Although truly civil discourse can be rare in the current political environment, the University of Dallas chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society exists to further such discourse on campus. To accomplish this goal the organization holds weekly discussion meetings, led by the officers, on a variety of topics. “We also sponsor two debates per semester on topics relating to foreign policy, national security and economics,” said Maggie Gasser, president of the UD chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society. The national AHS organization assists campus chapters by recruiting speakers and coordinating their arrangements.
Gasser said that the UD chapter’s members come from majors across the university like politics, economics, business and journalism. “Since UD doesn’t have very many classes on U.S. foreign policy, the programs AHS supports bring interesting perspectives to campus,” said Gasser.
Gasser also said that her experience with the Alexander Hamilton Society has influenced her personally. “I visited Poland during my Rome semester,” she said. “And then I returned the following summer for a language program. I’m interested now in working in foreign policy in that region.”
The Alexander Hamilton Society’s last meeting of the semester will be held on Monday, November 14, at 7 p.m. in Gorman C. The discussion–entitled “Trouble in Pacific Paradise?”–will focus on the China’s building of artificial islands in the South China Sea and will be led by AHS Speaker Randy Shriver and Dr. Hiro Takeuchi of Southern Methodist University. UD’s Dr. Mark Petersen will moderate.
Although graduating with a degree in chemistry, physics or math often leads to job heavy on technical expertise or specific scientific skills, the variety of a career paths represented at a recent panel consisting of University of Dallas STEM field graduates underscores the fact that these degrees can open doors to many fulfilling careers. And according to the panelists, a liberal arts degree from UD uniquely prepares graduates to become lifelong learners–a characteristic that is crucial to success in the knowledge economy. The panel was presented as part of the Clare Booth Luce Speaker Series.
Dominic Hilario, a self-employed chemical consultant, said that his degree in chemistry from UD gave him the technical skills he needed to start his career. “But my job in the lab wasn’t that exciting,” he said. “So I decided to learn the business side of things.” Although he didn’t have a business background, Hilario believes that his liberal arts degree gave him the tools to be able to learn from others.
MacKenzie Warrens, a junior physics major and a Clare Boothe Luce scholar, said that her experience doing undergraduate research last summer highlighted the contrast between herself and other students. “Liberal arts students are able to talk about so much more than just physics,” she said. “You can have conversations with other majors as well.”
Alessandra Marchi, another CBL scholar, said that her boss specifically noted her problem solving ability. “He called me a hard worker,” she said. “And said that I could grasp concepts without having learned them previously.” According to the alumni on the panel, this ability to grasp complex situations, along with an ongoing desire to learn, is the key to success in any field.
Joe Constantino, owner and president of Einstein’s Eyes, said part of the learning process after graduation includes taking chances on a job you’re not sure if you’ll like. “Don’t resist doing something for just a year,” he said. “You’ll find out something about yourself in the process. As an employer, I don’t look down on that.”
Anne Hoelscher, senior manager of product development at BMC Software agreed. “It used to be that you would probably be in a job for the rest of your life,” she said. “Now, I see resumes where people stay at a job for a year, fifteen-months, two-years. That’s not a big deal any more. But I do want to know what you learned from each of those experiences.”
For Kara Earle, working for Fidelity Investments has allowed her to try different career paths, all while staying with the same company for sixteen years. “Fidelity really invests in its people and in their career development,” she said. “I would recommend looking for a company whose culture values its people learning and growing.”
Along with becoming a lifelong learner, Dr. Carla Tiernan, Assistant Dean, UTA College of Engineering, said that being flexible and open to opportunity is also an important part of future success. “I never wanted to be an academic,” she said. “But you never know where your career is going to end up. Be open to possibilities,” Tiernan added that internships and research experiences can also be help with discernment. “Find out what you don’t like to do is really helpful,” she said.
An audience member remarked that University of Dallas President Thomas Keefe often says that students are preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet. He asked how undergraduates should prepare for those job without knowing what they will entail.
Hoelscher said that adaptation is the key: “UD grads are continually learning. Because of that, when a new industry comes out, you’ll be capable of adapting your skills to meet the challenge.”
Hilario’s answer came complete with a graphs entitled “Knowledge Acquisition of Normal Humans Over Time” and “Knowledge Acquisition of Lifelong Learners Over Time.”
