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Awards Season 2021: Regardless of discipline, BYU students are taking home the hardware

Scholarships, fellowships, 1st-place finishes and much more

BYU Model UN Team
BYU's Model United Nations Team won "Outstanding Delegation" at the 2021 Model UN Competition.

Graduation is just around the corner, but before the Class of 2021 dons their regalia, there are a number of other students that deserve a little celebration. From anthropology to graphic design, BYU students are winning their fair share of year-end awards for excellence in their field of study.

And while it’s impossible to recognize every award-winning student on campus, here are a few highlights from this Awards Season that capture the excellent academic and creative abilities of our Cougars.

Emilee Severe (Environmental Science)
Severe was awarded a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship to research microplastics in agricultural soils in the United Kingdom. This is one of the highest honors given by the European Commission, providing full research and travel support for her Ph.D. research. Severe is currently a senior researching water pollution and sustainable agriculture. She will begin work this summer at Lancaster University.

Hunter Young's work for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Hunter Young (Graphic Design)
Young has won the Communication Arts award twice in a row now for his graphic design work. His first win was for a rebranding project that he did for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (see image to the right), which included artwork for banners, posters, bags, notebooks and even special museum-branded tape. His second is for “Strike,” a 60-second motion type video based on a recorded spoken poem from a man living on the streets of New York City.

Clair Wootan (Biodiversity & Conservation)
Wootan recently earned a rare fellowship from the Bayer Crop Science/University of Minnesota Multifunctional Agriculture Initiative. The fellowship provides funding for four premier-level Graduate Research Assistantships for a period of three years. The award covers tuition, fees, research funding and a stipend, as well as a unique opportunity for the Fellows to discuss their research ideas and progress with Bayer employees.

Sylvie Littledale doing field work.

Sylvie Littledale (Anthropology)
Littledale won 1st Place at the international geological exploration competition hosted by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. Some 20 teams of undergraduates and graduate students from around the world competed, with Littledale’s Inca Team finishing first and winning the audience choice award. Littledale does ethnography and archaeology in the Peruvian Andes, which is how she met her teammates, all of which are associated with the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru.

Anna Everett (Neuroscience) & Nolan Cole (Biostatistics)
Everett and Cole earned prestigious Goldwater Scholarships, which are awarded to only 410 students out of more than 5,000 applicants annually. Everett has a goal to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience and her research uses traditional lab tools and math modeling to investigate the cellular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative diseases. Cole is pursuing a Ph.D. in biostatistics and hopes to improve statistical methods at the crux of clinical research and genomics.

Joseph Carson (Journalism)
Carson won a slew of awards from the Broadcast Education Association, including 1st Place in the Television Hard News Reporting category for his story “Corona Water Treatment Plant,” and 2nd Place in the Television Short Feature Reporting category for his piece titled “The Chosen.” Carson also took 3rd Place in Television News Anchor and Television News Magazine. Overall, BYU students and faculty won eight awards at the 2021 BEA Festival of Media Arts. Fellow BYU journalism major Danielle Hallows also won 1st Place for Television Weathercaster.

Jacob Munton is a pre-business student.

Jacob Munton (Pre-Business)
Munton was surprised this spring to learn he won a $25,000 Truett Cathy True Inspiration Scholarship. Named in honor of Chick-Fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, only 12 of these scholarships are awarded annually out of more than 12,000 applications nationwide. Munton works as a director at the Spanish Fork franchise of Chick-Fil-A, helping pay his way through school as he works toward a program in the Marriott School of Business.

Jessica Daynes (Nursing)
Daynes received the Isabel Hampton Robb Leadership Award this month from the National Student Nurses' Association. Daynes, a senior capstone student, is the current president of the Utah Student Nurses' Association and was elected to the Utah Student Nurses Association Board as Region I Director last year. The cash award is presented to the student nurses' association state president whose leadership characteristics most resemble those of Isabel Hampton Robb, an organizer and visionary leader well known for her pioneering work in establishing nursing organizations.

Rachel Miner (Economics)
Miner, a junior and Honors student, has been named a 2021 Truman Scholar, the premier graduate fellowship in the United States for those pursuing careers as public service leaders. She is one of 62 new Truman Scholars this year chosen from a record 845 nominations from more than 320 colleges and universities. Miner is studying economics, global women’s studies and studio art and is currently the president of BYU’s Freedom of Religion or Belief Club. She has worked extensively on public policy in the United States Senate. Most recently, she coordinated with Dr. Julie Valentine and the Utah State Legislature to help draft and facilitate support for three separate bills that ensure protection to sexual assault survivors.

Accounting student Joy Saline.


Joy Saline (Accounting)
Saline earned a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board scholarship. Each year the PCAOB awards these prestigious, merit-based $10,000 scholarships to 234 undergraduate and graduate accounting students across the United States. Unlike many scholarships where students apply themselves, PCAOB scholars must be nominated by professors from their universities.

Saline left BYU without graduating for personal circumstances in 2015, but was accepted into the BYU Marriott’s School of Accountancy four years later, and is now a rare PCAOB honoree. You can read more about her story here. Second-year BYU MAcc student Derek Smith also received a PCAOB award.

Teamwork Wins Coming in Droves Too

In addition to the many fine students who earned individual awards, several BYU student groups also took home some serious hardware this spring. We’d be remiss not to mention a few of them.

BYU won Student Chapter of the Year for 2020 from the International Facility Management Association. IFMA is the main industry organization for facility management and there are student chapters at colleges around the globe. BYU has won the significant honor more than 15 times over the past two decades.

The BYU Model United Nations Team won Outstanding Delegation Award for its performance at this year’s virtual National Model United Nations competition. This award is given to the highest-ranking delegation among the thousands of participants.

Known as one of the best collegiate advertising labs in the country, the BYU AdLab continued its awards haul in 2020-2021. The AdLab won five international ANDY awards, 17 Art Directors Club awards, 12 One Show Brief awards, 15 Telly Awards and ended the year ranked the No. 2 Creative Program from the One Club for Creativity advertising awards.

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