2016 Wheatley Student Scholars
Daniel Cowser was born and raised in the Kaysville/Fruit Heights area to Steve and Kelly Cowser. He has an older sister Carly, an older brother James, and a little brother William. His family has been wonderful examples to him throughout his life and he loves to laugh and spend time with them. He was married in May 2015 to the beautiful Alexandra Lloyd. They currently live in Davis County while his wife is finishing her piano performance degree at the University of Utah. Danny is a senior studying Political Science and loves learning about people, cultures, and development. Danny enjoys watching Australian Rules Football, speaking Chinese, conducting experiments with PEDL and hunting. After he graduates, he intends to pursue a PhD and become a professor.
Tanner Eastmond is a senior studying Economics and Mathematics. He is currently involved in research in the economics department and is assisting with a number of projects including the effect of welfare programs on cohabiting couples’ marital decisions and the impact of offering gender neutral housing on college campus sexual assaults. He has been married to his wife Allison for a little over a year. They are both originally from Lehi, Utah, although Tanner also lived in Michigan, New York, and Arizona during his childhood years. He has three younger siblings, a younger sister and two younger brothers. He enjoys running and is currently preparing for a marathon. His wife often jokes that working is his hobby, but in reality he just really loves studying, learning, and researching. He plans on working towards a PhD in economics and eventually becoming a professor.
Thomas Gassaway is an International Relations Major who claims the United States as his hometown. He was born in Vancouver, WA although he grew up in six different states and has visited forty-eight of them. He refers to himself as a “news nut” because of his fascination with following world events. His main interest is in the realm of understanding conflict. What causes violence? Can conflict be avoided? Is war ever right? He is a member of the Air Force ROTC program and hopes to one day become an AF representative for the State Department in embassies abroad. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to e-books while hiking national parks.
S. Gabe Hatch is the oldest of three children and was born and raised in Spanish Fork, Utah. He is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Statistics. His research interests include: marriage, sexual risk taking, relationships, technology, creative therapeutic interventions whereby relationships can be improved, and the dissemination of such devices. Gabe is currently developing a text message therapeutic intervention designed to alleviate marital distress and improve overall relationship well-being. He aspires to pursue his Ph.D. in hopes of eventually becoming a clinical scientist.
Gabe also assists a residential treatment center with psychological assessment, data analysis, and research. At this center, he mentors troubled adolescents, and tutors them in the hard sciences and math. Gabe is also a member of the board directors for Now I Can Foundation: a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to helping disabled children reach their fullest potential.
Susannah Morrison is a junior double-majoring in History and Classics, with a particular focus in early English medieval history. Her current research focuses on the role of religion in the development of English nationalism in the ninth and tenth centuries, but she has also presented and published papers in Old English philology and British imperial history. She plans to pursue postgraduate study in the United Kingdom, and hopes to become a professional non-fiction writer and popular historian. Raised in northern Canada by an Anglo-Scottish father and an Iraqi-German mother, she is the third of four daughters. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, writing, and listening to British punk and New Wave.
Louise Paulsen is from Copenhagen, Denmark and is a junior studying Political Science with an emphasis in international strategy and diplomacy. With minors in Business Management and European Studies, she focuses on conflict resolution and organizational leadership in international politics. Louise is the president of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Society and former president of Sigma Iota Rho. She is planning to continue her studies in international conflict resolution and leadership, as well as engage with other young LDS in Europe in helping them strive to make a difference in society and have meaningful impact on their community. In her downtime she enjoys traveling, reading, exploring and connecting with other people.
Becca Smith, of Payson, Utah, is a sophomore in the School of Family Life. As a Family Studies major, Becca loves learning about communication skills that can contribute to more peaceful homes for families. She is interested in researching common attitudes among various populations regarding the purposes of marriage. After concluding her Bachelor’s degree, Becca aims to complete a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Using the knowledge and skills she gains while studying and researching as a university student, Becca looks forward to helping educate her community about why marriage matters and about how to communicate with family members more effectively. Most of all, Becca is excited to apply her skills in her own family as a wife and mother. She is the youngest of six children and the wife to her hero and best friend.
