Tower Web Extra: Smart List

Tower Web Extra: Smart List

Stephanie Wissel
Stephanie Wissel, BS 04
Michelle Bauman
Michelle Bauman, BA '11
Ashleigh Russell
Ashleigh Russell, MBA 00
Stan Melton
Stan Melton, MBA 04
  • Stephanie Wissel
    BS 04, Physics

    Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles


    Please explain the nature of your current occupation.

    I am a physicist and astronomer, interested in understanding the most violent astrophysical environments in the universe such as black holes, supernovas, and collisions of neutron stars. I also use those powerful accelerators to understand what the universe is made of and the nature of the smallest constituents of matter.

    To do this, I use telescopes that detect radiation from space. Some radiation arrives here as cosmic rays, which are atomic nuclei carrying energies up to one hundred million times higher than we can achieve in the Large Hadron Collider here on Earth. They are the most energy-dense particles in the universe, but we do not understand how they gained that energy or even where they came from.

    Another particle, the neutrino, has the ability to travel much, much farther than light or cosmic rays without being absorbed. This could open a completely new window to the universe. The recent discovery that neutrinos have mass was a huge surprise, and now we are studying them to answer questions like why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. Neutrinos only rarely interact with other matter and make their presence known, so the larger the telescope, the better. Thats why the telescope Im currently working on, called ANITA (Antarctic Impulse Transient Antenna), uses most of the continent of Antarctica to detect them.

    Because the neutrinos are so energetic, when they do interact with the Antarctic ice they set off an enormous shower of particles that, in turn, send out radio waves. Cosmic rays also produce radio waves as they travel through the Earths atmosphere. The telescope listens for the radio waves with antennas while flying 90,000 feet over Antarctica, on a balloon. I work with an international team of scientists on this project. My role is to build antennas and stations that send short bursts of radio waves to the instrument for calibration. I will deploy the stations by camping out on the ice, at various points along the flight path of the balloon.

    What is the most meaningful part of your occupation?

    I contribute to research that explores the extremes of the universe: the smallest building blocks, the highest energies, the oldest times, and the most violent explosions out there. We're pushing the limits of human knowledge, and that requires the development of new technologies, as well as creative use of older technology. I get excited working in the lab, thinking about how an antenna that I'm building could detect the highest-energy particle anyone's ever seen.

    I also find working with students one of the most exhilarating parts of my career. I have taught courses for students ranging in age from middle school up through high-school physics teachers and undergraduates. Most notably, I led a team of teachers and high school students in building experiments that flew in nearly zero gravity on a NASA plane that simulates weightlessness. As an educator, I know my greatest asset is my unbridled enthusiasm for topics that have inspired me ever since I took first took physics courses from the great Drs. Olenick and Hicks at the University of Dallas.

    How do you feel that you are influencing your discipline, industry, or cause?

    As an experimental astrophysicist, I think of myself as a bit of a renegade. I love to explore how existing technology can be used in completely new ways. In graduate school, I developed a technique that identifies the chemical make-up of cosmic rays using data that would otherwise be discarded. I am now using radio antennas developed for the radar industry decades ago to seek out the highest-energy particles imaginable.

    I am also involved with one other frontier in physics. The representation of women and people of color in physics is shockingly low. Throughout my career, I have been involved with various projects aimed at inspiring and nudging students from these groups to choose scientific careers, including directing a conference for girls interested in science, mentorship, and outreach to schools and teachers.

    How has a University of Dallas education helped to shape you?

    The University of Dallas has had a profound influence on me. I discovered my love for physics while at UD, had some of my most formative experiences during my semester abroad, and believe that my liberal arts education makes me a well-rounded person and a more creative scientist.

    When I entered as a freshman, I was determined to be a medical doctor, but wanted an education grounded in the liberal arts rather than a more narrow-focused science degree. My professor, Dr. Olenick, was a brilliant lecturer, and over the course of a year, he convinced me of the beauty of nature and that we can develop mathematical descriptions of our everyday lives, even of living things. By the end of my freshman year, I was hooked.

