When you leave your PhD program to start a family, do you ever go back?

— BS 1990, MA 1990 —

"Every person is going to have difficult circumstances happen in their lives, but it’s your choice how you’re going to react and how you’re going to move on."

Anna Tanner — — Music Dance Theatre

In describing Kevin J Worthen, 13th president of Brigham Young University, friends and colleagues use a variety of descriptors, some of them seemingly contradictory: brilliant yet unassuming, physically towering yet down-to-earth, visionary yet deferential. But when asked to introduce himself at the press conference following the March 2014 announcement of his new position, Worthen kept it simple: "I'm a BYU guy through and through."

Kevin J. Worthen — BA 1979 — Political Science

Rex E. Lee was named the 10th president of Brigham Young University on May 12, 1989, effective July 1, 1989, and stepped down on December 31, 1995, due to health reasons. He passed away on March 11, 1996.

Before being named president of BYU, Rex Lee was a partner in the law firm of Sidley & Austin. He joined the firm June 1, 1985, after having served for four years as solicitor general of the United States.

Rex E. Lee — BA 1960 — Accounting

When Jeffrey R. Holland took the helm of BYU, he did so with two principal goals in mind. He wanted to increase significantly BYU's academic vitality and accomplishments, while strengthening and emphasizing its unique religious nature. In an April 1987 issue of BYU Today, Holland said, "I want BYU to be known for its academic achievements, achievements reached in an environment of faith and high ideals." Holland has become well known for his commitment to moral education and for proclaiming BYU as a unique university inextricably linked with its religious heritage.

Jeffrey R. Holland — BS 1965 — English

President Dallin H. Oaks left his imprint on the University. He continued the building program of his predecessor with the enlargement of the bookstore, construction of the Law School (authorized during the Wilkinson Administration), and erection of a new library addition equal in size to the original structure. He also witnessed the construction by the Church of the Language Training Mission near the University and announced a drive for funds to construct a large graduate school of management.

Dallin H. Oaks — BS 1954 — Accounting

With the foundation laid by his six predecessors, coupled with the growth of the Church, improved economic conditions, and the unusual support of President David O. McKay and the Board of Trustees, Ernest L. Wilkinson made his contribution by building, in terms of full-time students, the nation's largest private university.

Read more at BYU’s Office of the President.

Ernest L. Wilkinson — BA 1921 —

Standing on the campus where as a country boy from Benjamin, Utah, he had dreamed of the future, President Franklin Stewart Harris said on Founder's Day 1923, "Behold the greatest university campus in all the world - in embryo. More students will come, the faculty will be enlarged, new colleges will be added, and there is no end to the improvements which can be made. Truly the campus is the setting of what will undoubtedly be the greatest university in the world, a place to train for leaders."

Franklin S. Harris — 1907 —

Alumni who attended Brigham Young University between 1904 and 1921 were often heard to say, "I attended the Y in the good old Brimhall days." This was intended as a compliment to the spirit and personality of George H. Brimhall, for he breathed into the school a special charisma which people never forgot. He was particularly known for his short, pithy talks at devotionals. Ezra Taft Benson has written "No man has so inspired me with so few spoken words as has President Brimhall in his famous four-minute assembly talks."

 

 

George H. Brimhall — 1904 - 1921 —

On 4 January 1892 when the new Academy Building was dedicated, the principalship of the Academy formally passed from Karl G. Maeser to Benjamin Cluff, Jr. It was a memorable occasion and 1,000 people were estimated to have gathered for the ceremonies. But when the dedicatory services for the Academy Building were over and while the tributes to "Brother Maeser" were still ringing in the new principal's ears, Benjamin Cluff, Jr., turned his attention to the stern realities of his new position.

Read more at BYU’s Office of the President.

Benjamin Cluff — 1892 - 1903 —

Under Karl G. Maeser Brigham Young Academy established itself as one of the leading schools in Utah territory. The curriculum continually expanded to meet the ever-changing and ever-increasing needs of local and regional education. But the uniqueness of the school lay not in its academic emphasis but in its religious foundation. Maeser placed the development of character above the development of intellect.

Karl G. Maeser — 1876 - 1892 —

Formerly a computer software engineer, Aitken merged his love for technology with his passion for poetry in 2004 when he left his job in the computer gaming industry to earn a MFA in creative writing from University of California-Riverside.  Although the drastic change in career may seem abrupt, Aitken had balanced his multiple interests for years, and this career shift finally aligned Aitken’s competing interests. 

Neil T. Aitken — BS 1999 — Computer Science
Janie Thompson sits at a piano.

She never had a voice lesson, although the talent was clearly there. She had only two years of formal piano training, although her innate musical abilities were evident as a child. And she never took a production class, but she became legendary at BYU for larger-than-life shows.

Janie Thompson — BA 1943 —

Mary Bee Jensen, founder of BYU’s world-renowned International Folk Dance Ensemble, may now stand at the brink of 100 years old, but there is nothing teetering about her. “I drive my own car, live in my own home, and maintain a Facebook page,” says the self-described firecracker, whom everyone knows simply as Mary Bee. “I have great luncheon dates with my dancers, dote on nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, and continue to move full speed ahead.”

Mary Bee Jensen — MEd 1963 —

By profession, Emily de Schweinitz Taylor (BA ’97) is a mediator; by her calling as a mother of five children, she is an expert in conflict. She has combined these backgrounds in her book, Raising Mediators: How Smart Parents Use Mediation to Transform Sibling Conflict and Empower Their Children.

Emily de Schweinitz Taylor — BS 1997 — French

Eric E. Rasmussen (BA ’02, MA ’04) should have seen it coming. As a professor at Texas Tech, Rasmussen researches media’s impact on children. Even so, the father of four energetic girls wasn’t prepared for the transformation that came over one daughter when she turned 13 and got her first cell phone. “Our world turned upside down,” he recalls. When she wasn’t texting, calling, playing games, watching YouTube, or scrolling, she often grew restless and irritable.

Eric E. Rasmussen — BA 2002, MA 2004 — Communications

In the dead of an August night, Kurt F. Dickson (BS ’89) stood alone on the beach in Samphire Hoe, England, wearing just a Speedo and a BYU swim cap. As a spotlight from a boat offshore illuminated his body, Dickson raised his arm, and a horn blared in return. On that cue the 50-year-old former BYU swim team captain plunged into the bitter cold water to start his journey across the English Channel.

Kurt F. Dickson — BS 1989 — Zoology

The children arrive broken and hardened, some never having been able to trust an adult before. Many do drugs or cut themselves or sneak out at night. And yet, over more than 40 years, Don and Jann Wendelboe Smith (BS ’72) have provided a home to some 150 foster children in need of love and safety.

Jann Wendelboe Smith — BS 1972 —

“Wouldn’t it be neat if every business in America closed its doors for one day and took its employees out and did service somewhere? What a different world it would be.”

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.  

Steven D. Higginson — BS 1982 —

Even though Sarah Hartsfield suffers from a neurodegenerative condition that can lead to muscle spasms, vision and hearing impairment, she has earned degrees in print journalism and public administration. While she suffers from depression, opportunities to serve are a lifeline, a reminder of all she has yet to offer.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.  

Sarah A. Hartsfield — BA 2000, MPA 2003 — Communications

For Perry Dobson, compassion is “an honest, immediate instinct,” says his wife, Celeste. “Names comes to him, and the Lord knows he’ll act on those promptings.” Once a month, the Dobsons host an empty-nesters FHE at their home, where they provide a lesson, much-needed company, and rides to and from the gathering.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Perry B. Dobson — BS 1981 — Geology

Thomas Worsley is passionate about feeding people. Among other efforts, he serves on the board of Feeding South Dakota, a hunger-relief organization serving the poorest county in the nation, and works with local food growers in a farm-to-table initiative. “Your job is not just to live, work, go to church, and die,” he says. “You really need to leave a mark . . . by getting involved and being a positive voice and influence.”

