Intermountain Histories: a History of Us

On Sixth South in Provo, there is an old, old building that used to house the Startup candy company. Interestingly, today, it houses several small startup companies instead of the candy company. The story of the Startup building is one of many told on Intermountain, a digital public history project that provides scholarly information and interpretive stories of historic sites and events around the Intermountain West regions of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. The project is managed by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University. In collaboration with professors and students from universities across the Intermountain West, new content is created each semester in classroom settings. Those stories are then edited and revised by the Redd Center and published on the site for the public.

Using an interactive GPS-enabled map, you can take virtual or physical walking tours of historic sites. As your personal tour guide, Intermountain Histories provides historical information, photographs and images, documentary videos, audio interviews, oral histories, bibliographic citations, and other resources for you to explore. Though created in academic settings, the content is meant to be used by the general public.

The first batch of stories is small, created by a “guinea pig” group of professors and students. In the upcoming weeks, additional stories currently being edited will be published as well. Moving forward, new batches will periodically publish as collaborating professors, students, and interns at the Redd Center research, write, and edit new stories. Intermountain Histories is available for free in iTunes, Google Play, and online at To receive notifications when new stories are published, follow the project on Facebook or Twitter.

“Though small at our current launch,” said Dr. Brenden Rensink, co-director, “this project will grow and fill the map with countless pins and stories.”


Italians Eating with Chopsticks? How to Mesh Family Cultures in Stepfamilies

This post is thirteenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

How do you blend two families together into one happy stepfamily? Does trying to do so sometimes feel like meshing two entirely different cultures, like telling Italians and Japanese to eat pasta with chopsticks? It can be done, says Dr. Patricia Papernow, an expert in the field who we introduced here, by making mistakes and learning from them. She called it “learning by goofing,” at a 2016 BYU Social Work Conference. The meshing of the two cultures can lead to misunderstanding and unintentionally hurt feelings. It is only through making these mistakes that people can come to know one another and to reconcile their differences.


Are you in a stepfamily? What mistakes have you learned from, and how have they helped?

Huddling Together: Women in Polygamy Making a History of Their Own

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who coined the phrase “well-behaved women seldom make history,” recently discussed how well-behaved women in polygamist marriages in mid-1800s Utah benefited from and in fact brought benefit to the entire then-territory of Utah, making a niche in Mormon history all their own. At an event on campus in March, she spoke to many women and a handful of curious men about her exploration of the role women played in the early days of the Church. Through her research, she said that she found that she, like other modern women, “…could be a woman of faith,…activism and scholarship.”

In the early days of the LDS church, men and women worked together, she said. Early diaries affirmed that women spoke in the earliest LDS gatherings, and they testified. Other events took place in homes under the joint-leadership of men and women. When the saints moved to Nauvoo, the Relief Society was established. “Relief Society began as an individual initiative within a community of women,” Ulrich said. “Prophecies,” “prophetess,” “authority,” and “keys” were all words used in Joseph Smith’s establishment of the organization. Some of those words, such as “authority” and “keys” are more typically associated with men in modern LDS practice. But the Relief Society became an opportunity for women to have authority and to lead. Ulrich said it was a godly community where everyone had a place. In a painting of Joseph and Emma Smith, both held symbols of mastery and authority. Ulrich interpreted this as depicting their equality to each other.

When polygamy was first introduced, Ulrich said there were dissenters who claimed the Relief Society was where Joseph Smith found “harlots.” The Relief Society pushed back at these claims, and defended the prophet and the church, according to Ulrich. The women unified, “huddling” closer together. “There is so little known about early Mormon polygamy,” Ulrich said. But what is know is that there was not cohabitation around 1843 and it was not yet publicly announced, but there were plural temple sealings. About these, Emma was upset. Ulrich said that there is no biological or DNA evidence that Joseph Smith ever fathered a child, except with Emma.

There was a rumor that Mormon women were promiscuous, so Emma asked for a reformation of both men and women in their duty to uphold the moral values in the law. Ulrich said Emma met with the Relief Society twice a day. After Joseph’s martyrdom, there was tension between Emma and Brigham Young, second president of the Church, who had embraced polygamy. Because Emma was the leader of the Relief Society, Brigham Young was upset with the Relief Society, and said “damning” things about it and women. Ulrich said that this was probably a time where Brigham Young wished he could take back his words.

