Highlights from BYU colleges: Awards received for research posters, business model competition and school development

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College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Awards were announced for top research posters from disciplines in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences on April 8. (Addie Blacker)

Awards were announced for top research posters from disciplines in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences on April 8. The 17th annual Mary Lou Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference was held virtually and included remarks from BYU President Kevin Worthen and School of Family Life Professor Loren Marks. This event allowed students to share their work professionally to build resumes, find future opportunities in their disciplines and learn tools to aid them in their future careers. Report topics ranged from extra-axial cerebrospinal fluid volume in autistic individuals to the self-efficacy and parental involvement of children in Zambia.

In the undergraduate category, first place awards went to Abigail Rivera in anthropology, Carver Coleman in economics, Casey McClellan Geslison in geography and Jinhee Nelson in history. Neuroscience students Shawna Ibarra, James Bates, Summer Arthur, Gavin Jones, Tanner McVey and Dallin Otteson won first place for their project on reducing anxiety in alcohol withdrawal. Other award recipients included Kelsey Eyre, Kesley Powdell and Heather Walker for political science, Alex Merce and Maryn Rolfson for psychology, Logan J. Marks and Heather H. Kelley in the School of Family Life and Emley Holcombe in sociology.

First place winners in the graduate category included Maddy Peterson for psychology, Rebecca Walker Clarke in the School of Family Life, Jacob Jepsen in anthropology and Spencer Sandberg for social work. The sociology team of Taylor Topham, Breanna Duffin, Hannah Dizon, Avanlee Peterson, Alex Rieder and Jordan Coburn also won an award, as did the neuroscience team of Hillary Wadsworth, Gavin C Jones, James Bates, Summer Arthur, Tanner McVey, Dallin Otteson, Shawna Ibarra and Parker Layton.

Additional first place awards included Casey McCLellan Geslison for the Redd Center, Camilla Alarcon for civic engagement, Carver J. Coleman for gerontology and the team of Nadia Gisselle Terron Ayala, Catalina Valdez and Rachel Weaver for the realm of diversity and inclusion.


Marriott School of Business

Students work in the Tanner Building in the Marriott School of Business. More than $20,000 in cash prizes was awarded to student teams in the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology’s Business Model Competition. (Abigail Keenan)

More than $20,000 in cash prizes was awarded to student teams in the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology’s Business Model Competition. Entrepreneurial management senior Alex Thompson, mechanical engineering graduate Derek Shields and electrical engineering student Jaxon Smith won first place and $4,000 cash for their idea of Armano, a device to monitor chemical levels in pools. Second place and $3,000 went to the team of Harrison Noble and Sam Sabin, who created Playlist Plus, a marketing platform that connects independent music artists with curators and fans. Chandler Rogers, Jade Rogers and Jace Kendrick won third place and $2,000 for their app Tribe, a service that offers support to people struggling with pornography. Tribe is launching on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store this month.

The competition process included testing business hypotheses with potential customers to gain insights, working with a mentor, and competing in a final presentation. 

“During the competition, we learned how to be willing to move quicker than normal,” Rogers said. “The lean startup principles taught throughout the BMC process helped push us out of our comfort zone and taught us how to pivot.” 


David O. McKay School of Education

The BYU–Public School Partnership gives a virtual keynote address at the 2021 National Association for Professional Development Schools Conference. (David O. McKay School of Education)

The BYU–Public School Partnership won the Exemplary Partnership Award from the National Association for Professional Development Schools. This association was created in 2005 and supports those involved in the education profession. The BYU group, which encompasses the education departments at BYU and five public school districts in Utah, was awarded the chance to present a virtual keynote address at the association’s national conference in March. Speakers included David O. McKay School of Education Dean Mary Anne Prater, Executive Director Gary Seastrand and BYU Associate Academic Vice President for Undergraduate Studies John Rosenberg. These speakers focused their addresses on how members of the BYU–Public School Partnership have helped each other mutually improve for nearly four decades, since 1984. 

“Bringing these systems together takes a lot of work; it isn’t without intentionality,” Seastrand said. “If you approach it that whatever may be, may be, you will not have a strong partnership. It requires effort, it requires diligence, and it requires dedication.”


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