John Hinckley Recipient of “Outstanding Achievement Award” for Contributions to Utah Archaeology

There was standing room only the night of Oct. 7 when museum patrons gathered at Brigham Young University’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures to celebrate Utah County resident John Hinckley for his lasting contributions to archaeological research. The Utah Board of State History honored Hinckley with an Outstanding Achievement Award for his preservation of Fremont archaeological sites on his property near Utah Lake.

Photo caption: John Hinckley (right) receives Outstanding Achievement Award from the state of Utah, standing beside Michael T. Searcy (left) BYU anthropology professor (Photo credit: Quinn Karpowitz)

Hinckley has graciously turned his property into an outdoor classroom where BYU students are mentored in archaeological excavation and research. This tradition was begun by his father, G. Marion Hinckley, who allowed BYU professors to bring students to do field archaeology on the Hinckley land since the 1940s.

During that time, hundreds of students have discovered artifacts and participated in excavations at the Hinckley Mounds, including students from both Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University. During a 2015 field school, Hinckley opened the Fremont sites to the public, and over 600 fourth graders studying Utah history and prehistory made visits. Boy Scout groups also participated in the excavation to earn an archaeology merit badge.

Through his efforts, Hinckley has provided countless opportunities for experiential learning and has inspired the next generation of Utah archaeologists.

One of those students is Sam Jensen, a master’s student in anthropology and research assistant to Michael Searcy, associate professor of anthropology at BYU. Jensen said the experience of working on the Hinckley site has prepared him for a future career as a professor and has helped him have a better appreciation for the archaeological sites close to home.

“When most people think of archaeology, they think of large, grandiose sites like Chichén Itzá, Mesa Verde, the Great Pyramids of Giza, etc.,” Jensen said. “Consequently, most people don’t worry about protecting sites that aren’t big or that don’t draw in millions of tourists every year. Sometimes people don’t even realize that smaller sites exist and that they exist right here in our back yard. These sites represent the lives of people in the past and may still hold important spiritual or cultural significance to living populations.”

Searcy said he and his team discovered an additional part of the site in August. “It’s still yielding,” he said.

Utah State Historic preservation officer Chris Merritt publicly thanked Hinckley for protecting the artifacts during his speech at the Hinckley reception.

“Without more people like you engaging and preserving these sites, we’re going to continue to lose our archaeological heritage as Utah continues to grow and development occurs,” Merritt said. “And in this case, you’ve helped us save this important piece of the past, which has shaped our understanding of the Fremont culture in Utah county and beyond.”

Merrit hopes Hinckley’s example will inspire other landowners to preserve archaeological sites. Jensen expressed the importance of being aware of and protecting sites like the Hinckley Mounds because there are constant dangers that threaten them, such as development, vandalism, and looting.

When receiving his award and throughout the event, Hinckley displayed an attitude of humility despite receiving thunderous applause.

“I have personally worked with Mr. Hinckley for many years and seen his humble, strong support for protecting the past,” BYU research archaeologist Scott M. Ure wrote in support of Hinckley’s nomination. “He is a steward of the past in every sense of the word, and I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for Utah’s Division of State History 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award.”

Hinckley said he enjoys seeing the students’ discoveries. When asked what he would like people to know about the archaeological site on his property, he chuckled. “There’s a surprise under every shovelful of dirt,” he said. After the reception, visitors could view artifacts discovered at the Hinckley Mounds and donated to the Museum of Peoples and Cultures.

Civil Rights Seminar Helps Build a Beloved Community

“The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our dedication to building Zion, or a Beloved Community, in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences is seen in the Civil Rights Seminar. Each semester, a small group of students is selected to participate in a course and travel study that helps them develop a more complete knowledge of American history and the struggle of different groups to gain freedom. The seminar also aims to provide students with the knowledge, skills, resources, personal connections, and networks they need to participate in conversations and efforts that can improve race relations during their BYU experience and throughout their lives.

In the African-American Civil Rights Seminar, students learn about the civil rights movement through readings and active discussion. The class size is small so students and faculty have the chance to create a safe space to share and learn from the experiences of others. 

>>Apply for the Winter 2022 African-American Civil Rights Seminar by October 4.

The class culminates in a four-day excursion through the American South to visit iconic sites from the civil rights movement. These sites include the 16th St. Baptist Church, which was bombed as an act of racially motivated terrorism, the Rosa Parks Museum, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. home, among many others.

For Jacob Smith (’19) from Draper, Utah, who majored in geography with a global studies emphasis, the seminar was a chance to learn about his disconnected heritage. He was adopted as an infant into a white family and as he grew he wanted to know more about the civil rights movement and what it means to be a member of the Black community. 

Physically going to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s home and Ebenezer Church where King was an assistant reverend to his father gave Smith “the very tangible feeling of the spiritual beings that still live there.” Standing on the grounds, for him, united the worlds he’d learned about with the world he lives in. 

2019 Civil Rights Seminar participants stand on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of “Bloody Sunday.”

Looking back on his experience with the seminar, Smith says, “There is a difference between intellectual and experiential understanding. No matter how well read we are, we will not ever be able to truly understand what those powerful, driven heroes endured during their nonviolent war for rights. However, we can honor their sacrifices by striving to create these sought-after Beloved Communities wherever we can.” 

For Aisha Lehmann, a fine arts senior from Provo, Utah, the Civil Rights Seminar provided a way to connect with her mixed-race and cultural heritage as well as the traction to use her talents to create positive change. She says one of the highlights of the program was the chance to mingle with Church members in Atlanta. She describes an open conversation with ward members about why they chose to stay in the Church, regardless of racial challenges.

“There was so much more unity in that group than I have ever seen and it was really powerful to hear about people’s experiences, as they brought it back to Christ more than anything,” Lehmann says.

