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.

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.  

Hickman Diversity & Inclusion Lecture Dives into the Immigration Experience from a Psychological Perspective

Niwako Yamawaki, BYU professor and associate chair in the Department of Psychology, is the speaker for this year’s Hickman Diversity & Inclusion Lecture on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, at 11 a.m. Find the Zoom link here.

The title of Dr. Yamawaki’s presentation is “My Perspective as an Immigrant.” 

Dr. Yamawaki came from Japan to Salt Lake City when she was 29 years old. Because she felt impressed by the Spirit to make this move, she had the courage to come alone and without anyone to receive her.

In her presentation, she hopes to use principles of psychology to help others better understand the experience of immigrants, so that everyone can be empathetic toward them. Dr. Yamawaki says, “As a Christian, it is my responsibility to assist people who are in pain and suffering,” 

Dr. Yamawaki conducts cross-cultural research to investigate cultural factors 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.

The Hickman Diversity & Inclusion Lecture is given annually by a faculty member who has been awarded the Hickman Diversity, Collaboration, and Inclusion Award based on their research, teaching, and citizenship in the area of diversity and inclusion. The award is named for Martin B. Hickman (along with five other faculty awards in the college) who, as founding dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, helped establish the Women’s Research Institute and David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, setting a standard for research that is inclusive of diverse populations. Dr. Yamawaki is the award recipient for the 2020-21 academic year.

Hickman Diversity & Inclusion Lecture

“My Perspective as an Immigrant”

Friday, February 19, 2021, 11 a.m. MT

Presented live via Zoom

Find details here

Family Characteristics are More Important Than School Characteristics for Child Wellbeing

Associate dean, Dr. Mikaela Dufur introduces Dr. Toby Parcel as the 17th Annual Marjorie Pay Hinckley lecturer

The first-ever virtual Marjorie Pay Hinckley lecture took place with guest lecturer Toby L. Parcel, professor emerita of sociology at North Carolina State University, sharing her research on the effects of families and schools on child wellbeing. Her Feb. 4 lecture drew in over 200 participants.

View the lecture here.

Dr. Parcel shares that the best way to support schools is to support families. She says, “In each generation, we ask too much of schools, we place heavy burdens on schools and teachers. Let’s support families in doing their job well and in turn that will be the most beneficial for schools.”

Dr. Parcel finds that family social capital (connection to children) has a larger impact on child wellbeing than schools. Her research shows that social capital at home deters alcohol and drug use, but social capital at school does not.

“Family characteristics are virtually always more powerful than school characteristics in affecting adolescents’ cognitive and social outcomes,” says Dr. Parcel. She also finds that bonds between parents and children predict college enrollment and completion and are longer lasting than bonds at school.

When schools and families conflict, parental jobs become more difficult, but Dr. Parcel shares that when capital at home and at school are mutually reinforcing it can have “positive effects on both academic and social outcomes for children and reduce behavior problems.”

Dr. Parcel addressed the worry that many parents have that their children’s education is being negatively affected by online schooling. She finds that these negative effects are most severe for at-risk children. She also discovers that mothers especially struggle to balance work and their children’s schoolwork, all while establishing limits on screen time. On a positive note, some parents are becoming more involved and report better engagement with their children’s learning.

Dr. Parcel encouraged parents to create a warm and supportive environment in their homes by reading to children, asking about school, and showing their children that school is important.

Dr. Parcel gave additional public lectures online designed specifically for students and faculty.

During the student lecture on Feb. 2, Dr. Parcel spoke on the idea of “having it all,” or more specifically, balancing career ambitions and family goals. She asked students to consider how the choices they make now can help them in the years ahead.

“One can have it all, but probably not all at once,” says Dr. Parcel. “Different paths work best for different people.”

Dr. Parcel discussed how the shifting values in society and more remote job options are making careers more flexible and accessible for people who have different needs. She says, “At the end of the day, the ability to adapt to shifting circumstances is critical to making the right decisions at the right time.”

She presented relevant scholarship as well as her own experiences as an academic and mother that indicate a hopeful change and more opportunities — especially for women — in crafting a healthy balance between a career and family.

View the recorded sessions at hinckleychair.byu.edu/parcel-lectures-2021

Hinckley Guest Lecturer Highlights Lifelong Intersections of Family and School

Additional Presentations Directed to Students and Faculty


Toby L. Parcel, professor emerita of sociology at North Carolina State University

Toby L. Parcel, professor emerita of sociology at North Carolina State University, is the guest speaker for the 17th Annual Lecture of The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Endowed Chair in Social Work and the Social Sciences.

Dr. Parcel is best known for her research on families and their impact on a child’s social adjustment, educational achievement, and eventual attainment of life goals. Because Dr. Parcel will not be traveling to the university — all presentations will be delivered online — she has agreed to spend additional time giving talks to faculty and students with insights from her personal career, family, and life path.

Her lived experience as a woman, wife, mother, researcher, university administrator, and program director for the National Science Foundation adds interesting insights to the family-school relationships she has studied professionally.

Visit hinckleychair.byu.edu for details on how to join each lecture. Registration is not required and attendees will be able to engage with Dr. Parcel by submitting questions via chat.

Main Lecture: Thursday, Feb. 4, 6 p.m. “Unpacking the Home-School Relationship: Effects on Children and Adolescents”

Dr. Parcel’s main lecture will highlight research on the importance of social capital at both home and school and how these two institutions can work together for the greatest benefit. 

“When schools and families are on the same page, that’s very powerful,” said Dr. Parcel during an interview. “However, family influence is stronger and longer lasting.”