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.  

Thomas S. Worsley — BS 2001 — Economics

With a little creativity, Dixon, a geography professor at Rhode Island College, believes you can find opportunities to add a service component to any activity, especially to a career: “There isn’t a defined division between service in your profession and service in the kingdom. Sometimes they really blend together.”

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Seth Dixon — BS 2001, MS 2004 — Geography

They say many hands make light work, but the proverb breaks down when you are Kip Alder and the hands happen to be those of your eight children. “Whenever [the kids] ‘help,’ it takes longer, it’s not as convenient,” acknowledges Alder. “But it is very fulfilling.”

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.  

Kip D. Alder — BFA 1999 —

The hangar doors opened, and, to the exuberant cheers of spouses and children, parents and friends, a battalion of soldiers marched in. The hangar erupted into joyous chaos as soldiers and their families ran to each other to embrace, kiss, laugh and cry. April Hopkins, camera in hand, captured every second of it for one family.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.  

April Marley Hopkins — BFA 2002 —

As a mechanical engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Thomas Mason explores ways to protect the lives of U.S. soldiers, from developing less-sensitive explosives that won’t detonate from a roadside bomb to improving armor for military vehicles.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Thomas A. Mason — BS 1989 — Mechanical Engineering

When disaster strikes, the people of Fayetteville know whom to call: their dentist. After a tornado ripped through the town six years ago, the community saw Joseph Catlett swap his scrubs and dentist’s drill for work jeans and a shovel.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.  

Joseph N. Catlett — BS 1987 — Zoology

“Sometimes it is your sadness and your sorrows,” says Gordon Smith, “that particularly equip you to serve others.” The Smith family’s great sorrow came in 2003. Smith remembers the knock on his Maryland front door. He’d had a feeling something was wrong. Their son Garrett, away at college, wasn’t answering his phone. Smith, then a U.S. senator from Oregon, and his wife, Sharon, were worried that Garrett’s bipolar disorder had taken a downturn. They found a police officer on their porch. Garrett had taken his own life.

Gordon H. Smith — BA 1976 — History

Jason Bodily calls it “pay a penny for a buck” service—minimal efforts that can make a big difference, like visiting someone in prison. Bodily, a microbiology professor, does this monthly, visiting a homeless man who lived in his ward boundaries before being incarcerated. Another ward member had started making the visits, but when that member moved, Bodily, on his second stint as bishop in 10 years, didn’t want to delegate. “I enjoy it,” he says. “You can give someone so much pleasure by doing so little.”

Jason M. Bodily — BS 1999, MS 2000 — Microbiology

To hear Verleen Toland tell the story, you’d think she had nothing to do with it. Each lunch hour at the Idaho school where she taught, Toland noticed the same thing: her friend, an aide, had the same meager meal each day—a glass of milk, half a sandwich from home, maybe one item from the cafeteria. A few questions later, Toland learned that the woman was saving every dime, nickel, and penny to support a family member through a struggle. So Toland decided to begin splitting a full cafeteria lunch with her friend.

Verleen King Toland — BS 1959 — Zoology

“Is this some kind of a cruel joke?” asked the woman on the other end of the line. Bryce Willis sighed and explained again. Willis had called the inner-city high school records office to obtain a transcript for Jerrod, a young man from his stake then on a mission in England. Jerrod, he explained, hoped to attend BYU in Utah. The school counselor insisted that a school like BYU wasn’t likely to be interested in a kid from her school, which serves students in the Birmingham housing projects. But Willis persisted, and he drove the 20 miles to hand her $35 for the transcript.

Bryce W. Willis — BS 1984 — Finance
Tait Eyre Speaks at the pulpit of the Irvine California Stake Center during an Oct. 13 Shabbat Service.

For Tait Eyre (BS ’94), the stake president of the Irvine California stake, the chance to serve the Shir-Ha-Ma’a Lot Jewish Congregation was an opportunity born of simple logistics: In 2016 the SHM Congregation couldn’t find a suitable temporary place of worship while their synagogue was being renovated; the Irvine Stake Center was used for worship on Sundays but was vacant on Fridays, the Jewish day of worship. President Eyre offered the use of the building to the SHM and they gratefully accepted. In time, this act of service became a blessing to both the LDS and Jewish communities.

Tait Eyre — BS 1994 — Zoology

It was a full-scale meltdown—the child wailing, flailing, and assailing her frazzled mother in the Gilbert, Arizona, park. Watching on quietly, Fatima Dedrickson didn’t know the woman, but she knew enough. As a mother of three, she’d tasted this particular blend of embarrassment, weariness, and desperation before. And so Dedrickson walked up to the stranger mid-squall and declared, “I admire you. You’re a great mom. All of us struggle sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up.” And with that, the mother joined her child in tears—of a happier sort.

Fatima Makakala Dedrickson — BS 2013 — Psychology

“What should you do in the event of a fire?” When Bangladeshi garment workers were asked this question, many said they’d open a window and take cover under their work station.

Due to poor safety standards and training, during a two-year period 1,247 Bangladeshi workers died in factory fires and a building collapse while creating apparel for companies. Jay Jorgensen, Walmart’s chief global ethics and compliance officer, knew he was in a position to help change this.

Read Jorgensen’s full story at BYU Magazine.

Jay T. Jorgensen — BA 1994, JD 1997 — Political Science

“Your hardest [kids], . . . they’re the ones who stay with you,” says Maralee Powell, a K–5 special-ed teacher who works with troubled children. She tells of one particular student who, “to a degree, . . . felt like a really bad kid.” But where some see only volatile behavior, Powell listens to the stories, tales of crushing home lives, struggle, and trauma. 

Read Powell’s full story at BYU Magazine.

Maralee Mortensen Powell — BS 1994 —

Scott Strobel is drawn to his unlikely scholars—the ones with passion but no pedigree. The deputy provost of Yale University’s Center for Teaching and Learning and vice president of Yale’s West Campus research center, Strobel remembers one student from New Jersey. He came from a humble background, but the young man dreamed of being a scientist. Strobel’s class Rainforest Expedition and Laboratory—which included a trip to South America to collect biological samples—ignited the student’s passion.

Scott A. Strobel — BA 1987 — Chemistry

It is clear that Ruth Yeboah is from out of town when she hands a teenage waitress 50 Ghanaian cedis (about $12). In Ghana people generally don’t tip. But Yeboah, who grew up in the United States as the daughter of a Ghanaian and an Ivorian, understands that the girl is waiting tables rather than reading textbooks because of the prohibitive cost of an education—anywhere from $100 to $200 per year. With the money comes another tip from Yeboah: “Education is freedom.”

Read Yeboah’s full story at BYU Magazine.

Ruth Manso Yeboah — BS 2007 — Psychology

It’s 1:30 a.m., and the phone on the nightstand starts to buzz. Someone needs to talk with Justin—again. Did a player break up with his girlfriend? Or is someone just having trouble sleeping? It’s not in Justin Su’a’s contract to take these early-morning phone calls, but he does it anyway. A former BYU baseball pitcher, Su’a now works as a mental-performance coach for the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Browns. Instead of requiring players to meet with him during his regular office hours, Su’a makes himself available whenever they need him.

Justin M. Su'a — BA 2007 — Communications

If a baby with Down syndrome comes to your family, you might just receive a book from Stephanie Meredith, who provides materials and support for new and expectant parents nationwide. “It’s fun for me to support moms through books,” says Meredith, “but it’s also fun for them to learn about my son Andy as we become friends online.” Overwhelmed and uncertain, these parents have questions: What health concerns will she have? Will he make friends? Can she live a meaningful life?

