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Student Spotlight

An Unexpected Change

Katie Weddle doesn’t remember much from the accident that almost took her life. Serving as a missionary in Malaysia, Weddle was riding her bike with other sister missionaries when she was hit by a car.

Picture of Katie Weddle.
Photo courtesy of Katie Weddle.

“I flew over a few lanes of traffic and landed, unconscious, on the right side of my face and shoulder. I ended up with jaw-joint-triggering arthritis and a long road to recovery,” says Weddle, who is currently a senior in the global supply chain management (GSCM) program at BYU Marriott School of Business.

Others might consider this near-death experience as a setback or tragedy, but Weddle allowed her experience to act as a guide, leading her down an unexpected path to BYU Marriott.

Weddle grew up in Taiwan along with her two triplet sisters and a younger sister. Though she was born in the United States, her dad’s job took their family overseas for most of her childhood.

Katie Weddle serving part of her mission in Subu, Malaysia.
Photo courtesy of Katie Weddle.

Weddle and her sisters received an education at Taipei American School, where they became immersed in different cultures and languages, learning vast amounts of subjects. The one area of study that Weddle grew fond of, however, was medicine.

“I remember always being fascinated with dissecting a pig or cow brain in fifth-grade science class,” Weddle says. “This love eventually made me want to study nursing when I got to BYU.”

In 2017 Weddle and her two triplet sisters returned to the states to attend BYU. After Weddle completed her freshman year taking prerequisites for the nursing program, she returned to Asia to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Singapore. During her mission, she faced many unexpected challenges—including her car accident.

After the accident, Weddle became even more familiar with the local hospital in her mission area, a place she had visited frequently when she taught and ministered to other patients. “Since I’ve always wanted to pursue medicine,” she says, “I anticipated enjoying my time at the hospital more than I did.”

Katie Weddle and her three sisters, Lily, Becca, and Molly (left to right).
Photo courtesy of Katie Weddle.

However, after being constantly surrounded by a medical environment, she realized that nursing might not bring her as much joy and fulfillment as she originally thought. It was then that she began considering other career possibilities.

Near the end of her mission, Weddle looked at a list of BYU majors to see if anything besides nursing stood out to her. “Aside from medicine, I’ve always loved the principle of efficiency,” she says. “I enjoy optimizing the things in my life in order to accomplish them the fastest way possible.” With that in mind, Weddle began eliminating the options on her list until GSCM became her top choice.

Weddle began exploring the major at BYU Marriott her first semester back at BYU. She became fascinated with the concepts she learned and discovered that GSCM fit all the criteria she desired in a future career. Jobs in this space are flexible, universal, and varied, giving her the ability to live overseas again if she wishes and choose from many different types of positions in her career. After this discovery, she applied and gained admission into the program in fall 2021.

Weddle’s choice proved to be just what she’d hoped. She now works as a senior manufacturing manager at Weatherwood Stains in Orem, Utah, managing the production and manufacturing of natural wood stains for the company. Aside from recovering from her car accident, she considers this job her second biggest accomplishment. The valuable skills she’s currently learning in the program are helping her raise a once-small start-up company into a booming business.

Katie Weddle and her husband, Ein.
Photo courtesy of Katie Weddle.

“One of the major things I’ve learned in the GSCM program is the importance of teamwork and leadership in order to create the most efficiency,” she explains. “Through my classes, I’ve discovered what I want to become as a manager in my job. That made all the difference in our growth at Weatherwood.”

All of Weddle’s life experiences guided her to where she is now, each step building on another to result in a polished, finished product—whether that product is a gallon of stain or a lifelong career of fulfillment and happiness.

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Writer: Sophia Shafkalis

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