5 Keys to Winning the Game of Life

Setema Gali Delivers Convocation Address

BYU Alumnus Setema Gali Speaks at 2021 Convocation

BYU alumnus Setema Gali (BS Sociology ‘01, MPA ‘14) told students that 20 years ago when he graduated, he never could have imagined coming back to his alma mater and speaking to over 1,500 graduates. Gali was the speaker for the 2021 convocation for the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences.

The former NFL player and best-selling author shared five things he wishes he had known when graduating from college.

Key #1 Get Clear (Crystal Clear) About the Life You Want to Live 

Setema explained that clarity is power and if you lack clarity you might end up in a destination that you had no desire to be at. He said, “No one leaves Brigham Young University and says I can’t wait to be miserable, unhappy, emotionally bankrupt and spiritually out of alignment. But if we’re not careful and we don’t get clear, we end up there.” He asked students to consider how clear they are about the life they want to live, “Does your heart and your soul call to you today? If it does, I invite you to listen.”  

Setema encouraged students to gain a clear understanding of who they want to be, how they want to interact with others, and what type of contributions they want to make.  

Key #2 Be Prepared for Adversity 

Setema shared a difficult experience of becoming bankrupt and being evicted from his home. During this challenging time, he found himself looking to the heavens and asking, “God, where are you?” Setema decided to sell his Super Bowl ring in order to provide for his family. He faced emotional, spiritual and financial trials but he learned to use his struggles to propel him forward. He encouraged students, “Don’t let these trials crush you but use them as stepping stones to help you get to the next level.” He shared with students the teachings he learned from his professors, teammates and coaches at BYU that God can consecrate trials for our good.  

Key #3 Go All In 

As Setema reached his mid thirties he was still struggling to make ends meet and provide for his wife and two sons. He took three summers and knocked doors despite feeling embarrassed and humiliated. He went all in to help his family. Setema reminded students of the blessings from working hard, “Whatever you do, whatever responsibility you have, God will bless you for going all in.” 

Key #4 Have Fun 

While Setema was knocking doors during the summers, he learned how to have fun. He shared the scripture, “Men are that they might have joy.” Setema emphasized that it’s important to enjoy life and that everything isn’t as serious as a Super Bowl game.  

Key #5 Exercise Faith in God 

As Setema reflected back on his life he saw God’s hand in the intimate details of his life. He shared, “We can do so much more with our life when God is a part of it than when he’s not.” He promised students that has they put God first everything else happens the way it’s supposed to.

Setema concluded his message by emphasizing the purpose of a BYU education. He shared, “We came here to learn, grow, and become so we can enter into the world and make a lasting impact.” 

Watch the full address and department programs here and then check out the profiles of our impressive graduates.

A Day of Learning: The Mentored Student Research Conference

Students from across the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences gathered virtually for the 17th annual Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference on Thursday, April 8. After opening remarks from President Kevin Worthen and a brief talk from Loren Marks, professor in the School of Family Life, participants watched as awards were announced for outstanding posters from each discipline.  

These research posters are a representation of the great scholarship being carried out by our undergraduate and graduate students. Experiential learning is a core part of the college’s aim to prepare students to be active participants in their respective disciplines. Through the conference, students are given the opportunity to share their work in a professional setting; this opportunity not only builds resume, but also helps prepare students with tools for success in their future careers.  

The conference is funded by the Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. See the list of awards below and view all posters and a recording of the awards ceremony at https://fultonchair.byu.edu.  

Undergraduate Awards 


1st Place— 

Student: Abigail Rivera 

Mentor: David Johnson 

Poster: Paleopathology Report for Excavations at Wadi Mataha 


1st Place— 

Student: Carver Coleman 

Mentor: Joseph Price 

Poster: Mortality Benefits of Non-pharmaceutical Intervention During the 1918 Flu Pandemic 


1st Place— 

Student: Casey McClellan Geslison 

Mentor: Sam Otterstrom 

Poster: ’To Hold the World Together’: A Uinta Basin Homesteading History, 1905–1930 


1st Place— 

Student: Jinhee Nelson  

Mentor:Rebecca de Schweinitz 

Poster: From the Eisenhower Presidential Library- Young People in Politics 

2nd Place— 

Students: Steven Tarno, Abigail Davidson, AJ Tower 

Mentor: Dr. Skabelund 

Poster: “To Lose a Voice: The Systematic Suppression of Women within Nazi Germany” 


