Highlights from BYU colleges: Student wins national piano competition, graduate opens Springville food pantry


College of Fine Arts and Communications

BYU piano performance major Ariel Wong won the top prize in one of America’s most prestigious piano competitions. (Ariel Wong)

A BYU piano performance major won the top prize in one of America’s most prestigious piano competitions: the Music Teachers National Association. To qualify, sophomore Ariel Wong won first place in the state of Utah and then went on to win the 2021 Southwest regional division competition. This was her second year making the cut for the national competition. She prepared 30 minutes of music to present, including pieces from Lizst, Mendelssohn and Dutilleux. 

Wong has played piano since age four. She practices three to four hours a day unless she is preparing for a contest, at which point she practices for six or seven hours. Wong’s parents sent her from Hong Kong to America at age 14 so she could have more learning experiences with music. She auditioned with BYU piano professor Scott Holden and has studied with him since then. 

“Music is such a huge part of my being. I cannot imagine life without it,” Wong said. “Music is such a gift from God and I love to share it so that some might be inspired, energized, touched or comforted.”

College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences

BYU graduate Jordan Etherington cuts ribbon for the grand opening of the Springville Food Pantry. Etherington organized Springville’s first food pantry as part of a capstone project for his civic engagement leadership minor. (College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences)

A 2021 BYU graduate opened Springville’s first food pantry. Jordan Etherington graduated with a degree in family life and an emphasis in human development. He organized the Springfield Food Pantry as part of a capstone project for his civic engagement leadership minor. Etherington worked with local organizations and donors including Mountainland Head Start, the Community Action Services and Food Bank of Provo and the Kiwanis Club of Springville to make the pantry a reality. 

“I hope this local resource will help individuals and families get through difficult times by providing food and reassurance about where their next meal is coming from,” Etherington said. “If there is a cause you want to be involved in, just reach out to the organization and see what opportunities they have. They won’t turn you away.” 

Post-graduation, Etherington plans to pursue a Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. He hopes to become a therapist for autistic individuals. 

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering

BYU’s winning Associated Schools of Construction team of Construction Management students pose with faculty mentors and representatives of the Beavers organization. The Beavers donated $25,000 to fund scholarships for BYU civil construction students. (Madeline Mortensen)

The Beavers Charitable Trust donated $25,000 to fund scholarships for BYU civil construction students. The Beavers is a group of heavy civil contractors that fund standout schools to encourage the growth of the civil construction industry. Their donation to BYU followed the school’s first-place win at this year’s Associated Schools of Construction competition. BYU construction management majors involved in the competition included Team Captain Isaac Bacon, Seth Holyoak, Julia Eisenstat, JD Hadfield, Battsagaan Ilch and Clark Gustafson. They beat other construction programs in the Rocky Mountain Region, including universities in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

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