Highlights from BYU Colleges: Music students receive awards, three new assistant deans join college

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College of Fine Arts and Communications

Brooke Ballard plays Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25. This piece her won her an award by a contest held by the Utah Teacher’s Association. (Brooke Ballard)

Three music students received national and international awards for their musical talents. The students consist of two clarinetists and a pianist: Kyle Hotvedt, John Burton and Brooke Ballard.

Hotvedt’s dream from the time he began the program playing clarinet was to play in a prestigious military band. Now his dream is reality as he auditioned and won a playing spot in the 399th Army Band. His fellow clarinetist Burton placed third in the 2020 Silverstein Global Clarinet Contest. He was the only BYU student and only musician from the United States to place in the junior division of the contest. Brooke Ballard won first place in a contest held by the Utah Teacher’s Association. The piece, Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25, is one of her favorites.


College of Life Sciences

Erik Nelson will be joining BYU faculty. (BYU Photo)

A new professor joined the public health department. Erik Nelson joins the faculty as a BYU alumnus after being a professor at Indiana University Bloomington for the past five years. 

Nelson received his bachelor’s in public health at BYU. He then went to Minnesota to get his master’s degree and Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

He specializes in spatial statistics, lead exposure, physical activity, sexual health and infectious diseases.

“I love that I have the skills to attack any new problem, such as a global pandemic, but also to work on traditional problems that have been around a long time like smoking and sexually transmitted infections,” he said. “I love the energy of young minds in a classroom and challenging them to do hard things.”


College of Family, Home and Social Sciences

The College of Family, Home and Social Sciences staff is expanding as three new assistant deans join the faculty. Lita Little Giddins will oversee collaboration and inclusion. (BYU Photo)

The College of Family, Home and Social Sciences staff is expanding as three new assistant deans join the faculty. Danny Damron will oversee experiential education and professional development, Jordan Karpowitz will oversee communications and external relations and diversity and Lita Little Giddins will oversee collaboration and inclusion.

Damron wants students to have a better view and outlook on internships as well as include experiential learning in the curriculum. Karpowitz hopes to bring human stories that come from faculty research and student learning to the forefront. Giddins wants to emphasize her position with the students.

“I know that everyone has healing to do,” Giddins said. “That’s how I approach this work, that’s how I approach individuals. Especially when it gets hard. There is healing that needs to happen in the lives of individuals, in the hearts and souls of individuals.”


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