Student Lecture: Wednesday, Feb. 3, 12 p.m. “Can You Have It All? Navigating Work and Family in the 21st Century”

Many BYU students think deeply about how they will navigate educational and professional opportunities while also prioritizing commitments to family relationships and caregiving. If that’s you, don’t miss this “pre-lecture” specifically for university students.

Dr. Parcel will share lessons she’s learned as well as what her research concludes about how your career impacts your family. Dr. Parcel has been married 40 years and with her husband they raised two children while also rising in their careers. Now, with five grandchildren, she believes that families must work together to support both adults and children in succeeding in the 21st century.

“There are many valued pathways to manage all the things you want to do — one size does not fit all,” said Dr. Parcel. “Have a long-term view and don’t feel like you have to do it all at once.”

Faculty Lecture: Friday, Feb. 5, 2 p.m.Navigating Work and Family in the 21st Century: Lessons from Research and Life”

As an academic who has studied families and as a woman who has experienced a full career and family, Dr. Parcel will draw insights from her own research and experience to discuss how academics can navigate their own paths to success. She will also identify important skills to develop for those who wish to pursue administrative opportunities.

When Dr. Parcel moved to The Ohio State University, she was promoted to full professor and began her tenure in academic administration as both a department chair and associate dean. She served as a college dean at Purdue and later at North Carolina State University.

More About Dr. Parcel

Toby L. Parcel received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Washington. She received tenure in the department of sociology at the University of Iowa before moving to The Ohio State University, where she was promoted to full professor and served as both department chair and associate dean in the College of Social and Behavioral Science. She then became the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University and the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at North Carolina State University. She recently completed a three-year rotation as Program Director for the Sociology Program at the National Science Foundation. 

Dr. Parcel’s research interests include the effects of social capital at home and school on child and young adult academic and social outcomes. Her work has been published in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Science Research and Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. Her most recent book, The End of Consensus: Diversity, Neighborhoods, and the Politics of Public School Assignments with Andrew Taylor, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2015.

Dr. Parcel and her husband, John Gerber, have been married for over 40 years and they have two children and five grandchildren.  

About the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Endowed Chair

The Marjorie Pay Hinckley Endowed Chair in Social Work and the Social Sciences is named for the wife of Gordon B. Hinckley, former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young University established the chair in 2003 to honor Sister Hinckley’s commitment to strengthening home and family. The chair focuses on understanding and strengthening the family, the development of women, and strategies to help both parents and children in difficult circumstances. Each year, the chair sponsors a distinguished social sciences scholar to visit the university and deliver a lecture about how their research addresses a pertinent social issue.

Get more details at the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Endowed Chair website.

Read more

Constitution Day Lecture Recap

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, in observance of Constitution Day, the College of Family, Home, and Social hosted its annual Constitution Day Lecture. This year’s lecture, “President Trump’s Immigration Policies: Are They Constitutional?” was presented by Dr. Anna O. Law. Law is the Herbert Kurz Chair in Constitutional Rights in the Department of Political Science at CUNY Brooklyn College. She is actively involved with research and publication on current political issues, most notably concerning gender and asylum for immigrants. She is the author of The Immigration Battle in American Courts and is currently working on a new book about slavery and immigration federalism. Law’s field of academic expertise lies at the intersect of public law and US immigration policy and history.

Law’s lecture began with an examination of how the Trump administration’s approach to immigration policy has differed from those of past administrations. She stated that the issue is an overwhelming “volume of lies” and an associated disregard for “the rule of law.” According to Law, this rule of law consists of the following:

  • A universal application of justice
  • Fair and consistent rules
  • Robust legal processes where protections of rights are enforced
  • A competent population of lawyers and judges

Law went on to examine both the constitutionality and the efficacy of Trump’s many policies concerning immigration, including the border wall and significant changes to the asylum application process. She also discussed how the administration is currently using the COVID-19 pandemic to justify even more restrictions on those seeking to enter the US through the southern border. Law pointed out flaws inboth the Trump and Obama administrations’ treatment of undocumented workers and proposes a more humane approach to immigration management. For her, a reformed immigration policy focuses on the following:

  • Pressuring employers of undocumented migrants
  • Securing employment verification
  • Increasing foreign aid
  • Dismantling the Department of Homeland Security
  • Implementing stricter gun reform laws

The College of Family, Home, and Social Science is grateful to Dr. Law for taking the time to speak and share her academic and professional insights on this complex and controversial issue. For those that were unable to attend the lecture, a recording is posted and available for viewing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwmX2EweNj8

Annual Constitution Day Lecture Focuses on President Trump’s Immigration Policies

The 2020 Constitution Day Event hosted by the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences will examine the immigration policies of the Trump Administration during the lecture “President Trump’s Immigration Policies: Are They Constitutional?” on Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 11 AM (MST). This virtual lecture will take via Zoom by following this link: http://bit.ly/byuconstitutionday2020.

The lecture will be presented by Dr. Anna O. Law, the Herbert Kurz Chair in Constitutional Rights in the Department of Political Science at CUNY Brooklyn College. Dr. Law’s publications appear in both social science and law journals and investigate the interaction between law, legal institutions and politics. Her first book, The Immigration Battle in American Courts (Cambridge University Press 2010), examined the role of the federal judiciary in U.S. immigration policy, and the institutional evolution of the Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals. Law is a former program analyst at the bipartisan, blue-ribbon United States Commission on Immigration Reform. She has shared her expertise with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Department of Homeland Security and National Science Foundation. In 2007, she appeared as a recurring narrator with other academic experts and two Supreme Court justices in the PBS award winning documentary. Her current projects include a second book on immigration federalism and slavery, and National Science Foundation funded research on gender & asylum.