Aubree Weiler is the oldest of three girls and is proud to be from Bountiful, Utah. She is a senior studying dance education with a minor in business management. Growing up with a mother who started her own dance studio, Aubree has experienced firsthand the influence that mentors can make in a person’s life. She has a passion for teaching and aspires to help school dance programs become more prevalently recognized as an influential aspect of a child’s education. In addition to teaching, Aubree loves to be involved in various organizations and clubs around campus. She is currently the President of the Dance Major Student Representatives after serving as the Vice President for the past two years. She is also an educator in the Arts Bridge program, a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society, and performs for BYU’s Contemporary Dance Theatre (CDT). In previous years, Aubree was involved in BYUSA, YServe, CFACSA, and danceEnsemble. In her spare time, Aubree loves playing tennis, eating lemon ice cream, and traveling with her husband.
Mai Zaru is a 20-year-old bilingual Palestinian junior majoring in Special Education for Mild to Moderate disabilities and minoring in TESOL K-12. Despite having Arabic as her native tongue, Mai has written two poetry books in English; one of which is in its last stages of publication. Yet education doesn’t end there for Mai; she aspires to receive a Master’s degree in leadership that will broaden her opportunities of service. She seeks an education beyond degrees, an education that will allow her to initiate an end to the era of silent oppression and muffled freedoms. That education will not only become her passport and ticket home, but her flight to serving the world with all its challenges.
2015 Wheatley Student Scholars
Cassandra Ball grew up in Pheonix, Arizona and is currently studying Classics with a minor in Anthropology. She is an active member of Eta Sigma Phi, the Classics Honors Society, and she volunteers as a Greek and Latin language tutor. Her research is spent in Greek and Latin language, literature, and history. She is attempting to address the questions of gender roles, class divisions, and ideals of excellence and virtue as they relate to Classical Antiquity. In her free time, Cassandra enjoys taking walks and hikes, going to the movies, and reading books of all types and genres.
Lee Essig is a human development major at BYU. He is fascinated by human and family dynamics and is particularly interested in Men and Masculinity research. His research has been in men’s mental and emotional health, and how men’s emotional stability effects their marriages and families. He is also investigating how men’s conceptualization of masculinity effects them for good or for bad. Currently he is studying the effects of different media genres on men’s adherence to hegemonic masculine characteristics, such as aggression and hyper-sexuality. Over the past three years he has been involved in addiction research and education. He’s worked with Fight the New Drug, The Elizabeth Smart Foundation, and Operation Underground Railroad.
Nathan Leonhardt is the oldest of six children and hails from Midland Michigan. He is a senior at BYU where he is studying family life. His research is on society’s changing views of marriage and sexuality, with a special emphasis on pornography use. He has presented his research at the Study of Emerging Adults and at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. He aspires to continue his research in graduate school and eventually become a professor. In addition to his work in academics, Nathan also holds and active role in many campus organizations. He is the president of the School of Family Life Student Association, service director of the Golden Key International Honour Society, and a part of the leadership committee for Phi Kappa Phi. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys playing football, reading classic books, writing piano music, and watching Disney Movies.
Elizabeth Robinson is a junior at Brigham Young University, pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, along with a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is second of six children and has lived in Utah, New Jersey, and Colorado. Currently, she works as a research assistant for Dr. David Long in the Microwave Earth Remote Sensing Laboratory at BYU. Her research pursuits include Antarctic iceberg tracking and the compilation of the comprehensive database of iceberg coordinates. She is passionate about learning foreign languages, and in her spare time enjoys sports, family outings, and spending time with her husband.
Julia Norman is currently a junior at BYU studying psychology. She has enjoyed a research project with Dr. David Dollahite, who investigates the positive impact of religion on the family. She is planning on attending a Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s program so she can prepare to become a licensed marriage and family therapist before earning her Ph.D. and becoming a professor.