He explained them like this: “Normal humans are born and continually acquire knowledge until they graduate college. Then they get a job and learn just enough to keep the boss happy, completely flattening out until retirement. Lifelong learners, on the other hand, know that just keeping the boss happy isn’t enough. They have to keep learning and growing. A couple of years at this pace and they’re managers. Then maybe CEOs. And finally, if they keep learning and innovating, they might even make it out of the cave.”
Hilario added that the real engine of the kind of growth represented on his graph is innovation. “When you keep learning, you can become a specialist in your field,” he said. “Then you can leverage your knowledge and begin to innovate.
The Henry Luce Foundation has provided a grant for one-year full-tuition scholarships for female students at the University of Dallas majoring in computer science, mathematics, physics or engineering. These scholarships are named Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Scholarships, and students receiving these scholarships are named as CBL Scholars.
In addition to the scholarships, the University has established a Clare Boothe Luce Speaker Series, Clare Boothe Luce Discussion Panels for Undecided Students, and a support organization for women in the sciences. These initiatives are designed to attract women into physical science, engineering, and mathematical areas and to support them once there.
University of Dallas junior Nicole Adams hasn’t always wanted to be a physician. In fact, her childhood phobia of doctors was so severe that she had to be chased down the hall to get a routine vaccination. “I tried so many different things,” she said. “But I finally realized that being a doctor was the best way I could make an impact and try to keep other kids from having the fears I had.”
To that end, Adams applied and was accepted to the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at Duke University. The privately funded program has locations nationwide, allowing prospective students to apply to individual universities. Those universities are then free to choose program participants from their pool of applicants. “Duke’s program is among the top 5 in the U.S.,” Adams said. “And they have only a 10% acceptance rate, so I was very honored to be selected.”
According to Adams, the goal of SMDEP is to let undergraduates considering going on to medical school get a realistic view of what is in store for them. And to do that the SMDEP organizers kept Adams and the other participants busy–very busy. “I took Physics and Organic Chemistry in the mornings,” she said. “In the afternoons, we learned about different aspects of patient care. Actors would come in as patients so we could learn how doctors connect on a personal level with real people.” In the evenings Adams shadowed surgeons and medical students in the ER, the Neonatal ICU and other areas of the hospital. Even the interns lunch hours were filled hearing prominent physicians and guest lecturers from around the country.
To help students adjust to the sometimes overwhelming work load and high expectations of the program, Adams said that participants met in small groups with psychologists whose goal was to help them reach the best of their abilities. “It was a tough program, and you could see that some of the group was getting competitive toward the end,” she said. But as long as Adams keeps up her grades, her successful participation in the SMDEP program guarantees her an interview with Duke Medical School upon graduation from UD. And while at Duke, she was able to meet members of the admissions committee and hear tips on navigating the application process from current medical school students.
Adams said that her experience with the program validated her choice to become a doctor–specifically a surgeon. “I feel like the SMDEP program taught me the importance of fostering an emotional connection with patients. I learned that as a med student, you have to ask yourself, ‘What kind of doctor am I going to be?’ And I’ve decided that I’m going to be a surgeon who recognizes my own mortality. And because of that, I’m going to be the best surgeon I can be.”
For more information on internships or to make an appointment with in OPCD adviser, click here.
Art Student Presents Paper on Roy Lichtenstein at Symposium
Caitlin Clay’s chief goal in attending the University of Texas at Tyler’s Undergraduate Art History Symposium (April 16, 2016) was to deliver her paper on artist Roy Lichtenstein. But what she really gained was confidence in her presentation skills and her ability to network with other art history professionals. “The symposium was such a great learning experience for me,” she said. “Speaking to a large group as an undergraduate and learning how to prepare for small things like how to wear a mic will help me a lot in in graduate school.” Clay received a UD Experience Award to offset the cost of attending the symposium.
Clay said that the laid-back atmosphere of the symposium encouraged networking among the participants. “Because I received the UDE Award, I was able to spend the night before the conference networking with other speakers and meeting art history students from other schools,” she said. One fellow participant later emailed Clay articles to help with her thesis. She also met a student from TCU where she will be attending graduate school in the fall. “It was a great opportunity to meet art historians from other universities—peers in my field,” she said. She has been accepted into TCU’s Master of Arts program in Art History and was granted a full tuition waiver.
