Ethan Hardy isn’t a “this or that” person. He believes in “this and that.”
Ethan Hardy started his BYU experience as many students do — eager, yet undecided on a major, maybe music or biology — but he knew one thing for certain: he was going to take advantage of every opportunity BYU provided him by paying it forward.
“Here at BYU, I’ve been flooded with so many opportunities and people that are invested in my success,” said Hardy. “I want to be someone who helps others along in their journey.”
During his first year and a half at BYU, Hardy has volunteered as a piano teacher at Provo’s South Franklin Community Center, teaching weekly piano lessons to children who might otherwise not be able to afford them.
“It’s been incredibly valuable,” said Hardy. “I love teaching and seeing students grow. But the reason I’ve stuck with it is the relationships I’ve built with these kids and their families. I didn’t expect my connections with them to be as meaningful as they have been.”
Hardy has developed a particularly close relationship with his student, Elian Cardona, and his family. Cardona recently showcased his piano skills at the United Way of Utah County’s 60th-anniversary appreciation dinner. Hardy was in attendance to support him and celebrated with his family after the event.
“My favorite part is seeing them perform. It always inspires me to see the support of their families and their community, and it reminds me to never take for granted the chance I have to work with these kids,” he said. “Being a part of this program has deepened my love and appreciation for music in a way that I don’t think I could experience any other way.”
For Hardy, finding time each week amidst a busy school schedule to teach piano at the community center isn’t a matter of trade-offs; it’s an integral part of his BYU experience that has motivated him to put his faith, intellect and character into action.
“I’ve realized how important opportunities are for people to develop their talents,” he said. “Elian’s commitment to improvement, combined with the direction I offer him, has led to a lot of growth over the last year and a half. I feel fortunate to be a part of his musical development.”
The experiences Hardy’s had both inside and outside the classroom during his time at BYU have helped him realize his full divine potential, which is what drew him to the university in the first place.
A gifted pianist, Hardy arrived on campus in 2022 with a deep appreciation for the power of music and began studying music performance. His piano skills grew thanks to exhausting hours of practice and dedicated professors who spent time coaching him outside of class.
Still, he couldn’t ignore his aptitude for STEM. He was fascinated with different science classes and ultimately changed his major to neuroscience to better align with a pre-med track. “I’ve always been drawn to subjects like math and science, which was why I was interested in medicine when I was young. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve experienced the fulfillment that comes from caring for others. I’m drawn to medicine because it combines an intellectually rigorous career with daily opportunities to improve peoples’ well-being,” said Hardy.
Hardy recently began a summer internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he’s working with Dr. Chi-Fu Jeffrey Yang, thoracic surgeon and professor at Harvard Medical School, and other students researching lung cancer. He’ll also be involved with a nonprofit, helping to raise awareness of the importance of lung cancer screening through events and community outreach.
Studying medicine by day and teaching music by night, Hardy is proving that when your priorities are right and you’re motivated by a love of God and His children, maybe you really can “have it all.”