Stephanie Hall Meredith — BS 1997, MA 1999 — English

The iPad sits precariously atop a tower composed of a cake stand, a tub of candy canes, and a cookbook on a kitchen counter. At the other end of the room Marcus Martins stands in a suit, bleary eyed, behind a lectern set on his table. It’s 2 a.m. and, via Skype, Martins is delivering a lecture on being a modern-day pioneer to a crowd packed into a Mongolian church building more than 5,500 miles away.

Martins regularly delivers long-distance lectures and firesides on religion and leadership, the same topics he teaches as a BYU–Hawaii professor.

Marcus H. Martins — BS 1992, MOB 1994, PhD 1997 —

It might sound cliché, says Pace, but motherhood has been her most meaningful service—when “I feel I am doing the Lord’s work most strongly.” Writing to young adults, with her own children in mind, has been an extension of that service. “I feel like I have a chance to influence them in certain ways,” says Pace, weaving in themes like the strong helping the weak. Or the reverse: in Grey Stone, the smallest, youngest cat—modeled after Pace’s youngest daughter—is the first to stand up to the adversary at the end.

Jean Knight Pace — BA 2000 — Music

It was a mac ’n’ cheese miracle. In 2014, when a friend teaching at an inner-city elementary school told Melanie Shashindranath that many of the students go hungry during vacations without the school’s free-meal program, Shashindranath wanted to help. So she joined with the teacher and fellow alum Sherianne Stone Schow (BA ’95, MA ’98), who had created the nonprofit L3 | Love Literacy Life to provide food, clothing, and school supplies for the children at the Kansas City, Kansas, elementary, along with volunteers for the school’s summer reading camp.

Melanie Hard Shashindranath — BS 2004, MAcc 2004 —

The chicken is crucial. Any one of the dozen-some-odd kids who attend Erin Bylund’s free drama camp can tell you that. For most of the last decade, Bylund has worked with neighborhood kids (including her four children) to write, act in, and film plays. What started as a standby chicken costume for the golden-egg-laying goose in their retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk has become a staple in their (mostly zany) productions.  “I love the idea of just gladdening the spot where you are,” Bylund says.

Erin Neil Bylund — BM 2000 — Elementary Education

Six beds. Six conversations. Six cheeks kissed. Six daughters asleep for the night. The bedtime routine could take more than an hour at the end of a long day of mothering. But for Caron Beeckel, who in 1979 left BYU early to raise her family, the time was a priority. She wanted each of her girls to feel loved every night, and giving up her dreams for her girls was worth the effort.

Read Beeckel’s full story at BYU Magazine.

Caron St. Peter Beeckel — BGS 2013 —

Gene and R. Arcola Voyles lost their second youngest of nine children, David, to congenital heart failure. “We buried him up here in the hills of Mississippi,” says Gene, in a cemetery sorely in need of tending. “In short,” says Gene, “we bought the cemetery.” He and Arcola are now the grounds crew, and work tirelessly to tend the grounds of Kennedy Chapel Cemetery.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Gene L. Voyles — BS 1967 —

An avid family historian, Seth Brotherson has helped many older friends to create their own personal history. Following extensive interviews, he spends hours transcribing, eventually providing them with a printed story of their life. “I am changed and motivated by the examples of others,” he says.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Sean E. Brotherson — BS 1993, BA 1993, MS 1995 — Family Science

After working for decades as a dentist in Las Vegas, Hale and his wife, Norma, have found their service niche in humanitarian dental trips to South and Central America. They especially focus on prospective missionaries who have significant dental concerns, some of which might interfere with missionary service.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Blair R. Hale — BS 1973 — Zoology

The Hogan family’s holiday tradition of delivering Christmas cheer to Boston’s homeless through food and treats was born of a national tragedy – The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. “We just wanted to share love with other people and help them feel that there is still good people in the world,” says Michelle.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Michelle Brown Hogan — BS 2004 —

Becky Schulthies could understand the language of the couple she had been assigned to as a community mentor, but she soon realized that certain aspects of their life would be difficult for her to fully understand. For Schulthies, not fully understanding was okay. “Most of us face challenges that are outside our control,” she says. “Being helped via suspended judgement allows us the support and courage to just make it a little further along.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Becky L. Schulthies — BA 1996, MA 2000 — International Relations

There can be a lot of divisiveness, animosity, and negativity in our world. And yet, when we come together in service, I think so many of those barriers melt away,” Susan Gavos says. “When we’re working toward a common cause, for just a moment, we can put aside some of those differences and really rebuild the world for good.”

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Susan Gabos hunter — BA 1988 — Advertising

Zooming in on the aerial image, Teresa Pett scanned the faint line running through the Nepalese mountainside – definitely a road, she determined. With a line tool, she traced its shape, adding to the image yet another detail, a detail that might just save a life.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Teresa Rice Pett — BS 2006 — Geology

When a tropical storm devastated her seaside town in 2015, Beth Petty decided she wouldn’t be forced to stand by for any future disasters. Now a fully trained, full-time firefighter, Petty says service opportunities seem to find her: “When you’re prepared, it’s like . . . wearing a name tag or a missionary badge. . . People look at you differently. They have an expectation of you, and they will come to you.”

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Beth Petty — BS 2014 — Recreation Management

After their sixth child, Koby, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at birth, Steven and Sharalee Nabrotzky learned to serve others – by allowing others in the community to serve their family. “The hardest lesson is to let others serve you,” Steven says. Sharalee adds, “I really had to humble myself and realize that this is my family, and I’m the mom, but I’m going to need help.”

Read the full story at BYU Magazine

Steven M. and Sharalee Nelson Nabrotzky — BS 2003, BS 2002 — Construction and Facilities Management

Like a pied piper, Ann Searle entices some 30 neighborhood kids and grandkids to her home for her summer reading program and, of course, treats. “I wanted to keep reading alive for kids,” she says. “It’s a little assignment I gave myself.”

Read the full story at BYU Magazine

Ann Christensen Searle — BS 1965 — Elementary Education

Despite being a full-time mother raising three children, Temma applies her whole self – and her education – to mothering. She has managed to weave in volunteer psychology work for a local school, log hours online for an organization that fights child sex-trafficking, and fulfill her church callings.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine

Temma Harris Deveraux — EdS 2009 —

“Everyone has a relationship with their body and with food and with exercise,” Kathryn Clover, a mental-health therapist specializing in eating disorders, says. “If I can help make those better – not so fraught with fear and anxiety and anger and shame – then that is work I want to be involved in.”

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Kathryn Creer Clover — BS 2010 — Sociology

Huber, with the help of his research team, is wrestling with the science of converting biomass into fuel, gasoline, and plastics. “Anything you can make from petroleum, we can make from biomass and renewable resources,” he says.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

George W. Huber — BS 1999, MS 2000 — Chemical Engineering

The assigned topic was economics. But Goodell, a third-grade teacher at a private elementary school, had grander designs. She wanted to teach these well-off kids a lesson in selflessness. The answer, she decided, was to go into business with her class.

Read the full story at BYU Magazine.

Theresa Storch Goodell — BS 1984 — Elementary Education

“The kids and dogs must listen to and trust each other, because the dogs can sense danger in the darkness or a moose on the trail. . . .The [kids are] on their own, feeding and taking care of 10 powerful dogs who could drag them away and are their only lifeline to get back” 

Andrew Wappett — BA 1998 —

“[MMA] is the purest sport that you can do. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor . . . what your heritage is, what your race [is], none of that matters when you’re in the cage. The better man wins.”

Westin Wilson — BA 2015 — Communications

“Doing the work that helps our national security is really what motivates me and makes my job interesting. . . . Everything that goes on at the [NNSS] truly makes a difference to our national security.”

Mark Martinez — BS 1986, MS 1991 — Mechanical Engineering

“I was 12 years old when my mom was diagnosed with MS…. As I got older [the MS] became more progressive and I would help her with daily things,” Varner recalls. “She would teach me along the way. If I had to help do certain care procedures she would talk to me about it and the importance of doing it correctly. I had the opportunity to see what nursing was like.”

