New FHSS Faculty: Dr. Chad Nelson

Dr. Chad Nelson, a new Political Science faculty member, is an expert on international affairs, particularly political revolutions and the interaction between domestic instability and international politics. “I suppose what got me hooked was a curiosity about different people and places,” he said. This curiosity prompted him to travel, which, as he puts it, “led me to read more and more about the history of different places, and somehow, I got particularly interested in war and revolution.”

Dr. Nelson enjoyed his four years studying philosophy here at BYU as an undergraduate, and he eventually received his PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles. “I’m thrilled to be back among a great set of colleagues,” he said, “and I love the view from my window. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful area!”

Much of Dr. Nelson’s work is focused on the international effects of revolutions. For instance, leaders of nations often see a revolution elsewhere and fear that it could spread to their own state—this can have a major impact on a nation’s foreign policy. Dr. Nelson also studies the question of how states respond to the rise of potential rivals.

Of his teaching, he says: “It is a pleasure to teach such smart and dedicated students. They don’t seem to complain about their grades as much as the students at UCLA!” When he’s not teaching, he is an outdoorsman who enjoys running. His wife currently works as a physicians’ assistant in an emergency room in Long Beach, California, and they have four children—three boys and a girl.

Welcome Dr. Nelson!

You Think You Have Old Shoes? You Should See New Old Shoe Exhibit

On October 17th 2016, BYU’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures will open its shoe exhibition titled Steps in Style. The exhibition will display a collection of shoes from around the globe and shoes from various time periods. Additionally, the exhibition will include an interactive portion for young visitors. The museum is free general admission.

Steps in Style

“Shoes are something all cultures have in common. Having this point of connection helps us relate to each other,” says Jaquelyn Johnson, the doctorate student spearheaded the curation, design, and installation of this exhibition. Similarly, our choice of shoe style reflects our personalities and circumstances. The shoes in the exhibit reflect the personalities and needs of people across the world.

The highlights of the collection are bone skates, moccasins from various Native American nations, wooden clogs, intricately beaded slippers, and Caribou boots. A pair of Samoan sandals made of tapa cloth, woven coconut leaves, and coconut seeds. Of the mocassions, Johnson points out that they “show how much time and effort went into creating such a unique shoe. Today, we go to the store without putting nearly any time or thought into the purchase.”

Families, scout groups, students, and people of all ages are welcome to explore this unique exhibition, says Lacy Schmoekel, promotions manager at the museum.

Sarah Curry, FHSS Student Extra-ordinaire

It has been said that “the quality of a university is measured more by the kind of student it turns out than the kind it takes in.” If this is true, then BYU is a very fine university, based at least on political science major Sarah Curry . fhsspictureThe senior has traveled both the world and the U.S. and is involved in many things on-campus.

Recently, we had the opportunity to talk with her about her school experience:

Getting to Know Sarah Curry

Q: What’s your major? Why did you choose it? Was there a particular experience that lead you to it?

A: I am studying political science with an emphasis in political strategy, and minoring in global studies and nonprofit management. I grew up in the Washington DC area, which exposed me to politics at a young age. When I came to BYU, I knew I wanted to learn how to serve my community. Political science has taught me valuable quantitative and writing skills, as well as a practical understanding of institutions that I will need to serve effectively. Additionally, the faculty and students in political science are fascinating! Their perspectives and experiences are far-reaching. Everyone is supportive and wants to pull you into their network. I really have found my tribe.

Q: What are you involved in (i.e. extracurricular activities)?

A: I am the special events director for BYU Political Affairs Society. I am the co-founder and president of BYUPAS Women in Politics. I am also a member of both Nonprofit Management Student Association and Students for International Development. I am a Undergraduate Fellow at the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. I was a TA for POLI 201 for three semesters and have been a RA since January. This semester, I am involved with the KBYU-Utah Colleges Exit Poll, and encourage everyone reading this to volunteer for it as well.

