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Character

Cougar Queries: "In my free time you can find me tending to my bees."

Name: Stephen Liddle

BYU employee since: 1995

My job at BYU is… I'm a professor in the Information Systems department.  I teach students how to program iPhones, Android devices and web sites.  I also oversee the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology where we help students learn how to build great start-ups.

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Currently I’m working on… Tools that will help extract information automatically from family history texts and improvements to the LDS Scripture Citation Index.

I get most excited about my work when… A research project leads to a new tool that lots of people enjoy using (such as scriptures.byu.edu or scriptures.byu.edu/mapscrip).

I’m currently reading… Several things: the scriptures (my current daily study takes me to The Book of Mormon in English, Spanish and some German, and the New Testament), the most recent LDS General Conference talks, stories from my family history, Ray Zinn's Tough Things First and Ronald Fry's Hammerhead Six.

An assemble-it-yourself microcomputer kit called the Heathkit H-89 ...sparked my interest in my field.

Students don’t think I notice... when they help one another find the resources they need for my classes. Most students are very caring and sharing. The best way I've found to learn is to teach. In the Information Systems programs, students teach one another all the time. It's a great community.

What makes teaching the greatest job in the world is… I get to see the light come on in students' eyes as they realize how they can make a real difference, create useful tools and bless humankind with the things we learn together. When you see lives change for the better, it's a very rewarding experience.

When I have 30 minutes of free time, you can find me… Tending to my bees. I have two hives of Italian honeybees in my backyard. I learned recently that my great-grandmother used to help with her family's apiary in Hyrum, Utah. So it's a family thing.

The best-kept BYU secret is... The Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology ...because... this center has resources to help students from all majors across campus learn how to start a successful business. Come see our staff in 470 Tanner Building (TNRB) or visit cet.byu.edu to learn more. We do lots of co-curricular things such as the mobile app competition and the Miller Competition Series that help students explore entrepreneurship. We have many mentors who love to help students learn how to get started.

The title of my autobiography would be… Computers, the Restored Gospel, and Life.

I chose to come to BYU because...​ We lived nearby (in Pleasant Grove), I received a Kimball Scholarship and BYU had a computer science program that was gaining a great reputation. The scholarship and living at home made it so I could focus my energies on schoolwork, not figuring out how to pay for school.

My fondest memory from my childhood was when… Grandpa encouraged me and my older brother in our business scheme. When we were young Cub Scouts we saw an ad in the back of Boys' Life magazine for a machine that would print $5 bills: you put in a blank piece of paper and out comes a $5 bill. Magic! (Literally, it was a "magic" trick.) Grandpa thought our plan to get a seed loan for the machine and some paper was a capital idea. We just needed enough money to get started, and we'd stage it. After the initial investment, we could buy more paper. Eventually we'd have enough to buy trucks to haul our $5 cache of bills around. Somehow he never gave us the $10 we needed, though.  "Grandpa, c'mon!"  

My favorite hobby is…​ Can I say writing software? No, you say that's my profession? Okay, beekeeping then.

I’m most looking forward to… Having my two granddaughters come give me a hug next time I see them, and then we'll play hide-and-go-seek. Alice and Ella are so cute! I love my whole family, and part of what makes Sunday my favorite day is the time we get to spend together.

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