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A Tradition of Honoring Excellence 

2020  Outstanding Senior Man and Outstanding Senior Woman


Each spring, the SMU Mothers’ and Dads’ Clubs enjoy the privilege of selecting and honoring two graduating seniors as the “Outstanding Senior Man” and “Outstanding Senior Woman”. The nominees for this award are selected by the Deans from their respective schools based on their academic achievement, community service, campus involvement, proven leadership qualities, and be of strong personal character.


The 2020 recipients of the Outstanding Senior Woman and Outstanding Senior Man Awards, Hunter Kolon and Dylan Beams, epitomize a tradition of recognizing the best of the best among our many fine undergraduate students. 

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Outstanding Senior Woman

Hunter Kolon

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences


Hunter is from Katy, Texas, and will graduate with degrees in Human Rights, Political Science, Spanish, Public Policy & International Affairs.  To name a few of her accomplishments, she is a Hunt Leadership Scholar, Dedman College Scholar, and Tower Scholar. In addition, she is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and SMU Hyer Society, both honor organizations. She is President and Founder of Mission Comfort, a 501(c)(3) non-profit working in the sugarcane communities of the Dominican Republic where she raised funds to build a school and establish a microloans program that supports women operating small businesses.  She also has worked in the Executive Office of George W. Bush and the Consulate General of Mexico.

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Outstanding Senior Man
Dylan Beams
Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Dylan graduates from the Dedman College with a  Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration.  His dedication to SMU is reflected in his involvement with clubs, on-campus jobs, and leadership positions with the SMU Board of Trustees and the Student Foundation.  Dylan is entering Medical School in the Fall at UT Southwestern and shared that he plans to continue his community service passion by giving back to the severely underserved Native American population.

2020 Award Finalists Selected by Their Respective Schools: 

Cox School of Business

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Ramzi Awad

Ramzi is the OSM Award candidate from the Cox School of Business based on his broad experiences and strong academics.  He is an honor graduate from SMU with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus on Finance.  Ramzi was also selected for the EnCap Investment & LCM Group Alternative Asset Management programs during his time at SMU.  Ramzi helped establish the Beta Alpha Psi Honor Society at SMU by serving as its first President and helped grow the membership of the College Republican chapter while serving as Treasurer and Political Director.

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Siqian Yang

Siqian is from Chengdu, China and she is graduating with a double major in Accounting and Computational & Applied Mathematics.  She is a BBA Scholar of the Class of 2020 and a Dean’s Scholar.  Siqian is the Founder and President of SMU Chinatown, organizing tutoring sessions and cultural events for students studying Mandarin.  She is President of the Association of Latino Professionals for America where she coordinated professional speakers and hosted executive board meetings.  Siqian also volunteered to assist lower-income people in preparing their tax returns.  Upon graduation, she will pursue a Masters in Accounting at Cornell University.

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Maxwell Makin

Max is a Cox School graduate receiving a Bachelor of Business Administration with a Finance focus and minors in Economics and Spanish.  While Max was very busy with internships and summer positions in the Finance and Accounting fields, he also found time to serve as the Treasurer for SMU Club Baseball.  Some believe that Max’s success is because he is able to be in two places at once, but we have it on good authority that while he may have a twin at SMU, all of Max’s success is purely his own.

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Sarai D. Monarrez Yesaki

From Monterrey, Mexico, Sarai graduates with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and minors in Economics and Chinese.  As Captain of the SMU Women’s Tennis team and president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Sarai has worked as a liaison between student-athletes and senior athletic staff as well as SMU’s Athletics Board of Trustees and Athletic Counsel.  She organized Powerful Play, where 100+ volunteer student-athletes and 100+ kids came together for a field day and raised $17,000 for Children’s Hospital research on childhood cancer.  She served as VP of Campus Relations where she led SMU’s involvement in the Powerful Minds initiative to raise awareness on the importance of mental health.

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

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Stephen Frantz

Stephen was named AS one of the Dedman College candidates due to his accomplishments while at SMU.  He is graduating with multiple Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science, Philosophy, and Human Rights.  He also qualified for a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and minors in International Studies and Law and Legal Reasoning.  Stephen was a Medders Undergraduate Research Fellow and a three-time recipient of the SMU Hamilton Scholarship.  Clearly Stephen had a demanding schedule while at SMU but still found time to participate with SMU Debate.

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Emem J. Inyang

Emem will be graduating with a B.S. in Health & Society and a B.A. in Human Rights.  A Presidential Scholar, she has served as President of the Minority Association of Pre-Med Students, and President of the Health & Human Rights Coalition, which she also founded.  She worked with a team of physicians to provide basic healthcare to rural populations in Ecuador as well as Nigeria.  She has volunteered with Americorps to help rebuild and repair homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina.  Emem has been involved in research for the Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, the National Cancer Institute as well as IES Health in South Africa.

Lyle School of Engineering

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Patrick Byrd

The Lyle School of Engineering selected Patrick as one of their candidates for this year’s OSM Award and a quick look at his accomplishments shows why.  He will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Math.  In addition to his strong academics while at SMU, Patrick was very involved with the design and engineering clubs and projects.  Patrick stayed involved with the community through Geared Up, an organization that helps promote engineering to underrepresented communities.

