Highlights from BYU colleges: Film student works for Disney, $5.8 million goes to energy research

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Marriott School of Business

BYU strategic management student Marissa Barlow founded Nani Swimwear to empower women. (Marissa Barlow)

A BYU student empowers women and brings them confidence and comfort through her swimwear company. Marissa Barlow, a junior studying strategic management at the Marriott School of Business, started Nani Swimwear in 2016. As a teenager, Barlow realized there weren’t enough swimwear options. She didn’t want to wear a bikini or a one-piece and wanted to find something in the middle.

“I had a need that wasn’t being met, and that’s what inspired me to start Nani,” Barlow said. “Nani’s mission is to inspire and empower women, and that mission is still what keeps me going.”

Her mom, fellow students, and mentors from the Marriott’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology have helped Barlow along her journey. Barlow was a finalist in the 2020 Student Entrepreneur of the Year competition through the Rollins Center and was awarded $1,500 to help fund Nani.

“Starting a business as a BYU student is the best decision anyone could make because everyone is eager to help,” Barlow said. “Many people are scared to start their own businesses because they think they don’t know enough, but you just need to be passionate about your idea and just go for it.”


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering 

BYU received $5.2 billion to start researching more efficient energy production methods. (Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering

The United States Department of Energy has awarded BYU $5.8 million to be used in coal-based energy research. BYU chemical engineering professor Andrew Fry is leading the study, which focuses on the benefits of creating energy via carbon dioxide brayton cycles. The usual method of using steam in rankine cycles to generate mechanical energy can be made more efficient by using CO2 instead. Instead of losing energy in the steam cycle, Fry’s research with CO2 shows the potential for heat loss to be recovered and reused in the power cycle without losing any energy. 

“The available amounts of energy in a CO2 cycle are greater than steam, and there’s a bigger difference between the top of the cycle and the bottom of the cycle, which allows us to get more energy out of it,” Fry said. 

BYU is working with Babcock Power, Echogen, Reaction Engineering International and the San Rafael Energy Research Center on this project, bringing together different technological strengths, combustion systems models, and types of expertise. A heat exchanger is being developed to combine a compressor with the CO2 system.


College of Fine Arts and Humanities

BYU media arts student Celene Mitchell has already started her film career working with Disney, Hallmark, and others. (Celene Mitchell)

A BYU film student is already on her way to a successful career through collaborations with Disney, BYUtv, and Hallmark. Celene Mitchell, who will graduate with a degree in media arts studies in December, got her big break in fall 2018 when she was hired to work on season three of Disney’s “Andi Mack.” Next, she continued working with the same crew as an art production assistant for “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” This job entailed decorating the set, maintaining department communications, managing time cards and calendars, and tracking budgets. Next, Mitchell was hired in her first solo act: art coordinator for BYUtv’s “Family Rules.” She was also hired as an art coordinator for CVS commercials and for two Hallmark films this summer. Mitchell expressed amazement at how far her film career has already gone just staying in Utah and plans to stay here for now. She hopes to someday become a producer.

“I’ve learned so much from my experiences,” she said. “I knew a lot of basics from the media arts studies program, which was fantastic. But there’s a lot more in a full production. The biggest thing I’ve learned is if you’re a hard worker and take care of people, you’ll land with people who will take care of you. I’m excited to see what the future will bring.”


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