter of the Dedman College Ambassadors

Volume 1, Edition 2: March 5, 2010

Jill Bolte Taylor Fascinates Tate Lecture Crowd

H
by Anna Kiappes
In This Issue: ow To Get Your do is brains,” Taylor said. the clock and you know what?
Brain To Do What It also has led to a deeper It’s always behind, which
You Want It To knowledge about her body, causes urgency,” Taylor ex-
Brains at the Tate Series Do” was the theme of neu- brain and its inner workings, plained.
p1 roanatomist, Jill Bolte Taylor’s like our cells - all 50 trillion of Taylor discussed the issue
speech at the Jones Day Lec- them. of the 1970’s and its focus-
DCA Update ture in McFarlin Auditorium. “What a difference it makes ing on the need to improve
p1 Speaking to over 1,000 in my life. I am a life force the side of the brain that you
people Tuesday night, Taylor power of 50 trillion geniuses,” preferred. Based on today’s
discussed her love of brains, Taylor said. findings, this is a thing of the
Advice on Picking A Major which began with her try- Her ability to connect and past.
p2 ing to understand her older interact with the audience and “It’s one thing to have a
brother’s schizophrenia. receive a response would show healthy half brain, but it’s a
Archaeology Class “I became fascinated how when she would ask questions good thing to have a healthy
we could be in the same room to provoke the audience. whole brain,” Taylor said.
p2
with the same stuff and have “Did you ever stop and say Taylor then dove into her
the same experience but have thank you? It’s the little things story about her stroke and
Professor Bios different explanations for that count!” Taylor said. how she overcame it. It all
p3 what happened,” Taylor said. Taylor took this audience started when she was a late
This fascination led to participation and used it to teen and was diagnosed with
Does Your Major Influence postdoctoral fellowships at widen their horizons about what her doctor thought were
Harvard and a position on the brain. For example, Taylor migraines.
Your Career Choices? the Board of Directors of the “For 20 years, I was having
begain discussing the different
p4 National Alliance on Mental features of the hemispheres small hemorrhages and it was
Illness. and lobes of the brain. leading up to the big one,”
“Brains, brains, brains. All I “The left brain is always on Taylor said.
Continued on page 4
DCA Update: On Track for a Successful Spring Semester
by Nicholas Burns

T
Upcoming DCA Events
he Dedman College more notoriety and invite stu- students and alumni who have Here’s what’s happening with the DCA in
Ambassadors (DCA) is dents, faculty, and staff into a Dedman Center member- the next few months. Questions? Contact
off to a fantastic spring its special mission of creating ship. us at DCA@smu.edu!
semester, and will have a host a unified community for Ded- For further informa-
of events and opportunities man College. tion, students should contact -General Member Meetings: 5-6PM on 3/16,
for students to get involved To close out the spring, the DCA@smu.edu, or look at the 3/30, 4/13 in HT Atriums C&D; 4/27 in HT
Atriums A&B.
after Spring Break. DCA will host a “Pick Your DCA website, www.smu.edu/
Already this semester, the Major” event on March 31 in Dedman/Students/Dedman- -Pick Your Major Event: 11AM to 1PM on
DCA has been active in phil- the Hughes-Trigg ballroom, CollegeAmbassadors.aspx. 3/31, Hughes-Trigg Ballroom, to showcase
anthropic gestures, participat- an Indiana Jones themed movie Dedman’s majors and minors.
ing in biweekly tutoring and night on April 9 in the Varsity, Nicholas is a sophomore Bio- -Indiana Jones Movie Night, 730PM-1230AM
mentoring at Buckner Inter- a “Network DC” alumni/stu- logical Sciences in the Varsity.
national orphanage and in a dent social on April 21 in the and French
Habitat for Humanity build Hughes-Trigg pre-function major. He can -Network DC Alumni/Student Social and
neetworking opportunity, 4/21 in the HT Pre-
event. The DCA also has area, and a Study Break event be reached for Function area.
hosted a slew of meetings that on May 3. comment at
will continue for the rest of The DCA also has created rburns@smu. -Study Break Night, 9-11PM 5/3, Location
the semester in order to create a softball team for interested edu. TBA.

