When Alyssa Asplund transferred to BYU from BYU–Hawaii in 2018, she knew she wanted to continue making a difference for those in need. Asplund found a way to do so through the Ballard Center for Social Impact at the BYU Marriott School of Business. In the process, she also discovered how to improve herself.
In Hawaii, Asplund worked for the Student World Action Technology Team (SWATT), now under BYU–Hawaii’s Sustainability Center. With SWATT, she helped BYU–Hawaii start social improvement projects around the world. The school’s international students, familiar with issues in their home countries, helped SWATT identify areas of need.
Asplund continued to lean into her passion for strengthening others when she transferred to BYU. As a technology and engineering studies major, Asplund has experience identifying ways to improve existing technologies. She was able to use those skills during a Ballard Center social impact project (SIP) with BlocPower, which improves energy technology to increase energy accessibility and decrease pollution, specifically for underserved communities.
“When choosing a SIP, I specifically wanted something geared towards technology and where my skills would be useful,” Asplund explains. “I liked what BlocPower does because the company focuses on making a green impact, especially in areas that are heavily polluted.”
In addition to using the skills developed in her major on her project, Asplund used her Spanish language abilities, which she gained while serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Houston. “I also liked BlocPower’s diverse approach of, ‘We want to specifically help underserved, minority communities,’” she continues. “That was another area where I felt I could help out because BlocPower wanted to make ties with Hispanic communities, and I speak Spanish.”
Asplund translated information and other resources into Spanish for the company. With her team, she also helped identify communities where BlocPower could expand and offer its services. Asplund’s efforts on the project solidified her desire to work for a company that uses its abilities beyond making a profit.
“Believing in what the company that I’m working with does is important for me. That’s something I’m looking for in my career going forward, because I feel like that’s how I’ll find fulfillment in my work. The idea of just helping a corporation operate and make more money isn’t super appealing. I need to have some kind of purpose beyond those things,” she says.
Moving forward, Asplund, who is from San Diego and graduated in April 2022, is applying to a variety of jobs, specifically with companies that improve STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). She says that career path will give her the fulfillment she is looking for. “Helping kids be exposed to technology and engineering early on is something that is impactful and can help them find solutions to create positive change in the world,” she says.
Asplund is grateful for the opportunity her SIP provided to impact others and adds that the project also offered learning opportunities for her personal business skills. These skills included idea generation, managing teams across different time zones, and working in a professional setting. Her teammates also gave her feedback about how to improve individually, which she appreciated.
“I learned to have a voice,” Asplund says of her experience with BlocPower and the Ballard Center. “I consider myself a team player, but some of the feedback I received was that sometimes being a team player turned into people pleasing. My teammates wanted to hear more of my original ideas, so that’s something I can improve. Overall, my favorite thing about the project was growing with my team. We all had different backgrounds, majors, and ideas about things. Being able to grow together and understand each other was cool.”
Writer: Mike Miller