Q: Any tips for getting involved?

A: Be bold! Go to activities hosted by clubs and student associations. Every major has at least one. Talk to people in class. Turn group projects into a way to make friends. Meet and work with your professors and TAs. I have been connected to opportunities that I would not have found otherwise through classmates and faculty. Show commitment to learning as much as you can while you’re at BYU. Our college can be improved by your ideas and insights — you just have to share them!

Q: What do you like to do outside of school?

A: Tap dance, SCUBA dive, cook international food, go to book club and Bombay House with my ladies, watch Parks and Rec and The Office with my husband. I also love to road trip and explore new places.

Q: Random fact or story about yourself?

A: My order at Sodalicious is a 24oz. I Love Lucy extra dirty.


Alumni Spotlight: Dee Allsop, Powerhouse Connector

deeDee Allsop is a powerhouse of a man, having been a strategist who worked at the highest level of American politics during the Ronald Reagan administration, and as a former president of the BYU Alumni Association. He graduated in political science, obtained both a masters and a doctorate from The Ohio State University, and achieved many great things in that arena, but then turned his professional attention to the science of  helping companies understand people, clients, and the decisions they make, at Heart+Mind Strategies. Through all of his endeavors is woven the power of connection, the desire to help politicians, companies, and people connect with each other.

As president of the Alumni Association, he said: “[The spirit of the Y] needs to be cultivated in the communities where people live—not just in their cities, but in their professional, global, and social communities as well.” As CEO of Wirthlin Worldwide from 2002 to 2004,  and then as president of Harris Interactions Groups, a company dedicated to administering surveys that measure public opinion in the U.S.  about the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public on subjects such as politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles. While employed at these companies, (2004-10) he also worked as the president of the BYU Board of Alumni. In addition, he was the BYU Alumni Association president from 2009-14. Currently, he serves on the Family, Home, and Social Sciences National Advisory Council. His passion for and ability to help businesses identify and leverage their connections has won him multiple awards, including the Advertising Research Foundation David Ogilvy Award for Beltway Campaign in 2008, the Advertising Research Foundation’s David Ogilvy Award for “The New Steel” in 2000, and the American Association of Political Consultants “Pollster of the Year” in 2000.      

He’s an example to all of the power of initiative and education. Of BYU, Allsop says, “BYU did many wonderful things in my life, and I have much gratitude to the university and the people there.” This is made evident through his far-reaching service to the university.

If you are an alumni of BYU’s School of Family Life, or any of the nine other departments in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, we’d like to hear your story! Please share with us your accomplishments, your stories of service and inspiration. Share them at And don’t forget to join us on October 13th at 11 am in SWKT 250 to listen to Alumni Achievement Award Honoree Bridgitte Madrian speak on household financial decision making.

Where Will You Go With Your Major?

Provo Student Project: How Voting Benefits You and #IVoteBecause

Several students huddled together in one of BYU’s political science classes.  Each had a passion for politics. Each wanted others to feel the power and excitement that comes from being politically involved. Collyn Mosquito gathered friends and founded The Provo Student Project.


Tyler Kivley, the public relations chair of The Provo Student Project, says he was invited by a friend to join the project, but his motivations to join ran deeper than that: “I joined because I want other students to understand the role they have and the actual power they have to influence what goes on in their communities, state, and nation. I am politically active because I choose to be a part of the force of progress and development. I vote because it is a right and duty that I have. I sincerely believe it makes a difference.”

The Provo Student Project recognizes that being politically involved is a civic duty. The right to vote has been protected by the voice, action, and blood of thousands throughout history.  It is working to spread the word about the importance of voting through several campaigns for students. They are:


A social media campaign. #IVoteBecause encourages people to post why they voted, or why they will vote.  So take that selfie and hashtag it!


The Provo Student Project created a video with students on campus about voting. Check out their Facebook page soon for the video. Watch for another video coming out this weekend!

