Highlights from BYU colleges

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College of Life Sciences

BYU exercise science professor biked from Canada to Mexico and wrote the book “Just Ride” to detail his experience. (Ty Hopkins)

BYU exercise science professor Ty Hopkins finished fourth in a bike race starting in Banff, Canada, tracing along the Rockies and finishing at the Mexico border. The race took Hopkins 16 days, 7 hours, and 43 minutes to complete. Throughout the duration of the race, he saw four bears, burned 11,500 calories per day and at one point laid on the road for 30 minutes hoping a truck would drive him to the finish line. “I mean, euphoric moments — they add up to like one hour in 16 days; there just aren’t very many of them. But they make it all worth it. They make me glad I did it,” Hopkins said. Hopkins wrote a book about his experience titled “Just Ride.” The book details his race day-by-day and shares its physiological effects based on tests taken afterward at BYU. The book is available on Amazon or at Mad Dog Cycles in Orem.

BYU won the Robert Callaway National Collegiate Landscape Competition. For Alyssa Brown, a senior on the landscaping team, it was her fourth landscaping national championship. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU landscape management senior Alyssa Brown recently won her fourth landscaping national championship. Out of 65 schools attending the National Collegiate Landscaping Competition, BYU not only took home the first-place trophy but also 10 out of the 75 scholarships awarded. Brown has been an integral part of the landscaping program at BYU and will continue to participate as she starts a graduate program in the fall.  


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering

The third place team received a prize of $2,000 for their business Kiri, a screenless smart-toy for kids. (Savanna Richardson)

Sugarhouse Aerospace, founded by student Riley Meik, won first place at the 2019 Student innovator of the Year Competition. The $7,000 prize was awarded to the company for the students’ idea to make suborbital space tourism more affordable. Their business uses ride sharing to bring costs down, making it easier for the general public to experience space. The other businesses coming in second and third place were Neptune, a 100 percent biodegradable plastic alternative, and Kiri, an interactive teaching wood block designed to keep kids away from screens.


College of Fine Arts and Communications

Students, faculty and theatre products have been awarded by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. (Michael Hanley)

Students from the Department of Theatre Arts along with BYU’s production of “Radium Girls” won a series of awards from the the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. The awards included categories for acting, design, stage management, dramaturgy, directing and playwriting. Three students — Dylan Wright, Andrew Groome and Sten Shearer — and theatre arts professor Stephanie Breinholt will also move on to the national competition. Breinholt won the Kennedy Center Medallion for theatre educators and Distinguished Director of a Play for “Radium Girls.” Wright is the sixth consecutive BYU student who received the Region 8 Irene Ryan National Finalist. “Acting is hard. It’s exhausting. It can sometimes be psychologically scarring,” Wright said. “But having friends and faculty like I have in the TMA department has truly helped me to grow as a collaborator, husband, friend, actor and disciple of Christ.”


Marriott School of Business

Thrive Smart Systems won first place at the 2019 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge.(University of Utah)

Thrive Smart Systems, an irrigation technology company founded by a BYU Marriott alum, took home the grand prize of $40,000 at the 2019 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge at the University of Utah. Thrive developed wireless sprinklers allowing landscapers and homeowners to avoid the complications with battery operated controlled. Thrive was also awarded the people’s choice award at the 2019 Student Innovator of the Year Competition. “A lot of people were asking for a wireless sprinkler system since many people found wired sprinkler systems troublesome,” said CEO and co-founder Seth Bangerter. “Thrive Smart Systems wanted to be the company to make this change.”


College of Family, Home and Social Sciences

Greg Porter, successful entrepreneur and founder of PowerSchool, returned to BYU to complete his degree and will graduate alongside his son on April 26. (Kambria Porter)

Greg Porter, the founder the highly successful company PowerSchool, will not only speak at the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences convocation ceremony, but will also graduate alongside his son. Porter attended BYU in the 1980s but left with one class left to pursue his goal of becoming an entrepreneur. He founded PowerSchool, which has since become widely used in schools around the nation and was acquired by Apple, Inc. After becoming a successful businessman, Porter returned to BYU to enroll in one final class to complete his degree. The convocation ceremony will take place Friday, April 26.


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