“What I think is very, very clear from her behavior first in her rallying of Relief Society in defense of the church…[is that] she cared about the church, and she cared about the survival of the church,” Ulrich said. Ulrich suggests that Emma was “terrified” of Joseph Smith’s behavior because she had to learn if it was adulterous or visionary, and Emma was terrified of what would happen. Despite these difficulties and the general lack of information, Ulrich noted, there is evidence that women were seen as equals during plural marriage. In an announcement of the plural sealing of Mary Ann to Brigham Young, Mary Ann was referred to as “presidentess.” In Ulrich’s recently-published book A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism (1835-1870), she said: it could…have been described as an experiment in cooperative housekeeping and an incubator of female activism.”

Indeed, though many of the Mormon pioneer women indicated in their diaries that “they had not a clue what they were getting into,” they entered into the practice of plural marriage in faith and figured it out across the plains. When they arrived in Salt Lake City, the women gathered every other day. They were in constant contact. Men and women were still learning who should preside in a religious gathering in the home. Here again, was evidence that men and women were equals, Ulrich said. “Women sometimes stepped in when men failed in their duties,” Ulrich said. When the male leader decided to not come to a meeting, he would usually delegate the authority to the woman of the household to preside and conduct the meeting.

The Relief Society, which had been disbanded soon after Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, was not fully functional again for about 20 years. “The reorganization came from individual initiative of women,” Ulrich said. When it was reestablished, the minutes from the original Relief Society were used as guides to address the women in society. The women at the time moved into the women’s rights movements. Ulrich said the women said this of Relief Society: “They believed there was something more Joseph was offering.” And indeed, perhaps because of that unification and activism, Ulrich said that Utah, which was then a primarily female state, gave women voting rights fifty years before it was federally mandated by the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “These women felt the Spirit of God in each other’s company. They were able to carry on because they were huddling together.”

Ulrich, an American historian and professor at Harvard University, said Mormon women’s history during this time is an “uplifting” and a “really sad” story, but that is shows something about the resilience of these interesting women. That resiliency is still something that modern women can take to heart.


Utah is Better at Getting People Out of Poverty, But Why? Our Economics Professors Answer.

Utah is a model to many other states of upward mobility, or the ability of people to get themselves out of poverty, according to a 2014 study done by four Harvard and University of California, Berkley analysts. Bloomberg View reporter Megan McArdle visited Utah in March of 2017 to discover its secrets to the American dream. Along the way, she met two BYU economists, who weighed in on Utah’s success.


How Does Utah Do It?

She learned that The Church of Latter-day Saints leads the way in helping the impoverished rise to economic stability, if not success. She learned that Utahns emphasize education as a means of getting out of poverty. She learned, after meeting with government leaders and civil servants, that they form a “cheerfully effective bureaucracy.” And she saw that, in Utah, the community is heavily involved in helping others out of poverty, and Welfare Square is the center of the action. That is where volunteers provide help to those in need, but they help the needy help themselves.

Exposure to Different Social Networks in Schools

In the 2014 study she worked to understand, she learned that the inequality that best predicts low mobility is the distance between a community’s upper middle class and its poorest citizens. kids-girl-pencil-drawing-159823BYU economist David Sims has researched income mobility, and said that one of the reasons that Utah is better at it than other states is because its schools tend to introduce kids to different social networks, just by virtue of their school boundaries. This makes for a “leveling of the playing field,” so to speak. Says Sims: “What it’s especially good at is a sort of middle classness that’s so broad it’s almost infectious.”

Low Racial Diversity

A child born in Charlotte, North Carolina has a 6.8% less chance that one born in Utah to make it into the top quintile of income, if he or she was born into the lowest income quintile. McArdle theorizes that one of the reasons  has to do with Utah’s relatively low racial diversity:

“When the poor people are, by and large, the same race as the richer ones, people find it easier to talk about them the way they might talk about, well, family members — as folks who may have made some mistakes and started with some disadvantages, but also as folks who could be self-sufficient after a little help from an uncle or a sister. It’s a very different conversation from “victim”/“oppressor” and “us”/“them”: a conversation that recognizes that poor people often make choices that keep them in poverty, but also that the constraints of poverty, including the social environment of poor neighborhoods, make it very difficult to make another choice.”