Julie Buss Varner — BS 2017 —

“I was totally surprised. That diagnosis began what turned out to be two years of active treatments, multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, drug therapy. . . and deep reflection. There were times that I really felt like I was on the edge of life. . . I literally just concentrated on taking each breath, day by day.”

Marguerite Gong Hancock — BA 1982 — Asian Studies

Growing up in communist Bulgaria, Julia Kiriakov Caswell didn't know what it was like to be free. She recounts some of her experiences behind the Iron Curtain and her family's escape.

Julia Cyrille Kiriakov Caswell — BA 1969, MA 1971, BA 1996 — French

“[My wife] was very supportive and told me, ‘You can do more than be a mechanic . . . I think you’ve got a lot of potential'. . .In the field of engineering, you have to speak, you have to talk to people, but who was going to hire me when I interview with them?”

Douglas Sereno — BS 1985, MS 1987 — Civil Engineering

After almost 30 years of study, a microbiology professor discovers a virus that could change the battle against cancer.

Craig M. Meyers — BS 1982 MS 1984 — Microbiology

“"If you want to bring people out of problems with their lives, education is key." 
That was Gregg R. Johnson's (MEd '74, EdD '90) motto as he took on the challenge of changing the education program at the Utah Boys Ranch.

Gregg Robert Johnson — MEd '1974, EdD 1990 —

“When I lived…it was a mixed blessing.  I was alive, but doctors encouraged my family to remove me from life support because they believed it was not possible to have quality of life where I was mentally aware, but trapped in my body.”

Jennifer Yacktman Lynn — BS 1995 — Elementary Education

“I’d seen some poverty, but I had never seen anything remotely close to what I saw [then] . . . raw sewage all over the ground; the stench was horrifying. All I could see was this God-forsaken disgusting place. All I wanted to do was leave.”

Amy Antonelli — BA 2003 — American Studies

“I [taught] teachers how to do email, how to log onto a computer and how to use a mouse. Some of the teachers didn’t know how!”  

Sue Allen — BS 1971 — Computer Science

“It amazes me when I think that I was just this guy from a small town where I never thought anything remarkable was going to happen.”

Chris Feinauer — BS 1980 — Finance

“Just put something down on paper. . . . It’s probably bad . . . but then you’ve got something, you’ve put something down, you’ve passed that anxiety.”

Brett Helquist — BFA 1993 — Illustration

“He asked me, ‘How close was I?’ I said, ‘How close to leaving? . . . . You [were] as close as you can get without going’. It was a very empowering experience knowing on that particular flight, I made a difference and kept a dad [alive] so he could raise his kids.”

Susan Kochevar — AS 1983, BS 1987 — Nursing

“Find something you are passionate about, take control of your destiny . . . and surround yourself by people who support you.”

Gregory F. Hebertson — BS 1991, MS 1994 — Geology

Initially, Andrew Kim Smith (BA '77 MBA '79) attended BYU only because his father offered to pay for his education. But he liked BYU after a few years—it was where Smith decided to serve a mission, met his wife, and was recruited for his first job. Reflecting on his time at BYU, Smith says, “I learned to always be a student, . . . to stay as curious and learn as much as I possibly can.”

A. Kim Smith — BA 1977, MBA 1979 —

“Service expands us. It makes us into people that we didn’t know we could become.”

David and Chelom Leavitt — BS 1988, MS 2010, JD 1992 — Economics

“What I do doesn’t affect stock prices. It doesn’t affect the global economy. But I know each day that I make a difference to a family member or individual who couldn’t talk before.”

Cynthia Wheeler Sutton — BS 2002 MS 2004 —

“I really want to do something that will relieve suffering for large amounts of people in a real, lasting way. That’s my dream in life.”

Sharon Eubank — BA 1988 — English

“The exciting part [of engineering] is that you get to bring creativity to solve problems and invent things that have never been thought of before.”

Richard B. Brown — BS 1976 MS 1976 — Electrical Engineering

Julie Bangerter Beck (BS '81), 15th Relief Society general president, was a full-time homemaker when she was called to serve on the Young Women general board. During her service in the Young Women and Relief Society general presidencies, she traveled approximately one million miles, gave more than 500 talks, and averaged 15 meetings a week.

Julie Bangerter Beck — BS 1981 — Family Life

“I am far more interested in doing good than I am in continuing any personal success . . I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility and willingness to be of service.”

Nathan Cherrington — BS 1993 — Zoology

“People see our pink truck and we’re inside in our blue suits just having a good time. We love seeing people’s faces, wondering, ‘What is happening?’ Their reaction is just priceless. We love it.”

Brandon and Blake Barkdull — BA 2017 — Advertising

“It's just about the girls. . . . I love the girls, I love watching them grow, and I love working towards that growth. . . . They have my heart.”

Kathryn Parker — BA 2000 — Public Relations

“It is wonderful when you can feel close to someone, trust them with your innermost feelings and pass through mortality knowing that you are not alone.”

Dallas Murdoch — BS 1962 —

“BYU just validated that faith is your core, and it doesn’t matter that I live halfway across the world from my country, my temples, my spiritual guide, my religious leaders. I can be all that I want to be in a completely alien environment because of faith.”

Pritha Lal — MOB 2000 —

A self-taught baker defied the odds--twice--to win Food Network's Cake Wars.

“I [always] thought it’d be so cool to [bake cakes] as a job, but I never really believed that it would get to the point where it’s at now.

Peter Tidwell — BA 2011 — Advertising

"When you’re in a war zone, your faith increases exponentially.”

Leslie Edwards — BS 1971 — History

“I don’t think anyone, regardless of how old they are, expects to lose their mother . . . I felt like [her death] blew a big hole in the center of my family’s life.”

Ariel Szuch — 2015 — English

“The effort that I put into [Funded Today] influences or even dictates what the output is, so [I] kind of have control over [my] destiny in a sense.”  

Thomas Alvord — 2008 — Family Life

“As a person, I'm greater than that. . . it doesn't define me.”

Alexis Haymond Jeppesen — 2017 — Communication Disorders

"It's kind of like my world shrunk. . . just suddenly, everything became measurable to me. How many more times am I going to hold my husband's hand? How many more times am I going to do all these things with my kids?"

Melanie Pearson Day — 2003 — Geography

“I was going to quit my high school club team because my grandma was paying for it, and it’s so expensive... I was pretty upset. Volleyball had become part of my identity and I wondered, ‘Well, what am I going to do now?’”

Maddie Graham — 2018 — Neuroscience

“I came home one day from school, and I asked [my mother], ‘Why am I being laughed at in school?’ She told me not to worry because I'm beautiful... There's one statement my mother made to me as a young girl that stayed with me even until today. She told me, ‘You are the queen of Africa.’”

Chizoma Olumba Nosiri — BA 2002 — Media Arts

Joe Ferguson (BS ’53) has spent 35,000 hours of his life in the sky. That is the equivalent of almost 1,500 days or a total of 4 years. However, out of all of his flights flown for either the U.S. Air Force, commercial airlines, or recreation, his most important flight was the one he never completed.

Joe Ferguson — BS 1953 —

“It’s like yoga…We’re all stretched to our own level of uncomfortable and it’s hard for all of us. But as we learn and we relax and we keep at it we’re able to [stretch] further and further than we thought we could.”

Rachael Langston — 2018 — Nursing

"I really am very passionate about helping teens handle life's challenges....All I want to do in life is instill hope in these teens.” 

Joshua Drean — 2011 — Psychology

"It is really rewarding to work with young people and to teach them not only about science, but about philosophies of life, and having a purpose. It’s exciting to try and figure out the things that no one has figured out before.”

Val C. Sheffield — BS 1974 — Zoology

"I was given so much at BYU. I am happy to give back in some way, no matter how small, in order to give someone else from the Tulsa area the opportunity for a BYU education.” 

