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Explore #CFACGrad

“Share Your Story: #CFACGrad” is a student-sourced graduation campaign that will allow graduating seniors to submit essays, memories, videos, photos and artwork of their time at BYU. The College’s External Relations Office will then share these stories online.

Read through the stories and social media posts down below and help us celebrate 2022’s #CFACGrads.

Want to share your own #CFACGrad story?

Share Your Story

News and Social Media
CFAC Social Media
CFAC News
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Maddie Selcho

May 13, 2022 04:49 PM
Journalism graduate from April 2022.
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Courtney Lawson

May 13, 2022 09:43 AM
Art graduate from April 2022.
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Dorian Hutchinson

May 13, 2022 09:36 AM
Music composition graduate from April 2022.
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Britney Sam

May 13, 2022 09:28 AM
Broadcast & visual journalism graduate from April 2022.
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Cassidy Wixom

May 13, 2022 09:21 AM
April 2022 Journalism graduate.
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Lydia Knight

May 06, 2022 02:48 PM
Communications graduate from April 2022.
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Kylie Decker

May 06, 2022 02:43 PM
Master's in music from April 2022.
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Stacey Brown Darais

May 05, 2022 10:22 AM
2022 BYU Music graduate.
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Rachel Lê

May 05, 2022 10:16 AM
Communications graduate from April 2022.
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Music Major Greg Smith on How the Arts Can Shape Faith and Purpose

April 09, 2021 12:00 AM
Smith — a native of Pampa, Texas — will graduate in April with a BA in piano performance
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Music Major Josie Larsen on Importance of Self-expression and Rediscovery

April 09, 2021 12:00 AM
Larsen — a native of Sammamish, Wash. — will graduate in April with a BA in vocal performance
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Dance Education Major Jessica Jensen Walker on Her Dance Education, Student Teaching, Connecting with Students

April 09, 2021 12:00 AM
Walker — a native of Cache Valley, Utah — will graduate with a BA in dance education in April
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Art Major Fiona Barney on Perspective, Teaching and Travel

April 09, 2021 12:00 AM
Barney — a native of Provo, Utah — will graduate with a BA in art in April
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Art Major Gwen Davis-Barrios on Art, Education and Utah’s Spiral Jetty

April 09, 2021 12:00 AM
Davis-Barrios — a native of Provo, Utah — graduated with a BFA in art in December 2020
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Comms Major Olivia Morrow on True Crime, Covid Memes and Research

April 09, 2021 12:00 AM
Morrow — a native to Farmington, New Mexico — will graduate with a BA in communications this April
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Graphic Design Major Amanda Lund on Her Design Work, Inclusivity and Being a Voice for Others

April 09, 2021 12:00 AM
Amanda Lund’s time at BYU has given her a jump start on her future career. She has already had the opportunity to work with e.l.f. Cosmetics, where designs she helped create will be featured on shelves at Target stores. She is currently an intern for Javas Lehn Studios, a design firm based in New York City working for hotels and publications. Her attraction to art and design came during her freshman year when she took her first art class: Art 101. This three-hour course enthralled her and made her realize this was what she wanted to dedicate the rest of her life to, in some capacity or another. “The design program really pushes you to explore what you’re passionate about and use design to express that,” Lund said. Lund has taken those words to heart and has used her passion for design to guide her in other avenues of her education and life; thus leading her towards her drive for inclusivity in design. A lover of the outdoors and a helper at heart, Lund dedicated her capstone project – “Designing for Every Body, Not the Average Body” – to aiding those with disabilities. She wants them to be seen by the design world. “I focused specifically on those who live with physical disabilities and how the spaces we have designed reject them. These spaces were not designed with their needs in mind, but were designed for what society deems as the 'average' body. But I believe there is no average human,” said Lund. Her project zeroed in on how commercial parks and playgrounds tend to turn away people with physical limitations, especially those in wheelchairs. She praised Clemyjontri Park, a park from her hometown of McLean, VA designed for children with disabilities, as being the most popular kids’ park in the area. “When you design for people with disabilities, it suddenly becomes more accessible for everyone,” she said. Lund hopes to use her design skills to make the world a more inclusive place. She didn't understand that design was so much more than just creating beautiful brands and products that articulate a particular story. “I’ve learned that there is so much more to design. I now have the necessary tools to help give others a voice and ignite change in the world around me,” said Lund. Lund will receive her BFA in graphic design this spring and will continue the Javas Lehn internship after graduation. She looks forward to finding other endeavors that will develop her fervor for design and her voice for others.
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Theatre Major Alyssa Aramaki on Human Connection and Healing

