On a warm day in October, students walking past Brigham Square at Brigham Young University might have seen their peers flying across the sky on a zipline. The zipline was the brainchild of Katelyn Bell, a senior in the experience design and management (ExDM) program at the BYU Marriott School of Business.
Bell always knew she wanted to lift people; she just didn’t know it would be quite so literal. “When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor because I love helping people,” says Bell, who is originally from Layton, Utah. “My satisfaction comes from making others smile or laugh or feel better about themselves. What matters to me is people.”
However, being at BYU showed Bell the avenues available outside the medical field to help people. “I found out that science is not my strongest suit, but BYU Marriott offered me a new way to help people through experience design,” Bell explains.
Bell says the ExDM program transformed her life by broadening her perspective of people and experiences. Now, Bell wants to go into employee experience to “make people's experience in the workforce meaningful.” Because people spend so much time at work, Bell wants individuals to feel better when they leave work than they when they came in.
Participating in campus activities at BYU has only increased Bell’s passion for creating experiences. Tunnel singing as a freshman helped Bell realize that the campus community offers many fun, unique activities. As a junior, attending the BYU homecoming dance with her boyfriend (now her husband) cemented Bell’s love for experiences. Although reluctant at first, Bell says going to the dance is one of her favorite memories at BYU. “It’s the kind of college experience my parents talked about, and now it’s my turn to live it,” she says.
During her junior year, Bell started her job as the program coordinator at the Sorensen Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership. When Bell was offered the opportunity to design the center’s launch, she knew she wanted the event to be something people would tell their children about. Adding a zipline to the agenda of activities fulfilled Bell’s wildest dreams and made the event one to remember. “We also brought in J Dawgs as prizes for people after they completed a scavenger hunt leading them to booths representing different parts of the center.”
Bell’s overall goal with the event was to help people engage with the Sorensen Center—even if incentivized by the free food and zipline. Attending events at BYU has always made Bell feel more connected to the campus community, and she wants to provide other people with similar opportunities.
College can zip by quickly, so Bell encourages people to make time for memories. “Don’t be afraid to say yes,” Bell says. She shares that the times when she has been swamped and stressed with homework are the times where it has been most important for her to take a break. “Memories are the most important thing we have—live in the moment because you only have the moment once.”
Written by Liesel Allen