Highlights from BYU Colleges: Marketing students win corporate competition, Life Science students research multiple sclerosis


Marriott School of Business

BYU business marketing student Cali Johnson is one of four students on her team to win the MarketStar Sales and Analytics Champion Competition. (BYU Marriott School of Business)

Marketing students in the BYU Marriott School of Business were given the opportunity to showcase their business knowledge by competing in corporate marketing challenges at Utah State University’s 2021 MarketStar Sales and Analytics Champion Competition. BYU marketing senior Cali Johnson was one of four BYU students on the winning team.

“Each team member is a full-time student and is working part-time, yet still dedicated every spare moment to succeeding in this competition. Most nights our team worked until three in the morning so that our presentation would be as polished as possible,” Johnson said.

David O. McKay School of Education

Teacher Suzanne Ruchti uses her degree from BYU’s McKay School of Education after her husband passes away. (David O. McKay School of Education)

After completing her degree in special education from the BYU McKay School of Education, Suzanne Ruchti planned to be a stay-at-home parent for her newborn twins. Those plans changed when her husband passed away a few years later and she became a single mother and primary caregiver for her family. Ruchti used her degree to become a substitute teacher and later a full-time teacher to support her family.

Ruchti works with students who have severe disabilities and who faced challenges with online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was able to use her creativity to virtually meet the needs of each student.

“Online learning doesn’t really work for our demographic. When parents are willing to be helpful, on the call and continue with students at home, the students don’t lose as much progress,” Ruchti said.

College of Life Sciences

BYU professor Mary Davis works with student Will Brugger to research how genetic risks affect multiple sclerosis onset. (University Communications)

BYU microbiology and molecular biology professor Mary Davis worked with students Will Brugger and Jeremy Beales to research how genetic risk affects the severity of a multiple sclerosis prognosis. They found those who have a higher genetic risk for MS are likely to be diagnosed sooner, which is important to know as those who are diagnosed earlier in life tend to face more extreme symptoms.

If the patient knows sooner, they and their doctors can be more aggressive in terms of treatment.

“Multiple sclerosis is so complex that we haven’t ever confirmed before that the variants that are associated with getting the disease are associated with how early you get MS. It wasn’t an unexpected finding, but this is the first time it has been confirmed,” Davis said.

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