Hadley Stevens Smith

photo by Savannah Stevens Jarratt
photo by Savannah Stevens Jarratt

Hadley Stevens Smith

Hadley Stevens Smith is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. She is a health economist whose research evaluates the use of genomic medicine, primarily for newborn and pediatric patient populations. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Hadley was born in Texarkana, Texas. She attended St. James Day School and Pleasant Grove High School, where she graduated as Valedictorian. Hadley earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Service and Administration from Texas A&M University in College Station. She then moved to Houston and completed a PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center and Baylor College of Medicine.

Now living in Boston, Massachusetts, Hadley is an avid runner. She has also taken up figure skating lessons to give cold weather sports a try. She enjoys spending time with her dog, going to local ballet and theater performances, and trying to convince New Englanders that their accent is more outlandish than hers.

What is your favorite Texarkana memory?

My favorite memories from growing up in Texarkana are from rehearsing and performing at the Perot Theatre. I danced in 16 recitals and many Texarkana Community Ballet performances there, and I was also crowned Miss Teen Texarkana 2007 at the Perot. The Theatre is especially significant to me because my mom was the project coordinator for its restoration in 1980-81.
The Texarkana community is fortunate to have such a beautiful place to see shows and for young people to experience the joy of performing.

Where was your favorite place to eat in Texarkana?

The Cobbler Shoppe was always a favorite. I still think about their Italian cream cake!

Were you a Hawk, Leopard, Razorback, or Tiger?

I was a Hawk! My favorite memories from high school are from working on the school newspaper and yearbook in Charla Harris’s journalism program and being on the drill team under the direction of Stephanie Carpenter and Tiffany Beck. We strove for excellence in both programs, winning national awards. Our dedication fostered some spirited rivalries with other journalism programs and dance teams. Pleasant Grove Showstoppers always “win halftime!”

How do you describe Texarkana to your friends?

I describe Texarkana as a small town. It certainly feels that way, even though the population has grown a lot over the course of my lifetime. Although it’s been 13 years since I have lived there, Texarkana always feels familiar and like home.

What do you love about Texarkana?

I love the rich history—and commitment to preserving it—that we have as a community. I’m proud of the connection that my family has to the history of the city, which has always made it an extra special place to call home. My great-great-grandfather’s family was a pioneer Texarkana family in the 1880s and owned the Stevens Brickyard. My grandfather and his twin brother used to box in front of the courthouse in orange gloves and red gloves representing the “Texas side” and “Arkansas side.” (Their photo is on the cover of the pictorial history book, Texarkana II: The Two County Collection.) My mom has been a professor at Texarkana College for 40 years.

What do you think makes Texarkana famous?

The state line! When I bring friends to Texarkana, we always take a picture with the Texas and Arkansas sign in front of the post office and courthouse.

What do you miss about Texarkana?

There are so many opportunities to get involved with wonderful local organizations in Texarkana and to get to know people well. Texarkana offers chances to feel connected to the community in ways that bigger cities don’t allow. I grew up in St. James’ Episcopal Church, and I enjoyed volunteering as a student ambassador with the Harvest Regional Food Bank when I was in high school.

TXK Roots is Texarkana Magazine’s forum to highlight and honor Texarkana natives who have accomplished big things in the world. These folks may have relocated, but they took the values, education, work ethic and creativity instilled in them by growing up in this unique border city and used these qualities to blaze extraordinary trails. We asked them to share their thoughts about growing up here. No matter how far from Texarkana they may find themselves, we will always consider them our neighbors and we are proud to claim them as forever members of our extended Texarkana community. After all, “everyone is famous in their hometown!”

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