Camden Robinson is a junior from Park City, Utah. He is planning on graduating from BYU with a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Spanish Studies. Camden is fascinated by the impact of business in society, leading him to pursue dual interests in social innovation and business ethics. As a member of the Social Innovation Leadership Council at BYU, he is currently working on the development of a new program called the Ballard Scholar of Social Innovation. He also recently completed an internship with U.S. Synthetics, where he designed a service program that would engage the company’s 900 employees. His current project is helping write an ethics field guide for professionals that presents a typology of ethical dilemmas in organizations. In his free time, Camden enjoys tennis, skiing, searching for the best local restaurants, or writing in a 600 page journal he’s kept since he was 14. He plans on pursuing a career in management consulting before going to business school.
Sondra Sasser is a junior studying philosophy at BYU. She is currently working as a TA for two philosophy classes and writing a book of western philosophy with a BYU professor. She plans to get a Ph.D. in philosophy and then convince BYU to hire her as a professor. In her spare time, she loves writing poetry, doing artsy things, and frolicking through foreign countries.
Brad Sears is a junior at BYU studying philosophy. He recently returned from a mission in Brazil and currently teaches Portuguese at the Missionary Training Center. He recently married his best friend from high school in the Atlanta, Georgia Temple. He has a passion for music, and in his free time enjoys playing piano basketball, volleyball, golf, and Frisbee. He intends to attend law school at the University of Virginia after he graduates from BYU in 2017.
Shawn Wortham comes from Woodstock Georgia. While there he was on the soccer team and kicker for the football team. He served a mission in Rome, Italy and married his high school sweetheart 6 months after he returned. He is currently studying Economics at BYU and is part of the Air Force ROTC program. Currently he is doing research on tree rings with Dr. Bekker. He is a piolet and loves flying above BYU. His dream is to be a fighter pilot and stop terrorists.
2014 Wheatley Student Scholars
Jeremy Bray was born in Hawaii, grew up in Arizona, and attended high school in Connecticut. He is currently a junior studying accounting at the BYU Marriott School of Management and is an active member of the BYU Finance Society. After serving a Mandarin speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Taiwan and California, Jeremy developed a passion for studying Chinese. In the fall of 2013, he had the opportunity to study abroad in China at Nanjing University. While there, he finished the requirements for a minor in Chinese and plans to complete that degree simultaneously with accounting. In addition, Jeremy wants to pursue a master’s degree in business administration or accountancy. He is fascinated by foreign cultures and hopes to enter the international business field by combining his Mandarin and business knowledge. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys playing basketball, softball, and skateboarding.
Alejandra Gimenez is a junior from Connecticut studying Political Science at Brigham Young University. She is a student research fellow with BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. Her research interests include voting behaviors and gender in politics, particularly in American politics. Alejandra is also the current publicity chair of the student chapter of the BYU Political Affairs Society. Under the direction of Professors Karpowitz, Monson, and Preece of the Political Science department, she worked as the research assistant on a large field experiment studying female participation in the Utah caucus system. In addition to her research work, she works as the administrative assistant for the Center, managing its daily activities. After she graduates, Alejandra would like to pursue a Ph.D. in political science with an emphasis on American politics. She was a member of the BYU Concert Choir during her freshman year and in her spare time loves to play and watch tennis.
McKenna Hughes is from Scottsdale, Arizona and is a nursing student at BYU. McKenna aspires to pursue a master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner, possibly in family practice, women’s health, or pediatrics. She has worked as a TA in the Anatomy lab for the past 2 years and loves learning about the human body. She hopes to make contributions to nursing research as an undergrad and throughout her future career as an RN and in graduate school. She loves to travel, meet new people, and stay active through yoga and dance.
Lauren Livingston grew up in Utah as the oldest of six children. She will begin the Masters of Information Systems Management program at BYU this fall, with an emphasis on security and forensics. During the summer of 2014, Lauren will be attending Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh as part of an IT fellowship program. While there, she is excited to assist professors in the Heinz College with their research as well as attend classes about entrepreneurship and innovation. She is a strong proponent for women in technology, and a firm believer that technology in the right hands can make the world a better place. Lauren’s favorite activity is scuba diving. She also loves playing the violin, composing piano music, reading murder mysteries, traveling, dirt-biking, snowboarding, and camping.
