New College Controller: Being part of the BYU student experience

Mike B 20 Year PhotoMike Bridenbaugh, FHSS’s new College Controller and Assistant Dean, is quite the big cheese.

As the College Controller, Bridenbaugh oversees how university funds are spent throughout the college. But Bridenbaugh has been a part of the BYU student experience for years.

Bridenbaugh began his career at BYU 30 years ago making cheese and ice cream at the BYU Dairy. After working in the Student Auxiliary Services controller office, he moved to the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences in 2014.

In his current position, Bridenbaugh plays a role in FHSS human resources, endowments, and the hundreds of scholarships that students in the social sciences receive each year to attend conferences and intern around the country and world.

“I love how we all work together towards a common goal of student success and achievement,” says Bridenbaugh. “Being even the smallest part of the BYU experience for our students is my favorite part about working at BYU.”

When he’s not helping the college and its students find academic opportunities, Bridenbaugh is busy with his own adventures. Not only does he enjoy keeping up with his garden–his “Summer Sanctuary”–he also loves to mountain bike, bake bread, read, and dabble in outdoor photography, woodworking, and blacksmithing.

Bridenbaugh replaced Mike Nelson as the College Controller. Nelson retired after an established career at BYU in July 2018.

Fulton Conference 2018: Giving back scholastically

For 14 years, students from the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences have had the opportunity to perform insightful research alongside faculty mentors at the Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference. This not only gives students the chance to vastly expand their research skills, experience preparing and presenting a scholarly poster, and add a notable research project to their resume, it allows them to personally contribute to scholarship in their field of interest.

The Mentored Student Research Conference is hosted by the Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair. Mary Lou Fulton had a passion for educating and elevating student aspirations and through this conference, students are able to achieve the skills and experiences to do so.

At this year’s conference, 250 posters were presented by 542 students who researched topics ranging from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics to how parents teach teenagers about romantic relationships. Prizes were awarded to students from each department as well as from the Redd Center, the Office of Civic Engagement, and the Gerontology department.

Congratulations to the poster winners and to all the students and faculty who participated!



1st place: A Closer Look at Nabataean Burials
Student: Anna Nielson
Faculty Mentor: David Johnson

2nd place: Converting Gendered Expectations: Emerging Feminist Discourse among Protestant and Seventh-day Adventist Hmong
Student: Stephanie Parsons
Faculty Mentor: Jacob Hickman

Continue reading

Benjamin Madley to Lecture on an American Genocide

Genocide, according to the United Nations, is “…acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”  Benjamin Madley, an associate professor of history at UCLA, applies the term to describe the treatment of American Indians in mid-19th century California in his book, An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe. In two weeks, Dr. Madley will lecture at an FHSS event to argue that California Indians didn’t fare much better than Armenians, Rwandans, or even European Jews during the Nazi regime.

You’re invited

  • Who: Dr. Benjamin Madley, hosted by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies
  • What: A presentation on the American Genocide
  • When: Thursday, September 21st, from 11 a.m. to noon
  • Where: B192 JFSB (the Education in Zion auditorium)
  • Why: To discuss important historical events that often lack awareness and understanding
Courtesy of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies.

An American Genocide

An American Genocide, in which Dr. Madley estimates that 9,000 to 16,000 California Indians were killed from 1846 to 1873, has been reviewed by The New York Times, Newsweek, The Nation, and many others. Some of Dr. Madley’s fellow historians have criticized his book for applying the term “genocide” to the conflicts between Americans and California Indians. Gary Clayton Anderson, a history professor at the University of Oklahoma, challenges Dr. Madley’s death toll estimates and characterizes the California massacres as “ethnic cleansing.” The reasoning? Dr. Anderson argues that government policy never supported mass killings, so the genocide label might be inappropriate.

But An American Genocide details murders and massacres carried out by vigilantes, state militias, and the United States Army. Dr. Madley “methodically [gives] examples of each and [tags] the incidents like corpses in a morgue,” according to Richard White of The Nation. A seasoned historian, Dr. Madley also compiles many accounts of the incidents in nearly 200 pages of appendices. Every reader can weigh the evidence and conclude whether or not the incidents were genocidal.