High Rates of Religious Practice and Marriage

She, along with the authors of the study (Chetty et al), also attribute the higher rate of upward mobility to relatively high rates of religious practice. Chetty et al state that “religiosity is very strongly positively correlated with upward mobility, while crime rates are negatively correlated with mobility.” Since Utah’s population is predominately LDS, there is less alcohol sold and more marriages. These are factors that reduce poverty, say McArdle. Likewise, Kathryn Edin, at a recent Hinckley lecture on poverty, said that family instability and complexity are both consequences and causes of poverty, and that it is more common among low-income families. Chetty et al also suggest that having two married parents is a bedrock foundation of economic mobility. However, society is shifting away from marriage.  “Why don’t we use what we have?” asks BYU economist Joe Price, in response to that trend. pexels-photo-110204“You’ve got this institution that has worked for thousands of years, [but] there’s a reluctance to use the word ‘marriage’ in public policy.”

Utah’s relative success at providing opportunities for getting out of poverty isn’t due to any heavy-handed government policy or large amounts of per-pupil spending on education. It is due, not only to the factors already listed, but also:

  • an aggressive war on homelessness by its government,
  • a brand of “compassionate conservativism that went hand-in-hand with an unusually functional bureaucracy”
  • the Mormon welfare network, which strongly encourages emergency preparedness, is staffed by an “unrivaled system of highly-organized community volunteer work,” and is structured so that recipients of financial help are led back to self-sufficiency.

What Does This Mean for Other States and People?

Beyond the reasons for Utah’s relative success in this area, though, there are bigger questions, the biggest of which is whether or not other states can replicate what Utah has done. She says:

This does raise some questions about the viability of Utah’s “compassionate conservative” model outside the state. The vast welfare infrastructure from the Mormon Church naturally makes it easier to have smaller government. Perhaps that could be replicated by other communities. But the values of the Mormon Church may create a public that simply needs less help. That’s harder for another community to imitate. I’m not sure this key ingredient is available in a secular version; I think religion might only come in religion flavor.

I really, really wanted to find pieces of Utah’s model that could somehow be exported. Price gave me some hope. The Mormon Church, he says, has created “scripts” for life, and you don’t need religious faith for those; you just need cultural agreement that they’re important. We have lots of secular authorities who could be encouraging marriage, and volunteering, and higher levels of community involvement of all kinds. Looking at the remarkable speed with which norms about gay marriage changed, thanks in part to an aggressive push on the topic from Hollywood icons, I have to believe that our norms about everyone else’s marriages could change too, if those same elites were courageous enough to recognize the evidence, and take a stand.






Step-Outsiders vs. Step-Insiders: How Step-parents May Feel

This post is fourteenth in a series of videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains tidbits of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advice on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and your family live better lives.

It’s no secret that divorces and remarriages can be messy. How do you blend two families together? What do you do if your child doesn’t like your new spouse? In a step-family, how do you reconcile old relationships with new? Dr. Patricia Papernow addressed these questions at BYU’s 2016 Social Work Conference. Papernow cited the example of a man named Gary, who was biological father to his daughter Hallie, and remarried to Claire. Gary and Claire were having a conversation when Hallie burst in wanting to talk about soccer tryouts. Gary turned away from Claire to focus on his daughter, leaving his new wife feeling left out. Dr. Papernow said that this is a common feeling: “Step-parents often become stuck outsiders. Stuck outsiders often feel invisible, unseen; they feel rejected. [Remarried] parents are stuck insiders…[they] are torn between the people that they love. They often feel anxious, they may feel inadequate.” The former has to learn how to fit in while the latter has to learn to balance what everyone wants: their children, their new spouse, and their ex-spouse. It’s clearly very difficult to navigate the intricacies of a step-family.


Watch Papernow’s full address below for advice on how to address these and other issues, or subscribe to the Connections magazine of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences to get the latest information on stepfamily research when the next issue comes out in a couple of months!


Dr. Papernow is an internationally-recognized expert on stepfamilies. She integrates her deep understanding of the research with four decades of clinical practice and a wide variety of modalities and theoretical modes. She has written two of the classic books in the field as well as numerous articles, book chapters, and guest blog posts. She is known as a highly engaging teacher, an excellent speaker, and attuned, caring, clinical supervisor. Dr. Papernow is a psychologist in private practice in Hudson, Ma, and Director of the Institute for Stepfamily Education.

The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair, which sponsored the conference, was created to strengthen, understand, and research families as well as create strategies to bolster families through challenges such as learning disabilities, “social development,” and single parenting.

What’s your advice for blending two families?

