Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering
BYU mechanical engineering professors Spencer P. Magleby and Larry L. Howell recently developed new technology that allows them to build hyper-complex mechanisms. The mechanical devices are comparable to Iron Man’s suit; they apply to the surface of an object and deploy or expand to complete a unique task, all while taking up little space. These devices can be mounted on curved surfaces and take on 3-D shapes without compromising their structural integrity. This technology can be applied in the fields of medicine, transportation, military and space. The technology’s development stems from the program’s integration of origami and engineering.
BYU’s new Mixed Reality Lab is providing students the opportunity to work with top augmented and virtual reality technology from around the world. Located in the Crabtree Building, the workspace is used for the design and prototyping of mixed reality experiences. Students are currently working on a variety of projects, including building apps for nurse training in hospital settings, interior design and escape room games. They are also preparing a grant proposal for a mixed reality suicide prevention application.
College of Fine Arts and Communications
The BYU animation program has been ranked No. 1 in the nation by the Animation Career Review. The program has won 18 student Emmys and the E3 College Game Competition this year for their game “Beat Boxer.” The animation program is highly competitive; it consists of around 80 students and accepts only 20-25 each year. The program offers hands-on experience in all aspects of animation industries and has attracted the attention of major animation studios including Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks and Warner Bros.
Professor Claudine Bigelow received a grant to fund research on Scandinavian pioneer women and folk music traditions. Her studies will take her to Sweden, Stockholm, Iceland and Denmark. Bigelow’s inspiration for her research project stems from a recent collaborative project with professor Joe Ostraff that included visiting Church historical sites. The trip sparked Bigelow’s desire to study her ancestry and the unique musical and familial cultures that stem from Sweden and Denmark. Bigelow will not be studying classical music of the time period but rather what was played and sung by the people, including nursery rhymes. She hopes her studies will influence others to explore their own family trees and connect with their ancestors.
College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
The Society of Actuaries has recognized BYU’s actuarial science program as a Center of Actuarial Excellence. BYU is the first western school to receive this prestigious placement, making it one of the top 10 percent schools in the nation for actuarial science. This honor is given to programs that have a challenging curriculum partnered with a high graduation rate of students equipped to work in the field. The program has excelled and the number of employed graduates has risen to about 96 percent with an increase of faculty and research in the past three years.
Daniel K Judd was named the new Dean of Religious Education on Feb. 18 after serving as interim dean since July 2018. Judd received both a master’s and doctorate degree from BYU before returning to the university in 1993 and has since served as chair of the Department of Ancient Scripture and associate dean of Religious Studies. He recently published a study in the “Journal of Psychology of Religion and Spirituality” about the relationship between “the grace of God, legalism and the mental health of Latter-day Saints.” As stated by BYU Academic Vice President James R. Rasband, “(Judd)’s a listener and collaborator who will continue to build a program of religious education worthy of our highest aspirations.” Judd will serve a five-year term as dean.
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