    I was able to develop relationships with the physics faculty that I cherish to this day. The physics major at UD requires a number of small research projects that I undertook each semester with zeal, and that really helped open my eyes to the breadth of research topics available in physics. My thesis advisor, Dr. Hicks, encouraged me to go to graduate school and has been a source of inspiration ever since.

    The liberal arts education I received at UD taught me that broad knowledge of all disciplines is required for a deep understanding of one. I learned to ask questions and seek answers in unfamiliar territory. This is understandably valuable for research, but it also makes me want to be a better teacher, particularly to those who would otherwise be disinterested in science.

    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    Our study of astrophysical particles is just getting started. It turns out that you can listen for cosmic rays and neutrinos in any large continuous swath of insulating material. Antarctica has ice, and so does Greenland. Lunar dust on the moon is also a good candidate. It's hard to resist those opportunities to move the field forward. More broadly, I plan to teach physics or astronomy at a liberal arts school, and always be on the look out for the next big thing.

  • Michelle Bauman
    BA 11, Politics

    Assistant editor
    Catholic News Agency and EWTN News


    Recent Achievements (awards, promotions, etc.):

    Promotion from writer to editor, January 2013

    2013 Catholic Relief Services Egan Fellowship

    Please explain the nature of your current occupation.

    After graduation, I became the Washington D.C. Correspondent for Catholic News Agency and EWTN News. I covered the U.S. bishops conference, Capitol Hill and other Catholic stories of national interest. In January of this year, I became assistant editor. In addition to conducting interviews and writing articles, I also assign and edit stories, help with planning in editorial meetings and travel to cover events.

    What is the most meaningful part of your occupation?

    Being able to share the beauty of the Churchs message, manifest in so many different ways, from the Popes latest homily to the words of forgiveness spoken by a genocide victim in Rwanda.

    How do you feel that you are influencing your discipline, industry, or cause?

    My work allows me to contribute the New Evangelization, which is the foundation of Catholic News Agency. Because our stories are published online and accessible for free, we are able to reach hundreds of thousands of people, including many who otherwise might not be hearing the Churchs voice responding to contemporary issues.

    In addition, my colleagues and I have worked to create a larger Catholic voice in the news industry overall. Our stories have been cited in Congressional hearings, and secular publications call us to ask for sources, information and even clarification about Church teaching. In this way, we can help share the Churchs message with an even wider audience.

    How has a University of Dallas education helped to shape you?

    The University of Dallas was critical in placing me where I am today. My professors fostered strong writing and critical thinking skills, as well as a broad range of knowledge through the Core. In addition, UD has one of just a few political philosophy majors in the country. This was an asset for me because it gave me a deeper perspective on the political realm when I was in D.C. The journalism concentration program and experience on the student newspaper prepared me to work alongside seasoned journalists, while my semester in Rome prepared me for the traveling that I have done over the past two years.

    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    Good question! Hopefully finding a balance between raising a family and doing Catholic writing in some capacity.

  • Ashleigh Russell
    MBA 00

    Author, Entrepreneur


    Recent Achievements

    Recently nominated for a Readers Choice Award for her book Getting Fired Up! Member of CEW, UK (Cosmetic Executive Women) & Insiders Choice Beauty Award Finalist, Featured Business Woman & Byline Author, Women Entrepreneur Magazine, For Flexibility, Own More Than One Business Published in the Survival Guide for the Woman Entrepreneur Case Study for Sams Club (A division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.) Corporate Training

    Please explain the nature of your current occupation.

    I am a serial entrepreneur. I am currently a partner in a consumer goods company and the founder of an all natural organic cosmetics line (Regaliz Real) which I have just launched. I am active in industry boards and professional societies that serve women in business.

    What is the most meaningful part of your occupation?

    Because of my varied background and education, I am able to create with passion, whether it is the writing of a press release, the development of a new product, service or company or as a consultant for a large corporation.

    How do you feel that you are influencing your discipline, industry, or cause?

