How chemical engineering student Alyssa Bagoyo paid tribute to her late mother through her Brigham Young University education
Alyssa Bagoyo fondly remembers attending the Education Week workshop: “So Your Daughter Wants to Change the World: How an Engineering Degree Can Make It Possible.” The class struck a chord with Bagoyo; it felt like a heavenly nudge from her mom who had passed away three years before.
Her mother and true-blue alum, Hitomi, had shockingly received an aggressive cancer diagnosis back during Bagoyo’s freshman year at BYU. She immediately put everything on pause to serve her family and made the decision to postpone her schooling and a mission call to Kobe, Japan, where her mom was raised.
“That was a really special time for me,” Bagoyo said. “I got to spend time with my mom and prepare for my mission even better as I served her.”
Her mother passed away in 2016. Still eager to serve, Bagoyo was miraculously called once again to Kobe, Japan, where she connected with many who had known her mom; a full circle moment for the Bagoyo family.
Finding herself back on campus, Bagoyo was ready to carry on her mom’s legacy at BYU. Hitomi had graduated from BYU in 1996 and majored in finance, and often told Bagoyo how much she loved her time at BYU. It was the Education Week workshop that gave Bagoyo the courage to major in chemical engineering and pay tribute to her mom’s BYU degree and heritage by minoring in business and Japanese.
It wasn’t long before Bagoyo started to make her own impression on BYU.
Interested in combining her chemical engineering and business expertise, she was accepted to the Crocker Innovation Fellowship, a year-long interdisciplinary program hosted at BYU that’s designed for students to gain entrepreneurial innovation experience. She was placed on a team with students pursuing industrial design, entrepreneurship, information systems, and mechanical engineering with the task to find a solution for homeowners who loved landscaping.
The team cleverly devised a device that sits under a plant and, thanks to some nifty engineering, tracks plant health and lights up when the plant needs water. Bagoyo and her fellow teammates called their creation Plant Podium, and made it all the way to the finals of the 2023 BYU Student Innovator of the Year Competition with the device that “gives your plant a voice.”
Bagoyo was key to the innovation as her chemical engineering skillset allowed her to identify the chemical properties that the device needed in order to evaluate the plant’s nutrition needs. The team recently partnered with a manufacturing company to finally see their invention hit the shelves.
Bagoyo strongly exemplifies the BYU mission statement: “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” She is already translating her skills as a Yield Enhancement Engineer at Texas Instruments, where she explores manufacturing solutions to fix product errors.
“Seeing the bigger picture of the skillset I’ve learned at BYU and finding opportunities to use that to help people has been so rewarding,” Bagoyo said. “BYU is just such a special place.”
At the close of her time at BYU, Bagoyo is grateful for the way her mom inspired her to come here. She has truly used her BYU education to change the world, with her mom’s influence as the driving force.