Carrie O'Dell — BA 2011 — Advertising

As a mother of two energetic boys, ages 4 and 2, Christine Amaya’s hands are always full. Juggling parenthood and heavy coursework as a student at BYU is challenging even for the most capable mothers. As a divorcée, however, Amaya must juggle her obligations single-handedly.

Christine Amaya — BS 2017 — Psychology

“I was so happy to be in a place with no swearing, no smoking, no drinking...I was surrounded by all of those habits my entire life; yet, somehow, I hoped for and knew there was a ‘utopia’ someplace where I could get away from that lifestyle.”

Sandra Friesen — 1970 — Sociology

“There are times when you are not feeling as if you are singing very well, and it feels really hard in your stomach. It feels as if your stomach wants to collapse but you have to keep it out. I have a voice teacher in New York who told me to picture that an alien is crawling out of my stomach and walking. She tells me to keep it walking to New Jersey. It’s a silly thing, but it keeps my stomach moving forward.”

Rachel Willis-Sorensen — 2009 — Music

“I just grew up being a big fish in a little sea... I really think the go-getter in me came from my mom just telling me to never be too good for anyone or any job and just put it all out there.”

Briana Carr — BA 2012 — Performance and Pedagogy

“We don’t realize sometimes [that] in sharing our stories, it blesses other people.... The fact that I paid attention to that video, that one, single day—what a difference.”

Sharla E. Morgan — BS 2005, MS 2012 — Nursing

“I had never done makeup, I didn't know anything about it...I enjoyed it because of all the challenges that I had and the people I met and the places I went for location. What can I say? For the most part, it was really an exciting career.”

Gary D. Liddiard — 1960 — Recreation Management

Marriott School (MBA '93) 
Bentonville, Ark. 

Why business: "I was working for a PR agency, and I always wanted to know more about the things I wrote press releases about. . . . I knew I needed to not be the one that writes about it but the one that does it."

Andrea Brantzeg Thomas — MBA 1993 —

“We love bikepacking because it forces us to slow down and enjoy the simple moments along the trail.”

Richard D. and Merinda Gurney Cutler — BS 2000 —

"People are who they are because of their experience. Each one of those aspects makes us a unique individual. So what do I bring to the table? Why did I come up with this? I can give one answer to that, and it’s because I have a unique experience. . . . I was at a certain point of time with a certain set of experiences that then led us to come up with this product.”

Jerry Hancock — BS 1998 — Chemistry

"[My professors] gave me the freedom to sink or swim on my own, and I think they had faith in me. . . . They’ve shaped my life in terms of being a leader, figuring things out on my own, and realizing that if I don’t get it done, it’s not going to get done. As simple as they might sound, those are good life skills to capture.”

Scott Rankin — BS 1991, MS 1992 — Food Science

“I was not a good reader. I was not a good speaker. I certainly couldn’t carry a story. But now I’ve won Emmys in writing. Sure, it comes through a tremendous amount of hard work, but it’s all because of the Lord’s blessings.”

Arthur Rascon — BA 1985 — Performance and Pedagogy

“A wig does not save lives or help these kids get treatment, but it allows them to be kids again. . . . It can give them a magical escape.”

Holly Willardson Christensen — BS 2006 — Nursing

“When we started doing compassionate service activities, it made them more aware that there's more going on in their world. They had a bigger, broader picture, and it changed the way they treated each other. . . . They were excited about giving back.”

Jean Owens — AS 1978 —

“Every single one of them, over the course of a little more than a year, has done a 180-degree change in their lives. They’ve gone from nothing except being in jail, to reuniting with their family, working, living on their own, having a family. They’re all great stories and it’s rewarding.”

Douglas Hedger — BA 1987 — Recreation Management

“Meet some local refugees. As you expose yourself to these people, you will be inspired to help them. You will fall in love with these people.”

Davis Smith — BA 2003 — International Relations

“You never know where your journey is going to take you. I studied chemical engineering, and today, I sell rubber duckies.”

Sam Taylor — 1985 — Marketing-International Business

“I don’t believe in ‘no.' Somehow, I’ve always believed that I could overcome the obstacle to make things work.”

Jon Pierre Francia — 1994 — Performance and Pedagogy

“I began to think about a trend I saw, that many people wanted experience and inclusion more than competition. I realized that people wanted to be fit and do something healthy, but not necessarily have the pressure of a timed race.”

Travis L. Snyder — 2005 — American Studies

Learn more about Hannah Clayson Smith's impressive career.

Hannah Clayson Smith — JD 2001 —
Sunset over enchanted storybook castle

“Every time I tell people I work for Disney, their faces light up. It makes me proud to be part of a company that brings happiness to people.”

Peyton Buhler — BS 2007 —

“I wanted to be more a part of my community and be a part of creating community. I liked that public libraries were dedicated to serving everyone and realized they were one of the only indoor spaces left available to the public where you did not have to buy something to justify your presence there.”

Steve Siebers — BS 1992 — Actuarial Science

When several of Boston’s prominent LDS athletes happen to be in your ward, what do you do?

Heather Walker Sandstrom — BA 1981 — Marketing-International Business

“As a student nurse I thought that all of my service would be appreciated. The reality is that one needs to serve for the right reasons and not to worry about that recognition and thanks.”

Alison Tanner Wright — BSN 1976 — Nursing

“Even as young as age 10, while I didn’t fit in, I knew I wanted to leave a legacy. I thought I needed to be open to opportunities and let the Spirit guide me. If hashtags had existed when I was a child mine would have been—and still would be—#lifeisanadventure.”

Shaun R Parry — BFA 1995 — Music Dance Theatre

“Our children can bring us great sorrow, and I’m sure children would say the same thing about their parents, but they bring us such a tremendous amount of happiness.”

Randall B. Barnes — BS 1975 — Marketing-International Business

Nichelle Tanner Stephens' unexpected choice of minor ends leads to major life decisions.

Nichelle Tanner Stephens — BS 2013 — Sociology

"What started as a young girl heading off to BYU in the early 70s became a family tradition that saw someone from our family at BYU almost continuously from 1994 to 2016."

John W. and Cathy Low Swendsen — BSE 1976, BS 1979 —

“There was a work for us to do, people to help, and if we were humble and willing to work, we could be instruments in the Lord’s hands.”

Travis M. Hansen — 2004 —

“It takes very little to change someone’s life; the price of a burger could give someone sight.”

Gary B. Sabin — AA 1976, BS 1977 —

“I have become a better person,” she says. “I am a kinder, more reasoned, and patient human being.”

Elaine Eliason Englehardt — BA 1974, MA 1984 — Performance and Pedagogy

“I just love to see beautiful, meaningful things.”

De Lamar Jensen — BA 1952 — History

“I was sort of a fish out of water in economics,” he says. “My advisors did not know what to say to me. I always knew I wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry, but I found the modeling and projection in my major fascinating. Through economics I could study human behavior with a framework that tells me who people are and what they value by how they use their resources and how they behave.”

Jared N. Shores — BS 2010 — Economics

Colleen and Gary Worthington are small-business owners who couldn’t take the enterprise out of their golden years—and turned their retirement on its head.

Gary J. and Colleen Kimball Worthington — BS 1970, BS 1971 —

"That was the last time I saw him. That moment was a gift. He had been given the inspiration for me."

Alison Davis-Blake — BS 1979, MOB 1982 — Marketing-International Business

"The Savior was the master healer, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I’m not anywhere close to that, but it is a great blessing to work in a field where I can try emulate to Him in some small way.”

Josh Yamada — BA 1989 — Japanese

"I soon learned that to survive I must positively control my mind or else negative thoughts would destroy me."

Becky Reeve — BS 1974 — Family Science

Get to know your favorite BYU professors—starting with Camille Fronk Olson, professor of ancient scripture. 