1st Place— 

Students: Shawna Ibarra, James Bates, Summer Arthur, Gavin Jones, Tanner McVey, and Dallin Otteson 

Mentors: Scott Steffensen and Jordan Yorgason 

Poster: Shaking for Relief: Reducing Anxiety in Alcohol Withdrawal 

2nd Place— 

Students: Lindsey Edwards, Roger Woods, Lesle Nevillle 

Mentors: J. Dee Higley, Elizabeth Wood, Jacob Hunter 

Poster: MAOa-Genotype-by-Environment Interactions on Central Monoamine Metabolite Concentrations in Infant Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta) 

Political Science 

1st Place— 

Students: Kelsey Eyre, Kesley Powell, Heather Walker 

Mentor: Jeremy Pope 

Poster: White Identity Does Not Equal Racial Resentment 

2nd Place— 

Students: Grant Baldwin and Zeke Peters 

Mentor: Adam Dynes 

Poster: At Large But Not in Charge: How Formal Institutions Affect Minority Representation on US City Councils 

3rd Place— 

Students: Ethan Meldrum, Camilla Alacron, Layla Shaaban 

Mentor: Ethan Busby 

Poster: Whistle While You Work: What Attributes Influence Whistleblower Credibility? 

4th Place— 

Student: George R. Garcia III 

Mentor: Darren Hawkins 

Poster: International Reverberations: How the January 6th Insurrection Affected Political Views of South American Bureaucrats 


1st Place— 

Students: Alex Merce and Maryn Rolfson 

Mentor: Wendy Birmingham 

Poster: Breadwinners and Bread Makers: Trends in Gender Ideology Among Religious Working and Stay-at-Home Mothers 

2nd Place— 

Students: Alice Wang, Samuel Castillo, Fatma Luka, Tyler Parra, and Josely Velasquez 

Mentor: Niwako Yamawaki 

Poster: Misinformation and Education Level on Discriminatory Behavior Toward Asian Victims During COVID-19 

3rd Place— 

Students: Leslie Neville, Elysha Cash, and Elijeh Tauai 

Mentors: J.D. Higley and Elizabeth K. Wood 

Poster: Inherent Sensitivity and Acquired Tolerance to the NMDA-Antagonist Ketamine is Associated with Alcohol Intake: A Nonhuman Primate (Macaca mulatta) 

4th Place— 

Students: Colt Mitchell Halter and Elysha Cash 

Mentor: Dr. Higley 

Poster: Translating Kagan’s Human Testing Paradigm for Measuring Behavioral Inhibition four Use Infant Rhesus Macaques (Macaca Mulatta)—A Pilot Study 

School of Family Life 

1st Place— 

Students: Logan J. Marks and Heather H. Kelley 

Mentors: Loren D. Marks, David C. Dollahite, and Spencer James 

Poster: Change in Financial Stress and Relational Wellbeing during COVID-19: Exacerbating and Alleviating Influences 

2nd Place— 

Student: Annie Rushton 

Mentors: Erin Homes and Jeremy Yorgason 

Poster: What Did You Preconceive Before You Conceived 

3rd Place— 

Students: Danielle Cannon, Jessica Willis, and Elisabeth Kimball 

Mentors: Loren Marks and David Dollahite 

Poster: Strong Black Families: Unique Strengths and Challenges to Religious Black Families 

4th Place—    

Student: Corinne Archibald 

Mentor: Laura Walker 

Poster: Sexual Development: Influence of Peers and Media on Adolescent Sex Ethics and Behaviors when Parent Communication Quality is Low 


1st Place— 

Student: Emley Holcombe 

Mentor: Melissa S. Jones 

Poster: Early Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adolescent Substance Use: Boys vs Girls 

2nd Place— 

Student: Brianna Walker 

Mentor: Melissa S. Jones 

Poster: Police, Teen Cynicism & Gender 

3rd Place— 

Student: Michele Castro 

Mentor: Curtis Child 

Poster: Sisterhood is the Most Beautiful Gift: The Social Meaning of Direct Sales 

4th Place— 

Student: Ashley Kernan 

Mentors: Melissa S. Jones and Rick Miller 

Poster: Affects of Childhood Adversities on Women Prisoners Who Experience PTSD 

Graduate Awards 


1st Place— 

Student: Maddy Peterson 

Mentor: Jared Nielsen 

Poster: Extra-axial Cerebrospinal Fluid Volume Normalizes with Age in Autistic Individuals 