Dead Queens Discuss Modern Women’s Issues

What is the role of women in society? This is a hotly debated topic that no one seems able to reach a consensus on. Recently, BYU’s History Department thoughtfully resuscitated four dead queens to teach us more about the topic: Empress Cixi of the Ching Dynasty; Hurrem Sultan; Joan of Arc; and Martha Ballard, queen of colonial midwifery. For an hour on March 1, these women debated various questions surrounding women’s involvement in politics, the work force, and life in general. Like the Dead Presidents’ Debate of last fall, it was an engaging and humorous look at history and its bearing on matters of importance today.

Women in the Workforce

The moderator asked in what capacity should women be involved in the workforce? The queens agreed that females were essential. Martha, who, as we mentioned here, was an 18th century midwife who is primarily known from Laura Thatcher Ulrich’s Pulitzer-prize winning book A Midwife’s Tale, said that women had always worke,d while Joan declared women to be an “absolutely important economic force.” Hurrem had worked as her husband, Suleiman the Magnificent’s advisor, and Cixi, who ruled China on behalf of her son during the Qing Dynasty, termed herself “a professional politician.”

Women in Politics

Her proclamation perfectly segued into the moderator’s next query, which was: “What role should women play in politics?” On this question, the queens were divided. Both Hurrem and Joan supported the idea of females participating in politics. The latter said that women could be inspiring leaders, and Hurrem stated that women needed to be more involved.

Martha and Cixi, however, favored a more restrained role for females in politics. The midwife declared policy-making to be a man’s role and maintained that that was the natural order of things. Similar to this natural order was the “Mandate of Heaven” advocated for by Cixi. Even though lots of women are smarter than men, she said, women in politics violated the divine order. 

The Women’s March and whether not women’s involvement in politics was good or bad were the topics of the third question. As with the last query, the queens differed in their responses. Hurrem declared that while it was ok to protest officials, it was not ok to protest rulers. Cixi took this a step further by adding that “no one should have the right to demonstrate…Nobody should march- wrong.” She advocated that God appointed rulers, therefore, people should obey them. “You don’t have to think about it,” she said. “Just obey.” According to Martha, however, marching is a “good way for people to show support, not to protest.” Joan believed the opposite, saying that people need to “make their voices heard.”

Modern Women

 Next, the queens were asked if they thought modern women were better off than those in previous generations. Joan and Cixi asserted that they were, the former praising the fact that women could wear pants. Martha acknowledged that while modern times were better in terms of medical care, people spent too much time on their phones. “The old ways are the good ways.” Hurrem, however, pointed out the “big inequality in the world today,” of medical care.


Lastly, the queens were asked if they had any advice to women as they began their lives as BYU students. Joan admonished that it is “important to listen to what God wants you to do.” Hurrem said to overcome obstacles and that “you have to believe in yourself.” Martha encouraged women to keep journals, and Cixi offered sage advice: “Addiction is bad. Pursue your education.”

Hurrem, Martha, Cixi, and Joan debated many pertinent issues facing contemporary women. While they often disagreed, their varying answers provided perspective on the issues that could inform current students and modern women. All in all, the debate served as a fun way to learn more about women’s issues.

Each of the “queens” was interviewed by the professor in separate videos leading up to the debate, in parodies of Zach Galifianakis interview of Hillary Clinton: Joan of Arc here, Empress Dowager Cixi here, Hurrem Sultan here, and Martha Ballard here. We look forward to more fun history debates!

Did you attend the debate? What did you think?

Alumni: YOU can Make a Difference by Being a Mentor

Author Mark Twain said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Alumni, how did you get to where you are now? How did you get started? Did you know that you can help current BYU students get their start? Mentoring is an easy way to give back your alma mater.


Benefits for Current Students

What are the benefits for students? Steve O’Brian, Customer Success team leader at Chronus, a company that designs software that facilitates those mentoring relationships, lists them as:

  1. Help finding jobs:Smart universities are improving job placement rates after graduation by developing students and alumni through mentoring programs. These development programs connect and enhance a student’s networks to provide them with better tools for their job search.” Have you ever had someone who taught you the tricks of the trade? How helpful was it? Wouldn’t you want to do the same for someone else?                                                                                                                                                  
  2. Encouragement: Getting a college education can be difficult. Alumni members of all professions and backgrounds can make a difference by mentoring and encouraging current students. You can help give them the confidence and boost they need to continue their education and to succeed.

