Highlights from BYU colleges: MBA team wins competition, student uses research skills to fight COVID-19

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Marriott School of Business

BYU Marriott students Stephanie Maynes Aldous, Kailey Battaglia, Michelle Dangerfield and Angela Smith won the Utah Venture Capital Case Competition. (Marriott School of Business)

A team of MBA students at the BYU Marriott School of Business won the Utah Venture Capital Case Competition. Stephanie Maynes Aldous, Kailey Battaglia, Michelle Dangerfield and Angela Smith developed and defended an investment thesis for Tequity for their contest entry. Founded by Sydney Davis, Tequity makes mobile app-design more accessible for entrepreneurs. The BYU team built on past experiences with the Marriott Center’s BYU Cougar Capital, a student organization that lets students practice establishing source deals and private equity firms. Aldous said the women involved now feel more prepared to excel in their careers.

“Every time I source and perform diligence on a deal, I learn something new,” Aldous said. “Sometimes it’s related to how an investor might evaluate a deal. Other times, I learn things about the inner workings of the company from the management’s perspective. The more deals I evaluate, the more patterns of success I’m able to see.”


College of Life Sciences

BYU College of Life Sciences student Andrew Sheffield is using his research experience to help run COVID-19 tests. (Lance Good)

A BYU student is using his research experience to help run COVID-19 tests. College of Life Sciences student Andrew Sheffield (‘22) works on genetics and wildlife conservation as part of assistant professor Paul Frandsen’s mentored research group. This group focuses on monitoring how wildlife has repopulated mountains after the 2018 Pole Creek megafires. Sheffield amplifies DNA samples using a polymerase chain reaction machine until the samples are large enough to examine. Sheffield recently started working at a hospital and learned that his work collecting insects and extracting DNA qualified him for the similarly principled task of assisting with COVID-19 testing.

Sheffield said mentored research and hands-on experiences have enhanced his education, and he expressed gratitude for new learning opportunities and his ability to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Learning is the process of understanding, and when we can understand more about the world around us, it equips us to be a more proactive member of the community,” Sheffield said.


College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences

BYU’s research group Autism Connect has published new research studies and won awards for their findings on improving autism diagnoses and other related studies. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

BYU research group Autism Connect has published research studies and won awards for their findings on improving autism diagnoses and related autism-based studies. BYU professor Terisa Gabrielsen and other colleagues received a top-ten rating for 2020 for their article in the Pediatrics journal outlining ways to speed up the diagnostic process for children with autism who would otherwise miss important opportunities for intervention. BYU PhD student Emily Anderberg and professor Mikle South published a study in the Journal of Autism Developmental Disorders about how parents are affected by their child’s autism diagnosis. BYU professors Jonathan Beck and Rebecca Lundwall had research published in the journal Autism on the mental health consequences of women who try to hide their autistic traits to fit in better. 

“We want to emphasize autism as a different way of being, not a broken way of being,” South said. “Providers should discuss strategies to promote the child’s success, but let’s also talk about the positive characteristics associated with autism, such as reliability, persistence, focus, attention to detail and out-of-the-box thinking.”

Future research goals at Autism Connect include ensuring that every child is adequately screened for autism at wellness checkups.


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