Taylor-Grey Miller is from High Point, NC and is a junior studying philosophy at BYU. His primary philosophical interests include philosophy of language and ethics. He was the winner of the 2014 David H. Yarn philosophical essay contest and was published as lead article in the Winter 2014 edition of Aporia. He wants to pursue a J.D. as well as a PhD in philosophy. He enjoys swimming, playing guitar, and playing Frisbee golf wherever there are Frisbee golf cages.
Christopher Rytting is a sophomore studying Math and Economics. He is from Orem, Utah, and attended Timpanogos High School. Christopher aims to get a PhD in economics after graduating from BYU. After graduate school, he hopes to work for the Federal Reserve, helping to make public policy decisions. He enjoys the mountains, jazz and classical music, soccer, and learning in general.
Josh Schmidt is from Rocklin, CA and is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University. During the summer of 2013 Josh interned at SkyCraft airplanes where he helped the startup company manufacture the very first planes being sold by the company (…where he helped the startup company manufacture their very first planes on the market). The following summer, Josh interned at Valero Energy Corporation at their Benicia, CA refinery. His projects included repairing a service line, increasing pump performance, and installing permanant filters for the process. In addition to his internships, Josh has also worked as the Student Assistant to the Director of the Weidman Center for Global Leadership where he helped further the impact of the center, researched leadership education, and helped start the Leadership Lectures Series within the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology. He also has worked as a Research Assistant developing ways to measure ultra-high temperatures using radiative heat transfer methods. Josh hopes to continue his education and get his Master’s degree in either Mechanical Engineering, Business Adminstration, or both through the MS/MBA joint program. When he has completed his education, he hopes to be an influential leader in the technical workplace. Josh loves being outdoors, playing sports, and hiking with his wife. He is also excited to be (become) a father to his unborn child who he is expecting in November 2014.
Tyler Simms is from Carson City, NV and is a senior studying political science at BYU. Tyler is heavily involved in the political science department at BYU. He is currently the president of the BYU Political Affairs Society, a student research fellow for the Center for the Studies of Elections and Democracy (CSED) and works as an RA for Dr. Jay Goodliffe. Tyler’s research interests include presidential campaigns and donors, public opinion, and political participation. Tyler will graduate in April of 2015 and plans to attend law school the following fall. After law school, Tyler plans to have a career working in government. In his spare time, Tyler loves reading the news, reading books, attending athletic events (especially baseball games), going on hikes, and playing tennis.
Austin Unsicker is in a double major with the Math and Math Education programs at BYU. He was nominated “Outstanding Junior” this past year by the Math Department. He is participating in two math research projects: one on mathematical origami with Dr. Denise Halverson, and the other on geometric optimization with Dr. Gary Lawlor, both of the BYU Math Department. Last summer he presented his research to the MAA MathFest conference in Connecticut. He received the “Outstanding Presentation Award.” He was also an undergraduate session winner for the same research at the BYU Spring Research Conference of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. He has a passion for improving education, and enjoys tutoring as a volunteer. He plans to pursue Masters and PhD programs in math and/or math education. Summer 2014 brought a Research Experience for Undergraduates at Illinois State University. This is a unique internship with the opportunity to blend math research with exploring advanced teaching methods with select students from the Chicago Public Schools. Austin is engaged to be married to recent BYU Computer Science graduate Christine Kendall on August 15, 2014.
Morgan Vonasek is from El Dorado, CA and is a junior studying Biology at BYU. He is always anxious to learn more about the world around him and particularly enjoys learning about developmental biology. Morgan plans on attending medical school while possibly specializing in neurology, cardiology, or orthopedics. He enjoys fishing, camping, and sports including football, volleyball and basketball.
2013 Wheatley Student Scholars
Trenton Blair is a senior studying environmental science with a minor in political science at Brigham Young University. He is a cadet in BYU’s Air Force ROTC program with plans on to attend law school and become a JAG in the Air Force. He has worked as a research assistant with professor Bryan Hopkins since his freshman year studying phosphorus fertilizers and increasing use efficiency of fertilizers to lessen environmental effects of agricultural fertilizer applications. He is also the president of BYU’s Environmental Science Club and helped to begin the Planet Earth Panel Series that regularly invites experts from different disciplines to come to BYU to talk about current environmental issues. His lab work and educational background has lead to an internship in Washington D.C. working for Schramm, Williams, and Associates, an agricultural lobbying firm that represents specialty crop growers. His interests include running, backpacking, and just about anything else that will get him away from the daily grind.
