The Ballard Center hosts classes, internships, competitions, research, and award programs for over 2,500 students each year from over one hundred different majors. Another 5,800 students each year become involved in TEDxBYU, the Peery Film Festival, other events, and clubs. Take a minute to meet a few of our students:
Sarah Farnsworth Hatch, Sociology
The summer after fourth grade, clinical depression hit me like a heavyweight boxer. My normally vivacious, inquisitive self was knocked out, leaving little Sarah entirely hollow.
Jenna Vasquez, Communications
I’ve been to a lot of parties, but I’ve only been to one where I found out I was virtually blind in one eye. When I was about five years old, my brother had a pirate-themed birthday party, and when my mom came to put on my pirate eye patch, I told her to put it over my left eye, because if she put it over my right one, I wouldn’t be able to see.
Juan Camargo, Economics
For me, growing up in a war-torn Colombia meant turning the TV on every night at 7 p.m. to find out how many children were abducted and forcibly enlisted by military groups, or how many people had been killed in rural communities simply for being born in regions where external forces determined their fate.
Ariana Grundvig Rosenberg, Psychology
Even lifting the spatula to fry a chicken patty started to feel heavy. After returning from my mission, I struggled to find meaning in my Chick-Fil-A job. Five hours after handing in my apron and black hat, I found an opportunity that would change my life and thousands of others.
Jordan Treglown, Experience Design Management
I saw first responder vehicles blocking off an entire street near my home, but I quickly forgot about the accident—that is, until second period when the school police officer escorted me out of class. I wracked my brain as to what I had done to deserve the attention of the police.
Hannah Nelson, Family Life
I’m on the Dean’s List. Again. My planner is usually packed with meticulous notes detailing my various academic goals. My transcript is nearly flawless. But all of this has come at a cost. Each semester, I’ve sacrificed hobbies, fun, and time with my family to achieve my idea of happiness: academic perfection.
Robert Rex, Economics
My great uncle and namesake, Captain Robert Alan Rex, was shot down in Laos during the Vietnam War in 1968, leaving a spouse and two children behind. Robert was missing in action for more than 25 years.
Andrew Tansiongco, Chemical Engineering
I’ve always had a desire to help those around me, but with such a taxing and time-consuming major, the thought of spending any of my extra hours outside of the library never seemed realistic or beneficial—until I got involved at the Ballard Center.
Harper Forsgren, Nursing
After I was born, the nurse who cleaned me up noticed something in the top of my mouth – or rather, she noticed a lack of something in the top of my mouth – that was cause for concern. The soft palate in the roof of my mouth was not fully developed, leaving a hole into my nose.
Alyssa Clark, Masters of Public Administration
Driving up to a weathered brown apartment building in South Salt Lake, Khinhla, Win Tae, and their brothers rolled down the windows excitedly as I turned up the music. Shattering the silence, we got out and started dancing to the radio. As if anticipating our arrival, the front doors of the apartments facing us swung open and Burmese refugee mothers smiled as their children darted past to join us.
Will Pham, Strategic Management
I never meant to get involved in the Ballard Center. A minor mistake in my class schedule put me in the “Do Good. Better.” course--and changed my college career.
Ryan McFadyen, Economics
While walking through the crowded streets of Guatemala, I met an elderly man wearing tattered clothing and covered in filth. It was apparent by the way he stumbled and stuttered that he had been drinking alcohol. He seemed eager to speak to someone—anyone—so when I introduced myself as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he had a lot to say.
Jason Koncurat, Pre-Management
During lunch in middle school and high school there was always the gathering of like-minded groups: those that loved to talk about video games, those that were theater fanatics, and those that were athletes. For one who didn’t fit any of those social constructs, I floated for years hoping one day to be surrounded by people that I can relate with.
Laurie Batschi, International Relations
When I walked into an info session for a Ballard Center Social Innovation Case Competition, I had only planned on enjoying a free J Dawg- replete with banana peppers and drizzled with its iconic special sauce - then trekking back to the library to finish my homework. However, as I loitered long enough to not look too much the hot dog opportunist, I got hooked...
Jeremy Skelton, Business Management
I’ve always known I wanted to go into healthcare. While the other neighborhood kids were playing army or house, I was playing with the doctor kit that my parents bought me for my birthday. The summer after my freshman year, while my friends started their summer internships I packed up my bags and moved to Sumpango, Guatemala to work as a medical volunteer in a rural clinic.
Marieka Creek, Sociology
I was left on a doorstep outside an orphanage in Hefei, China. My village was infested with pollution, disease, and overpopulation, so my birth mother left me hoping that someone could provide what she could not. Along with dozens of other orphan girls, my fate rested in the hands of someone who could rescue me from a future plagued with poverty.
Tinesha Zandamela, Sociology & French
My dad, an African immigrant, won a significant City Council race in a small town in Washington State while I was in high school. Nine years after his win, I started working at the Ballard Center, and I decided to follow in my dad’s footsteps. This is the story of why I decided to run for office as a full-time student at 23.
Greg Hutchins, Business Management
I felt like a failure. I questioned whether doing good was even possible. Could complex problems like poverty, lack of access to clean water, or human trafficking ever be solved? Years passed, and slowly I began to lose hope. Maybe it wasn’t possible.
Emily Kwok, Industrial Design
As we walked down the street, we saw a girl about my age with dark hair, dark eyes, and brown skin just like me selling beautiful beaded bags. What really made us different?