During one trip, the students had the opportunity to sit with Reverend Robert Graetz, the white Lutheran pastor who led an all-black congregation and openly supported the Montgomery bus boycott. A faculty member asked a student to sing for the reverend and Anthony Bates, a doctor of education student in the McKay School of Education, remembered this moment saying, “As she sang, ‘I Am a Child of God’ the spirit in the room was palpable.” 

The seminar also provided students and faculty the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of those who fought for civil rights. During some years, seminar participants visit the South in conjunction with the annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee — a commemoration of Bloody Sunday, the first attempted march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, that ended tragically at the hands of law enforcement officers. During the 2019 trip, the class visited Selma a couple of weeks after the jubilee so they could be alone on the bridge. Bates said that when the group reached the top of the hill, they were “overcome with emotion” knowing that if they had been walking to that point just 54 years earlier they would have seen the lines of deputized citizens with broken bottles, horses, and bats standing next to state troopers with batons and teargas. 

Says Bates, “I was overcome with feelings of sadness and pain for people who were willing to do that to other humans, but also humbled and appreciative of the courageous women and men who were willing to take those steps, just so I could go to a ballot box.” 

Civil Rights Seminars to study Latinx and Native American civil rights are also available. The next African-American Civil Rights Seminar will be offered in Winter 2022 and the application deadline is October 4, 2021. Apply here.

This article includes segments from a Connections 2020 story by Udim Obot.

A Fall Welcome Message to Students

From Dean Laura Padilla-Walker

Dear Students,

Welcome to Fall semester! We have a new leadership team in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences and we are eager to meet you and get your perspective as we work toward shared goals. Please look for emails and social media posts announcing ways for you to get to know the many opportunities that await you in our college.

I acknowledge that it has been a challenging year for many of you and I applaud your efforts to remain engaged despite the varied and unique trials of the past year. Please let us know how we can help empower you to reach your goals. We’re on the 9th floor of KMBL and our doors are open to you.

I am grateful for the opportunity the college and our faculty have to be part of your BYU experience. I’m reminded of a talk President Gordon B. Hinckley gave in 1997 — before most of you were born but still relevant today. He pointed out that one of the elements of a singular BYU education is the faculty who teach you. He said:

“You have a unique and dedicated faculty to teach you. They bring to this great responsibility the learning of all the ages…in a vast variety of fields of knowledge. When all is said and done, it is not this elaborate campus that really counts. It is the faculty who teach you, who lead you, who encourage you, who help you find your way as you go forward with your studies” (The BYU Experience, 1997).

As someone who works closely with the faculty in our college, I am confident that you are being taught by many of the best in their fields. I support these highly trained individuals as they teach their disciplines and prepare curriculum that promotes deep critical thinking so you can thoughtfully engage in essential conversations. These foundational skills will prepare you not only for this life and the diverse world in which we live, but also to become lifelong learners.

This rigorous coursework is aligned with the BYU mission statement that says your time here should be a “period of intensive learning in a stimulating setting where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued.”

Intensive learning is not always comfortable, but with “an environment enlightened by living prophets and sustained by those moral virtues which characterize the life and teachings of the Son of God” (BYU Mission Statement) we can and should safely and critically engage with the universe of ideas that are part of a broad university education.

BYU is unique not because we shelter students from learning aspects of a broad education, but because we explore topics with the light and truth of the gospel as our guide — especially when secular and spiritual knowledge don’t seem to be aligned. This exploration of ideas should always be done by engaging in respectful dialogue “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned” (D&C 121: 41). Interacting in this way should be something we uniquely excel in at BYU.   

It is my hope that all interactions within our college community will “reflect devout love of God and a loving, genuine concern for the welfare of our neighbor” (BYU Mission Statement). President Hinckley reminds us that “The true gospel of Jesus Christ never led to bigotry. It never led to self-righteousness. It never led to arrogance. The true gospel of Jesus Christ leads to [sisterhood and] brotherhood, to friendship, to appreciation of others, to respect and kindness and love.” (The BYU Experience, 1997)

We encourage all of you to reach out to those around you and help us build a Zion community within our college. If you are struggling, please ask for help. If you are doing well, please look around you and notice fellow students who need your support. Please “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, strengthen the feeble knees (D&C 81: 5).”

You are wonderful individuals with strong spirits and excellent minds. The social science training you receive from our qualified faculty will help make you leaders as you engage in and solve our world’s most significant problems. As a college, we are blessed to be a part of your journey.

Dean Padilla-Walker

College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Award-Winning Faculty and Staff

Congratulations to all the faculty and staff in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences who were recognized with awards from the university and the college. We have an amazing team of people dedicated to delivering the best university education to our students, whether through research, teaching, or providing administrative support. We’re so happy to recognize a few in this way—be sure to stop and offer your congratulations!

AWARDS FROM THE UNIVERSITY
Jan Christensen, School of Family Life
President’s Appreciation Award

Jan Christensen serves her department and the university with distinction. She has mastered the administrative procedures and policies of the university, and her department relies on her to navigate all administrative matters. Christensen is a full team player without an ego who works with faculty and staff in a professional and friendly manner, setting a pleasing tone for the department.

Brenden Rensink, History
Karl G. Maeser Professional Faculty Excellence Award

Brenden W. Rensink is the associate director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies. He designs a rich annual program of public lectures and research seminars for the center and manages the center’s research awards, fellowships, and grants. His popular Writing Westward podcast and his student-curated digital history project, Intermountain Histories, make history broadly accessible.

Craig Hart, School of Family Life
Abraham O. Smoot Citizenship Award

Since coming to BYU in 1992, Craig H. Hart has lifted the research and teaching of human development at the university. He has had many noteworthy accomplishments as a scholar, including coediting The Handbook of Childhood and Social Development. Hart has prioritized administrative service for more than 20 years and currently serves as director of the Faculty Center.