Camille Fronk Olson — MA 1986, PhD 1996 — Ancient Near Eastern Studies

“There is no end point in a career. Getting better as a person is the most satisfying part of my career.”

Jeremy B. Andrus — BA 1996 —

“[Stan] Watts once said of this team, the thing that stood out was how they became leaders in the community, faithful churchmen and stayed married to the same woman.”

Stanley H. Watts, Richard S. Harmon, Dean L. Larsen, Boyd O. Jarmon, Melvin R. Hutchins, John W. Taylor, Terry Tebbs, Ed Pinegar, Robert Craig, Wesley Craig, Herschel N. Pedersen, Harold Christensen, Roland Minson, Russell Hilman — —

A group of friends have an unlikely meeting place.

Daniel W. Hemmert — BA 2001, JD 2007, MBA 2007 — Marketing-International Business

“I feel like I have come full circle—from an undergraduate research student to mentoring many undergraduate research students. It all started with my experience at BYU."

Randall J. Roper — BS 1995 — Public Relations

"I use magic as a vehicle to do good in the world. There is enough depression, frustration, and sadness; I saw an opportunity where I can focus my life on doing fun things."

Brian D. South — BA 2014 — Performance and Pedagogy

“I don’t know, because I’m not a black person at a white university. I’m a Mormon at a Mormon university.”

Robert L. Stevenson — BS 1977 — Sociology

Now retired, Dick Johnson is looking for a rematch on the court.

Richard Johnson — BS 1964 — Recreation Management

“My speech really was a challenge. I took speech therapy and recorded my voice. I couldn’t understand a thing I had said and that was very discouraging."

June Leifson — BS 1957, PhD 1979 — Nursing

“There’s this wonderful sense of comradery and unity that sports bring. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, I think all people appreciate an extraordinary effort and a great performance.”

Karen Bybee — BA 1981 — Public Relations

“My hope is that everyone realizes that they are somebody. . . Local problems are solved by community members working with us. Go about doing good things in your community.”

Bryan H. Montgomery — BA 1992, MPA 1994 —

“I think the story is rock and roll through and through with an unexpected twist. It has a bit of a shock factor, but if you read it and pause between paragraphs, it brings to mind important, contemporary questions about allegiances during peace and war.”

Andrew J. Maxfield — BM 2006 — Music

“Leading in our homes is the purest form of leadership. We don’t hire our children, we can’t fire them, . . . and your kids don’t really get to fire you either. . . . It forces you to really learn good, righteous leadership.”

Elizabeth Allen Wiseman — BS 1986, MOB 1988 — Performance and Pedagogy

“I wanted to be a professional artist,but I never imagined I would be sculpting the greatest football players ever to play the game."

Blair Buswell — BA 1982 — Art

“I never thought I could be doing what I’m doing at this age. I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘You’re crazy.’ But here I am wrestling at 63.”

Craig K. Miner — BS 1977 —

"I struggled to find a place at BYU. I did not know many people and had no family nearby for support. One day, as I stood on the second floor of the Cougareat, I pondered my future and decided to go home."

Duane D. Oakes — BS 1989, MA 1990 — Recreation Management

“I was a band nerd and an orch dork who had wonderful school experiences because of music. If we were considered nerds, well, nerds run the world now and determine a lot of today’s culture.”

Lindsey Stirling — BS 2015 — Recreation Management

"How do you liken something unto yourself? It has to be something you already relate to. If I have the scriptures and Legos as the medium, then I am likening the scriptures to me."

Steve J. Van Wagenen — BA 1996, MBA 1998 — Marketing-International Business

Harvey Fletcher will be honored during 2016's Grammy Awards' Special Merit Awards ceremony to receive a Technical Grammy Award.

Harvey Fletcher — BS 1907 — Performance and Pedagogy

“Music gives our family an opportunity to serve others by performing, our children learn to interact with adults, and they gain confidence."

Mary Benson Richards — BMU '83 — Performance and Pedagogy

"Many don't go for their dreams, but I'm living mine. Go for your dream."

Megan Masako Haley — BFA 2014 — Music Dance Theatre

“There is something so vibrant about the dance and rhythms that hits you right in the center of your heart. It is especially satisfying to me as a teacher, because I help children with their rhythm and confidence, which brings a lot of joy to my life.”

Kristina Shelley — BFA 1999 — Music Dance Theatre
Mark Philbrick

"Mark is the Renaissance man of photography."

Mark A. Philbrick — BA 1978, MEd 1978 — Communications

Counseling psychology and special education professor Katie Sampson Steed (BS ’00, MS ’04) remembers the moment she “converted to Utah.” It was the Oregon native’s first time in Zion National Park’s world-famous Subway, a 10-mile, permits-required hike.

“It’s like nothing else,” says Steed, recounting the journey on which adventurers descend from a forest into a slot canyon, boulder over—and swim under—obstacles, submerge in icy canyon pools, rappel down waterfalls, and more. At last, “you reach the chunnel part,” the round tube carved out of the red rock.

Katie Sampson Steed — BS 2000, MS 2004 —

Music professor Claudine Pinnell Bigelow (BM ’92, MM ’94) has a way with strings—orchestral and woolen. When she’s not making her viola strings sing, she can often be found knitting, her needles clicking out a music of their own. And she doesn’t just make your average hats and scarves, either. Her most difficult project to date is a lace heirloom shawl, gorgeously complex, that took her an entire year and 1,700 yards of yarn to finish.

Claudine Pinnell Bigelow — BM 1992, MM 1994 —

Walk through ancient scripture professor Thomas A. Wayment’s Mapleton, Utah, home, and you might think you’ve stepped into a high-end American furniture catalog showroom—and with good reason. “I try to talk furniture makers into letting me have their catalog,” says Wayment, who will then craft a modified piece from the picture alone.

Except for the piano, sofas, and some chairs, Wayment has created all of the woodwork in his home—dressers, beds, floors, cabinetry, and doors—most from quartersawn oak, with its wavy grain and distinctive ray-fleck pattern.

Thomas A. Wayment — —

If all of Kerry D. Soper’s art were displayed in one show, unknowing patrons might question why the curator chose to bring together the works of two very different artists. On one wall might hang an oil painting of a dusk-lit pastoral landscape; on another, a satirical jab at academia via a rowdy set of cartoon characters.

Kerry D. Soper — —

“Call me Professor Wright or Dude,” Mark Alan Wright introduces himself at the beginning of a semester. “Dude, where I come from, is a title of respect.”

Mark Alan Wright — —

Family, Home, and Social Sciences (BS '75) 
Heber, Utah 

Worst BYU grade: C in swimming. "'Hurt, pain, and agony' was the motto of that class."

Why social science: Olsen was inspired by his fourth grade teacher's collection of National Geographic magazines.

Professional rewards: "Probably the most satisfying contribution that I helped make in my career was to define and then implement a restoration plan for the Sacred Grove."

Steven L. Olsen — BS 1975 —

Engineering and Technology (BS '87) 
Santa Clara, Calif.

Y nostalgia: "Being with a bunch of people . . . who are all trying to do good things and all trying to further themselves and their knowledge is a magical experience. I think I've never been in an environment like that since leaving BYU."

Philip J. Carmack — BA 1987 —

 

Nursing (AS '82) 
Sandy, Utah

Y nostalgia: "I just feel a clean and peaceful feeling on this campus. It's a break from the rest of the world."

Laughable college goal: "I did not have the goal to get married. So to find somebody and get married really was a surprise to me. My goal in college was to graduate and instantly make some good money so I could travel. But I didn't. I had a baby, went straight to work, and have never slowed down."

Lezli Williams Matthews — AS 1982 —

Kennedy Center (BA '91, MA '92) 
Bowie, Md.