The Ded-Beat, March 2010 1


How To Pick Your Major
Essential Advice for Those of Us Who Are Still Undecided
by Dan Fernandez

W hat’s your major?” It’s among gram was not where I wanted to be.
the first few questions asked
finally felt comfortable declaring a B.S. in
I did, however, find my freshman Chemistry.
when you meet someone new chemistry course with Dr. Patty engag- I discovered my major by diving into
at college, whether you’re at AARO, Cor- ing and very challenging. Though I had things headfirst. Environmental Science
ral, or any other situation. In that one not yet learned how to study in college, was not for me, though I love hiking. Bi-
word answer, you know a little bit about I found the content fascinating. Because ology, I felt, was almost too broad of a
that person. Your major defines you, I’m pre-med, I also took BIOL 1402 dur- subject. I want to know the Chemistry
right? ing the second semester of my freshman behind how things work. I found some-
It’s pretty obvious that if you’re major- year. It focused more on the organ sys- thing that interests me, and I have de-
ing in something it interests and engages tems and whole organisms. When we got clared that I want to focus on that.


you, but that doesn’t necessar- to chemical processes in the body, Dr. O So if you’re struggling to pick a major,


ily dictate who you are as a per- don’t stress out about it.
son. For example, math majors
While picking a major may seem It will come to you. If you
are not just antisocial nerds like a life-altering decision, it’s think you’re interested in
with massive glasses and pock- really more of a declaration that something, talk to a profes-
et protectors; English majors do sor in the department or take
things other than play Scrabble you intend to study something that interests a class. See what the program
for fun; and economics majors you. That’s why it’s called “declaring.” has to offer. If you can see
do have to work hard in their yourself devoting the next
classes. While picking a major may seem would leave the specifics for higher level years of your life to studying that topic
like a life-altering decision, it’s really more bio courses. This did not satisfy me, and and being happy with that choice, it’s
of a declaration that you intend to study I began thinking about declaring Biology probably where you need to be. Don’t
something that interests you. That’s why or Biochemistry. It was clear I wanted forget to check out the Pick-Your-Major
it’s called “declaring.” to study something that related to medi- Fair on March 31. This will be your place
When I entered SMU my freshman cine, but precisely what eluded me was to jump in and get a taste of all of Ded-
year, I was a pre-med Environmental Sci- the specifics. man College’s 88-and-counting majors
ence major. I’m still pre-med, but I went I started organic chemistry last fall, and minors, so don’t miss it!
through three majors to finally settle on and things really started to click. I looked
one. During high school, I was given forward to class, even though it was an Dan is a sophomore
the chance to go hiking a couple times, 8 am (You read that right, I looked for- Chemistry major. He
and I absolutely loved it. I felt like it was ward to chemistry class before dawn). can be reached for
something I could study and easily enjoy. After a four hour study session before comment at dfernan-
However, the introductory environmen- our first test, I wanted to jump right back dez@smu.edu.
tal science program did not turn out to in. I found reading and studying to be
be what I had hoped. While engaging enjoyable, and would gladly forgo other
and challenging, I found that the pro- homework for chemistry. That’s when I

