Super Bowl Champion To Speak At Convocation

Valedictorians and Graduation Plans Announced 

Congratulations to the graduating seniors in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences! If you are a December 2020, April 2021, June 2021, and August 2021 graduate, keep reading for more details you’ll want to know about our virtual graduation exercises. 

Tell Us About You 

Since we won’t see you walk across the stage this year, we’d love to see you and read about your BYU highlights on our graduation site. Please upload your photo before April 5, if possible, so we can have it for graduation! And complete your bio too — this is a great record of all the experiences our students have at BYU.  

We also have a small gift for you. Please be sure to verify your address so we can send you a diploma cover, cap, tassel, and more. This needs to happen by April 20 and it’s all in one process at http://fhssgraduates.byu.edu.   

Sociology Alumnus Setema Gali to Speak at Convocation 

The 2021 FHSS Convocation speaker will be Setema Gali, a BYU alumnus (BS Sociology ‘01, MPA ‘14) and a living example of winning after the game.  

On the field, he was a Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots and an All-Conference defensive end and team captain for the BYU Cougars. However, since retiring from the NFL, he’s built world-class businesses and teams in the areas of mortgages and real estate, sales, consulting, coaching, and mentoring. Setema has faced hardship, the fall of markets, losses of a business he built and yet he has proven time and time again that mindset and discipline aligned with a holy cause can restore you to the top of your game.  

Convocation speaker Setema Gali with wife Laina and three sons.

Setema credits his marriage and family for shaping him in ways that business and football could not have. He also recognizes the positive impact of his BYU education. He says, “I loved my time at BYU. I love the campus, the football program, the professors who were instrumental in helping me learn and grow to become the man I am today.” 

Setema wants graduates to “get really clear on the life you want to live, the impact you want to have, and make a commitment that you will never lose sight of what matters most — your spouse, your children, your purpose, and faith in God.” 

Valedictorians Announced 

Each department has named an exemplary student as valedictorian. Read more about each students’ BYU experience at https://fhssgraduates.byu.edu/valedictorians.  

  • Anthropology: Samuel J. Jensen from Provo, Utah 
  • Economics: George Reuben Garcia III from Pueblo, Colorado 
  • Geography: Haley Anna Morris from Monroe, Louisiana 
  • History: Hovan Lawton from Provo, Utah 
  • Neuroscience: Alyssa Stockard Lee from Fallon, Nevada 
  • Political Science: Heather Kristina Walker from Pleasant Grove, Utah 
  • Psychology: Sydney Rasmussen from Franklin, Tennessee 
  • School of Family Life: Eliza Crump Heim from Lehi, Utah 
  • Sociology: Emley Holcombe from Morton, Illinois 

Join the Virtual Graduation Ceremonies 

BYU commencement exercises will be broadcast live from the Marriott Center on BYUtv on Thursday, April 22, at 10 a.m. MDT. Elder Gerrit W. Gong will be the speaker. 

Convocation for the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences will be held virtually on Friday, April 23 at 11:00 a.m. MDT. Join the event at https://fhssgraduates.byu.edu/home/convocation. Our featured speaker is Setema Gali.  

Each department will host its own program immediately following convocation. Details will be posted at https://fhssgraduates.byu.edu/home/convocation

From Student to Scholar — Research Presentations Showcase Experiential Learning

Annual Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference viewable online 

What do the 1918 pandemic, cyberbullying, sibling relationship quality, and post-marital body image all have in common? They are all research topics presented at this year’s Mentored Student Research Conference, funded by the Mary Lou Fulton endowed chair in the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences. 

Each year, students in all disciplines of the college pursue their research questions, collect data, and share their findings in poster format. The conference affirms the college’s emphasis on experiential learning — students take what they learn in the classroom and use that understanding and methodology in real-world scientific research. 