Jenny Brooks, Psychology
Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award

Jenny B. Brooks is a talented teacher who goes above and beyond expectations for students and her department. She is dedicated to the aims of a BYU education and uses her class assignments to emphasize these aims. Her students report that her classes build their testimonies and help them become better disciples of Jesus Christ.

Rebekka Matheson, Psychology
Early Career Teaching Award

Rebekka Matheson has established a reputation as a phenomenal and soughtout teacher. She teaches upper-level courses that combine difficult scientific principles, such as physiologic mechanisms and biophysics with behavior. Matheson works hard to create innovative and effective learning opportunities for her students, successfully blending teaching and mentoring.

Wendy Birmingham, Psychology
Early Career Scholarship Award

Wendy C. Birmingham’s research program is at the intersection of health psychology and social psychology. She has published extensively in the fields of health psychology and behavioral medicine, establishing herself as an expert on how relationships impact both physical and mental health. Birmingham has published more than 50 research articles and academic book chapters.

Brock Kirwan, Psychology
Alcuin Fellowship Award

Created in 1986, the Alcuin Fellowship is named after Alcuin of York (c. 730–802), master of the seven liberal arts and leading figure of the Carolingian Renaissance, who brought about far-reaching educational renewal. Alcuin Fellows are expected to teach one of the four Unexpected Connections (GS) courses required of Honors students in partnership with another faculty member.

AWARDS FROM THE COLLEGE OF FAMILY, HOME, AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
Julianne Holt-Lundstadt, Psychology 
Martin B. Hickman Scholar

An internationally-recognized scientist in the field of Social and Health Psychology, Dr. Holt-Lunstad has impacted the lives of thousands of others through her ground-breaking research on the long-term health effects of social connections and the negative consequences of loneliness and social isolation. Her pioneering research has been widely recognized not only for its scientific rigor, but also for its timely social relevance and practical applicability. Her research has been disseminated through prestigious scholarly outlets and her students are forging successful careers at major institutions throughout the nation. In these accomplishments, she has garnered international recognition and deep respect for Brigham Young University. 

Ryan Davis, Political Science 
Martin B. Hickman Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Ryan Davis centers his pedagogy on teaching students how to apply philosophical thinking to the world around them. One student summed up the effect of his tutelage by saying that they now “think of my own arguments, and the arguments of others, in a more constructive way—as premises leading to a conclusion. I appreciate now that we all agree on many different premises, even if some are different and we therefore have different conclusions.” He is best known for his deep love of the greater sage-grouse and Taylor Swift lyrics, resulting in students observing that he is “inadvertently hilarious” and “really defies the idea of a stoic philosophy professor.” 

Brandon Plewe, Geography 
Martin B. Hickman Innovation in Teaching

Dr. Brandon Plewe has been teaching cartography and GIS in the Geography department since 1997. His research focuses on using historical GIS and cartography to better understand the past, particularly in the context of the history of Utah and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is also interested in the underlying ontology of geographic information, or how people understand and represent the world. He is a “geo-collector,” having built GIS datasets of 550 hillside letters, 350 old LDS church buildings, and 7,000 historical LDS wards and branches. He has also driven on almost every highway in Utah. 

Karen Carter, History
Martin B. Hickman Achievement in Teaching  

Dr. Karen Carter believes that teaching is the most meaningful work she will accomplish at BYU. She is highly effective in class organization and in seamlessly blending course materials and evaluation tools for the best learning outcomes. She is a superior lecturer who holds the attention of students, but she is also an advocate of peer learning. Her commitment to student learning is exceptional. Even in large online sections of World Civilizations she personally graded each assignment to provide individualized feedback and writing instruction. Her classes are truly habitats of learning where students flourish in many ways. 

Jill Knapp, Geography
Martin B. Hickman Excellence in Teaching by Adjunct Faculty

Jill Knapp received BS (1986) and MS (1989) degrees in geography at BYU. Since 1994, she has been teaching regional and human geography classes. She worked with Freshman Academy and Peer Mentoring programs for many years, and particularly enjoys the opportunity to teach and mentor freshman students. Jill and her husband, Stan Knapp (Sociology), have directed BYU study programs in many European locations for the past 15 years. She loves the opportunity to provide experiences both in and outside the classroom to help change the way students view the incredibly diverse world in which they live. Jill estimates that she has taught over 5,000 students since she began teaching at BYU. Jill’s greatest reward is running into former students who tell her that they took her class and that they still think about the things they learned. 

Ryan Gabriel, Sociology 
Martin B. Hickman Diversity and Inclusion Award

Dr. Ryan Gabriel, assistant professor of sociology, is a committed advocate of diversity and inclusion. Professor Gabriel balances a productive research agenda and teaching high-demand classes while contributing to efforts to improve belonging at BYU. Professor Gabriel plays key roles in the college’s Civil Rights Seminar and on the university’s Committee on Race, Equity & Belonging. He is engaged in quieter ways, mentoring students and colleagues one-on-one. To know Professor Gabriel is to know his warmth and perceptiveness. His April 2021 devotional address (“Healing Racism Through Jesus Christ”) exemplifies this approach. Our university is in a better place because of him. 

Michael Cope, Sociology
Mary Lou Fulton Early Career Scholar Award  

Dr. Michael Cope, associate professor and co-director of the BYU Community Studies Lab, continues the long tradition of highly regarded BYU sociologists studying rural communities. From detailing the effects of the BP oil spill, to understanding demographic, economic, and social challenges facing rural western communities, Professor Cope’s work seeks to improve the well-being of vulnerable communities. He is an exceptional mentor who invests countless hours in his students, with whom he frequently publishes. Professor Cope is a tireless scholar, teacher, and colleague that endeavors to help anyone lucky enough to work with him. 