Unlocking the Secrets of Our Past: Consider Archaeology by Adrienne Glaze

H as watching Indiana Jones or


the Discovery Channel made
you wonder what archeology is?
The Science of Our Past: Introduction to
Archeology course tells you exactly what
make their own opinions and decisions
regarding the preservation, destruction,
exploitation, or investigation of archeo-
logical sites and to think critically about
information concerning the past” con-
and find ancient artifacts, but they get to
analyze them in the lab to find out what
they are made of and what function they
served. Archeology may not be as excit-
ing as Indiana Jones makes it look, but
archeology is and what archeologists do. cerning ethics, politics, and cultural me- this class could be the beginning of an
Archeology is more than just digging dia. exciting journey and may end up being
up stuff. It is a method of recovering Today, contemporary archeologists the adventure of a lifetime.
the past and understanding why artifacts try to explain what they find rather than
were made and found the way they were. just describe it. This way, artifacts and
Archeologists reconstruct the past and sites have more meaning and substance Adrienne is a freshman.
make inferences about what they find. to them rather that just a view of what She can be reached for
People’s understanding and perception they look like. Also, archeology is not comment at aglaze@
of the past is constantly changing as time just about the science of the past, but smu.edu.
goes on and as technology advances. Ac- also how people lived and what they did
cording to the course syllabus, one of the and thought. Archeology is a great mix
goals of the class is to “provide students of history and science. Not only do ar-
with the background information to cheologists get to go to historical sites
The Ded-Beat, March 2010 2
Get to Know Your Professors!
The writers of The Ded-Beat will profile a few professors, faculty, or students within each issue, looking to encompass the
best of what Dedman College has to offer! If you know someone who Dedman College should know too, email rburns@
smu.edu and nominate! Who knows, the next person we profile might be you!
Chemistry Chemistry

Mr. Alan Humason

Dr. David Son


What classes do you teach/are you going Mr. Alan Humason. During the regular year I teach Professor David Son. I currently teach CHEM
to teach? Organic Chem 3117 and 3118. During the summer I 1304 (General Chemistry II) and CHEM 3372/3118
teach Chem 3371. (Organic Chemistry II). I also teach a graduate-
level one-hour course and I co-teach an advanced
inorganic synthesis laboratory course.

What attracted you to Dedman College at I’d spent 18 years doing environmental testing. I My answer is more related to what attracted me to
SMU? worked in 8 labs, 6 of which went out of business. I the department of chemistry. When I was applying
got tired of my places of employment closing down. for a faculty position here, I liked the fact that despite
I always was attracted to teaching, and I trained new the relatively small departmental size, there was high
employees at my work place. So it was an opportunity quality research taking place. Furthermore, I was
to satisfy my passion for teaching in a more stable happy to see that undergraduates played a prominent
environment. When I first came to SMU in 1999, I role in departmental research.
started with a bachelor’s degree. I started working
research work to get my master of science. I’d get up
at 4:30 am to come in and also on weekends to do
more work for 6 years to earn this degree.

What do you do with your free time when I’ve got two children, Alana Rose 11, Aidan When you say “teaching”, I assume you mean
you’re not teaching? What about your Bartholomew, 5…I spend time with the boy as an teaching AND research. Research is a large
adventure guide in the YMCA. My two hobbies are component of my daily activities at SMU. I manage
summers?
pool maintenance and home up-keep, both of which a research group that varies in size from year to year.
are chemistry hobbies, really. In the past I’ve been an Writing grant proposals and journal manuscripts
avid cyclist, but right now I’m focused on raising my is a time-consuming aspect of my research
children. responsibilities. Additionally I serve on a number of
university committees. Most of my time away from
teaching and research is spent with my wife and two
young children. The summers are ideal for focusing
on research. I also usually teach CHEM 3372 during
the summer term.

If you had to do something besides teach I had my stint with environmental testing, but I’ve also This is a tough question because I’ve never really
and/or do research, what would you do looked at clinical work. The things that stick with me thought of a career outside of the sciences. I have to
in the past are the clinical work and medical testing. say I really don’t know the answer to this one.
and why? The one problem with clinical work is that most of
the employees work nights. Doctors collect samples
all day and then deliver them to the labs. Since the
results are needed in the morning, most of the work
is night work there, and I’m not a night person.
The other thing I’ve been intrigued with is forensic
chemistry.

What are some of your pet peeves that You guys [students] have got a job to do. I’m just The main thing I find annoying is chatter in
you wish your students would not engage there to help you do it. Most of the things that annoy the classroom. The continuous undertone of a
in? me don’t affect me, they more affect the students. conversation is distracting. I also don’t like it when
students bring in laptops and end up surfing the web
or doing something similar. You may wonder how
I would know that students are doing this, but it’s
pretty obvious!
Professor Bios compiled by
Howard He and Dan Fernandez.