“In my experience, the Mentored Student Research Conference is where you can really see the lightbulb go off over students’ heads and they realize they have become scholars,” says Mikaela Dufur, associate dean in the college. “By working on research with faculty mentors, students become producers of knowledge instead of just consumers. With this shift in perspective, they see the world and their place in it differently.” 

Many students in the college plan to continue their education through graduate programs, and this conference gives them a unique experience to refer to in the admissions process. Students can also use this experience on a resume as they seek to enter a competitive scientific workforce. The participation in the conference demonstrates intellectual curiosity, the ability to formulate a specific question and collect relevant data, analyze the data, and tell a story with data visualization. These skills with both quantitative and qualitative data are in high demand. 

Conference posters can be submitted now through March 31 at noon when judging will begin. All are invited to view the poster submissions on the conference website at any time and participate in the conference program. 

This year’s conference program will be held virtually on April 8 at noon. President Kevin Worthen will be the keynote speaker and awards will be presented for the best posters from each department and category. First-place poster teams are awarded $300, second-place ($200), third-place ($100), and fourth-place ($50) posters may also be recognized. 

For more information, visit the Mentored Student Research Conference website.

They’ll Choose 2 Dance When You Choose 2 Give

Want to see your favorite social science professor become TikTok famous? This year you can! 

It’s been a tough year for everyone, but as the warmth of spring approaches and all Utah adults are now vaccine-eligible (!!!), we are ready to have some fun. Fun while giving, that is. 

For this year’s Choose 2 Give campaign, we’ve raised the stakes a bit with a Faculty TikTok Challenge. Check out the contestants online and who they think you should vote for. 

When you make a donation to the FHSS Annual Fund, you earn one vote for every dollar donated. The two faculty teams with the most votes by April 2 will perform and post a TikTok-style dance. The more you donate, the better chance you have of watching your favorite faculty attempt the feat. But you don’t have to do it alone — share your choice on social media and get your fellow students to help out too. Use the hashtags #choose2give #fhsstiktok. 

Choose 2 Give is a campaign for students to help other students and 100% of donations are used for student scholarships. Asking students to donate to help other students might seem backwards, but BYU is a place where thousands of students have been blessed by a rich academic experience, and a big part of continuing that legacy is giving back. It’s never too soon to begin the habit. 

Give what you can — whether it’s $20 or $1. At the end of the day, the amount of the donation isn’t as important as the act behind it. Each dollar builds on the one before and provides relief and support that many students wouldn’t otherwise have. In the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” 

The campaign runs from March 22–April 2, so don’t wait to donate, vote, and share! Let’s do our part to help fellow students — and make the faculty dance! 

Donate and vote at https://fhss.byu.edu/c2g, then share your choice on social media with the hashtags #choose2give #fhsstiktok and tag @byufhss.

Download the social media filters below to use in your posting!

Women of FHSS: Your Education Is Not Your Backup Plan — It’s Your Life!

Photo by Madeline Mortensen/BYU Brigham Young University/BYU Photo

Madeleine Wallis, a senior studying economics, came to BYU thinking that her education was her backup plan in case she didn’t have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. However, along the way she realized that “my education isn’t my backup plan, it is my life!”

“Once I realized this is my life and I am just as deserving of a quality education and a successful career as any man, my eyes were opened,” says Wallis. “I want every woman at BYU to know that she not only belongs here but is valued. We need your perspectives and bright minds. This is not your backup plan — this is your life, and you deserve every bit of it.”

Like Wallis, women often face particular gendered obstacles as they navigate the academic landscape, consider opportunities, and make important education and career decisions. Female students at BYU face additional challenges because of perceived religious and cultural ideas, and many report feeling underprepared when life after graduation is different than imagined.

“Utah’s female college and university students are more likely to end up in the ‘some college, no degree’ category of educational statistics, and to self-select into lower-paying fields,” according to a Salt Lake Tribune article on female college students in Utah.

Lindsey Blau, academic and professional development manager in Liberal Arts Advisement and Careers at BYU, and professors Scott Sanders (Sociology) and Sarah Reed (History), are launching the Women of FHSS initiative to foster an environment where all women in family, home, and social science majors thrive and are encouraged to identify and pursue educational and career opportunities.