School of Family Life 

1st Place— 

Student: Rebecca Walker Clarke 

Mentors: Chelom Leavitt and Jeremy Yorgason 

Poster: Honoring Otherness: Religiosity and Marital Connection Through Empathy and Commitment 

2nd Place— 

Students: Alexandra Cooper and Matthew Daines 

Mentor: Jeremy Yorgason 

Poster: Too Fit to Quit: Relationship Benefits of Exercise in Early Marriage 

3rd Place— 

Student: Amber Price 

Mentor: Chelom E. Leavitt 

Poster: Self-silencing & Emotional Intimacy in Romantic Relationships 

Social Work  

1st Place— 

Student: Spencer Sandberg 

Mentors: Sherinah Saasa and Steve Hoffman 

Poster: Exclusion, Drugs, & African Immigrants: Testing Social Exclusion Theory 

2nd Place— 

Student: Abena Yirenya-Tawiah 

Mentors: Sherinah Saasa and Joseph Olsen 

Poster: Perceived Parental Involvement and Self-Efficacy among children in Zambia 

3rd Place— 

Student: Kirra Crump 

Mentors: Stacey Shaw and Mallory Funk 

Poster: Refugees and Religion: The Impact of Religious Coping on Emotional Distress and Resilience 

4th Place— 

Student: Tucker Wallace 

Mentor: Steve Hoffman 

Poster: I Think I Can: How Health Literacy Influences Self-Efficacy Among College Students 


1st Place— 

Students: Taylor Topham, Breanna Duffin, Hannah Dizon, Avanlee Peterson, Alex Rieder, and Jordan Coburn 

Mentor: Carol Ward 

Poster: Native Americans in STEM: A Case Study of Mentored Internships 


1st Place— 

Students: Hillary Wadsworth, Gavin C Jones, James Bates, Summer Arthur, Tanner McVey, Dallin Otteson, Shawna Ibarra, and Parker Layton 

Mentors: Jeremy Yorgason and Scott Steffensen 

Poster: Virus-Induced Inhibition of Mu Opioid Receptors and Anxiety in Mice 


1st Place— 

Student: Jacob Jepsen 

Mentor: Michael Searcy 

Poster: Detecting Remnants of the Past: Archaeo-Geophysical Prospection at Wolf Village, Utah 

Additional Awards 

Redd Center 

1st Place— 

Student: Casey McClellan Geslison 

Mentor: Sam Otterstrom 

Poster: “To Hold the World Together”: A Uinta Basin Homesteading History, 1905–1930 

2nd Place— 

Students: Nadia Gisselle Terron Ayala, Catalina Valdez, and Rachel Weaver 

Mentor: Jane Lopez 

Poster: Shades of Belonging: The Intersection of Race and Religion in Shaping Utah Immigrants’ Integration 

Civic Engagement 

1st Place—Camilla Alarcon 

Mentor: Jay Goodliffe 

Poster: A Latent Class Analysis of Methods of Political Participation 


1st Place— 

Student: Carver J. Coleman 

Mentor: C. Arden Pope III 

Poster: Greenness is Associated with Decreased Mortality Risk in Cancer Patients 

Diversity and Inclusion 

1st Place— 

Students: Nadia Gisselle Terron Ayala, Catalina Valdez, and Rachel Weaver 

Mentor: Jane Lopez 

Poster: Shades of Belonging: The Intersection of Race and Religion in Shaping Utah Immigrants’ Integration 

2nd Place— 

Students: Taylor Topham, Breanna Duffin, Hannah Dixon, Avanlee Peterson, Alex Rieder, and Jordan Coburn 

Mentor: Carol Ward 

Poster: Native Americans in STEM: A Case Study of Mentored Internships 

3rd Place— 

Student: Samuel Hale Pulsipher 

Mentor: Aaron Skabelund 

Poster: Himmler’s Persecution: His Mistreatment of Homosexuals in the Third Reich 

4th Place— 

Student: Ruth Kaloki Bryson 

Mentors: Anthony Bates and Ben Ogles 

Poster: BYU Students’ Experiences with the African American Civil Rights Seminar 

To view all posters, visit the conference page.   

From Student to Scholar — Research Presentations Showcase Experiential Learning

Annual Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference viewable online 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They’ll Choose 2 Dance When You Choose 2 Give

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A website of resources now available

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

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

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

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

Join us for a launch event

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

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

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

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

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

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

To Mask or Not to Mask

Patterson speaks on Politics of Individualism at Hickman Lecture 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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