2021 Bateman Awards Recognize Students Who Excel in and Outside the Classroom

PROVO, Utah – Apr 27, 2021 – Every year, each department in the BYU Marriott School of Business selects one outstanding student to receive the Bateman Award, which recognizes excellence both inside and outside the classroom. The award is named after Merrill J. Bateman, who served as the dean of BYU Marriott from 1975–79 and the president of BYU from 1996–2003. 

The 2021 Bateman Award recipients include Laura Arnold, Heather Ashby, Spencer Call, Luke Forthman, Denise Han, Benito Mejia, Spencer Messina, Sarah Peterson, Alex Thompson, Luana Tu’ua, and Ashtynne Wade. The awardees were recognized at a virtual awards ceremony held in March 2021. 

“The primary reason for our gathering today is to celebrate the accomplishments of the eleven student recipients. These awards are given annually to one student from each of our undergraduate programs in recognition of their academic achievement, commitment to BYU Marriott, and service to their respective programs,” Dean Brigitte C. Madrian told the attendees of the award ceremony. “Receiving the Bateman Award is a distinct honor, and we congratulate each one of you on this tremendous accomplishment.”

Bateman also spoke during the ceremony, commenting on the importance of the aims of a BYU education. He emphasized the value of spiritually strengthening and intellectually enlarging learning. “I’ve had the opportunity to stay associated with BYU and see the incredible young people who attend and graduate and move on to the important ways of life,” he told the students. Each of the recognized students found ways to excel in their spirituality and intellect inside the classroom, and plan to continue making a difference as they move on to new opportunities. 

Laura Arnold, the therapeutic recreation and management awardee, hails from West Jordan, Utah. During her time at BYU Marriott, she received the Elaine B. Garrett Student Endowment, as well as several dance scholarships, including the Pardoe Anderson Performance Scholarship, the Excellence in Folk Arts Scholarship, and the Mary Bee Jensen Scholarship. Arnold earned her minor in cultural dance and was a member of the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble for four years, where she also served as a team leader from Fall 2019–Winter 2020. Her dance team traveled to Belgium, France, Poland, and China. She also enjoys dancing with her husband, who she considers to be her most enthusiastic cheerleader. Over the years, she earned the affectionate nickname Little Laura from her fellow classmates. “Laura is indeed little, but she is a giant in terms of her heart, her passion, and all that she does for those she serves and the people that she works with,” says Ramon Zabriskie, BYU Marriott professor of experience design and management. “Laura certainly elevated our lives, and we're grateful for her and all that she contributed to our major.” 

A native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, experience design and management (ExDM) December 2020 graduate Heather Ashby enjoys cooking, reading, running, and traveling. As an undergraduate student, Ashby was deeply involved in the ExDM program. She traveled on two ExDM study abroad programs, led marketing for the ExDM program’s Senior Peak Experience, and was a mentor for the ExDM new student orientation. Ashby plans to work for Klondike Holdings LLC as the vice president of operations. Reflecting on her time at BYU Marriott, Ashby feels a sense of gratitude. “I still remember the excitement and purpose I felt walking into the Tanner Building as an official business student for the first time,” she says. “I am incredibly grateful for the personal interest my professors and classmates invested in me. A major theme of my undergrad was mentorship—many people helped me as I figured out what I wanted to do professionally, and I look forward with excitement to mentoring in my near future.”

Spencer Call from Omaha, Nebraska, was actively involved in various extracurriculars throughout his time at BYU. One notable experience was his time spent serving as the president of the BYU Marketing Association beginning in January 2020. He sang in BYU Men’s Chorus and competed in BYU Dancesport, winning the bronze in the American dance category as well as a bronze and silver in the Latin dance category. He also received first place in several marketing case competitions, including the Cotopaxi Innovation Tournament, the Precoa Sales Competition, and the Podium B2B Sales Competition. After graduation, he plans to enter the merchandise planner program at the Home Depot. In his free time, he loves being outdoors and spending time with his wife, Mary, and their daughter, Vyla. “Each aspect of my experiences at BYU Marriott has been life-changing—from the world-class faculty who care about each individual student to empathetic classmates who push each other to be better, and especially an unparalleled spiritual education to complement my business education,” Call says. “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to launch my career at BYU Marriott.” 

During the summer preceding his graduation from the information systems program in December 2020, Luke Forthman interned with JPMorgan Chase & Co. as a software engineer in Columbus, Ohio. He now works full-time in the same position at the company’s office in Plano, Texas. In his free time, Forthman enjoys cheering on the Dallas Mavericks and going on walks with his wife, Ellie, and his son, Cooper. “The information systems department is pleased to honor Luke. He exemplifies the most important attribute we seek in our students—serving others,” says BYU Marriott information systems professor Greg Anderson. “Luke not only has a high level of academic achievement, but more importantly, he assists anyone who needs help, even if he has to sacrifice his personal time to do so.” 

