Contact: Jenni Smith
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650


March 6, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Southern Methodist University's 37th Annual Women's Symposium honored five Dallas-area women for their contributions to improving opportunities for women and girls through their community service with the presentation of the Profiles in Leadership Awards on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Honorees Dr. Suzanne Ahn, Wanda R. Brice, Wendy Lopez, DeMetris Sampson and Sandra C. Tinkham received their awards at a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom, 3140 Dyer St.

Dr. Suzanne Ahn is a physician, inventor and community activist. A graduate of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Ahn trained at Parkland Hospital in neurology and practiced medicine in Dallas for 15 years. She coordinated and was co-inventor of 23 filed U.S. patents and was the youngest physician, and only the second woman, to be appointed to the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners in its 100-year history. She is the founder of the medical division of a start-up technology company and served as its divisional president and vice president of corporate affairs for three years.

A recognized civic leader and advocate of women's rights, Ahn was founder and first president of The Summit, a group of Dallas women in decision-making positions. She was instrumental in organizing the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the American Medical Women's Association. Ahn also has served on numerous civic boards including the Women's Center of Dallas, Asian-American Historical Society and Girls Incorporated. Known for often bringing about positive changes in the community by working behind the scenes, she has lectured across the country on the topic of women's and civil rights.

Entrepreneur Wanda R. Brice is CEO and founder of Computer Directions Inc., a technical staffing company. An advocate for small business, Brice has served as a Texas delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business, on the Texas Small Business United (TSBU) Board of Directors, as Guardian in the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and on the executive committee of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She is past president of the Executive Women of Dallas, the D/FW National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), The Dallas Forum and the Dallas chapter of International Women's Forum (IWF). Brice currently serves as one of 50 national small business owners appointed to serve on the Small Business Administration National Advisory Council that advises the Bush administration on the most effective ways to serve the millions of American small businesses.

Awards she has won include the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce "Outstanding Businessperson of the Year Award," the International Women's Forum "Women Who Make a Difference Award," the National Association of Women Business Owners "Chapter Advocate of the Year Award," and the DFW Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners "Member of the Year Award." For three years, Brice has served as a mentor through the Help One Student to Succeed (HOSTS) program, where she weekly visits a local elementary school and works with at-risk children.

Wendy A. Lopez is president and chief executive officer of her own engineering firm, Wendy Lopez & Associates Inc. (WLA), which has been honored as one of the largest minority- and woman-owned businesses in Dallas. In 13 years, WLA grew from a one-person civil engineering design firm to a 150-person, multidisciplinary environmental and engineering services company. WLA was recognized in 2001 as one of Zweig Letter's Hot Firms of 2001, the Hispanic Business Magazine's "The Hispanic Business 500," and the Dallas Business Journal's Top 25 Dallas-Area Engineering Firms.

A past president of the Consulting Engineers Council, Lopez was a member of the Society of American Military Engineers American, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Civil Engineering Advisory Board, Women's Transportation Seminar and the Society of Civil Engineers. Lopez sits on the board of directors of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the North Texas Commission, D/FW Chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Dallas County Local Work Force Development, The Dallas Assembly and The Dallas Summit. She is a member of the Women's Business Council, Hispanic 50, Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Business Development Council and Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Awards she has earned include being named one of the YWCA's 2001 Women of Achievement, the D/FW Chapter of NAWBO's Public Policy Advocate of the Year and NAWBO's D/FW Chapter Woman Business Owner of the Year.

DeMetris Sampson is the managing partner of the Dallas law office of Linebarger Goggan Blair Peña & Sampson, LLP where she has practiced law since 1987. She is the first African-American woman to become a partner in a majority law firm in Dallas.

A distinguished leader in her profession, she has served as president of the Dallas Association of Black Women Attorneys, chair of the Political Congress of African-American Women and on numerous state and national boards and task forces. As a civic leader, Sampson serves on the board of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the advisory panel of the North Texas Future Fund and the executive committee of the University of Texas Law School Alumni Association. She recently co-chaired the successful Better Schools, Better Dallas--DISD bond campaign. She was appointed to the board of regents of East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) by Governor Ann Richards and served as vice-chair of the board.

Sampson is a member of the Dallas Bar Foundation, the Texas Bar Foundation, the Dallas Assembly, the Dallas Summit, the Dallas Citizens Council and is a life member of the NAACP.

Awards she has received include the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award; the Women's Center of Dallas Maura Award; the University of Texas Ex-Students Association's Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award; 2000 Congressional Black Caucus Spouses "Unsung Hero" Award; and being named by Women's Enterprise Magazine as one of the 2001 Women of Excellence.

Sandra C. Tinkham held the position of director of the SMU Women's Center and coordinator of the Women's Symposium from 1986 to 1997. She served as a student on SMU's first Women's Symposium committee and is the only person to serve the Women's Symposium in all three roles of student, staff and participant. During her tenure at SMU, she was instrumental in securing funding for numerous women's programs both on and off campus.

Tinkham also worked as a volunteer and part-time staff member at the Women's Center of Dallas, where she wrote grants that included a 1974 grant proposal from the Texas Committee on the Humanities to produce a two-day seminar, "The Politics of Public Education," and secured the Center's first federal grant in 1977.

Tinkham retired from SMU in the fall of 1999, but continues to serve on the Executive Committee of the Dallas Summit, the SMU Library Board, SMU's Raggio Lecture Committee and the Women's Symposium Advisory Committee.

As a community volunteer committed to women's issues, Tinkham was a founding member and former president of the Women's Center of Dallas, the Women's Interest Network and facilitated the founding meeting of the Dallas Summit. She has served as president of the Women's Council of Dallas County, the Women's Center of Dallas, and the YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas, where she served on the YWCA board from 1976-2000.

Previous recipients of the SMU Women's Symposium Profiles in Leadership Award are Ruth Altshuler, Vivian Castleberry, Billie Fraumann, Jo Fay Godbey, Adlene Harrison, Margaret McDermott, the Rev. Sheron Covington Patterson, Tegwin Pulley, Louise Raggio, Delia Reyes, Elizabeth Rucker, Ruth Tatum and Virginia Whitehill.