    Encouraging women to own businesses, seek higher education and take active leadership as mentors and executive board members empowers women to gain control of self-owned businesses which can be adapted to life stages. For example, work to educate, gain experience and build a business prior to starting a family. Maintain or sell the business in the family stage and be able to adapt business model or role in later life stage.

    How has a University of Dallas education helped to shape you?

    It gave me some of the core knowledge to understand business operations at a higher level. By the time I was studying in the MBA program at the University of Dallas, I had partnered in a pet product company which manufactured products in China, but I had never been to China. After a trip to London with the graduate program, I realized that I was functioning in a global society because of the internet, but I needed the experience working in an international arena. That is when I decided to start a franchise, abroad. This doubled the risk, but also reaped greater rewards. I learned a foreign language. I ran a successful business for several years, sold the company and continued entrepreneurial endeavors as a successful expat. Ironically, I moved to the country which faced two recessions since I have lived here. With this, I used the internet again to create a larger marketplace for my goods. Read more about my experiences in my book, Getting Fired Up! Available on Amazon.

    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    I am a big believer in serendipity and as a spontaneous Sagittarius I have found many delightful surprises along my professional path. I would like to take my cosmetics company to the next level. Despite the competitiveness of the industry, I am passionate about my product and I would like to see significant European market penetration within the next decade. I would like to continue to publish and take on professional challenges. My daughter will be in university in 10 years, so I would like leave a business legacy for her and support her educational and professional transitions.

    Please feel free to share any additional comments.

    Adaptability is the key in life as well as entrepreneurship. Take windows of time and opportunity to pursue higher education, gain professional experience and focus on family. I felt like a caged animal in the corporate cubicles and made the choice to venture on my own which has higher risks, but more control and the potential for greater success whether that be lifestyle or monetary.

  • Stan Melton, Jr.
    MBA04

    Principal at |BROWN BAG|creative (Washington, D.C.-area Creative Media Boutique)


    Recent Achievements

    Earlier this year I produced a short video that was shown to a gathering of the most influential politicians and business executives in Washington, DC, including the Vice President, House and Senate leadership, Cabinet members and other notables.

    I was recently invited to produce Hispanic AGENDA, Washingtons Only Bilingual News Program, airing weekly in English on NewsChannel 8, and in Spanish on Telemundo Washington.

    Honored with a Regional EMMY for a commercial campaign produced for WTOP Radio in Washington, D.C. (10th Regional EMMY Awarded). Also, nominated for another EMMY for a PSA produced for The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta.

    Please explain the nature of your current occupation.

    Launched nearly 5 years ago, |BROWN BAG|creative is a Washington, DC-based creative media boutique, specializing in strategic marketing & branding, effective advertising, smart media placement and influential PR. Clients have included for- and non-profit companies, media outlets, associations and government/military organizations.

    What is the most meaningful part of your occupation?

    I absolutely love helping my clients discover the best words and the best ways to market their products/services to present and potential clientsthere is nothing more gratifying than to see a marketing campaign hit home, and deliver growth in a meaningful way.

    How do you feel that you are influencing your discipline, industry, or cause?

    I feel the best influence I have is (a) being as creative as I can at each and every opportunity I have, and (b) to help others discover the depths of their own creativity.

    How has a University of Dallas education helped to shape you?

    I had been working in marketing for years prior to studying at the University of Dallas, and felt I had a solid foundation going in the door. What I found at UD was a better understanding of the science of marketing why I had been doing things the way I had been doing them all these years. Then, upon that original foundation, and added understanding, UD helped add a level of strategic thinking that has proved invaluable.

    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    Thats a tough one. I enjoy having large staffs, helping guide their creativity and careers. And, in my current role, I enjoy tremendously going back to my own creative roots as a hands-on producer. My hopes are that I am able to find the best of both worlds, where I can guide younger marketers, but still have opportunity to continue creating and concepting on my own.

    Please feel free to share any additional comments.

    Not at all sure this is relevant, but I created |BROWN BAG| after my previous position was eliminated (along with those of 4 creatives on my team of 15, unfortunately) at the end of 2008 due to the economic downturn. I never imagined running my own company, and working for myself, but it has been an amazingly rewarding experience. Its pretty cool discovering all you can do when you put your mind to it (along with a great deal of effort, and very little sleep).