BYU lesson learned: "To challenge my own assumptions. You come to any issue carrying a set of assumptions based on what little prior knowledge you have on that issue, and it's easy to let those things color your views."

L. Gordon Flake — BA 1991, MA 1992 —

Life Sciences (BS '68) 
Mapleton, Utah

Favorite BYU class: Genetics. "I think that's where the future is. Most diseases have a genetic predisposition."

Laughable college goal: "Establish a fife, jug, and bottle band. It never got off the ground, but it did get a start."

Why cardiology: "I'm amazed by the heart's resilience. It gets wounded . . .and it keeps on going. It's better than the Energizer bunny."

John K. Frischknecht — BS 1968 —

Fine Arts and Communications (BA '61) 
Salt Lake City, Utah

Favorite BYU class: A cappella choir. "But that was not a really difficult class because you just had to show up and participate."

Worst BYU grade: "A C in physics—and the C was a gift."

Success secret: "Steady and plodding."

Jerold D. Ottley — BA 1961 —

Physical and Mathematical Sciences (BS '87) 
Los Altos Hills, Calif. 

BYU lesson learned: "I met my wife here—my future wife. Broke up with my future wife. That was probably one of the hard-learned lessons. . . . I really got some lessons in humility."

Daniel A. Young — BS 1987 —

A difficult hike up the world's highest free-standing mountain taught Kristina Southam many important life lessons.

Kristina Southam — BA 2010 —

Marilyn Dahneke has her work cut out for her.

Marilyn Dahneke — 1963 —

"It’s all about distraction so the child doesn’t feel anxious.”

Adam Schow — BA 1995 — Recreation Management

“There are no band geeks around here.”

Caleb P. Chapman — 2002 — Music

“In Japanese there is an expression – Ichi-go Ichi-eh – literally translated it means ‘one period, one meeting.’ The deeper meaning is that each and every meeting or encounter with each person will only occur in this way once in your life time – so make the most of it."

Steven R. LeBaron — BS 1987 —

“We are living proof of the tagline, ‘Chances are, the relationships that changed your life started at BYU.'"

Fred C. and Sylvia Haws Farmer — BES '72, BS '68 — Marketing-International Business

How do you react when your life doesn't go as planned? 

Julie Williams — BS 1998 —

Inspired by the support they received after learning their daughter had Down syndrome, Aubrey’s parents pay it forward.

Mark H. and Amber Pann Leck — '07, BS '05 — Nursing

What is it like attending BYU when you've only been a member for 6 months?

Chris B. Mathis — BS 1985 —

When Paul was accepted to the only school he'd ever wanted to attend, would it live up to his expectations?

Paul D. Wells — BM 2009, MM 2015 — Music

Ready to rock and roll?” At a neighbor’s orchard, comms professor Quint B. Randle (BA ’84) pulls on a long-sleeved shirt and veil. It’s time to check his hives. He treats the bees with white puffs of smoke from the fiberboard smoldering in his metal smoker. “They think their hive is on fire and they’re going to have to leave,” he says. “So they drink all of this honey and then they get happy and calm.”

Quint B. Randle — BQ 1984 —

Meet Jen Dille, a BYU alum and executive director for Hope Arising—a non-profit organization working in Dera, Ethiopia. “I graduated in secondary education, so my favorite activity is going into the local schools there,” Jennifer says. “I learned in my classes at BYU the importance of holding the students’ attention.”

Jennifer Dille — BS 1994 —

A few months after graduating from BYU, Calli Nielsen felt lost and unsure of what to do next. She had planned on graduating and going on to save the world—but realized that first, she needed to land a job interview.

Calli Nielsen — BS 2014 —

Kristine Walker Bennett worked as a medical technologist for 30 years. However, in 2005, Kristine was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Before long, she was forced to retire. Rather than becoming a victim of the disease and accepting defeat, Kristine decided to compete in Mrs. Utah in 2011. Her campaign was “In Spite of Adversity, You Can Succeed.”

“I had a desire to let people know to not be discouraged. I wanted to be an inspiration to people. I didn’t expect to win, but I wanted to inspire others to try,” Kristine explains.

Kristine Walker Bennett — BS 1973 — Public Relations

“Good planning can lead to a more functional community. People are happier. Communities are safer. Everyone has the opportunity to live healthier and more prosperous lives.”

Dallin Hutchinson — BS 2006 —

“The cast and I were the original fans of ‘Napoleon Dynamite,’ and we started quoting lines after we shot scenes”

Jonathan "Jon" Heder — 2010 — Animation

“I have heard it said that, all pyrotechnics and action aside, most drama comes down to two people sitting in a room, talking.”

(Sean) Tyler McKellar — BA 1999 Advertising and Public Relations —

“You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference. You can give back in many ways.”

Aaron H. Sherinian — BA 1996 Honors Italian —

“We all become stuck at different times throughout our lives,” Davis explains. “Our choice to become unstuck and succeed in getting unstuck depends on many factors: who we are, how hard we try, and who is there to help us.”

Mitch A. Davis — BA 1982 — Performance and Pedagogy

“We have always and will always continue to love BYU for the difference it makes in people’s lives, including ours."

Kim S. and Melinda Cummings Cameron — Kim - BA 1970, MS 1971 Sociology; Melinda - BA 1974 Speech Communications —

“About two or three years ago, my vision took a sudden nosedive, and now I can sometimes get just a glimpse of a light. I guess I sometimes have thought of the situation as more of an adventure.”

Richard O. Cowan — —

"During some serious soul searching, I asked myself if I would be doing the same routine the next 20 or more years if I stayed at BYU. I also asked myself if I were up for a new challenge.”

Mack J. Wilberg — BA 1979 — Music

“I have had the privilege of being employed by the Church during a time of great growth, and it has been my pleasure to serve with President Gordon B. Hinckley, a leader who is brilliant, knowledgeable, and savvy. I can’t think of a better time to be so involved with the Church.”

Bruce L. Olsen — BS 1963, MA 1965 — Communications

“He has become a bit of a celebrity here,” Kay says of her hometown, but she could have been referring to the entire country. “They haven’t used his last name since he was a junior in high school. They just say, ‘Jimmer,’ and everyone knows who it is.”

James Taft Fredette — BA 2016 — American Studies

"I saw a little girl sitting on a couch, with a TV, radio, and light on. She had eight siblings older than she. This struck me—this was a pinnacle moment. Everyone older than she was had lived without power, and she won't know life without it."

Robert E. Workman — 1980 — General Studies

“Even when our children were little, we wanted to serve missions with them for the Church."

Brent and Laurie Whiting — BS 1990, 1985 —

"If you decide you want to do something and apply yourself and don’t give up, you can do it.”

Lane Swainston — BS 1983 — Construction and Facilities Management

“If we don’t first satisfy our employees, it is unrealistic and disingenuous to expect them to meet the needs of the people they serve."

Rulon F. Stacey — BS 1984, MHA 1986 — Economics

 “I have looked at medicine almost as a sacred calling because you are dealing with intimate problems with families, and to be able to assist with reassurance and calmness and to help them with deep concern makes such a difference."

Thales Smith — —

“I told myself back then that I probably could write songs and maybe someday I just might do it."

Janice Kapp Perry — BA 1960 — Music

"I always wanted a career as a singer and composer, but it wasn't until I heard Elder Jeffrey Holland challenge us to pursue our dreams that I decided to fully follow my dream of vocal performance."

Nathan A. Pacheco — BM 2005 — Music

“If I put as much time into the stock market as I put into reading articles about players’ potential, I could probably make a heck of a lot more money.”

Larry J. Nelson — BS 1994, MS 1996 — Family Science

"People thought I was going to die. I even had a doctor tell my parents to take me home and enjoy what little time I had left."

Diana Harman McGuire — BS 1974, MS 1976 — Food Science

“I am proud that I chose to dive after almost losing my life.”