Ryan Hopkin is a Junior pursuing a degree in Latin American Studies with minors in business management and communications. Ryan was born and raised in northern Wyoming where he lived and worked on his family’s farm until graduating from high school. After serving a mission in the Dominican Republic, he began his studies at BYU where he has had a number of remarkable opportunities. In 2012, Ryan interned with the Embassy of Ecuador to the United States in Washington DC and recently completed a global marketing study abroad this past spring that took to through Europe and Asia meeting with business executives of companies including Google, eBay, Barclays, and others. His love and passion for different cultures and customs has motivated him to work toward a future career in marketing and public relations throughout Latin America.
Alyssa Huber was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, where her house is located on the same street as her elementary, middle, and high schools. After enjoying classes in the elementary education and business programs, she found her niche in Latin American Studies, with minors in Music and Global Business & Literacy. In graduate school, Alyssa is interested in studying how technology can enhance the effectiveness of classroom teaching (especially to Spanish-speaking English Language Learners), as well as curriculum design. After teaching English in Mexico through a program called ILP and then living in the foreign language housing, she hopes to learn more about how second languages can be best taught and learned through immersion and online. She enjoys her job as an Instructional Design Assistant at BYU Independent Study. Alyssa is a Program Director for BYU Tutoring Services, which connects BYU student tutors with students who are struggling in a given class, and she looks forward to the the launch of a new website system that will connect with Learning Suite and make it easier for tutors to serve. Her hobbies include piano, organ, guitar, varying styles of dance, yoga, tennis, soccer, practicing her Spanish, and reading.
Alyxis Keller is a senior at BYU double majoring in Music, with an emphasis in piano, and in the Humanities, with an emphasis in Comparative Literature. She has always been interested in the power of the arts; throughout her life, she has learned that access to the arts provides means of expression, lessons in discipline, and the creation of cultural unity. After completing her undergraduate studies, she hopes to pursue a Masters in Public Administration so that she is better equipped to share this knowledge with others. More specifically, she is working to promote the arts and their positive influence in local communities. From a tiny town in Connecticut, Alyxis has studied the piano for nearly two decades. She also has academic interests in the French language, world music, literary period studies, and music history.
Brock M. Mason is a PhD candidate in philosophy at Fordham University. He graduated from Brigham Young University in April of 2014 with a degree in philosophy and minors in logic and ancient Near Eastern studies. While at BYU, Brock served as the editor for Studia Antiqua, as a research assistant for professor David L. Paulsen, and as an associate editor of Aporia. He has been a Kennedy Scholar (2011-2012) and an ORCA grant recipient (2012). In addition to his work in Provo, Brock has studied and conducted research in Israel, Turkey, Greece, and Austria. Brock has won various awards for his academic writing, including first place in the annual Phi Kappa Phi essay contest (2012). He has published or presented various papers on ethics, philosophy of religion, theology, and scriptural interpretation. His academic interests include philosophy of religion, philosophy of law, biblical studies, and the philosophy and theology of Mormonism. Brock is married to Jessica Andersen Mason and loves married life.
Shayla Nuttall is from Las Vegas, NV and is a junior studying finance at BYU. She enjoys learning new things and especially enjoys learning about business strategy. Shayla wanst to pursue a masters degree, possibly in business, information systems, or statistics and might try to get a PhD. She enjoys reading books and articles online and sharing what she has read with others.
Rebecca Udall Cowan is a senior studying Elementary Education at Brigham Young University. She agrees with David O. Mckay that “the noblest of all noble professions is that of teaching” (Mckay, 1953). Beginning this August, she will begin an internship teaching third grade in Jordan school district. Rebecca believes teaching is a moral endeavor and public education is the cornerstone of a prosperous democratic society. She is currently a research assistant for an early literacy program called Project SEEL (which stands for Systematic Engaging Early Literacy). This project, developed by Drs. Barbara Culatta and Dana Kovarsky, aims to teach young children to read through meaningful, playful activities. (For more information visit: education.byu.edu/seel ). After graduation, Rebecca plans to obtain a Master’s degree in School Leadership. Mckay, David O. “Address of President David O. McKay.” Faculty Workshop. Brigham Young University. 18 09 1953. Address.