  • Sean Lewis
    BA03, English

    Assistant Professor of Humanities
    Wyoming Catholic College


    Recent Achievements

    Seminar Participant in the National Endowment for the Humanities Tudor Books and Readers summer seminar in Antwerp, London, and Oxford, Summer 2012

    Please explain the nature of your current occupation.

    As an assistant professor, I teach courses in Wyoming Catholic Colleges Trivium track (Logic and Rhetoric) and Humanities track (Great Books: Homer, Plato, Virgil, Cicero, Augustine, Dante, Chaucer, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Milton, Melville, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Eliot, to name a few). I have also taught the Music sequence for Fine Arts in the Western Tradition (Music theory, history, and philosophy), and served as the colleges choirmaster for two years (our choir specializes in Renaissance polyphony, Gregorian chant, and traditional English hymnody). I am currently the chair of both the Humanities and Trivium committees and serve on the colleges Academic Council, the highest decision-making body at the college, responsible for governing academic affairs (Curriculum design, Admissions, Discipline, and Student Affairs).

    What is the most meaningful part of your occcupation?

    The most meaningful part of my occupation is providing liberal education to young adults: the conversations in the classroom and the arguments in my students essays are definitely the highlights of my work. Curriculum design and administration are subordinate to the real work of the college, which is helping students to develop characters that are intellectually curious, inventive in analysis and synthesis, not satisfied with easy or simplistic answers, and passionately engaged in contemporary questions and problems.

    How do you feel that you are influencing your discipline, industry, or cause?

    Wyoming Catholic College graduated its first class in 2011; we are a very young college still in its foundational and entrepreneurial period. W.C.C. is doing something no one else has done before: it provides a generalist liberal education (B.A. in Liberal Arts; no majors) through the disciplines (not general seminars but disciplinary tracks; Philosophers teach Philosophy, Literary Scholars teach Literature, etc.) with a strong focus on Outdoor Leadership (developing the ethical and political virtues through weeks in the wilderness) in an authentically Catholic environment. One could point to sources or analogues for our program (the Integrated Humanities Program, St. Johns College, Thomas Aquinas College, the International Theological Institute, the National Outdoor Leadership School, the University of Dallas), but no one has ever engaged in liberal education in exactly this manner. We are a pioneer college in many ways. I have been blessed to have played a central role in the current Humanities and Trivium curricula; I think that these tracks are competitive with Literature, Philosophy, and Rhetoric sequences at other colleges and universities. It has been quite an adventure helping to bring into being one of the most unique Catholic liberal arts colleges in the country.

    In my own scholarship, I focus on literary genres in the late middle ages and early sixteenth century, with a special focus on comedy and the works of Chaucer. I have strong secondary and methodological interests in semiotics, book history, and rhetoric. I have an article under review on the semiotic features of Pynsons 1526 editions of Chaucerian works, and I have recently completed an original edition and translation of an Anglo-Dutch collection of comedic tales printed in Antwerp for the London market around 1520, The Parson of Kalenborowe / De Pastoor van Kalenberg. The merrie tales collections of the 16th century are, I think, currently under-valued by scholars of the period, and my more recent work strives to correct this state.

    How has a University of Dallas education helped to shape you?

    My education at the University of Dallas was invaluable. The core curriculum gave me a solid general education in liberal arts; I have been able to pursue multidisciplinary studies and teaching largely due to the foundation I received at U.D.. The English Department at U.D. is top-notch, and served as excellent preparation for graduate school at Oxford and the Catholic University of America. More than merely professional training, however, the University of Dallas embodies the kind of education Bl. John Henry Newman outlines in his Idea of a University: a community of friends, with a common intellectual formation (the core), pursuing their own specialized studies (the majors), in dialogue with one another. Even had I not made academics a career, my education at the U.D. made me into a better thinker, a better communicator, and a better person all-around.