The UD Experience (UDE) awards encourage students to engage in activities in which they will present themselves professionally in pursuit of their vocational goals. Speak with your advisor and consult the UD website (http://udallas.edu/qep/ude/) for specific details about the application process.
Although most of us are familiar with Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, some would be surprised to learn that there are actually seven uniformed services that are part of the federal government. Dr. Chris Poulson spoke on April 4, 2016, at UD about one of these—the U.S. Public Health Service—and his deployment experience during the Ebola outbreak of 2014.
The U.S. Public Health Service was established in 1798 to screen immigrants coming into the United States for possible contagion. “Now our 7,000 commissioned officers respond to emergencies all over the world,” Poulson said. “Some of our deployments have included natural disasters, school shootings, and, of course, 9/11.” As a psychologist, Poulson has been with the Public Health Service since 2012. “My permanent duty station is at a federal prison,” he said. “But I am on call for deployment one month out of every five.”
In October 2014, Poulson received his first deployment—to Liberia in West Africa to combat the largest Ebola outbreak in history. “There is no running water, no sewers, no electricity, and hardly any means of communicating with people” he said. “So when disease hits, it’s devastating.” Ebola ravaged Liberia’s healthcare workers, many of whom contracted the Ebola virus and died. So the U.S. Public Health Service was deployed to set up a hospital to treat healthcare workers. This would hopefully make other countries feel confident enough to send their own healthcare workers to assist in the fight against Ebola.
As a psychologist, Poulson’s assignment within the medical unit was to take care of the caretakers. “I was constantly checking in with the doctors and nurses, asking things like—Are you ok? How are you sleeping? How’s your stress level? What’s your stress plan?” he said. His goal was to be imbedded with the medical team and not to be stuck in an office away from the action. In order to do that, he assisted with donning and doffing—the putting- on and taking-off of the protective suits worn by medical personnel when treating contagious patients. This was the perfect time to connect with his team. “Assessing someone’s mental status in a clinical setting is a little more formal,” he said. “But in this situation, an informal approach worked better.”
Poulson’s four-week deployment was extended another three weeks because of a forced quarantine in Washington, D.C., which included twice-daily temperature checks over a three week period to ensure that he had not contracted Ebola while in Liberia. “The main thing that I was left with from my deployment…the one thing that sticks out to me is to be grateful for what we have and where we live,” he said.
Poulson then described for the group his career path and how he chose to enlist in the Public Health Service. “After graduation, I started work at a managed care company and then worked for a pain management clinic,” he said. “And then I decided to go into private practice.” But private practice has its own set of challenges. “I was working long hours, fighting with insurance companies, and only 85% of my patients would show up,” he said. A friend recommended he consider working for the Bureau of Prisons because of the steady hours, good pay, and good benefits. “Although I wasn’t so sure about working with that type of clientele, I thought I would give it a try,” he said.
After working at a prison for some time, he learned about the U.S. Public Health Service from a coworker. “I kept seeing these guys in blue uniforms, and I found out that they work for the Surgeon General, they serve underserved populations, and they have great opportunities for advancement and promotion,” he said.
And the decision to enlist was a good one. “Working for the prison was better than working in private practice,” he said. “And being a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service is even better than that.” For more information on events sponsored by the University of Dallas Office of Personal Career Development, visit our website.
Current and Former Military Officers Emphasize Service Over Self at Leadership Dinner
When Terry O’Halloran came home from Vietnam, he was advised not to wear his Marine uniform in the airport. But he did, and protesters of the unpopular war threw trash at him. “Although 1966 wasn’t a good time to be in the military, not a day goes by that I don’t remember the lessons I learned in the Marines,” he said.
O’Halloran, a U.S. Marine veteran and a University of Dallas alumnus, along with four other current and former military service men and women, spoke on October 22, 2015, to a group of University of Dallas students about the importance of service over self, whether that service be in the armed forces or in one’s community.
O’Halloran, Vice President and General Manager at Johnson Controls, went on to say that his Marine experience helped him weather the changes that come with the many mergers and acquisitions that characterize the corporate world.
Patrick Law, Senior Vice President of U.S. Bank and the Chief Operating Officer of Elan Bank and UD alumnus, said that his military experience taught him to take initiative. “The world needs people who can look at a situation and take action,” said Law, a U.S. Army veteran of the first Gulf War.