“Women face the challenge of understanding during college and even after graduation how their education and their life roles work together,” says Blau. “Our goal is to help our female students understand how they can integrate their education into their lives in ways that uniquely distinguish them for a wide range of possibilities.”

A website of resources now available

The Women of FHSS website went live on Feb. 25 and is designed to help students learn from the experiences of other women and use those stories to broaden their perspective.

“Many of our female students have amazing ideas of where their life will go but data shows that many of these ideas of are not realized by the time they graduate,” says Blau. “We want to help our students develop a deeper understanding of future possibilities and explore multiple applications of a BYU education.”

On the site, students can read or watch interviews of educated women in many different life circumstances — single or married with a career, pursuing graduate studies, as a non-traditional (returning) student, at home with children, and more. Students will also find guidance on resources available both on BYU campus and in the state, as well as data trends about women in Utah.

For example, 51% of Latter-day Saint women over the age of 18 are single and 48% are employed and working outside the home. “Yet, we see women continue to struggle as they pursue opportunities that are not directly related to marriage and family because of perceived religious and cultural stigmas,” says Blau.

Join us for a launch event

Students can register for the Women of FHSS kick-off event scheduled for Thursday, March 25 at 11 a.m. MST.

The kick-off will include four college alumna who will share the decisions they have made while juggling life, career, family and fulfillment. Learn how they view their education and its importance as a foundation in their life.

Blau hopes the program will help women remember their worth, explore multiple opportunities after graduation, and develop the skills and confidence for whatever life has in store for them. Blau wants women to develop the attitude of designing their lives and not letting life happen without intentional reflection, intervention and inspiration.

“Learn where your strengths are and how you can integrate your interests and passions to fit your life,” says Blau.

In the future, the Women of FHSS subcommittee plans to expand this initiative to include how men can become allies to the women in their lives. Blau says the only way this organization will achieve its mission is if men and women work together.

Learn more about Women of FHSS and register for the kick-off event.

To Mask or Not to Mask

Patterson speaks on Politics of Individualism at Hickman Lecture 

Kelly Patterson, BYU professor of political science will present “Pandemic and Politics of Individualism” on Thursday, March 11 at 11 a.m. for the Martin B. Hickman Outstanding Scholar lecture. Anyone can join the zoom meeting from the Hickman Lectures webpage.  

The pandemic has caused Americans, and people worldwide, to consider the tension between their individual rights on the one hand and the good of society on the other hand.  

Dr. Patterson and his co-investigator theorized about the meaning of individualism and then developed a new measure of “moral individualism” that focuses on the relationship between individuals and authority. In his lecture, Dr. Patterson will discuss how this measure helps explain various attitudes and behaviors with regard to the pandemic.  

“We find that those people who score higher on the individualism scale are less likely to want to wear masks or to engage in the sorts of civic activities that are designed to benefit the community,” says Dr. Patterson.  

Beyond his research, Dr. Patterson demonstrates an exceptional commitment to scholarship through mentoring students in research on American politics with the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy and with outstanding instruction that in this past year has included making substantial adaptations in the face of the pandemic. He has also spent time in administrative service as both department chair and associate dean.  

“Dr. Patterson is a senior scholar who plays an important and significant role in the college,” says Ben Ogles, dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. “He is the type of faculty member who our founding dean Martin Hickman would be proud to have serving in our college.” 

As founding dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, Dr. Hickman did remarkable work for the college and BYU that was never directed at advancing his own career, but rather done for the good of the Church, the university and his faculty and associates. Because of Dr. Hickman’s many years of service to the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, the annual Martin B. Hickman Outstanding Scholar Award recognizes a distinguished member of the college faculty who emulates Dr. Hickmans example. 

Join Dr. Patterson’s lecture “Pandemic and Politics of Individualism,” March 11 at 11 a.m.