    I served for two years as the Assistant Director of Liturgy at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.; it was quite a challenge to work with cardinals, bishops, monsignors, and tens of thousands of pilgrims who participated in Mass in English, Spanish, Latin, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Polish, Lithuanian, and Hindi. It was a challenge to help arrange the Vespers presided over by Pope Benedict XVI and the funeral of Tony Snow, which was attended by President Bush, his cabinet, and other prominent politicians. My education at U.D. prepared me for those challenges precisely because of its ethical, as opposed to strictly professional, nature; character formation matters in the workplace, and U.D. is excellent at shaping characters.

    Please feel free to share any additional comments.

    Like every Newman Guide college and university, the University of Dallas is, in part, an experiment in arranging Catholic marriages. I am no exception to this experiment, and I met my wonderful wife, Rebecca (Horvath) Lewis in the Music Departments Collegium Cantorum. Our daughters Olivia (6), Vivian (4), and Emma (3) thus owe their existence to the University of Dallas, and they are grateful for that. I havent been involved in Drama since my senior year at U.D., but I still play the banjo from time to time.

  • Brittany Cameron
    BA (Modern Languages) 07, MBA09

    Partner, Initiate, LLC


    Please explain the nature of your current occupation.

    After spending 3.5 years as a Conference & Program Manager for a small media company that targeted the Power Utility Industry, [I] joined forces with 2 other partners to form Initiate, LLC. Initiate was created as a result of the desire to understand how people approach challenges and why there is this innate desire to connect. The world is changing, people are changing from advances in technology to the onslaught of social media and online communities, to access to information on an unprecedented scale; but what is lacking is the ability to collaborate in a meaningful way. Initiate drives this collaboration. The first initiative and founding reason for the company is called the Smart Regions Initiative. There are immense opportunities to develop and redevelop viable U.S. communities if were willing to embrace and develop sustainable culturesand the roles that digitization and clean technologies can play in them. Building sustainable, cutting-edge communities will become more attractive places to live, work and play for everyone. We do this by building community connections, establishing regional sustainability goals, and determining how digitization and clean technologies can support these goals.

    What is the most meaningful part of your occupation?

    As a founding Partner with Initiate, I am responsible for the marketing, PR, Communications and assist with the overall development and partnerships of Initiate. Driven by 3 women, Initiate aims at bringing together, education and supporting the key industries including, Energy, Water, Infrastructure, Consumers and Education via digitization. I think the most meaningful part is that I work with great partners that challenge my thinking on the level that I was challenged at UD. The ability to work on something that is such a large issue is daunting but amazingly exciting! Moreover by supporting business models that promote the sharing of the economy we are in turn contributing to a world that values economic, social and environmental sustainability.

    How do you feel that you are influencing your discipline, industry, or cause?

    As mentioned above, building sustainable, cutting-edge communities that will become more attractive places to live, work and play for everyone. It is an immense task, but we aim to bring key stakeholders together, provide ways for them to collaborate, gather information, challenge assumptions and find ways around the hurdles of developing smart regions. After working specifically in the energy industry, I have seen that there are 3 industries that our country specifically needs to get right. Energy, education & healthcare. The Smart Regions Initiative supports not only these 3 vitally important areas, but also brings together a larger collaboration with a focus on the future. As Mother Teresa said it best I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

    How has a University of Dallas education helped to shape you?

    I say time and time again that the University of Dallas has really shaped the way that I think and the way that I approach challenges. UD turns your mind into a critical thinking mind and drives to you dig deep and want to thoroughly understand things at a level that enables you to make a difference. It drives me to question the norm, to think of things in multiple ways and find the best approach for a challenge. That is why what I think the Smart Regions Initiative really needs is to look at it from several perspectives as there are many different players to consider. People are looking at Smart Regions from their individual perspective or the perspective of their industry, but we aim to bring all of those areas together.

