Big iDeas grant recipients give progress reports at 2011 fall symposium
Published: Saturday, November 5, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Big iDeas Grant Recipients Give Progress Reports at 2011 Fall Symposium
Seven student teams investigating various important societal issues reported their findings Friday morning at the Big iDeas Fall Symposium.
Students, professors and visitors gathered in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum to hear each team report on the progress of their projects and to explain some of the findings of their research.
"This program has been going on for four years now and it's really an effort to provide opportunities for our students to explore their big ideas," Provost Paul W. Ludden said.
The Big iDeas undergraduate research program awarded each of the interdisciplinary teams up to $5,000 in spring 2011.
"I think the biggest thing this program does is gives [students] a real chance to apply their education to the community and get real world experience in whatever they're doing," Matthew Gayer, SMU student and executive director of Health Literacy Dallas, said .
The "Power of a Nation" project focuses on engineer problems in the U.S. border slums of South Texas, the Colonias. The team plans to focus on Hidalgo County's key problems – flooding and public lighting. The team will visit Colonia to gather research and establish their problems. They hope to have a design and plan by December 2011 and to implement the project by March 2012.
Luis Lemus then presented his project, "Opportunus," a small firm that offers investment development and relocation consulting. Lemus, who is from Mexico, hopes to help people from other countries become U.S. residents. His firm gives clients the access to fundamental necessities for life here and offers connections to bilingual business professionals, among other things.
"Get Your Hands Dirty" is a community garden program aimed at finding a way to get children to want to eat healthy foods. SMU student Udoka Omenukor explained that the program would teach children where food comes from, expose them to new foods and empower them with choice.
The "ConfirMED Cards" project works at transcending the language barrier to promote health literacy in Dallas. ConfirMED Cards are an interactive health literacy tool designed to facilitate and improve communication between healthcare professionals and non-English-speaking patients. So far, there are seven different cards for various general medications. The cards illustrate directions for administering the medication. The next steps for the project are to survey patients and healthcare professionals using cards, to meet with new language service apecialists at Texas Health Presbyterian and to discuss international capacity.
The "Mustang Microfinance" project deals with finance on a small scale. The goal of the 15-member group is to use business skills to help our community. The team hopes to get more funding from Big iDeas, corporate sponsorship and the Cox School of Business.
The "Dream Big" project uses sports as a way to promote education and motivate children from underprivileged communities. "Life is about utilizing what you have to the full potential," SMU student Brad Namdar said. Namdar is the founder and CEO of Dream Big. Since the last symposium, Dream Big has held over 39 events, camps, functions and fundraisers.
Finally, "Health Literacy Dallas" is a continuation of a Big iDeas project that seeks to improve interactions between doctors and patients. The program has been very successful on both a local and national level.
In order to join, students are required to have an interdisciplinary team with an idea to impact Dallas by addressing a problem in the community.
Applications for the new cycle are due by Jan. 27, 2012.