Dr. Madley developed a passion for the interactions between indigenous groups and colonizers during his childhood; he was born in Redding, California, and lived in Karuk Country in northwestern California. Dr. Madley has earned degrees from Yale University and Oxford University, and he has authored many journal articles and book chapters.

Courtesy of UCLA’s Department of History.


How do you think historians should apply the modern definition of “genocide” to historical events?

Four Benefits to New Students of Attending the New Student Orientation FHSS Breakout Session

It’s that time of year again: Fall, school, and New Student Orientation. The College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences will host its breakout session on Friday September 1st from 3-5pm. The event starts with a presentation by the Advisement Center in B002 of the JFSB that will cover:

  • Information about the Advisement Center
  • Information about advisors and career paths
  • Myths regarding the liberal arts

Following that will be tables manned by representatives of the individual departments, as well as other college entities. in the Southeast Breezeway of the JFSB Courtyard. Those tables will include

  • Economics
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • The School of Family Life
  • Geography
  • Neuroscience
  • Anthropology
  • FHSS Writing Lab
  • Office of Civic Engagement.

The Dean’s Office will have a table and representatives will be available to answer any questions you have about the college.

If you’re a new student, what are the benefits of attending FHSS’s New Student Orientation?

1. Learn about different majors

Trying to figure out what to study can be daunting. Taking advantage of NSO to ask various department representatives about their department can help you decide what you want to study.

giphy (4)

2. Build connections

Because you are interacting with faculty and department representatives, you will be able to establish a valuable connection early on. The connections you form during your time here will serve you long after you graduate.


3. Meet people with similar interests

You can never have too many friends! Take this opportunity to meet people who are interested in the same things you are. giphy (1)


4. Get a cookie!

The Dean’s Office table will be giving out cookies. Enough said.

giphy (2)


Be sure to stop by the JFSB on September 1st to learn more about the wonderful opportunities offered by the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences!

Students: Five Ways to Stay Sharp This Summer

Summer may be for lazy days and having fun with your friends, but that doesn’t mean you should stop learning! Here are 5 ways to stay sharp and have fun this summer!

Find Your Club!

Even though clubs aren’t very active during the Spring and Summer, you can still sort through them at BYU’s clubs’ website and pick which one you want to join in Fall/Winter! Here are some quick links to more information about clubs within our college:

Courtesy of BYU Refugee Empowerment Club’s Facebook page

Visit the Museum of Peoples and Cultures!

Learn all about ancient and more modern civilizations at this museum. Current exhibits include Piecing Together Paquimé, which features the remnants of the city from A.D. 1200-1450, and Steps in Style, which features shoes from a plethora of cultures and time periods.

Courtesy of the MPC Facebook page

Hit up the Library!

Here at BYU, we have one of the best libraries ever! It’s full of cool rooms and exhibits and awesome movies and books. So take time this summer to explore the HBLL and find some great books! Highlights of the HBLL include:

Courtesy of the HBLL Facebook page

Brush up on your Writing Skills

Whether you’re taking classes this summer or not, you can always improve your writing. FHSS’ Writing Lab offers many tools both on-campus and online to help you with that. Take a few moments to brush up on these skills, so you don’t have to do it in the middle of trying to meet a million assignment deadlines:

  • Formatting a paper Turabian style
  • Structuring your paper
  • Writing a conclusion
  • Citing APA style


Watch YouTube Videos!

Did you know that FHSS has two YouTube channels? Every other week, we post videos about the intricacies of daily life and how to live within them.

What are your summer plans?

Alumni Spotlight: Stephanie Ashcraft

Stephanie Ashcraft’s career as a successful cookbook author and TV personality began as a mere class assignment for her Family and Consumer Science major almost twenty years ago. She turned in a list of 101 things to do with a cake mix, and then started teaching a cooking class on the subject at the local Macey’s. Because her students wanted the recipes, she decided have them bound in a book. Eventually, demand for book grew so large that Stephanie made the decision to pass it onto Gibbs-Smith, Publisher. Within two months of its release, 101 Things to do with a Cake Mix hit #9 on the New York Times Bestseller List for Paperback Advice. From there, her success only grew.