    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    I learned long ago that we do not plan our futures, God does. However, I can see through the opportunities and paths that I have been given that God has a big challenge for me. I hope that with Initiate we are not only affecting the world with Smart Regions, but we are able to find other ways to bring various groups together to solve challenges on a larger scale. I liken it to the Italian Renaissance which goes back to my Rome Semester. The Medici Family of Florence had this great effect on bringing various disciplines to create a new way of thinking. Not that Initiate aims to fully bring on a new renaissance, but I think there are lessons to be learned and I know that my UD education has helped me to continually see that. I always joke if I am not learning something I will go get another degree. With the launch of the DBA program next fall that is even more tempting!

    Please feel free to share any additional comments.

    In addition to Initiate I have recently began driving for a ride share program called Lyft. Lyft is the latest evolution of p2p transportation, and is built as a mobile-first service. Lyft is a way for me to connect with consumers, which is a key area of Initiate. Featured on NPR, The Economist and Time Magazine, Lyft is revolutionizing the way modern transportation works. It challenges the thinking of transportation similarly to how Initiate is challenging thinking around Smart Regions. Additionally, 11% of Lyft drivers are working on start-ups of their own.

  • Andrea Fernandez Smithers
    MPM 11

    Current graduate student in Southern Methodist Universitys
    Environmental Engineering program


    Recent Achievements

    Graduate Civil and Environmental Engineering Terman Award

    Please explain the nature of your current occupation:

    Researching the use of electrochemical water remediation for small-scale drinking water treatment in refugee camps in Uganda. I hope that I can combine my love for engineering and scientific progress with my pastoral education for caring about our neighbors with a deeply Catholic love.

    What is the most meaningful part of your occupation?

    I love the challenge of figuring out something new every day, whether it be in chemistry, in fluid dynamics, or just plain how to set up an experiment I learn something interesting daily, and at the same time I know this research could actually save a life one day. I feel so overwhelmingly connected with my brothers and sisters around the world.

    How do you feel that you are influencing your discipline, industry, or cause?

    I know that I can inspire especially kids that I meet to think of engineering and science and math and all those boring subjects and make them a little more applicable and fun when I talk to them about what I do. I also know that research in the water quality sector is not just interesting, but highly relevant and necessary, and, while I cannot say that I will have a huge impact on this area, any little bit counts!

    How has a University of Dallas education helped to shape you?

    The School of Ministry challenged me to make my Catholic faith my own to truly come to an understanding about the foundations of my relationship with Jesus, with the Church, and the implications that come from believing and living out that faith. I am so grateful for my education there because I want my theology to shape every decision, at home and in the work place, and having that solid foundation is absolutely essential.

    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    I hope that I will have published at least one paper on my research, and the dream would be to live a simple life while helping design and test water supplies in developing nations. Another dream is to possibly adopt nine or so adorable children!

    Please feel free to share any additional comments.

    I hope that UD-ers know that we are not limited by one major or one role in the world God has filled us all with opportunities to live out every one of our passions, we just have to open our hearts to see them!

  • Jennifer (Rives) Chandler
    MBA 04

    Senior Vice President, Market Executive, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management and Executive Sponsor for Bank of America Community Volunteers


    Please explain the nature of your current occupation.

    As Market Executive, I am a member of the leadership team working with a talented group of advisors. We apply insight and expertise to help families with preservation of wealth, philanthropic giving, investment management and credit and banking needs.

    What is the most meaningful part of your occupation?

    The most meaningful part of my occupation is helping families with their current needs and building a long lasting legacy. As the executive sponsor for volunteer efforts it is also very rewarding to see the impact we have with numerous non-profit organizations in the North Texas community.

    How do you feel that you are influencing your discipline, industry, or cause?

    By coupling my day job as a Market Executive with Community Service efforts on the side, I have had the opportunity to drive impactful, sustainable, and positive change to the community.

    How has a University of Dallas education helped to shape you?

    Completing my MBA while working allowed me to apply what I was learning each and every day. The University of Dallas also gave me the opportunity to stay in North Texas and to build and maintain relationships here within our community.

    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    I hope to continue to move up within the organization and stay active in the community. Through continued partnerships with local non-profits I hope to drive effective collaboration that benefits our community. In particular I have a passion for education. In 10 years, I hope to learn of students I have mentored in DISD who end up attending UD then start a career in North Texas.

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