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Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Rice University in Houston is by far the best college in Texas — and the 14th-best school in the nation — according to U.S. News and World Reports' latest college rankings. 

If you Google interim White House communications director Hope Hicks, you'll find plenty of articles referencing her youth (she's 28), her time as a model and her work in corporate public relations for Ivanka Trump's brand.

But people who know her say if that's all you hear, you'll conjure an incomplete image of Hicks.

"They say, 'Well, Hope is so beautiful. She's a model, that's the only reason Donald Trump hired [her]' — it's not true at all," says Sam Nunberg, an adviser to President Trump from 2011 to mid-2015. "Anybody who underestimates her is making a big mistake."

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump's rarely seen but longest-serving aides, has been named interim White House communications director, filling the position left vacant by Anthony Scaramucci after his 10-day tenure.

Hicks will work alongside press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders until a permanent replacement is found, the White House said. She has been serving as director of strategic communications.

"We will make an announcement on a permanent communications director at the appropriate time," a White House official said.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Adults learning to read in Dallas will help test apps designed to reduce illiteracy.

It’s part of a global competition to develop mobile applications aimed at adult learners. Dallas is one of three cities nationwide involved in field testing. On Tuesday, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings helped launch the local field test.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Southern Methodist University and UNT-Dallas Monday each received $5 million in scholarship money to help attract students committed to teaching careers.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Summer school's gliding along in North Texas, but students aren’t the only ones in session. Southern Methodist University's STEM Academy is for science teachers. 

For one recent lesson, they left dry land behind to kayak the Trinity River that wanders through the Great Trinity Forest. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

More than 60 million people have been displaced from their homes because of conflict around the world – officials say that number is unprecedented.

SMU hosted a conversation about the global refugee crisis Tuesday evening. Former First Lady Laura Bush was among more than 150 people who attended.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Imagine coming to this country and not knowing how to speak the language. More than 7,800 refugees came to Texas during the 2016 fiscal year, and many of them didn’t know English. 

In the days following the presidential election, universities and high schools across the country have reported incidents of hate.

Brad Wilson / Flickr Creative Commons

Five stories that have North Texas talking: A Mesquite woman thought she lost her dog forever, until he was found in Las Vegas; another Legislative session, another round of bills on marijuana; Sid Miller fired the person who published that obscene tweet about Hillary Clinton; and more.

Samantha Guzman / KERA news

There’s a lot to gawk at at the State Fair of Texas. A 55-foot-tall cowboy, towering cones of cotton candy, flashing midway rides that defy gravity. This year, a handful of guys on pogo sticks do that too.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

With a new school superintendent taking over this fall in Houston, every one of Texas’ eight largest cities now has a Latino running the school district. That’s a big deal in a state with a surging Hispanic population and a history of political underrepresentation. In the first chapter of a statewide collaborative series, KERA digs into the implications for students, schools and the politics of education.

Ken Bennett / Wake Forest University School of Law

Two North Texas universities recently decided to no longer enroll new students in their evening law school programs.

Hady Mawajdeh / KERA News

Texans must be natural fighters, because all four members of the Olympic taekwondo team were either born or raised in the Lone Star State. Youngest member Jackie Galloway goes to SMU, trains in Garland and lives in Wylie.

SMU.edu/Illustration by Karen Carr

CT scans aren’t just for people -- they can also be used on dinosaurs.

SMU

The SMU men’s basketball team peaked at No. 8 this season, but the Mustangs have to sit out March Madness after the NCAA banned them from the post-seasonNew York Times reporter Michael Powell dug into the case and discovered a dark side to college –and high school - hoops in Dallas.

SMU

Author Harper Lee, who died today in Monroeville, Ala., at age 89, is at the center of a treasure trove of literary artifacts at Southern Methodist University.

One jewel in the collection: A typewritten letter she wrote a decade ago-- to Oprah Winfrey.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service is a tradition North Texans are embracing. From painting murals to building wheelchair ramps, hundreds of volunteers spent the day giving back to their community.

Shutterstock

Nearly three decades after the school’s football program got the “death penalty” for violating recruiting rules, the basketball program was nailed Tuesday morning.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

The NCAA is banning the SMU men's basketball team from postseason play, saying the university has committed academic fraud and unethical conduct.

Brittney Tatchell / Smithsonian Institution

Nearly two decades after an ancient skeleton was discovered in Kennewick, Washington, scientists finally have a better idea about its hotly-debated origins. SMU anthropologist David Meltzer co-authored a recent study into what’s been dubbed the Kennewick Man. 

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Between now and the end of July, a North Texas college student will have traveled to four different continents to compete at the highest level of taekwondo. She’ll fight the Paraguay Open this weekend. Jackie Galloway hopes all her travels lead to one place: the Olympics.

Earth Day Texas / www.earthdaytx.org

Fair Park is expecting a crowd of 75,000 starting Friday for a three-day, Texas-sized Earth Day celebration.

The environmental movement in North Texas has come a long way since those first, small gatherings back in 1970.

Brad Wilson / Flickr Creative Commons

On Tuesday, Southern Methodist University announced the largest single gift in its history. The $45 million gift from the Meadows Foundation is going to the arts on campus.

Gus Contreras / KERA News

Bryce Alford made four 3-pointers in the final 3:40, his last on a rare goaltending call with 13 seconds remaining, to push 11th-seeded UCLA to a 60-59 upset of sixth-seeded SMU on Thursday in the teams' NCAA opener in Louisville, Kentucky.

SMU Returns To March Madness After 22 Years

Mar 16, 2015
Gus Contreras / KERA News

It's been 22 years since SMU fans have been able to cheer about their men's basketball team in an NCAA tournament. SMU beat Connecticut 62-54 in the American conference tournament on Sunday.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Today, March 7, marks the 50th anniversary of a bloody milestone in the Civil Rights Movement – when marchers in Selma, Alabama were attacked by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On Friday, a busload from SMU began retracing the route a group of students, faculty and staff took a half century ago.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

For some North Texans, the most challenging chore of the week is buying groceries.

As part of our series, One Crisis Away, Inside a Neighborhood, KERA explores why a lot of people in Jubilee Park drive for miles to get their groceries. Or pay the price at the corner store.

Remembering Martin Luther King's 1966 Visit To SMU

Jan 19, 2015
Southern Methodist University Archives

In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. visited Southern Methodist University, at the invitation of the student senate. His brief stop in Dallas left a strong impression on Charles Cox, a junior at SMU at the time of King's visit. 

Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram / http://www.star-telegram.com/news/traffic/your-commute/article3847242.html

The cities of Dallas and Irving took a first step toward an earthquake task force Monday with an afternoon conference call that included experts from the US Geological Survey. Seventeen small quakes have hit the Irving area around state highways 114 and 183 in the past week. Several of them were big enough to startle neighbors in Dallas and elsewhere.

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