101 Things to do with a Cookbook

Just one year out of college, she formed her own company, Stephanie Ashcraft Inc., and has gone on to publish twenty more successful cookbooks, like 101 Things to do with a Slow Cooker, 101 Things to do with a Tortilla, etc.) She has taught hundreds of classes and appeared on hundreds of television and news programs all over the country sharing ways that families can save time and money in the kitchen. While living in Arizona, Stephanie worked as a media contributor doing money saving stories for various local stations. She also assisted in creating, running, writing, and promoting the Arizona Mormon News. Aside from these and spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, she has been honored with an induction into the Self Publishing Hall of Fame.

101-things-to-do-with-a-cake-mix-coverThe food industry, however, is not the only area in which Stephanie has succeeded. She also volunteers for the Marana Middle School PTO, the Marana Police Citizen Advisory Commission, the Media for Southern Arizona, and the District Continuous Improvement Committee in Marana, Arizona, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Two years ago, Stephanie and her family moved back to Utah to live closer to family. Currently she serves on her local elementary school’s community council and on the PTAs for both the junior high and high school in her area. She’s the mother of five children, and lives with her husband Ivan, who has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from BYU, in Salem, Utah. She is an alumni who is truly exemplifies the mission of the school from which she graduated, the School of Family Life,which is to enhance the quality of life of individuals and families within the home and communities worldwide. You can read more about her and her books on her Amazon page.

If you are an alumni of BYU’s School of Family Life, or any of the nine other departments in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, we’d like to hear your story! Please share with us your accomplishments, your stories of service and inspiration. Share them at


Have you read any of Stephanie’s books?


Balancing Work and Family: a Facebook Chat

The question of how to balance family and career responsibilities, if we’re mothers, or if we’re not, how we support those that do, is often deeply personal but also quite common. We also frequently ask ourselves, if we’re parents, how to raise our children so that they are productive and altruistic. The answers to those questions are also quite often both complicated but universal. Various female members of our School of Family Life faculty will talk about what they’ve found works best, in their lives and in their research, and invite you to chat with them in real-time and on-line, in conjunction with the release of their latest magazine.

August Facebook chat

Called Family Connections, the latest issue of the magazine shares the example of alum-turned-professors Laura Padilla-Walker, Chris Moore, and Erin Holmes, as well as those of other alumni who are making a difference in the world today, and discussion of raising “prosocial” children. SFL alumni are invited to request to join the SFL Alumni Page BYU SFL Alumni Connect, if they haven’t already been included. Then get online on

Friday, August 4th

6-7 p.m.

If you’re already a member, comment below with the kinds of questions or topics you’d like to see addressed. There will be a drawing for a $50 VISA gift card at the end of the discussion; all chat participants are eligible.


Erin Holmes

In 1998, Erin Holmes graduated with honors from BYU and went on to get her masters in 2001 at the University of Delaware, eventually obtaining a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. While going through her doctorate program, Holmes became pregnant with her first child.


As you can imagine, she faced the very difficult choice of continuing her studies or being a stay-at-home mom. Unsure of which was the right decision, she turned to the scriptures. In Isaiah 40: 31 Holmes read: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” After that, the choice was clear: continue with her education.

With aid from family and friends, she was able to complete her degree and was offered a teaching position at BYU. Since then, she has had two more children and continues to balance her work as a professor while being a mother to her three children

Laura Padilla-Walker

Professor Walker obtained her BS in 1999 from Central Michigan University, her MS from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2001, and her PhD from the same university in 2005. As a working mother, she understands the difficulties of successfully managing both a career and children.


However, Walker finds the experience enriching; when asking her daughter of her desired career choice, the girl replied, “when I grow up I want to have a job like yours and work part-time and spend most of my time with my kids.” Walker adds, “That is success to me because she is not aware of how much I work; she just knows that I am present when I am home with her.” Through her actions, she shows that balancing work and a family is something that can be accomplished.


Chris Moore

Chris Moore knew early in life that obtaining an education was paramount. When she was young, one of her great grandmothers told her: “Christine, you cannot rely on a man to take care you, so I am going to give you some money and you are going to college!”


By the age of 50, Moore had one Bachelor’s degree, two Masters, and a Ph.D. Before becoming the director of the Family and Consumer Sciences Education program, she taught junior high. Throughout both of these careers, Moore has been a positive example to all who come in contact with her.



So, be sure to join us on Facebook on August 4th from 6-7 pm to learn just how these ladies do it- and how you can do it too. We hope to “see” you there!

*Panelists may change.

How do you balance the responsibilities in your life?

History Department Acquires Southeast Asian Specialist

Ian Lowman

Visiting professor to the College of FHSS History Department Ian Lowman commands a versatility with Southeast Asian languages, considering he spent his childhood traveling Indonesia and two formative years as a missionary in Cambodia.

“It accounts for why I gravitated towards the study of Southeast Asia specifically,” Lowman says. “I speak the Khmer language and in my research I work with French, Sanskrit, Thai, and Indonesian, all with varying levels of proficiency.”

Research Interests

Lowman’s research is focused on the political and cultural history of Angkorian Cambodia, between the ninth and fifteenth centuries. “This is the culture that produced Angkor Wat and established one of the most powerful territorial states in medieval Asia,” Lowman says. “I’ve had the opportunity to work on editing and interpreting inscriptions written in Sanskrit and Old Khmer.”

Angkor Wat
Photo courtesy of Flickr.

While earning his doctorate degree from the University of California-Berkeley, Lowman’s graduate research, funded by a Fulbright-Hays fellowship and a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, centered around the Angkor Archaeological Park. “I’ve received generous and ongoing support for my research from the Center for Khmer Studies in Siem Reap,” Lowman says.

Before coming to BYU, Lowman worked at Kenyon College, a liberal arts school in rural Ohio, as well as at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Returning more than a decade later to his alma mater, Lowman will teach new courses on Indian Ocean and South Asian history. South Asia is the most populous region in the world and Lowman says its history is central to the chronology of world religions and the age of European imperialism.

“The Indian Ocean region brings together the diverse coastal peoples and cultures of East Africa, Arabia, India, and Southeast Asia. This was the area of the world that beckoned the European explorers, and it remains vital today as the world’s oil continues to pass through the Strait of Hormuz and as China lengthens its “string of pearls” to Africa and beyond.” – Ian Lowman

Teaching Goals

Besides imparting his substantive knowledge of South Asia, Lowman says one of his teaching goals is helping students meet personal academic and career goals. “I also want to create incentives for my students to take advantage of the extraordinary resources at this university, like the library, the museums, and the Writing Fellows Program,” Lowman says.

He has the first-hand experience to relate to students. During spring term of his freshmen year at Brigham Young University, Lowman enrolled in a course on Greek and Roman mythology with professor John Hall from the Classics department. His class involved reading books in translation, such as Ovid, Virgil, Livy, Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus. “It was my closest experience to an old-fashioned Great Works course and it convinced me that I wanted to be a pre-modern historian and/or a philologist,” Lowman explains.

After taking History 200 with associate dean at BYU Paul Kerry, whom Lowman describes as a mentor who possessed a gentle and unique knack for tearing down and rebuilding, he had an experience that has remained with him since.

“One day he pulled out a sloppy last-minute paper I had turned in and read it out loud in front of the class. It was excruciating, but he prefaced it by saying something to the effect of “even brilliant writers can turn in junk like this if they’re being careless.” – Ian Lowman

Lowman says he considers that moment of “public shaming” to be the greatest compliment he received as an undergraduate. “It’s stayed with me as a reminder to respect my audience and to not cheapen my gifts.”

Fairy Great-Great-Great-Godmother: The Genealogy Fairy


Indexing parties, family history committee callings, and a family history major all make BYU the prime place to get involved with genealogy work. But while these opportunities may bait and hook you, sometimes your dream project is too big a fish for them to hold up. The dream of a fairy godmother to wave her magic wand and fill your empty wallet becomes a prominent one. Family history is about seeking out your roots and putting a name and a face to your lineage. Ultimately, family history is just another form of storytelling, it’s about making your ancestors more than a name on a piece of paper, it’s about making them human again. Don’t let an empty pocket prevent you from doing that.

The College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences does provide a family history major and minor for students who are interested in genealogy but for individual projects a full major may seem too large, and a ward indexing activity too small. However, BYU’s Family History program heavily promotes the Genealogy Fairy as a means to go beyond those limitations.

What is the Genealogy Fairy?

The Genealogy Fairy was created by High-Definition Genealogy’s Thomas MacEntree with the idea to give back to the genealogy community that prospers here in Utah. The grant is sponsored by Genealogy Bargains who, each month, put aside five percent of all revenue to help provide the monetary means for either organizations or individual historians pursuing a substantial project.

This stack of cash that has been set aside is just sitting there waiting to be put into an indexing project, a genealogy conference, or even a publishing project. Any individual can receive up to five hundred dollars in grant money per project, or if desired, can receive an equal amount in consulting advice for genealogy organizations.

How do I Take Advantage of This?

Apply here if you’re interested.


What kind of family history projects do you like to do?

History and the Digital Age: Boon or Bane?

Mass communication has come a long way since Gutenberg’s printing press. History is now being recorded in 140 characters, thanks to Twitter. But the job for historians in this digital age has advantages and disadvantages, said FHSS associate Brigham Young University history professor Christopher Hodson.  “In a lot of ways the Internet has transformed the possibilities for our research. We can do things faster. We can be more accurate,” he says. But there’s a catch. We’re at a crossroads of sorts.

Boon…or Bane?

One of the advantages the internet provides historians and its students is the much-widened breadth of available data. Places like the National Archives in the United States, the British Library, and L’archives Nationales in France are starting to digitize documents that are healthy enough to withstand the digitization process. Sources like Evan’s American Bibliography, is an online database that makes accessing historical documents easy and efficient. It’s a database of everything published on a printing press, excluding newspapers, between 1639 and 1820. The primary documents are keyword searchable and super accessible to both scholars and students.

history in digital age
Photo credit: Pratt Library

“We are getting more eyes on more different types of topics and that can only be good for the way we pursue scholarship,” Hodson said. The database links on BYU’s library website is a fantastic resource with lots and lots of information. For example, there is a database of early American newspapers. There is no better way for students and historians alike to get a sense of the texture of life in the eighteenth century than to read the newspaper.

Even with the endless options for historical hunting in the new age, there is a downside to all of this. “If students become too reliant on digital databases and sources, they forget to read the books. This is a problem for us [educators] and one we have to combat in our classes,” Hodson said.

“It’s great to be able to look things up online. Everybody uses Google and Wikipedia and those things are fine so long as you don’t ask them to do things they aren’t capable of doing. They aren’t capable of the deep proper research and that you get in actual scholarship.”

Since everything does come back at some point to print, the other problem, according to Hodson, is the inability to discriminate among digital sources. “All websites look alike. There’s a sense that if it’s on the internet, it must be okay. That really isn’t true.”

Could You Be a Historian?

Prof. Hodson; Photo by Cheryl C. Fowers/BYU Copyright BYU PHOTO 2007 All Rights Reserved
Prof. Hodson; Photo by Cheryl C. Fowers/BYU
Copyright BYU PHOTO 2007
All Rights Reserved

Hodson says its important to be discerning about what you are looking at and understand the difference between good and bad scholarship. For example, a peer-reviewed article that appears in a scholarly journal or book is different than a post in someone’s blog.

For those looking for the difference between a great historian and an average one, we asked Professor Hudson what skills a historian for our time should have. Here are the top three tips for a novice historian:

  • Learn how to write clearly, and recognize that ability in what you read: Whether you are going to be a historian or going into a field related to history, it’s crucial to be able to process some information and analyze it clearly in writing.
  • Remember how to read deeply: Our brains, if we spend a lot of time on the internet, become less habituated to sitting down and reading a book and thinking about it contemplatively. Hodson recommends reading “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” and thinking about its application, or lack there-of, in your life.
  • Maintain an active imagination: It may seem counter-intuitive for a historian to have an imagination because they have traditionally been bound by traditional sources. To an extent, everything a historian does is held in check by what people in the past wrote down. But, the best historians and the best people who use history in their fields are able to use their own creativity to make interpretative connections between sources that might seem like they don’t have anything to do with each other. Imagination separates great historians from lesser historians.

What are your on-line go-to resources for historical information?