Katherine Westmoreland is a graduate of Brigham Young University.
2012 Wheatley Student Scholars
Mauresa Bastian grew up on a farm in rural Utah. She obtained her associates degree from Snow College at the same time she graduated from high school. Mauresa graduated summa cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in food science. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in food science at BYU. Upon finishing graduate school, Mauresa plans to pursue a professional career in the food industry as a research scientist/food product developer. In her spare time, she enjoys sewing, cooking, dancing, playing the piano and accordion, hiking, gardening, and spending time with her family.
Sarah Karlinsey is a Wheatley Scholar from Seattle, Washington double majoring in Biology and Bioinformatics and minoring in Computer Science. For the majority of her time at BYU, she has worked in a biology research lab studying global change ecology and ecosystem ecology, and she recently conducted a study to predict how climate change will affect the recolonization of Engelmann spruce trees on the Wasatch Plateau. Now she works in a bioinformatics lab developing tools to more efficiently identify and map simple sequence repeats in DNA. Outside of school, Sarah enjoys hiking, running, and photography. She is currently the president of BYU’s EcoResponse Club, which organized the construction of the world’s largest cardboard box fort last April. Sarah plans to graduate April 2015, after which she and her husband will seek full-time employment in Seattle.
Caitlin Munger is from a small rural town in Oregon called Warren and is the oldest of 4 children. Currently, She is a senior at Brigham Young University studying neuroscience and has been fortunate to do research in Dr. Kauwe’s lab on BYU campus. They study the genetic risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease. Caitlin, along with several of her co-workers have published two papers on this topic and presented at multiple conferences, the most well-known of which is the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference, held this last summer in Boston. After graduation, she intends to receive the education and training to become a Physician’s Assistant.
Richard Payne is currently pursuing a PhD in Statistics from Texas A&M University. He graduated magna cum laude from BYU in 2013 with a B.S. in Statistics and a minor in Mathematics. While at BYU, Richard researched non-parametric Bayesian clustering under Dr. David B. Dahl. Richard recently joined Progress Through Business, a non-profit which promotes the use of business to solve social issues.
2011 Wheatley Student Scholars
Megan Armknecht is a senior studying English Literature and History at Brigham Young University. Besides discussing Romantic poetry and nineteenth-century American and European history, Megan also enjoys discussing current global events and foreign policies. Megan is from Lindon, Utah.
Ethan Busby has gone on to graduate school at Northwestern University since graduating in 2013. There he is currently a PhD student focusing on Political Psychology. His research centers on the nature of partisanship, emotions in politics, and political decision-making. Other work he has done deals with experimental manipulations of threat and the nature of populist attitudes, specifically as they relate to vote choice. In April of 2013, he graduated magna cum laude from BYU with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Statistics. While at BYU, he also worked as a Student Research Fellow with the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy and helped carry out the 2012 Utah Colleges Exit Poll.
Kristen Nicole Cardon is a graduate student in English at Brigham Young University. She is the recipient of the 2013-14 P.A. Christensen award for graduate students, and she is presently writing her thesis on two film adaptations of Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. Cardon graduated summa cum laude with University Honors from Brigham Young University in 2013. She has studied at Oxford and Cambridge and conducted field research in northern India in 2011. Her undergraduate Honors thesis discussed T. S. Eliot’s collaboration with Renaissance dramatists in terms of media theory. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key International Honor Society, and the BYU Women’s Studies Honor Society. Cardon currently serves as secretary of the Women’s Studies Honor Society and co-managing editor for the Women’s Studies journal. After leaving BYU, Cardon plans to earn a doctorate degree in English literature and work as a professor of English. Aside from her academic interests, Cardon is a certified yoga instructor and an enthusiastic albeit novice rock climber.
