Rise and shout! Across various disciplines, BYU students are being recognized for their world-class accomplishments.
While it’s impossible to recognize every award-winning student, these highlights capture the considerable work and creative abilities of our Cougars and are representative of a campus community that is motivated by a love of God and His children.
Adam Johnson (College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences)
Adam Johnson was named a 2023 Truman Scholar, one of only 62 recipients chosen from a nationwide pool of over 700 applicants.
The Truman Scholarship recognizes college juniors who display exceptional leadership potential and are committed to affecting change through public service. The scholarship provides students with $30,000 for graduate study. Johnson’s achievement marks the third consecutive year a BYU student has received the scholarship.
"BYU gave me a lens through which I can view the world more like the Savior views the world," said Johnson. "Because of that, I want to consecrate my life to God to build up his Kingdom, and I think everyone has the power to do that.”
Carter Norton (College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences)
Carter Norton was named a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship awards up to $7,500 to students intending to pursue careers in the natural sciences or engineering and mathematics. Norton currently works with BYU professor Tim Jenkins and Inherent Biosciences and is developing a novel DNA-methylation-based screening for prostate cancer. He plans to pursue a PhD and continue in cancer research.
“Without BYU’s commitment to faith and spirituality, my testimony would not have been able to grow alongside my career aspirations,” he said. “I’m grateful for the emphasis on undergraduate research at BYU and for the support of my advisor, Tim Jenkins and other faculty who helped me develop my love for research.”
Mayra Hernandez Sanchez (College of Life Sciences)
Mayra Hernandez Sanchez won first place in the BYU 3 Minute Thesis Competition. As part of her research, she led a team exploring how to encourage elementary-aged kids to eat vegetables. Schools provide nutritious lunch options, but many kids aren’t eating healthy veggies. Her research found that mixing veggies with potatoes shaped like smiles did the trick. When smiley potatoes were added to the entree, kids ate more of their vegetables and created less food waste.
“BYU has allowed me to see how God’s hand is intertwined in so much of our lives and the lives of others,” she said. “Regardless of what we decide to do professionally, we can use our talents to bless and help others. BYU has given me the courage to share my experiences and I feel confident in using my experience here to bless the lives of others.”
Ashley West (College of Fine Arts and Communications)
Ashley and her husband, Evan, were named first-place winners in the “Wonderbox Showcase” by LG Electronics. They received $25,000 in prize money and their artwork was displayed on LG’s Times Square billboard in New York City through mid-January. Their animated digital red and white rocket ship captured the attention of onlookers as it soared through space and seemingly jumped off the screen.
Cayden Bro and Phil Morrison (College of Life Sciences)
Cayden Bro and Phil Morrison won first place and a check for $12,000 in the BYU Student Innovator of the Year Competition with their innovative solution to chick culling. The team’s humane solution is expected to revolutionize the agriculture industry.
Abby Gunderson and Amy Griffin (College of Fine Arts and Communications)
Journalism students Abby Gunderson and Amy Griffin won a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media. Gunderson won in the On-Air Talent category while Griffin won in the Hard News Feature category. Amy and Abby will be celebrated at The Gracies luncheon in New York City this summer.
Jacob and Garret Stanford (Marriott School of Business)
Jacob and Garret Stanford, twins who are pre-accounting majors and members of the BYU track team, won first place in the Changemakers Reel Competition. The Stanford brothers were awarded $1,500 to develop their winning idea – a mobile game app that donates proceeds to charity when users spend time playing the game.
Emily Hooke (College Fine Arts and Communications)
Emily Hooke was a grand prize winner in the New Ideas: A Dialogue Project Competition hosted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Emily traveled to Durham to discuss her ideas of uniting generations through technology with a panel of senior business leaders and prominent journalists.
David Word (College of Engineering)
David Word, a member of BYU's ROTC, recently received the award for the top squad leader in the 2023 Sandhurst Military Skills Competition. Word, a manufacturing engineering major with a minor in military science and mathematics displayed "highly effective leadership qualities" in earning the Tom Surdyke Memorial Leadership Award during the competition this April at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
In addition to scholarships and individual accolades, numerous BYU groups were recognized for their work.
BYU MBA students placed first at the Global Finals for the 2023 Venture Capital Investment Competition. The event challenges student teams to analyze companies from multiple angles, including finance, marketing, supply chain, and human resources. BYU placed first out of more than 70 of the top MBA programs internationally.
BYU cybersecurity students won the 2023 Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cyber Competition sponsored by Raytheon Technologies. The competition featured eight collegiate cyber teams who competed against each other. BYU’s victory marked the fifth time the university has advanced to the national competition.
BYU also swept the podium at the National Center for Academic Excellence Cyber Games Northwest Regional competition. BYU’s three cybersecurity student teams scored the highest of all teams competing. There was a total of 30 BYU students, distributed among four teams, who succeeded in maintaining operational services for eight hours while under attack from a “hacker” team that was trying to disrupt network services.
Students from the Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences won multiple awards at the Society for Range Management’s 2023 International Annual Meeting held in Boise, Idaho. BYU placed first in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam and received the SRM Collegiate Trail Boss Award. BYU is the first team to win the award in back-to-back meetings.
Plant and Wildlife students also earned second-place honors at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition held at Mississippi State University. BYU students earned 10 of the 75 available scholarships, highlighted by Ashley Beazer winning the prestigious President’s Scholarship.
BYU's Design Department received top rankings from the Animation Career Review:
- Graphic design #25 overall, #19 for undergraduate BFA
- Animation, #11 overall, #10 for undergraduate BFA
- Illustration, #15 overall, #14 for undergraduate BFA
Two BYU students from the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, Kyle Davis and Abner Hardy, were on the winning team at the National Geography Bowl held in Denver earlier this year.
The BYU AdLab, continued its award-winning ways with international acclaim, winning the prestigious Student Emmy award for best commercial (for the fourth time in a row), 11 Clio Awards, 4 D&AD awards, 3 International ANDYs, Communication Arts Advertising Award of Excellence, National Best of Show for AAF ADDYs (fifth time in last six years), and receiving the most shortlisted entries of any other program worldwide in the One Show, ADC, and Young Ones Portoflio Awards. The AdLab ranks as the #2 Creative Advertising Program from the One Club for Creativity student Young Ones competitions.
The BYU Singers choral group won multiple international awards for their performances in Spain at the International Choral Contest of Tolosa. The BYU Singers were one of only 11 chamber choirs in the world selected to perform in the invitation-only contest.
Five BYU Illustration students were accepted into the Society of Illustrators’ 2022 Student Scholarship Competition.
BYU students studying food science took first place in the Pacific West regional Food Science College Bowl Competition and will compete at the national competition in July in Chicago.