However, it isn’t just students that benefit from mentoring: You can too!

Benefits for Alumni who Mentor

Here are three ways you as an alumni can benefit from mentoring a current BYU student:

  1. Stay involved: Professor Sarah Stanley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said, “Often alumni want to become involved in activities that further promote and serve the university, and being a mentor allows them to become involved.” There are other ways to be involved than by donating money. If you aren’t in the position to give financially but still want give back to BYU, then look into mentoring!                     people-office-group-team
  2. Recruit workers: When you mentor, you establish a relationship with a student. You’re passing on the skills of your trade and teaching them how to thrive in the workforce. By the time they graduate, your student will most likely need a job, and since you’ve already trained them, they make good ideal candidates.
  3. Feel happier and healthier:  “Generosity has been found to reduce stress, increase longevity, and produce happiness hormones,” says Sandra Gurvis of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. “When [people] helped others, they felt more energetic and stronger and even experienced a sense of euphoria, or ‘helper’s high.'” By mentoring and being generous with your time, you help others and yourself. Says BYU Psychology professor Brent Slife in his soon-to-be-released book Frailty and Flourishing: “Self-benefit and other-benefit are usually and naturally co-mingled because relationships and mutual activity are central to a good human life. Attempting to separate them into egoistic and altruistic activities is a pointless distraction from the primary business of acting well together.”

It’s obvious that mentoring a student will greatly impact their college experience and future career while strengthening your relationship with BYU and making you overall happier. It’s a win-win. So why not take the plunge? Here are some websites to help you out:

BYU Career Services

For General Mentoring: Alumni Career Services

For Political Science Alumni: BYU Political Affairs Society

For Economics Alumni: Alumni Mentoring Program

Did you have an alumni mentor?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

Why Should YOU Attend the Fulton Conference?

There is perhaps no more unique an opportunity for us to support research that increases everyone’s collective ability to understand the world around us and to engage with the people around us, and to see what great work our undergraduate students are capable of, than at the annual Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference. This year’s conference is just around the corner, and promises to inform on topics such as child abuse, college students and depressions, and eating disorders and how they relate to social media.

The Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences is pleased to host the 12th Annual Mentored Student Research Conference on Thursday, April 13, 2017. The conference will be held in the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom from 9:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. and from 2:15 p.m. – 3 p.m. and is open to the public.  The conference will feature research done in the areas of neuroscience, sociology, social work, psychology, family life, geography, anthropology, history, political science, and economics.

The conference is a unique opportunity for hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students to visually and succinctly present their most recent research. Parents and family members, students across the Y’s campus, and members of the community are invited.

Benefits of Attending

  • Show support for students and their research
  • Can appreciate the phenomenal work the undergrads have done  
  • Learn something new. Last year’s conference included posters on “Responses of LDS Leaders to the Vietnam War,” Isis and Twitter, and modern examples of traditional Japanese samurai principles.
  • Connect with people who have similar interests

About Mary Lou Fulton

Courtesy of The Fulton Chair

 The College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences honors the life and contributions of Mary Lou Fulton by designating a chair in her name. Mary Lou was a wonderful example of a Latter-day Saint woman who, after devoted service raising her family, returned to college to finish her degree. Throughout her life, Mary Lou sought to help those with personal challenges, whether assisting her own students who struggled with reading or rendering quiet service to neighbors and ward members.

During her lifetime, Mary Lou and her husband Ira supported causes and programs that uphold and strengthen the family unit. This goal continues to be a high priority for Ira, as well as helping others remain free of addictive substances or crippling afflictions that limit their possibilities in life.

About the Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair

The Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair provides meaningful research and educational experiences for students, faculty, and children. Mary Lou’s passion for educating and elevating others is reflected in the many elements of the chair, established by her husband Ira A. Fulton in 2004 to honor and recognize her example. The Chair also funds internship grants, professorships, and young scholar awards.

Giving students a forum to present mentored learning projects is key to future opportunities. The Chair funds an annual showcase of student research and provides travel grants for students to present their scholarly work at major professional and academic conferences around the United States.


Adult Children: Your Parents May Still be Losing Sleep Over You

Not getting enough sleep can cause problems for anyone, but one would think that aging parents with adult children would be, to some extent, exempt from that particular problem. However, a recent study published by BYU Gerontology professor Jeremy Yorgason found that parents continue to worry about their children, even to the point that it affects their sleep.


