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Character

Cougar Query: "You’ll never find me without my running shoes"

Name: Melissa F. Western

BYU employee since: 2015 (I used to work at the University of Utah!)

My job at BYU is... I am a faculty member in the School of Accountancy, which is part of the Marriott School of Business. My primary job includes two important stewardships. First, I help students to find their path. I use accounting as a tool to teach them hard work, teamwork, resilience and many other important traits. I hope that their time with me provides them a skill that allows them to take care of themselves and their families and to contribute to their communities. I also hope that their time with me and in the SOA strengthens their faith in the Savior Jesus Christ by seeing (1) my love and confidence in them, (2) my love for our Heavenly Father and His grand plan of happiness and (3) that my faith is built on asking hard questions, seeking answers in ways that bring truth and a commitment to understanding the doctrines of the gospel.

I approach faith with humility. My confidence only comes from my strong testimony that my Heavenly Father loves me. I can roll with things I do not fully understand because I trust Him.

A professional portrait of Melissa F. Western, BYU associate accounting professor.
Melissa's go-to comfort foods are sparkling water and sour candies.

I’m currently working on... research that examines how financial regulation influences innovation in our economy; if new IPO deal structures like the Up-C are a value-creating or value-destroying means of raising capital and if pornography consumption while at work decreases cognitive performance via ego depletion. All these projects are co-authored with other BYU faculty!

I’m currently reading... Sheri Dew’s book "Women and the Priesthood." I have never met Sheri, but I would like to meet her. She is a smart, motivated woman that has learned to gracefully discuss hard topics in ways that are helpful. I admire her and her work. I'm also reading John Lund’s "For all Eternity." This is a book about communication in families, but it really is just a book about effective communication and overcoming common communication pitfalls. It should be a required read for every couple before they get married! I have read it many times and periodically re-read it to remind myself of the principles of good communication.

I get most excited about my work when... I start a new project and I discover that my inclination was correct (i.e., I find the expected result or discover an interesting result).

Students don’t think I notice when... they have a grateful attitude in hard situations. I notice and it encourages me.

My advice to incoming freshmen is... refrain from looking around to see how you compare. You are here for a reason and you have something of value to contribute and something to learn. Your path is individual, not relative. So, do your best and have a little fun while you enjoy time and learn on this beautiful campus! Also, be a good friend. Look for someone who you perceive is different from you. Try to learn from them and become true friends.

My advice to graduating seniors is... life gets busy fast. Decide now the type of life you will live. If you want it to be centered on the gospel, then allocate time for the gospel. If you want to be healthy, then allocate time to exercise and eat right. Who you will become is dictated by what you do each day. The little things are the things that matter. Choose wisely how you allocate your time. I suggest finding a way to unwind that does not involve electronics. TV, games and shows can be entertaining, but they typically do not fill you up. In this world, we need to be inspired; I suggest unwinding in ways that inspire.

My favorite part about teaching is... helping students to progress; I love progression and education.

On Saturday mornings you’ll find me… hiking to the top of a mountain in the Wasatch Front with my husband (Marc) or working in my garden.

Three things that are always found in my refrigerator are… spinach, eggs and cheese.

You’ll never find me without… my running shoes.

I’m most looking forward to… my children’s successes and their experiences that help them to develop faith and character. I love watching them learn and grow into people that I not only love but also admire. The greatest achievement I could hope to obtain in this life (besides remaining faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ) is raising two wonderful human beings who know who they are and are committed to doing what is right. I hope I help to give them wings to fly. They are two of the best people that I know. Love you K and E!

My favorite quote is… my husband always says to our nieces and nephews, “If your boyfriend/girlfriend does not love you, your spouse will.” I love this quote for students as it reminds us to remember that short-term disappointments are not permanent! Smile, it gets better!

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