Esther Gomez, a Marine reservist and Catholic Youth Minister agreed. “Preparing to be an officer taught me to handle pressure. I can look at problem, quickly make a decision, and get results,” she said. Gomez is a graduate student working on a master’s degree in pastoral ministry at UD.
“One of the most important things I took away from the Marines was a respect for diversity,” said Michael Hilden, a Principal Engineer at Verizon, a former U.S. Marine, and a University of Dallas alumnus. “In the Marines, I learned to respect and understand other cultures and other people’s ideas. This gave me a global mindset and helped me keep an open mind and listen to others’ ideas,” he said.
Bo Glavan, Chief Staff Officer of the Navy Fleet Logistics Support Wing in Fort Worth, said that his 10 moves in 19 years taught him to adapt to new situations. “My family and I have a process,” he said. “We move to a new place, I learn my new job, we get situated as a family, and then we look for ways to give back.”
Members of the panel emphasized humility as one of the characteristics crucial to career and life success. “You have to find ways to challenge yourself,” said Law. “By learning from everyone you meet, you can stretch yourself, stretch your boundaries, and do things you didn’t think you were capable of.”
Hilden agreed. “People respect leaders who are transparent—the ones who are on the front lines with them and supporting them.”
When the panelists were asked what characteristic they would look for in potential employees, authenticity was at the top of the list. “Everyone needs a mentor,” said Glavan, “but you have to make sure you are being authentic to who you actually are. Communicate what you are passionate about and that will come across as authenticity.”
The take-home message of the evening was that service lies at the heart of a successful career and a fulfilling personal life. “Find a grass roots, pure of heart organization that you are passionate about,” said Glavan, “and give them your time and treasure.”
Terry Halloran couldn’t agree more. Perhaps because he remembers what it felt like to be persecuted because of his uniform, he volunteers for the USO at DFW Airport, welcoming soldiers on the way home for leave. “Sometimes we play cards, sometimes they just want to talk,” he said. “We just want to be there for them.” In or out of uniform, that’s honorable service—and another one he can be proud of.
For more information on events sponsored by the University of Dallas Office of Personal Career Development, click here.
Physicists address students as part of Clare Boothe Luce Speaker Program
“Get your hands dirty.” That’s the advice Dr. Stephanie Wissel, Assistant Professor of Physics at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo and a University of Dallas alumna, gave to students during her visit to UD on September 3, 2015. Wissel and her husband, Dr. Nathan Keim, were here as part of the Clare Boothe Luce Speaker Series, sponsored by the Physics Department.
“You have to try out what interests you,” Wissel continued. “If you don’t like it, try something else. Find someone who does research in an area you’re interested in and try to work with them. It’s a lot better than doing a Google search.” Wissel’s remarks came during a breakfast in which she and Keim answered students’ questions about everything from working for NASA to getting into graduate school.
Keim, Assistant Professor of Physics at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, agreed with Wissel’s remarks and added, “Your work has to be something that excites you, especially if you are going for a Ph.D. It’s a long journey so you have to be doing something you love.”
Keim’s talk, titled “Memory in Cyclically Driven Systems,” focused on behavior of particles in soft condensed matter and their ability to retain memory of previous states. Although his experiments were successful, he faced many challenges at the outset of his research. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no background in chemistry and I made a big mess. I also had to make a perfect apparatus with which to test my materials,” Keim said.
Keim’s research has far reaching implications for materials science. It can help engineers understand the causes of metal fatigue and predict how specific materials will behave under the pressures of temperature fluctuations. It could potentially help scientists understand how memories are formed in our own neural networks.
Wissel’s talk, titled “Searching for the Highest Energy Cosmic Particles at the Ends of the Earth,” focused on her research on detecting the highest energy particles in the universe using detectors in Polar Regions such as Antarctica and Greenland.
While at the University of Dallas, Wissel was awarded the Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship as well as the Cardinal Spellman Award and Montosorri Award for Outstanding Physics Student. The Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship program, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, provides scholarships for female students at the University of Dallas majoring in Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, or Engineering. In addition to the scholarships, the University sponsors the Clare Boothe Luce Speaker Series, one of several initiatives designed to attract women into physical science, engineering, and mathematical areas and to support them once there. For more information on events sponsored by the University of Dallas’ Office of Personal Career Development, click here.