Stewart Anderson, History 
Mary Lou Fulton Early Career Scholar Award

Dr. Stewart Anderson is a strong supporter of BYU’s European Studies program and an outstanding teacher who has won awards from the History department and the European Studies Student Association. His strength in the classroom is rooted in his respect for students and their abilities, and this comes through in his close mentoring of them in their research projects. Dr Anderson’s recent monograph, A Dramatic Reinvention: German Television and Moral Renewal after National Socialism, 1956-1970, draws upon studio documents and the content of television films to assess the objectives of writers and directors and the responses of viewers. 

Jeffrey Denning, Economics  
FHSS Early Career Scholar Award

Dr. Jeff Denning is an outstanding teacher who is conscientious, clear, and has high expectations for student learning. He makes a point of reaching out personally to those who struggle. Dr. Denning studies how to reduce barriers to college enrollment. He has articles published or in press at prestigious journals including the American Economic Journal: Applied EconomicsAmerican Economic Journal: Economic Policy, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. In recognition of his outstanding research contributions, Dr. Denning was appointed a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a Research Affiliate at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). 

Sherinah Saasa, School of Social Work 
Marjorie Pay Hinckley Pre-CFS Early Career Scholar Award

Dr. Sherinah Saasa is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Brigham Young University. She received her PhD at the University of Georgia School of Social Work. Her research interests include African immigrant adjustment in the United States, and international child welfare with a focus on the intersections of poverty, education inequality, gender-based discrimination and HIV/AIDS on the outcomes of orphans and vulnerable children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Saasa, who grew up in Lusaka, Zambia, says she went into social work because of “a deepening sense of social responsibility obtained through direct practice [that] fueled [her] desire to expand [her] influence in social work to a macro level.” She is passionate about social justice and building a community that promotes equality, especially for women and people of color. She is also one of the nicest persons you will ever meet. We are fortunate to have her here at BYU.  

Rebecca de Schweinitz, History 
Marjorie Pay Hinckley Associate Professor Award

Dr. Rebecca de Schweinitz is an exceptional mentor. Students in her classes and seminars regularly win department awards, publish papers, and present at professional conferences. Students describe her as committed, organized, supportive, and phenomenal. Professor de Schweinitz’s books and articles focus on topics such as the political engagement and activism of youth, slavery, civil rights, and Latter-day Saint youth. Dr. de Schweinitz works tirelessly to improve the university and community, including service on the Faculty Advisory Council, the executive committee for Global Women’s Studies, the FHSS Civil Rights Seminar Committee, Black History Month organizing committees, and the Dialogue Foundation.  

Alex Jensen, School of Family Life
Marjorie Pay Hinckley Associate Professor Award

Dr. Alex Jensen has excelled at BYU in all the activities in which he has engaged. Dr. Jensen has become a nationally recognized scholar for understanding the direct and indirect ways siblings influence human development from adolescence through adulthood. Students in his human development classes rate him highly as a teacher; he is one of the most popular and innovative teachers in the School of Family Life. Dr. Jensen has also strongly contributed to the School’s curriculum as one of two creators of its new undergraduate applied statistics course.    

Rick Miller, School of Family Life
Martin B. Hickman Citizenship Award

Dr. Rick Miller is a leader committed to the success of the departments in the college of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. Dr. Miller has demonstrated that commitment by serving both as director of the School of Family Life and as chair of the Sociology Department. In addition to these administrative accomplishments, Dr. Miller is a marriage and family therapist and studies those aspects of therapy that make it most effective, with a specific focus on therapist effects. Additionally, Dr. Miller is one of the founding PIs of the innovative Marriage and Family Therapy research project, the Practice Research Network (PRN). The PRN is a large clinical research project designed to bridge the practice-research gap by enrolling dozens of clinics worldwide in a collective effort to gather and analyze real clinical data to improve clinical practice. 

Jeff Hill, School of Family Life
Virginia F. Cutler Scholar

Dr. E. Jeffrey Hill is a Professor of Family Life at BYU. His research examines the interface of work, finances, and family life.  Dr. Hill obtained a doctorate in Family and Human Development at Utah State University and Master of Organizational Behavior from the BYU Marriott School of Management. He has authored or co-authored seven books and more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters. Jeff and his wife Tammy are blending a family of 12 children and 35 grandchildren. They also team-teach marriage enhancement at BYU. 

Eric Eide, Economics
Clayne B. Pope Professor in Economics

Since his arrival in 1993, Eric Eide has exemplified what it means to be a professor at BYU.  He is a popular teacher who is caring with a wonderful sense of humor.  He is also quite rigorous with high expectations for his students.  Dr. Eide is an accomplished scholar with dozens of publications, primarily in the economics of education.  As a researcher and teacher, Dr. Eide has mentored many students who have gone on to success in both industry and academia.  Dr. Eide is a model citizen who served as department chair and as a coeditor for the Economics of Education Review.  Significantly, Dr. Eide is a wonderful friend to faculty and students alike. 

Ken Millard, Computing Services
Dean’s Platinum Service Award 

Ken has done tremendous work during the pandemic creating virtual events and experiences in place of in-person ones, including moving our college’s mentored research conference online and creating a graduation website for the college. Ken also worked with AVP Larry Howell’s office to create a custom website that allowed BYU to host the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research. As a result of Ken’s teamwork, BYU was able to pull off their rotation hosting the UCUR conference during a pandemic, and hundreds of undergraduate students from all over Utah were able to have a conference experience. 

Arlene Colman, Anthropology
Staff/Administrative Excellence in Service Award

Arlene Colman has worked for many years for the New World Archaeological Foundation as the technical editor of our paper series, generating some of the highest quality print publications in the discipline of archaeology. She is especially adept at finding novel ways to graphically represent complex excavation maps and illustrations. When it seems Arlene has reached the pinnacle of her skills, the next new publication exceeds all the former ones as she incorporates her unique archaeological and design-oriented perspective. In concert with authors, the director, the press, employees in Mexico, and artists, Arlene effortlessly pulls together all content and does so as an incredible leader and team player. 

