Highlights from BYU Colleges

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College of Family, Home and Social Sciences

Vote-by-mail does not favor either political party BYU professor finds. (Alyssa Lyman)

BYU professor of Political Science Michael Barber and University of Virginia professor and BYU alumnus John B. Holbein published a study stating that mail-in voting does not favor either political party. Published in Science Advances, the study used three decades of data and over 40 million individual voting records from across the nation. Their findings found that vote-by-mail increases voter turnout by two to three percent and did not change the results of the race. “We ran dozens of analyses and every single time we found no impact in partisan vote shares. So whether you’re advocating for vote-by-mail because you think it’s going to be really good for your party or advocating against it because you think it’s going to be bad for your party, you’re probably wasting your time,” Barber said. 


College of Life Sciences

“Ghost creatures” give scientists a look into the past and the future.

When discussing climate change, the ice sheets of Antarctica are a hot topic. When discussing work environments, that same brutal tundra may be as bad as it gets. But for BYU biology Professor Byron Adams, studying organisms in the Antarctic has been his version of an office retreat for the past 17 years. He and a group of colleagues recently published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that explains the evolutionary history of microscopic creatures from Antarctica and what that tells us about climate change in the future. The Collembola, also known as the elusive “ghost creature,” has survived 30 ice ages.

This history is a goldmine of evidence about past heating patterns. Adams’ study of the evolution of these tiny microorganisms confirms theories of how past warmer climates have affected the geology and glaciology of the region. Through this research, scientists can predict patterns of Antarctic ice sheet advances and retreats, helping create a clearer picture of what climate change may look like in the future.

“If we really want to understand how climate change will impact us in the future, it is important to understand how it impacted life in the past,” Adams said.


College of Nursing

BYU’s newest Dean of the College of Nursing is hoping to share her part in integrating the Healer’s art. (BYU Magazine)

Dr. Jane Hansen Lassetter has been named the new dean of the College of Nursing after 18 years at BYU as an instructor, associate professor, and professor. Lassetter is the current president of the Western Institute of Nursing and was previously the president of the International Family Nursing Association. She was also recognized in 2019 as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. Throughout her career, Lassetter has specialized in cultural appreciation and treating those neglected in healthcare systems and in research. Her passion to help minorities receive adequate healthcare is what has led her efforts of compassion in her work. “My goal is for our programs to improve continuously as students, alumni, staff, and faculty support one another and more fully integrate the Healer’s art,” Lassetter said.


College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Professor Michael Dorff has been honored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. (Nate Edwards/BYU photo)

Math Professor Michael Dorff has been inducted as a Fellow on the Council on Undergraduate Research. Fellows are chosen every two years and receive a lifetime membership, plaque, and support for undergraduate research. The Council chooses those who produce exemplary research, creativity, and academic achievement. As a member of the Mathematics Association of America, a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and the founder of the Center for Undergraduate Research, Dorff has exemplified all of the qualities required of his fellowship and more. He also mentors 11 BYU students in their undergraduate research and created the National Science Foundation-funded PIC Math Program, which teaches mathematics through real-world scenarios. 


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering

A Capstone project is aiming to help children with autism. (Rebekah Baker/BYU Photo)

BYU engineering students and their sponsors have developed animation-streaming glasses for children with autism. As a Capstone project, the invention allows the user to practice making eye contact while watching an animation. Those with autism can have difficulty making eye contact. The glasses have two LCD screens with controllable levels of opacity. The user can increase the opacity of the animation in order to grow more accustomed to eye contact while still having the familiarity of the animation. This can potentially help autistic children grow more comfortable with eye contact, which helps in social interaction and language development. “Our hope is that therapists who work with children with autism will use these glasses to create that positive experience and help these wonderful children continue to develop,” Capstone team member Matt Simmons said.

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