Get Out the Vote Canvassing

Gather at Joaquin Park at 10 a.m. on October 15 to plaster the neighborhood with flyers and talk to passersby about voting. It might be a good idea to bring a car, as you will divide and conquer. Expect to be out for a couple of hours (depending on how fast you can canvas, of course).

Chalking Up the Vote

Chalk up the sidewalks to remind people to get out and vote. Meet at Joaquin Park at 10 a.m.


How Does Voting Benefit You?

All this being said, it is important to talk about reasons for voting beyond civic duty, although that is important. In his recent  BYU devotional address, Elder Dallin H. Oakes recently encouraged all to vote:  “As the First Presidency always reminds us, we have the responsibility to become informed about the issues and candidates and to independently exercise our right to vote. Voters, remember, this applies to candidates for the many important local and state offices, as well as the contested presidential election.” Beyond that, voting encourages us to think seriously about the issues that affect us, which all issues do in some way ultimately, and perhaps how we can affect change if we are dissatisfied with their effect on us.

Check out their Facebook page for more information or email them at

BYU Professor Uncovers Racial Discrimination in Mortgage Lending

Applying for a mortgage can be a stressful experience. Aside from the difficulty of gathering all the necessary documents, there is the stress of waiting to find out what type of loan one qualifies for, and for what amount. A lot depends upon those two pieces of information. One hopes that one’s race is not one of the factors taken into consideration by the bankers when deciding what loan to approve you for, but a 2015 study by BYU Sociology Professor Jacob Rugh, proves that that is not the case, at least in the city of Baltimore in the early 2000’s.

Subprime Lending

Of all the mortgage financing options available, subprime loans are perhaps some of the least desirable, as they carry higher interest rates and are designed for those who don’t qualify for prime loans. Dr. Rugh and his co-authors, discovered that, in that city at that time, even if some African Americans qualified for prime loans, they were given subprime loans. Furthermore, extra clauses and more fees were often attached. Their study was published in the journal Social Problems. In June of 2016, it was awarded the John Hope Franklin Prize for the Best Article on Race, Racism and the Law. The prize is named after a historian and civil rights pioneer who studied racial politics.

“Not only were black borrowers more likely to receive more costly mortgages on the basis of race and neighborhood composition,” says Rugh, “they were also more likely to be channeled into riskier loan products. After controlling for underwriting criteria, loan characteristics, and contextual factors, the likelihood of receiving a combined-risk loan  was greater for black than white borrowers by 14.8 percent and greater for black borrowers living in black neighborhoods than for whites living in white neighborhoods by 15.1 percent.”

The Result: Large Settlement

In 2012, according to the Baltimore Sun, the city alleged that Wells Fargo steered minorities into subprime loans, gave them less favorable rates than white borrowers and foreclosed on hundreds of Baltimore homes, creating blight and higher public safety costs. Wells Fargo is the largest residential home mortgage originator in the United States. The company agreed to settle with the city of Baltimore for $175 million. Says Rugh: “This was the first time that a city had sued [an entity for this reason], and the settlement was the second biggest of its kind.”
Of the purpose of the study, he adds:”we demonstrate how processes of cumulative disadvantage continue to undermine black socioeconomic status in the United States today,” but adds: “Social stratification isn’t necessarily always the result of intentional discrimination. Sometimes it’s the result of unintentional processes.”


Regardless of its causes, Rugh makes the following recommendations for policymakers, lenders, consumer protection groups, and individuals:
  • implement, or advocate the implementation of, increased civil rights enforcement by institutionalizing ongoing audits and other cost-effective means to monitor racial disparities and increase transparency in ways that remediate systematic patterns at the level of structure and policies rather than isolated acts of individuals.
  • offer only safe, fixed-rate mortgages and down payment ratios that make home ownership, wealth accumulation, and social mobility accessible for borrowers of color.
  • own other assets besides a mortgage, thus reducing your risk


What do you think of this study?