Jessica McDowell, Economics
Outstanding Rookie Award

Jessica McDowell is a wonderful department administrator who is unfailingly prepared, capable, and fun-loving. Shortly after Jessica started, the Economics department was informed that it would be moving within a few months. Jessica had primary managerial responsibility for this major undertaking. The pandemic complicated the actual move, and the stress of the situation was further heightened by her having to manage multiple rounds of scheduling for Fall 2020 as the university sorted through options for dealing with the pandemic. It was a very busy and stressful time. Jessica handled it all marvelously and is most definitely worthy of the FHSS “Rookie” award for outstanding performance. 

Service Awards for Administrative & Staff Employees
  • Karen Christensen, FHSS Internship Office (20 years)
  • Carina Alleman, FHSS Dean’s Office (15 years)
  • Paul Stavast, Museum of Peoples & Cultures (15 years)
  • Laurie Weisler, Geography (15 years)
  • Nathan Bench, Computing Services (10 years)
  • Jan Christensen, School of Family Life (5 years)
  • Starlyn Hjorth, School of Family Life (10 years)
  • Sarah Rogers, Gerontology (5 years)
  • Aaron Barnes, Computing Services (5 years)
  • Laurel Bishop, School of Family Life (5 years)
  • J. Matthew Clarke, Political Science (5 years)

Niwako Yamawaki Joins College Administration as Associate Dean

July 1 marks a new beginning for several faculty members in the Dean’s Office for the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. While Laura Padilla-Walker, professor of family life, assumes her role as dean of the college after four years as associate dean, Niwako Yamawaki, professor of psychology, joins the office as associate dean for faculty development. 

“I had the privilege of working closely with Dr. Yamawaki on the college Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion committee and I appreciate her thoughtfulness, responsiveness, and organization,” says Padilla-Walker. “She has a passion for helping students and faculty to succeed and I am delighted she agreed to join our college team.”

Padilla-Walker believes Yamawaki is well qualified to serve as the associate dean over faculty development because of her dedication to the mission of the college and university, her strong research and teaching record, and her fierce dedication to mentored student research. 

Yamawaki was most recently an associate chair in the Department of Psychology and received the college Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion award in 2020 and the Martin B. Hickman Achievement in Teaching Award in 2019. She conducts cross-cultural research to investigate cultural factors — such as stigma, discrimination, and collectivism — that influence attitudes toward mental health services and violence against women. Along with that, she is interested in the role of psychological resilience in Eastern and Western populations and is affiliated with both the American Psychological Association and the Japanese Association for Mental Health.

Specific responsibilities Yamawaki will have as associate dean of faculty development include overseeing faculty research awards and grants, faculty leaves, reviews for the college’s institutes and centers, and the use of space in the college. She will head the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Endowed Chair committee, the Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference, and lead the college Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion committees for race and first-generation students.

Padilla-Walker is enthusiastic about the team of associate and assistant deans she’ll be working with. “I am confident that together we will be able to continue the positive trajectory of our college. We are here to support our wonderful faculty and students and hope you will feel free to seek us out to help in whatever ways we can. We look forward to working with all of you.” 

Mikaela Dufur, professor of sociology and associate dean, has new responsibilities too as she shifts from overseeing faculty development to now focusing on faculty evaluation.

“Dr. Dufur is well qualified for this position after serving as the college rank and status chair for several years, and I look forward to continuing to benefit from her wisdom, careful attention to detail, and her strong desire to support faculty and students,” says Padilla-Walker.

Dufur’s specific responsibilities now cover college rank and status, stewardship Interviews, and faculty profiles, university awards, and the university faculty development meeting. She will lead the Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion committees for gender and health/disabilities and continues to manage computing services, technology, and capital equipment. 

Sam Otterstrom, professor of geography, will continue in his role as associate dean for curriculum and teaching where he oversees academic advisement, assessment, education preparation, American Heritage, the bachelor of general studies, graduate studies, writing instruction, international study, online and independent studies, the BYU-Salt Lake Center, and scholarships. He also leads the Student Career Development Council and the University and College Curriculum Council, and remediates student complaints. 

“Dr. Otterstrom has been such an important asset to the team for years and we will greatly benefit from his continued expertise,” says Padilla-Walker. “He is a team player and I appreciate his patience, his perspective, and his desire to support our students through our many college efforts surrounding curriculum and experiential learning.” 

Find our contact info at the Dean’s Office Directory.

Read With Us! Faculty and Staff Recommend Great Summer Reads for Social Scientists

We invited faculty and staff in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences to share what they’ve been reading. Here are their top picks for titles you might enjoy at the beach as well as those that will keep your brain thinking. Scroll through the recommendations and find what interests you.

Dean’s Office

The Story of Arthur Truluv

by Elizabeth Berg

Recommended by Laura Padilla-Walker, Dean

The story of an unlikely friendship between Arthur Moses, an elderly man who lost his wife, Maddy Harris, an introverted girl trying to escape the kids at school, and Lucille, the spinster neighbor who loves to bake. Berg’s novel explores human connection amidst love, loss, and self-discovery.

A Man Called Ove

by Fredrik Backman

Recommended by Laura Padilla-Walker, Dean

Ove is the classic cranky old man next door, but he is so much more than he appears. In this funny and charming first novel, Swedish columnist Fredrik Backman explores the influence one life can have on many others.

The Tea Master and the Detective

Recommended by Mikaela Dufur, Associate Dean

“Futuristic Sherlock Holmes-esque mystery where ‘Sherlock’ is a prickly female scholar and ‘Watson’ is a sentient spaceship. You read that right. Novelette set in the author’s broader Xuya Universe.”

Fearing the Black Body

by Sabrina Strings

Recommended by Mikaela Dufur, Associate Dean

“Compelling argument that changes in ‘fashion’ that have been converted to health assumptions are connected to ideas of racial inferiority.”