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Natalie Jacks

Natalie will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics.  She has worked with a team of anesthesiologists and plastic surgeons to design a patented improved bandage system to immediately stop bleeding and reduce swelling and scarring.  Natalie has served as President of the Society of Women Engineers and she has received numerous honors such as Honor Roll with High Distinction, National Merit Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Tau Sigma & Tau Beta Pi Honor Societies.  She also served as Pi Tau Sigma treasurer.  Upon graduation, she will join Credera in Dallas as a management consultant.

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Tyler Giallanza

Tyler comes to us from the Lyle School of Engineering and is graduating from SMU with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Chinese all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  In addition to his numerous Research Assistant positions, publications, and lectures, Tyler found time to mentor and tutor high-schoolers and co-founded a summer camp for middle-school students interested in STEM programs.  Tyler has been awarded the Goldwater Scholar and National Science Foundation-REU Award and can now add Outstanding Senior Man Award candidate to his impressive list of accomplishments.

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Lauren Alexis Lyons

Lauren Lyons of Tyler, Texas is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Computer Engineering.  She is also currently working on her Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.  She has served as President of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and VP of Organizational Affairs of Lyle School of Engineering Recruitment Office.  Lauren received the Departmental Award in Electrical Engineering given annually to one undergraduate student.  She also has received the SMU Honor Roll with High Distinction among other awards.  She plans to obtain a PhD in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Quantum Computing Technologies.

Meadows School of the Arts

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Demerick Gary

Demerick has excelled on and off the field during his time at SMU.  His leadership exhibited on the SMU Football team is reflected by the numerous appointments and awards he received.  Even with his limited personal time, he was still able to stay involved in multiple community services programs with Children’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity and Feed My Starving Children.  He is a proud graduate of Kimball High School in Dallas and one of the nominees for the SMU “M” Award.  Based on his accomplishments, there is no wonder that the Meadows School was happy to name Demerick as a candidate for the Outstanding Senior Man Award.

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Katherine Virginia Adams

Kate is from Los Angeles, California and she will graduate with a triple major in Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Public Relations & Strategic Communication, and Spanish.  She is a Hyer Society Scholar as well as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, and Mortar Board Honor Societies.  She has served as Chapter President of Pi Beta Phi and received the outstanding sophomore and outstanding junior of the chapter.  A CCPA Fellow for Meadows School of the Arts, Kate has served as a research team leader and been responsible for CCPA communication content and the CCPA website.

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Darian D. Taylor

Darian is a candidate from the Meadows School with a wide range of accomplishments.  He finishes his time with SMU with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications & Public Affairs and Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and the multiple minors of Political Science, Economics, and Law & Legal Reasoning.  In addition to his impressive academic life, Darian poured himself into student life while at SMU by serving as the Student Body President on the SMU Student Senate, a Student Forum Moderator for the prestigious SMU Tate Lecture Series, and helped bring The Big Event to campus as the Executive Director.

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Coda Boyce

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Coda is graduating with a B.F.A. in Acting from Meadows School of the Arts.  Not only has she been cast in numerous SMU productions, she has also performed in Dallas Theatre Center productions while at SMU, having to balance her professional career as well as college life.  Aside from her acting skills, Coda is a talented dancer and flautist.  She has served as Student Ambassador at SMU and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  She is a member of Program Council, African Student Association and Senior Advisor for Meadows Ambassadors for Prospective Students.

Simmons School of Education and Human Development

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Jordan Ward

The Simmons School offers Jordan Ward as one of its nominees for this year’s Outstanding Senior Man.  Jordan is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Physiology Health Management while being a key member of SMU’s football team.  Jordan was voted to the AAC-All Academic Team each year he attended SMU while also staying very involved with the community during his volunteer positions with Austin Street Center, Children’s Medical Center and the I HAVE A DREAM foundation.

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Sydney Lavigne

Sydney Lavigne, who hails from Ponchatoula, LA, will graduate with a double major in Biology and Applied Physiology & Health Management.  She serves as President of the Applied Physiology Club and Undergraduate Representative for the Simmons-Wide Student Advisory Board.  She is a teaching assistant for Anatomy & Physiology Lab and a research assistant for Dr. Davis’ lab on the autonomic nervous system in MS patients.  Sydney was selected as one of six to represent SMU on the Quiz Bowl Trivia Team.  She was also selected by faculty to receive the SMU Texas ACSM Major of the Year Award.  Sydney is a Board Member and volunteers for BeYoutifully Designed, encouraging middle school girls to feel empowered and build confidence.

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Emily Zhang

Emily will graduate with a double major in Educational Studies and Chemistry & Human Rights with a minor in Women and Gender Studies.  While at SMU she has served as a Resident Assistant where she was a peer leader and advocate for 41 student-residents.  She is Chapter President of SMU Best Buddies where she planned one to two events each month for 40-60 people.  Emily was the Risk Management Chairwoman for Gamma Phi Beta where she evaluated risk to ensure the safety of all the members.  She regularly volunteered as a reading buddy for K-3 students.  She is a Dean’s Scholar and also received Scholarships from SMU Discovery, Harold Jeskey Chemistry, Maynard and Charles Butt.

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