Highlights from BYU Colleges: BYU’s Synthesis performs at jazz championship, the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences announces new department chair

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College of Fine Arts and Communications

BYU’s Synthesis jazz ensemble won several awards at the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship, an exclusive invitation-only competition. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Smith)

BYU’s Synthesis jazz ensemble won several awards at the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship, an exclusive invitation-only competition.

Synthesis members won awards such as the Outstanding Arrangement recognition, Outstanding Trumpet and Outstanding Trumpet Section.

“We started the 2021-2022 school year with a young and relatively inexperienced band,” said Ryan Smith, director of Synthesis. “But we had some strong reasons to work hard and they all dug in and put their best into each event we did. The band had grown a great deal by the time we performed at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas in January.”

College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences

The College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences announced Michael Searcy will serve as the new department chair of the BYU Anthropology Department beginning June 15. (BYU Photo)

The College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences announced Michael Searcy as the new department chair of the BYU Anthropology Department, a role he began serving at on June 15.

“Professor Searcy is an excellent scholar across anthropological disciplines and also brings administrative skills gained as director of the New World Archaeological Foundation in the past five years,” said Laura Padilla-Walker, dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. “I’m grateful for his willingness to accept this responsibility and lend his time and expertise to leading the department.”

Searcy’s research has been mainly focused on the Casas Grandes cultural tradition of northwest Mexico and he received various awards such as the Martin B. Hickman Excellence award and the Charles Redd Center award.

“As department chair, my primary goal is to create unity and equity across subfields and for all our students,” Searcy said. “I’m a huge anthropology advocate with interest in both archaeology and socio-cultural anthropology. We offer a lot of wonderful experiences to help all our students gain a foundational and valuable education in understanding the human experience.”

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