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

by Austin Channing Brown

Recommended by Lita LIttle Giddins, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion

Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age seven, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.”

Listen, Learn & Love

by Richard H. Ostler

Recommended by Lita Little Giddins, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion

Former YSA bishop Richard Ostler seeks to help his readers understand the experiences of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints through hundreds of true stories. An extension of the Listen, Learn & Love podcast.

A Place for Us: A Novel

by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Recommended by Jordan Karpowitz, Assistant Dean for Communications and External Relations

This novel is the story of an Indian-American Muslim family and the bonds that hold them together as well as the differences that pull them apart. It is heart-wrenching — just as every family story is. But the religious practices and beliefs of this family make the story especially poignant for similarly religious Latter-day Saint families that also wrestle with love, compassion, faith, and forgiveness.”

Becoming

by Michelle Obama

Recommended by Jordan Karpowitz, Assistant Dean for Communications and External Relations

“I love biographical stories about women and thinking about how the stories of different women’s lives are told. I love the framework for this book: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, and Becoming More. It’s such a familiar and universal path for women especially as they move through seasons of their lives — discovering themselves while connecting with others. I think that particularly female students in the college will appreciate reading about Michelle’s educational journey (she majored in sociology and minored in African-American studies) and career path, as well as how she balanced career and family.”

Experiential Education in the College Context

by Jay W. Roberts

Recommended by Danny Damron, Assistant Dean for Experiential Education and Professional Development

“I like Experiential Education in the College Context by Jay Roberts. It outlines the basics of experiential education as a pedagogical approach. It asks that we adopt the experiential learning (ExL) cycle and structure learning with intention, reflection, and integration. My approach to professional development is deeply influenced by the ExL principles Roberts advocates.”

Crucial Conversations

by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Recommended by Carina Alleman, Administrative Assistant to the Dean

“I would highly recommend Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High. It teaches how to approach people and have important conversations and discussions, even when things are hard and, like the title says, when the stakes are high. I find it especially important to learn these skills in the world of today, when things are so polarized and people are on very opposite sides. For a non-confrontational person like me, this book was invaluable in helping me learn to not avoid certain topics and to bridge the gaps with loved ones, colleagues, and friends.”

Archaeology

The Maya

by Michael D. Coe and Stephen Houston

Recommended by Dr. John Clark

“It’s a general introduction to one of the major civilizations in the Americas, and it is a very well-illustrated, comfortable read for the non-specialist.

Civic Engagement

Politics is for Power

by Eitan Hersh

Recommended by Dr. Quin Monson, Director of Civic Engagement and Dr. Jay Goodliffe, Department Chair of Political Science

“(The book) provides motivation and concrete ideas for anyone who wants to be more involved in civic life. Hersh equates what he calls ‘political hobbyism’ to treating politics the way many of us treat sports teams. We like to watch and talk about them and we too easily substitute time spent consuming current events and talking about it (including social media posts) to more meaningful activities that will actually lead to meaningful change. The book is very readable and is filled with examples of meaningful ways to make a difference, especially at the local level.”

Economics

Capitalism and Freedom

by Milton Friedman

Recommended by Dr. Mark Showalter

“Written by perhaps the most influential economist in the second half of the 20th century. Outlines the case for classical economics as the underpinning of a democratic society.”

The Undercover Economist

by Tim Harford

Recommended by Dr. Mark Showalter

“Lots of interesting stories where economics helps understand behavior. Writer of an economics column for the Financial Times.”

Family History

The Spiritual Practice of Remembering

by Margaret Bendroth

Recommended by Dr. Amy Harris

Amazon Review: “A splendidly written summons for us to remember and honor the past. We often dismiss history as dull or irrelevant, but our modern disengagement from the past puts us fundamentally out of step with the long witness of the Christian tradition. Yet, says Margaret Bendroth, the past tense is essential to our language of faith, and without it our conversation is limited and thin. This accessible, beautifully written book presents a new argument for honoring the past. The Christian tradition gives us the powerful image of a vast communion of saints, all of God’s people, both living and dead, in vital conversation with each other. This kind of connection with our ancestors in the faith, Bendroth maintains, will not happen by wishing or by accident. She argues that remembering must become a regular spiritual practice, part of the rhythm of our daily lives as we recognize our world to be, in many ways, a gift from others who have gone before.”

The Family: A World History

by Mary Jo Maynes & Ann Waltner

Recommended by Dr. Amy Harris

Amazon Review: “Mary Jo Maynes and Ann Waltner tell the story of this fundamental unit from the beginnings of domestication and human settlement. They consider the codification of rules governing marriage in societies around the ancient world, the changing conceptions of family wrought by the heightened pace of colonialism and globalization in the modern world, and how state policies shape families today.”

Family Life

General Conference Talks & BYU Speeches

Recommended by Erin Holmes, Director of the School of Family Life

Instead of recommending a book, I echo an invitation offered by President M. Russell Ballard.  He said,  “I invite you to look deep in your souls and ask how you can fulfill your purpose of being a child of God by loving the Lord and loving your neighbor more faithfully than you ever have before. . . . You might best accomplish this by finding some quiet time in which you can think through where you are with your relationship with Heavenly Father and His Son and His Church. At different times in the Savior’s life, He took opportunities to be alone to ponder and pray. I invite you to spend some time in the next few days to be alone in a quiet place to commune with your Heavenly Father and learn how to better understand and serve each other by helping and lifting each other.”

Students, as you take this time, I also invite you to consider reading and pondering the following recent General Conference talks, BYU devotionals, and Ensign articles that speak to understanding, serving, helping, and lifting each other. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it represents some of the talks I have been pondering recently.

The All-or-Nothing Marriage

by Eli J. Finkel

Recommended by Dr. Alan Hawkins

From Amazon: Eli J. Finkel’s insightful and ground-breaking investigation of marriage clearly shows that the best marriages today are better than the best marriages of earlier eras. Indeed, they are the best marriages the world has ever known. He presents his findings here for the first time in this lucid, inspiring guide to modern marital bliss.