Jonathan Keith is a pianist, composer and teacher. He began playing the piano at age 3, won his first piano competition at age 5, and at age 9, he began his study under Dr. Irene Peery-Fox, professor at Brigham Young University. Jonathan now has a full teaching studio of his own and is a member of Encore Teacher’s Association and Music Teacher’s National Association. Jonathan has appeared as a soloist with the Utah Symphony, Utah Valley Symphony, American Fork Symphony, and the BYU Symphony many times and has performed across Europe and the United States in competitions and concerts. He has won first prizes and performed in winners recitals including the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Anaheim CA, the International Festival for Creative Pianists in Grand Junction CO, and Boise ID, the International Music Academy of Pilsen, Czech Republic, and the Hyde Park Concert Series in London. Although he loves performing, Jonathan is also an aspiring commissioned composer. He was the national winner of the 2006 Reflections composition competition and the national winner of the MENC composition festival. He has won “best original composition” three times in a row at the International Festival for Creative Pianists and was also awarded best improvisation, best arrangement of a pop song, and most versatile pianist (www.pianofestival.org & magazines including NPR, in a major article in the April 2003 issue of Clavier, and in other music publications such as Piano & Keyboard, Piano Today, and the London-based Piano magazine). Jonathan was recognized by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts for his Piano Concerto No. 1 (2007), his String Quartet was premiered at the International highScore Festival in Pavia, Italy (2012), and he won first prize in the Barlow endowment contest for his piano trio (2013). As a graduate from Brigham Young University and a Wheatley Institution scholar, Jonathan plans to earn his doctoral degree and pursue a career in composition and pedagogy, hoping to one day give back part of his knowledge and resources to the success of future students. Jonathan and his wife Karissa currently reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he is earning a Master’s degree in piano performance and pedagogy and she is finishing an undergraduate degree in Exercise and Wellness.
Matthew J. Lelegren currently attends the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelors of science in Biochemistry with a Minor in Spanish and University Honors. As an undergraduate, he worked in Dr. Daniel Simmons’ laboratory as a Research assistant for 3 years. During that time, he received two Undergraduate Research Awards through the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (2011, 2012) as well as an ORCA grant (2013). As a Honors Student, he completed an Honors Thesis which includes some of the data obtained from his laboratory work. Matthew is Married to Kate Lelegren and they have one daughter, Eloise.
Madeleine Ary is a student of International Relations with minors in Middle Eastern Studies and Philosophy. She studied at Cambridge University for a term and there conducted research on her honors thesis entitled A Community Approach to Counter-Terrorism: A Case Study of Cambridge, England. She also studied Middle Eastern cultures, languages, and history at the BYU Jerusalem Center. This last spring, Madeleine traveled with the BYU United Nations team to represent the Gambia at the New York National Conference. There the team was awarded with an Outstanding Delegation award and she won an Outstanding Position Paper award. She served an LDS mission in the North Adriatic, primarily Slovenia. After her mission, she served as president of the BYU Fidelio Society, a BYU club which meets bi-monthly to discuss matters of philosophy and faith and reason. She also became a Student Fellow of the Love and Fidelity Network at Princeton, an organization which actively works to encourage fidelity before and after marriage. Madeleine has served as Vice President of the Honors Student Advisory Council, and has been awarded the Robert K. Thomas Honors Scholarship for this coming year. She was also honored to be selected as a Kennedy Scholar for the BYU Kennedy Center for International Studies. Madeleine currently works at the Wheatley Institution as the Special Projects Assistant. She is from Los Angeles, California.
Fran Djoukeng is a Communications student with an emphasis in journalism at Brigham Young University. She is a reporter for BYU ElevenNews, an award-winning student-produced live television newscast, seen weekdays at noon on KBYU-TV, Channel 11. In 2013, the Society for Professional Journalists awarded it first place for best student television newscast in the nation. She is also a contributor to The Universe, the official student newspaper for BYU. She is honored with induction in Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor society in journalism and mass communications. Membership in KTA is a distinct honor that results from an excellent academic record in the BYU Department of Communications. Only senior students in the top 10 percent are eligible for membership in BYU’s H.R. Merrill Chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha.