Readers’ Forum: The unsung heroes of BYU

Audrey Hanks is an unsung hero of BYU. It is important to recognize those behind the scenes that help students grow. (Photo courtesy of BYU Undergraduate Education)

When we think of Brigham Young University during graduation season, we often picture the high-profile stuff: our beautiful campus and inspiring professors, well-dressed deans and high-flying dunk teams, clever Cosmo and college valedictorians. But it’s important to recognize an often-overlooked group of individuals who make this university truly exceptional: the unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes to help students become the people we hope to be.

Each of us who love BYU know some of these people. Here are a few of mine.

Audrey Hanks is an unsung BYU hero. As the Prestigious Scholarships Coordinator, Audrey has built the Prestigious Scholarship Office from the ground up. Her office consistently helps students receive nationally and internationally renowned awards. More importantly, she is a master of working with students one-on-one, helping them see their full potential to imagine new possibilities for their lives.

Vika Filimoeatu is an unsung BYU hero. Vika is the Honors Program Advisement Manager. Vika oversees every aspect of student advisement. But her contributions go far beyond this. Vika has made the Honors Program a place where all students can find community and support, regardless of their background or experiences. I’ve watched her repeatedly help students who felt they didn’t belong at BYU to not only stay, but become some of our most important leaders on campus. Her commitment to belonging is heroic.

Katy Knight is an unsung BYU hero. Katy is a Museum Education Administrator at the Bean Life Science Museum. Katy plans educational events at the museum and trains students who work as museum educators. Katy has a gift to help students develop the confidence and skills needed to be successful in communicating with the public.

These three individuals are just a few of the many people at BYU who make this university great. They are living examples of the scripture in Matthew 23:11, which reminds us that the greatest among us serve others.

Who are your unsung heroes? As students, we can honor these people by emulating their example, quietly seeking out opportunities to serve and lift others. Do not forget the vital role they play in making BYU the exceptional institution that it is. I invite each of you to take some time this week to seek out the unsung heroes of your BYU experience and recognize them for the influence they have had on your life. Thank you Audrey, Vika and Katy. And thanks to your many colleagues across campus who are making such a difference for all of us, your students.

Adam Johnson

Woodland Hills, Utah

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