A Time to Build

by Yuval Levin

Recommended by Dr. Alan Hawkins

Amazon Review: Levin argues, now is not a time to tear down, but rather to build and rebuild by committing ourselves to the institutions around us. From the military to churches, from families to schools, these institutions provide the forms and structures we need to be free. By taking concrete steps to help them be more trustworthy, we can renew the ties that bind Americans to one another.

The Secret History of Home Economics

by Danielle Dreilinger

Recommended by Natalie Hancock, Director of Family and Consumer Sciences Education

The New York Times: Dreilinger’s carefully researched homage to a field that is often belittled chronicles its origins in practical science and its key role in establishing nutritional standards, the federal poverty line, radio programming and more. “Dreilinger chronicles home ec’s decline beginning in the 1960s and its frantic efforts to reinvent itself,” Virginia Postrel writes in her review, fondly recalling her own time in a middle school home ec classroom. “Learning how to cook and sew — to make useful physical objects with sensory appeal — was deeply satisfying for a 12-year-old bookworm. It’s the same satisfaction that animates the contemporary maker movement. … Integrate some electronics and carpentry and you’ll have a hit.

Geography

Come Follow Me: Doctrine and Covenants

Recommended by Daniel Olsen, Department Chair of Geography

“There’s so many other good books out there, but we should be reading from the best book…I would do the Doctrine and Covenants Come Follow Me but I would then try to read at least a few verses of the Book of Mormon. We learn by study but also by faith. If we’re so focused on study and we’re not studying by faith, we’re not going to get out of our classes what we need to get out of them. If you’re not going to read during the summer, at minimum, read your scriptures.”

History

Walking With the Wind

by John Lewis, with Michael D’Orso

Recommended by Dr. Rebecca DeSchweinitz

“John Lewis’s autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement is an award-winning book that gives you a front row seat to the civil rights movement and offers inspiration, understanding, and lessons for our time. Lewis’s story reminds us that we ‘can feel hope and love at the same time as [we] feel anger and a sense of injustice.’ His life shows us the personal and societal transformations that can take place if we allow ourselves to be moved by the ‘spirit of history’ to ‘do our part.'”

Jesus and the Disinherited

by Howard Thurman

Recommended by Dr. Rebecca DeSchweinitz

“I find myself thinking more and more about Howard Thurman’s Jesus and the Disinherited. A mid-century black theologian who greatly influenced the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr., Thurman shows the significance of Jesus’s life and teachings to the work of antiracism.”

The Bear River Massacre: A Shoshone History

by Darren Parry

Recommended by Jay Buckley, director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and BYU’s American Indian Studies minor.

W. Paul Reeve, author of Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness.”While never flinching from the realities of Latter-day Saint encroachment on Shoshone land and the racial ramifications of America’s spread westward, Parry offers messages of hope. As storyteller for his people, Parry brings the full weight of Shoshone wisdom to his tales—lessons of peace in the face of violence, of strength in the teeth of annihilation, of survival through change, and of the pliability necessary for cultural endurance…”

Political Science

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

Recommended by Dr. Darren Hawkins

“It is smart yet readable, with breathtaking scope and insights on many different countries across centuries of time. It helps us understand why the United States is so successful compared to others.”

Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism

by Anne Applebaum

Recommended by Jay Goodliffe, Department Chair for Political Science

“From the perspective of a historian of communism in Eastern Europe, this is a book that helps us understand where the United States and other democracies are headed and how to change the trajectory.”

Psychology

Behave

by Robert M. Sapolsky

Recommended by Dr. Rebekka Matheson

“Sapolsky is a vibrant character who writes about behavioral neurobiology in fresh, compelling ways. The book brims with colorful anecdotes, fascinating science, and a writing voice seasoned by a life well-lived.”

Anxious People

by Fredrik Backman

Recommended by Dr. Ben Ogles

“If the students prefer a light distracting summer read that is entertaining, I would recommend Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman. It’s a fun book and easy read with interesting characters and quirky Scandinavian humor.”

Social Work

Somewhere in the Unknown World

by Kao Kalia Yang

Recommended by Dr. Stacey Shaw

“I would recommend two books by Kao Kalia Yang, “Somewhere in the Unknown World,” and “The Latehomecomer.” Yang came to the United States as a child with her family and community of Hmong refugees. She visited BYU and spoke a few years ago.”

Sociology

The Sum of Us

by Heather McGhee

Recommended by Dr. Jacob Rugh

From Amazon: One of today’s most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone — not just for people of color.

How Beautiful We Were

by Imbolo Mbue

Recommended by faculty in the Sociology Department

“Mbue is a Cameroonian author who artfully describes how a young woman inspires her small African village to stand against an American oil company. Set in the fictional village of Kosawa, ‘How Beautiful We Were’ illustrates how colonial legacies and corporate greed continue to threaten communities, and how people can come together to resist these global forces.”

Share your favorite reads with us @byufhss.

FHSS Student Spotlight: George Garcia III

Ecomonics valedictorian eager to do the most good 

George Garcia, valedictorian for the Economics Department, is a first-generation college student who came to BYU without any real understanding of what he was getting himself in to — he says he didn’t even know what “major” meant. He started in a track for international relations, moved to seminary teaching, then switched to political science, and ended with a double major in economics and math. For George, math gives him the tools to more fully understand economics, where his true passion lies.  

George’s passion for learning was ignited by Darrin Hawkins in POLI 200. Professor Hawkins showed George that the point of college wasn’t just to take in existing knowledge but to create and discover knowledge. That’s when he realized that he could generate knowledge himself, instead of just consuming it. Since then, George has helped in a number of research projects involving both political science and economics. 