Denise Han, the Bateman Awards recipient from the finance program, hails from Missouri, Texas. Han served as the editor-in-chief of the BYU Prelaw Review. She was also a teaching assistant for two BYU Marriott professors, assistant professor of finance Bronson Argyle and adjunct professor of finance Jenn Larson, as well as a research assistant for associate professor of finance Ben Iverson. In 2019, she placed second in the NU-CUIBE International Business Case Competition, and she and her team recently placed second at the 2021 Undergraduate Global Finals of the Venture Capital Investment Competition. After graduating from BYU Marriott, she plans to take a gap year and complete finance and corporate law research with professors Robin Greenwood and Mark Roe of Harvard Law School. After her gap year, she will attend Yale Law School. “Finding a student who truly understands and grasps concepts is rare, and Denise is consistently one step deeper than every other person in the room,” says Iverson. “I can speak firsthand to her work ethic and ability to handle open-ended tasks. In addition to her intelligence, Denise is kind, respectful, and easy to work with.”

After graduating in December with his bachelor’s degree in accounting, Ben Mejia accepted a position as an advisory professional with Squire & Company, where he currently works in business technology, consulting, and outsourced financial management. In his free time, Mejia enjoys basketball, hiking, and movie nights with his wife, Courtney. Mejia’s professors appreciated the hard work and dedication he applied to his schoolwork. “Despite working extra hours to support himself financially, Ben graduated magna cum laude from the accounting program,” says Scott Hobson, associate director of the School of Accountancy at BYU Marriott. “I can't express how much we as faculty members appreciate a student like Ben who is always prepared and positive in class.” 

Spencer Messina, a business management major from Henderson, Nevada, comes from a family of BYU alumni. Throughout his time at BYU Marriott, he participated in several extracurricular activities, including the BYU Red Cross, the Anatomy Academy, Finance Society, and the BYU Undergraduate Research & Internship club. In his free time, he enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, such as downhill skiing, longboarding, wakeboarding, surfing, and long-distance running. After graduation, Messina plans to attend medical school as well as run in the Utah Valley Marathon in June 2021. “BYU Marriott motivated me to succeed as an undergraduate student and empowered me to serve others,” he says. “I'm thankful for kind teachers who expanded my vision and guided my direction. I'm excited to continue my career as a medical student, and I hope my future opens new doors for involvement in social innovation groups.”

The human resources management awardee is Alpine, Utah native Sarah Peterson. In addition to being a member of the BYU Society for Human Resource Management chapter, she also participated in Women in Business club activities. “In the HR program, we emphasize enabling people to meet organizational goals. Sarah truly embodies the principle of helping others develop their talents and become the best version of themselves,” says Taeya Howell, BYU Marriott assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resources. “At one point, Sarah was my teaching assistant, and I enjoyed watching her help the incoming students build a cohort during a challenging semester and get excited about the opportunities in the field of HR.” After graduation, Peterson plans to work in Denver, Colorado, at Lockheed Martin as a full-time human resource business partner, working closely with program senior executives to develop key HR strategies and logistics for their divisions. 

Alex Thompson, an entrepreneurial management student from Hazen, Arkansas, won several awards throughout his time at BYU. During his senior year, he took first place in the Business Model Competition and won both the Miller New Venture Challenge (NVC) Judge's Choice award and the Miller NVC Crowd Favorite award for his company, Amano. He was also a recipient of several scholarships, including the Paul Morris Marriott Scholarship, the Donald and Marsha Livingstone Scholarship, and the Dana Lynn Ahern Scholarship. He was also a 2020 Crocker Innovation Fellow and served as a codirector of Inventech at the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. “At BYU Marriott, experts in the industry taught me how to be an ethical business leader while also using real data to make important decisions,” he says. “Moving forward, I hope to help students in third world countries learn how to use entrepreneurship to lift their communities out of poverty. I’ve learned from some of the best professors in the world, because they are not only knowledgeable in their field but also personally dedicated to serving those around them.” 

After attending a Women in Business (WIB) club meeting as a freshman at BYU, Salt Lake City native Luana Tu’ua knew she wanted to major in global supply chain management. She later served as a co-president of WIB, on the BYU Athletics ROC Board Leadership, as a leader in the Global Supply Chain Association, and as a student employee in the BYU Marriott Deans Office working as a project specialist. In 2020, she was named a BYU Student of Courage, a Moscript scholar, and a top scholar for the Council of Supply Chain Management Utah-Idaho Chapter. After graduation, she plans to work at Anglepoint as an analyst.  “My time at BYU Marriott was the most memorable experience of my life thus far,” she says. "I recognize and appreciate the support and sacrifice of the people who helped me get where I am today. I plan to live a life and a career of continuous improvement and service.” 

Ashtynne Wade, a strategic management student who hails from Lindon, Utah, is a powder-seeking downhill skier and avid rock climber. As a self-proclaimed outdoor enthusiast, she also enjoys bouldering, rappelling, weight lifting, and long-distance running. She has participated in the Canyonlands half marathon and the Las Vegas Tough Mudder races. After completing a remote internship with the Boston Consulting Group in summer 2020, Wade plans to return to the company and work as an associate upon graduating. Wade was the co-president of BYU Marriott’s Management Consulting Association during 2020 and the director of the Cougar Consulting Group. “Ashtynne not only espouses high ideals, she also backs her ideals up with incredible action and hard work and effort. She's an amazing student both inside and outside the classroom,” says James Oldroyd, BYU Marriott associate professor of strategy. “Sometimes programs change people, but in Ashtynne’s case, she changed our program and made our program better.”

The BYU Marriott School of Business prepares men and women of faith, character, and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Named for benefactors J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, the school is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. BYU Marriott has four graduate and ten undergraduate degrees with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 students.  

2021 Bateman Award Winners
2021 Bateman Award Winners

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert