Highlights from BYU colleges

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College of Family, Home and Social Sciences

A team of BYU researchers conducted a study on the correlation between couples doing finances together and their relationship success. (Tyler Richardson/BYU Photo)

A team of BYU researchers studied 327 mixed-gender couples to determine whether involvement of both partners in financial processes can strengthen their relationship. The researchers tested both spouses’ reports of four financial processes — individual income, whether the couple had a joint bank account, the degree to which they managed money jointly and the frequency of financial conflict — and found they predicted the reports of relationship quality and stability. The researchers hope their study will motivate both spouses to actively participate in finances. “This is why we do the research — to help real families,” said Jeff Hill, BYU family life professor and study co-author.  


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering

BYU mechanical engineering professor Scott Thomson worked with researchers to discover birds’ sound source. (Natasha Verzhbitskiy)

BYU mechanical engineering professor Scott Thomson worked with researchers to discover why birds sing from their syrinx and not from their larynges, the plural of larynx. Thomson assisted in the study to create a physical model that would simulate the organs. The study found that with birds’ long necks, a syrinx produces sound the most efficiently and the neck acts as an amplifier. “In this study, tools we’ve developed to study human voicing were instead applied to study bird vocalization,” Thomson said. “It was interesting being part of a team of biologists, physicists and engineers working together to study a common but beautiful aspect of nature.”

Professor Daniel Smalley with students Wesley Rogers and Erich Nygaard. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

BYU electrical engineering professor Daniel Smalley received the National Science Foundation Award and a $500,000 grant to fund research over a five-year period. New faculty only have three chances to win the NSF CAREER award, so Smalley’s success was a significant event. His proposal, titled “Career: Breakthrough Display Technology as a New Medium for Spatial Thinking in STEM,” seeks to teach children spatial reasoning skills and includes an effort to create hologram-filled micromuseums, or small, museum-like kiosks available for people to learn about scientific topics. Smalley hopes these portable museums can be taken to rural communities that have little access to modern scientific institutions, like his hometown.


Marriott School of Business

BYU MBA alum compiled his notes from his schooling into a book, “The Visual MBA.” (Jason Barron)

BYU MBA alum Jason Barron is making a profit from his notetaking skills. When he started the MBA program, Barron decided to try “sketchnoting.” Instead of frantically scribbling notes during a lecture, he began drawing key concepts. Barron has since compiled his visual notes into a book, “The Visual MBA.” To help cover the costs of producing the book, Barron began a campaign requesting $7,000. Within 28 days, the campaign had raised over $70,000, with donations from donors in about 40 countries. Barron attributed his success to his strong support system and the knowledge he gained from the BYU MBA program to help him “think outside the box.” 


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