George’s passion for economics stems from his belief in a higher moral obligation to do the “most good” with the blessings he has received. Looking around at the blessings that students at BYU enjoy, George sees an obligation to take our privileges and use them to bless the lives of those less fortunate. He says economics provides “a beautiful framework to take resources and do the ‘most good’ with it.” The field gives a base of knowledge on which to build a life of service. 

Looking back on his time at BYU, George remembers fondly the time he spent working on his Honor’s Thesis, which explored the effect of air pollution on people’s expressed sentiment on Twitter. He was able to work for professor Arden Pope as a research assistant for this project. Together they wrote a paper that they hope to publish in the near future. The process of taking an idea and creating something useful with it excites George.  

George will be working as a pre-doctoral research fellow at Stanford Law School studying disability and labor policy. He hopes to go on to get a Ph.D. in economics and spend his life trying to learn how to do the “most good,” whether that path leads further in academia or takes him somewhere else.  

For all the students that will follow in George’s footsteps, he asks that they remember that “no matter the field, it won’t be whole.” There are still discoveries to be made, experiments to be conducted, questions to be asked. He urges students to find ways to look at the world differently and ask seek opportunities to contribute to the wealth of collective knowledge.  

George believes in BYU’s motto: “Enter to learn; go forth to serve.” Beyond just our ability to help, we have a moral duty to lift the burdens of others with the many blessings we have received. An education is more than generating new knowledge, it is building a life that is capable of doing the “most good.”  

Childhood adversity shapes adolescent delinquency, fatherhood

Written by Christine Allen of University Communications

Photo by Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

About 61% of Americans have had at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE), experts’ formal term for a traumatic childhood event.

ACEs—which may include abuse, neglect and severe household dysfunction—often lead to psychological and social struggles that reach into adulthood, making ACEs a major public health challenge. But the long-term consequences of ACEs are just beginning to be understood in detail. To fill in the picture, two recent BYU studies analyzed how ACEs shape adolescents’ delinquent behaviors as well as fathers’ parenting approaches.

ACEs linked to girls’—but not boys’—delinquent behavior

Although the role of adversity in adolescent delinquency has long been examined in the field of criminology, only in the past decade have criminologists referred to these events as ACEs and seriously considered how early ACEs predict a person’s delinquency, according to BYU sociology professors Hayley Pierce and Melissa S. Jones.

In their study of that relationship, published in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Pierce and Jones showed that ACEs do have a significant effect on teenagers’ criminal behavior—at least for girls. Girls who experienced four or more ACEs by age five, during the most sensitive period of brain development, were 36% more likely to participate in delinquent behavior. Boys’ delinquent behavior, on the other hand, appeared unrelated to early ACEs, although boys have an overall higher rate of delinquency.

“These results run counter to previous research suggesting that girls are far more likely than boys to internalize trauma through developing an eating disorder or other self-harming behaviors,” said Jones. “What we find here is the opposite: girls are externalizing trauma through delinquent acts.”

Pierce and Jones drew their data from the longitudinal Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study. The survey examined childhood adversity and adolescent behavior over a 15-year period for approximately 5,000 children, with a high proportion born to poor, single-parent or minority families in the U.S.

“Our analysis points toward the need for gendered strategies in working with children with ACEs because the different ways boys and girls are socialized shape how they process trauma,” Jones said.

The study should also promote compassion and understanding for adolescents who act out, the researchers emphasized.

“One of the most important things I teach in my juvenile delinquency class is that delinquency is a symptom of an underlying problem,” said Jones. “If an adolescent is getting arrested, there’s often something else going on in the child’s life, such as problems at home.”

“When adolescents engage in delinquency, it’s important first to ask, ‘Okay, what got you here?’ and work from that knowledge,” Pierce added.

ACEs predict less warmth, more harsh discipline in fathers

Even though ACEs may not be linked to teen boys’ delinquency, having ACEs earlier in life does apparently impact how men parent.

Most existing research on ACEs and parenting focuses on mothers and looks exclusively at abuse. Curious about ACEs’ effects on fathers and the wider range of ACEs that may influence more day-to-day aspects of parenting, BYU sociologist Kevin Shafer and Scott Easton of Boston College decided to examine parenting patterns in men with past ACEs.

In a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, they found that fathers who had experienced at least three ACEs were more likely to use harsh disciplinary techniques. Compared to the mothers with ACEs from previous studies, these men were also less likely to exhibit positive parenting characteristics, such as giving affection to their kids, providing care for young children and being emotionally supportive. The more ACEs a father had, the greater their effect on his parenting.

ACEs likely influence fathering partly because ACEs are associated with poor mental health, including depression, anxiety or anger management problems. Mental health challenges in turn influence how men parent their children.

“While on the face of it that sounds bad, it’s weirdly also a good thing because even though ACEs happened in the past and can’t be changed, you can get treatment for mental health issues in the present,” said Shafer. “When men get that help, they can blunt the impact of their ACEs on how they parent their kids, and that improves their kids’ outcomes. So their own childhood isn’t destiny.”

The study analyzed data from the 2015–16 U.S. Survey of Contemporary Fatherhood, which queried over 2,000 fathers about their adverse childhood experiences, degree of psychological distress and parenting habits.

The connection between ACEs and negative fathering techniques is especially indicative of the “untreated trauma” suffered by many men, which Shafer believes is “one of the biggest public health issues we have.”

“When men get that help, they can blunt the impact of their ACEs on how they parent their kids, and that improves their kids’ outcomes. So their own childhood isn’t destiny.”

Kevin Shafer, BYU Professor of Sociology

“We have a lot of individuals walking around with ACEs going untreated, and our study shows that has a wide-ranging impact on people in their lives,” said Shafer. A big part of the solution would be a “comprehensive public mental health strategy” for fathers, which may include better incorporating fathers into the childbirth experience and early pediatric care, as well as regularly screening fathers for mental health, he concluded.

Media Contact: Tyler Stahle

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

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.