Highlights from BYU colleges: Advertising students recognized as ‘most promising,’ free autism workshop helps educators


College of Fine Arts and Communications

Lillian Maero, pictured, was one of seven BYU advertising students to be recognized by the American Advertising Federation. (School of Communications)

The American Advertising Federation recognized seven BYU students as being among the most promising multicultural students of 2021. The BYU student winners are Kofi Aidoo, Rebekah Baker, Evelyn Harper, Hali’amai Kealoha, Lillian Maero, Joseph Nugent and Donna Wilson, all seniors graduating this year. This is the largest group being awarded from any single university. The students competed by submitting essays and letters of recommendation and will now have the chance to present their work and share their perspectives at a national networking event.

“We are so grateful to have these extraordinary students recognized by the AAF as the most promising multicultural students,” professor Jeff Sheets said. Sheets is the founder and faculty advisor of the BYU Advanced Advertising laboratory. “They are being recognized not just for their multicultural background but because they are so talented in their area of study and expertise.”

David O. McKay School of Education

Utah State University professor Tom Higbee was the guest speaker at a BYU workshop about working with autistic children. (Tom Higbee)

A free workshop organized by the David O. McKay School of Education helped families and teachers learn new strategies for working with autistic children. Guest speaker Tom Higbee presented the workshop on building independence in autistic individuals using photographic activity schedules. Higbee heads the department of special education and rehabilitation counseling at Utah State University.

Higbee’s photographic activity schedules can help promote greater independence in autistic people by providing images that illustrate the order in which tasks must be completed. This can decrease dependency in children, allowing them to complete chores and school assignments without extra prompting.

“We like to present transitional research that takes scientific findings and gets them into practice right away,” event organizer Terisa Gabrielsen said. Gabrielsen is a professor in the McKay School’s counseling psychology and special education departments. “In the universities we’re doing and monitoring research, and we’re trying to get that out to you each year in terms of what we are learning about autism.”

College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

The winner and runner-up of the 2020 Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship were both students from the BYU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. (Phi Kappa Phi)

The winner and runner-up of BYU’s 2020 Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship were both students from the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Tyler Mansfield won $800 for his research as an undergraduate working with Benjamin Webb and David Erekson. The first study with Webb analyzed the biological phenomenon of Taylor’s Law, while the study with Erekson used mathematics to support client-therapist relationships. Mansfield is studying mathematics with a minor in biostatistics. 

Josh Robinson won $400 for his computer science research while an undergraduate at BYU. Robinson graduated with a degree in statistics and minors in computer science, mathematics and Chinese. Robinson is pursuing a master’s degree in computer science at BYU. 

Phi Kappa Phi is a national honor society that recognizes outstanding academic work and service. 

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