The Ded-Beat, March 2010 3


Maybe Your Major DOESN’T Influence Your Career
by Nicholas Burns

T hough picking a major is quite im-


portant in terms of your future,
I would like students to consider
the idea that your major does NOT influ-
ence your career success. Consider this:
French, and hold unquenchable passion
for both subjects. I’m a tennis pro as well,
and if I could major in tennis instruction
or sports psychology, I probably would
think about a third major.
well-intended but misguided pressure
from parents and administrators. You
may think that you want to be a lawyer,
but will a Biology major get you any-
where? I think a lawyer with a Biology
less than 45% of Biology majors who ap- In my talks with advisors and doctors background would understand how to
ply to medical school get in on the first in my preparation for medical school, the think objectively about problems, and
try. Anthropology and Philosophy ma- one consistent thing I’ve heard is that analyze and create feasible hypotheses;
jors, on the other hand, enjoy a near 60% my undergraduate experience needs to therefore the Biology major would make
medical school acceptance rate, accord- be rewarding and challenging - I need to an excellent trial lawyer. See how easy it
ing to a quick glance at statistics from love the heck out of it and really learn is to connect?
universities across the country found in to think. If I don’t challenge my think- Keep strong, SMU students, and don’t
a casual Google search. An unscientific ing in undergraduate school, how am I let anyone tell you that your major won’t
methodology, certainly, but I’m willing to supposed to be expected to function and get you anywhere. You’ve got four years,
bet there’s a trend there. think differently about problems in a so spend it doing what you want to do.
Taking these assumptions as fact, what graduate school? Schools want students
can we infer? I would hyothesize that for what they bring to the table in terms Nicholas is a sopho-
perhaps your undergraduate major needs of new knowledge, not for their amazing more Biological
to be less about your future career and ability to rehash old knowledge. In other Sciences and French
more about your passions. words, these schools want discoverers, major. He can be
Now don’t get me wrong and drop Cell not drones. reached for comment
Biology for Applied Ethics right now; Be passionate about your degree and at rburns@smu.edu.
I’m a pre-med student majoring in Biol- have the guts to stick to it. Where most
ogy, but I’ve also got a second major in students lose out is that they give in to

Jill Bolte Taylor Fascinates McFarlin With Brains


(cont. from page 1)
This “big one” is the hemorrhage that was having a stroke. The neuroanatomist from her stroke experience.
caused her stroke in December of 1996. in her thought about how cool it was. “I am neurocircuitry. I can pick and
She knew something was wrong when “I thought to myself, ‘okay I’ll do this choose what circuits I want to run,” Tay-
she woke up that morning with a pound- stroke thing for a week or two and then lor concluded. “Ultimately, I’m in charge
ing headache, but she decided to continue I’ll go back to my regular routine’,” Tay- of my brain and recovery.”
with her normal routine. lor said.
“I looked down at my hands and they As Taylor was describing how she Anna is a sophomore
looked like primitive claws,” Taylor de- should have called someone when she Journalism major and
scribed. started having problems that morning, Italian minor. She can
When she reached her bathroom, it and advising her audience to do so if be reached for com-
seemed that her brain had shut down. they find themselves in a similar predica- ment at akiappes@
“My brain went totally silent. Imagine ment, a voice called out for someone to smu.edu
what it would be like to lose 37 years of call 911. It turns out that someone had
emotional baggage,” Taylor joked. fainted while Taylor was speaking.
After a few seconds her brain came After the commotion settled down,
back “online” and she realized that she Taylor talked about what she had learned

Got a story idea for The Ded-Beat, or maybe you would like to The Ded-Beat is the official newsletter of the Dedman College
share some of your stories, prose, poetry, or work in our upcoming Ambassadors. The views represented within are not necessarily those
“Student Spotlight” section? Email rburns@smu.edu with your of Dedman College nor of Southern Methodist University. All inquiries
idea or contribution and we’ll feature it in the next issue! The next regarding The Ded-Beat or any of its content may be directed to
edition will be out in early May 2010; space fills up fast, so don’t Nicholas Burns, Vice President of Publications for the DCA and Editor-
wait to get your voice heard! in-Chief of The Ded-Beat, at rburns@smu.edu.

The Ded-Beat, March 2010 4