Barbara Culatta — — Communication Disorders

“I guess I do a lot of yelling, but it’s not out of anger. It’s out of excitement.”

Darrell Babidge — MM 1999 — Performance and Pedagogy

“When you read the scriptures, we read that ‘today is the day for men to perform their labors’. There is a reason for this life; this is the day for us to make changes in our lives. When you see people in prison…they haven’t had the opportunity to say no to the bad. We are trying to give people the opportunity to make decisions and change.”

Brian C. Hill — BS 2008 — Marketing-International Business

“It [carillon music] just becomes a part of being at BYU. People tell me ‘I didn’t realize how much I appreciated it until I was back at BYU and heard the carillon, and it brought back so many memories.’ It’s just fun to be a part of other people’s stories.”

Don R. Cook — BMU 1980, MMU 1982 — Music

“I had a great time learning to snowboard on the slope just outside the Grant Building, which houses the (BYU) testing center.”

Todd A. Harris — BA 1990 — Broadcast Communications

“Being a wife and mother is a challenging job, and not only that, it’s a lot more difficult than an office job because it takes 24 hours a day with no time off.”

Ann Davies Romney — BA 1976 French —

“The idea of being of service to others, and making sure that everybody has a chance, that everyone has an opportunity, regardless of our differences . . . that is the path I am trying to take. We ought to find ways to support each other and find common ground.”

John M. Dunn — EdD 1972 Physical Education —

“I feel as if I’ve received so much enlightenment during my travel experiences that I need to give back. The people of Nepal gave me so much love and kindness that it is an honor to help them.”

Grant Olsen — BA 2005 English —

“Archaeology rocks. You are physically interacting with the past, and key is to find the story because that is what people are interested in . . . the Henry Morgans and the Captain Kidds . . . How do we tell their stories? What do we know, what can we find out about them that we might not have known before? It’s those stories and the history that let us know who we are and where we came from. We all came from somewhere.”

Fritz Hanselmann — BA 2003 — Anthropology

“Honestly, I don’t know why more girls don’t get into science and engineering. It’s so cool. If you just look at the world around you, everything has engineering in it. With everything you see, somebody had to design and figure out how to do it. Somebody had to come up with a way to lock a door; someone had to design cars. Hey, somebody had to figure out how to get mascara to stick to a brush.”

Dylann Duncan Ceriani — BS 1989 — Performance and Pedagogy

“It was pretty dead there from about midnight to 5, but they were required to have someone on staff, and so when I got hired I told my boss, ‘I'm just going to write books all night,’ and he replied, ‘That's great. At least you won't sleep on the couch like the person before you.’”

Brandon W. Sanderson — BA 2000, MA 2005 — English

“You’ve just got to find somebody who is in worse shape than you and help them be happy.”

Clayton M. Christensen — BA 1975 — Marketing-International Business

“My vision is that attendees will leave the festival with a firm commitment to make changes in their personal lives that will lead to a stronger America.”

Gove N. Allen — BS 1994, MAcc 1994 —

“I want people to create their own meanings and find their own stories. For me, the art process is not complete unless it becomes thought provoking for the viewer.”

James C. Christensen — BA 1967, MA 1968 — Art

“As a boy I used to go to the Coliseum in Los Angeles and watch fabulous fireworks shows, and when I suggested it for Provo, I’m sure people wanted to throw me from the room.”

Carl W. Bacon — BS 1967 — Sociology

“It broke my heart whenever Zach asked me why he couldn’t play like the other kids. A park is the perfect place for children to socialize and connect with each other, and I hated seeing him sidelined.”

Natalie Mackay Blakemore — BS 2000 — Recreation Management

“You are what you eat, so eat something sweet. Baking was magic to me as a child. It still is.”

Megan Faulkner Brown — BA 2002 — Home and Family Living

“A scholar is someone who is inspired and following a passion and willing to become better than he or she is.”

L. Dean Forman — BS 1982 — Recreation Management

“With all the color and action, it’s as if I’m in a cartoon.”

Nicole Jardine Johnson — BS 1996 — Marketing-International Business

“I’m a provider, defender, protector, and record keeper as I help prepare my babies for loving adoptive homes.”

Amanda de Lange — BS 1996 — Family Science

“If we do not act in behalf of the family, that is itself an act of opposition to the family.”

Sheri L. Dew — MA 1977 — History

“If this were only about rugby, I would have left years ago. It’s all about the boys, and that’s what keeps me in the game.”

D. Larry Gelwix — BA 1974 — Speech and Dramatic Arts

“All families, regardless of their structure, have to communicate, deal with conflict, handle finances, and manage children, if they have them.”

Brian J Higginbotham — BS 2000 — Sociology

“There is something singular about going to a live performance and being hit with a visceral human sound and realizing it is coming from a person opening his or her heart and soul.”

Thomas G. Glenn — BM 1999 — Performance and Pedagogy

“Yoga is a yoking of the body and mind. If both are healthy, our spirit can really soar,”

Sirpa Tolvanen Grierson — MLIS 1992 — Library Science

“I call the title my Miss America card, and I have an instinct about when it will help me get in a door or when it is better left unused.”

Sharlene Wells — BA 1988 — Communications

“We need to strengthen support for human rights in North Korea and other places around the world as well,”

Robert R King — BA 1966 — Political Science

“I know what it’s like to live what many people would call a glamorous, interesting, intellectually stimulating life, and I can say with the full conviction of my heart—with full power in my soul—that nothing is more important than the work I’m doing within the four walls of my own home, with my children.”

Jane Clayson Johnson — BA 1990 — Broadcast Communications

“Some rootbeers use licorice as a flavoring, and that gives it a strong taste. I don’t care for that as much.”

Rollin H. Hotchkiss — BS 1976 — Civil Engineering

“Dr. Huizenga predicted I would die April 23, 2024. I was blown away. I began to cry, not for myself, but for my 8-year-old daughter, who would lose her father in her early 20s if this happened.”

Moses S. Kinikini — BS 1990 — Marketing-International Business

“I wasn’t interested in just doing one lovely thing. I wanted us to do something that had to last long enough that it would require some level of sacrifice.”

Ruth E. Brasher — BS 1951 — Home and Family Living

“I’m a real advocate for blogging. If you have a day without tantrums, for example, or you happen to find a pair of shoes on clearance in your 4-year-old’s size, the New York Times isn’t going to care. But when you write it on your blog, your readers totally get it.”

Gabrielle Stanley Blair — BFA 1998 — Graphic Design

“I hope I can do this until I die. I’m still pinching myself after more than 20 years. I would like nothing better than someday dropping dead into a bottle of ink.”

Brian Crane — BA 1973 —

“I would never have guessed when I started my education at BYU that I would now be working with law enforcement and forensic scientists around the world to help solve murders, rapes, and other brutal crimes, but here I am. It’s an incredible place to be.”

Jared V. Bradley — BS 1993 — Zoology

“No, this long bout of Crusoe-envy seemed to be more physical than spiritual; an appreciation for what Teddy Roosevelt called the ‘doctrine of the strenuous life.’ Roosevelt bemoaned the ‘timid man,’ the man living ‘a life of slothful and ignoble ease.’ The man I fear I've become. As a kid, I used to snicker when I shook an uncallused hand. Now I've got two of my own. I used to bathe in the evening after a hard day's work. Now I shower in the morning.”

Jeffry L. Flake — BA ’86, MA —

“Because my body is used to going the distance, I don’t hurt after a race. I hope I can do this until I’m dead.”

John H. Bozung — BS 1982 — Anthropology

Law School (JD '86) 
South Jordan, Utah 

Favorite BYU class: Criminal law with Woodruff J. Deem, which Hamilton says was also one of the most intimidating classes. Deem would often call on a student to stand and would then grill the student for the whole class period.

Worst BYU grade: Securities law. "I couldn't even read that stuff."

Keith N. Hamilton — JD 1986 —