“The topic of sleep is receiving more and more attention these days as biological factors are linked with many other aspects of life, including social factors,” Yorgason said. “Parents don’t really ever stop being parents in many ways, and so feeling stress about their children will likely have an impact on their physical and emotional processes (which may show up in sleep). Of the 186 heterosexual married, remarried, or cohabiting couples interviewed, only 10% of husbands age 40 to 60, and 6% of wives reported not worrying at all about their children.” They found that husbands’ worrying more frequently about their adult children was associated with less sleep for husbands, but not for wives. They also found that when husbands provided more frequent support to adult children, it was often more need-based than it was for mothers. “Support may be more taxing for fathers, making it more difficult for husbands to get a sufficient amount of sleep as a result of the time and energy demands related to giving such support,” they said.

Such findings may be highly relevant to those adult children, who may still find themselves needing their aging parents, even as they take care of their own younger children. “On the one hand,” Yorgason posits, “such support can be viewed as a benefit for adult children. As support sometimes reflects [the] needs of adult children, the concerns the parents have around the child’s need might be the source of less sleep. That is, adult children may be able to count on middle-aged and older parents to be available for support during difficult times (Merz, Consedine, Schulze, & Schuengel, 2009). On the other hand, because poor sleep quality is linked with physical and mental distress (Meerlo, Sgoifo, & Suchecki, 2008; Smagula, Stone, Fabio, & Cauley, 2016), such caring by older parents may take a physical and psychological toll.”

Adult children might be both heartened and worried by these results. At the least, they can inform their interactions with their aging parents so that their sleep patterns are taken into account. Yorgason e has a study in the process of publication which found that sleep affects marital interactions because a lack of sleep puts a spouse in a negative mood. Yorgason is also writing up how sleep may affect communication and problem solving within a marriage.

Jeremy B. Yorgason is an Associate Professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. He received his PhD from Virginia Tech in marriage and family therapy. He also completed a graduate gerontology certificate at Kansas State University, and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Gerontology Center of Penn State University, with an emphasis in mental health and aging. Dr. Yorgason is a member of the Gerontology Program faculty at BYU. His research interests are in the area of later life family relationships, with a specific focus on health and marriage. His current research efforts focus on later life couple relationships in context of the effects of daily health stressors, managing multiple chronic illnesses, and on grandparent/grandchild relationships. He is also starting the Couple Relationships and Transitions Experiences study (CREATE), which explores how recently married couples manage minor and major life transitions.

BYU Hosts Social Science Fair Featuring Student Research on Relevant Social Issues

BYU students will fill BYU’s Wilkinson Center on April 13, 2017 with the tangible evidence of months of mentored research—their Fulton Conference posters. It is a wonderful opportunity for members of the community, parents, other students, and employers to support research that increases everyone’s collective ability to understand the world around us, and to see what great work our undergraduate students are capable of.

The Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences will host the 13th Annual Mentored Student Research Conference on Thursday, April 13, 2017. The conference will be in the Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom from 9 a.m. to noon and is open to the public.

The conference is a unique opportunity for hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students to present their most recent research visually and succinctly. BYU graduate and undergraduate students researched with faculty mentors, research that takes typically a full semester. Students will be present to answer any questions visitors may have about the research.

Topics will include child abuse and its effect on academic ability, internet addiction, depression in college students, social anxiety disorder, and consequences of transgender victimization. The conference will feature research done in the areas of neuroscience, sociology, social work, psychology, family life, geography, anthropology, history, political science, and economics.

Savannah Keenan, a graduate student in the School of Family Life, studied the portrayal of fathers in popular media, and the effects of those portrayals on real-life behavior, for her winning 2016 poster. Her research showed that, every 3.24 minutes, a TV dad acts like a buffoon, and that children responded negatively to those portrayals 48% of the time. “We know that dads are often portrayed negatively in the media,” says Keenan. “But not a lot of research has been done that shows how the father portrayals in the media actually affect real-life behavior and attitudes of children. I think the most important thing we need to know now is: how is this affecting our kids? If these television shows are portraying dads as incompetent— especially when they’re directed toward such a sensitive age group as tweens—what are these kids going to think about their own dads?”

For more information, please visit The Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair provides meaningful research and educational experiences for students, faculty, and children. Mary Lou’s passion for educating and elevating others is reflected in the many elements of the chair, established by her husband Ira A. Fulton in 2004 to honor and recognize her example.