April 09, 2021 12:00 AM
The road to graduation looks different for every student. This truth especially hits home for senior Alyssa Aramaki, who will represent the Department of Theatre and Media Arts for spring 2021 convocation.
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Illustration Major Rachel Allen Everett on Comics, Space and a Boy Named Felix

April 09, 2021 12:00 AM
Everett — a native of Mapleton, Utah — will graduate with a BFA in illustration in April
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Share Your Story: #CFACGrad Anelise Leishman

June 19, 2020 12:00 AM
Graduating dance student Anelise Leishman reflects on her time at BYU Ballet has been a central force in my life from the beginning, and one of the greatest blessings of my BYU experience was being able to continue dancing in college. While working towards my English degree and pursuing my passion for writing, I earned a minor in ballet and performed with Theatre Ballet for four years alongside a wonderful group of people who would become my closest friends. One of my most fulfilling experiences was performing in George Balanchine’s “Walpurgisnacht Ballet.” The Balanchine Trust has high standards when choosing who performs their works, and it has always been a dream of mine to dance Balanchine’s choreography onstage. In “Walpurgisnacht,” all the women let their hair down — literally — for the final movement of the ballet. I’ll never forget the exuberance and joy I felt onstage, free for once from the restraints of hairspray and bobby pins, dancing with my best friends. I got to cross something off my bucket list that weekend. However, for any serious dancer who has devoted their life to the art form, dancing in college rather than embarking on a professional career comes with a certain stigma in the ballet world. The implication is that you’re not “good enough” to make it onto a professional company and get paid to dance without a degree. That view is, of course, extremely short-sighted, and one that I’ve found to be fundamentally untrue: after all, I’ve been fortunate enough to perform works from famed choreographers like Balanchine and to share the stage with some of the most talented dancers I know. Even so, that stigma is enough to give anyone an inferiority complex. Every now and then, those thoughts creep in — I’m not good enough, and What’s the point? And lately, as my time in the studio has come to an end, the most depressing thought of them all — Did any of that hard work even matter? Merce Cunningham, one of the forefathers of American modern dance, once said, “You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that fleeting moment when you feel alive.” That rings true for me, now more than ever. It can be difficult to appreciate the value of all those years of training when the only souvenirs you’re left with are the memories of past performances, of the adrenaline you felt in those few minutes onstage. My last performance with Theatre Ballet was this February, dancing “Swan Lake” at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. When the show was over, I had taken off my costume and was packing up when one of my friends came backstage to tell me that someone in the audience had asked to see me. I was confused because no one I knew was in attendance that night. It turns out a four-year-old girl had seen me in the program and wanted to meet me because we have the same first name. I got to chat with her and take a picture. She even showed me some of her dance moves, and her mom told me how excited she was to start dance lessons. After COVID-19 hit and classes everywhere were postponed indefinitely, Annelise’s mom got in touch with me for advice on how to feed her daughter’s insatiable love of dance and continue her ballet education from home. It almost felt like I was passing the torch, from one Anelise to another. Ballet is meant to look easy, but it’s not without struggle; it takes its toll. I came to BYU still recovering from my first ankle surgery, my second surgery kept me off the stage for a year, and last summer I discovered I had been dancing on a torn ligament for the entire season. But to know that I made a little girl’s day just by being onstage made my last performance a very special one. As my time at BYU — and my dance career — draws to an unexpected close, I’ve come to realize that more than anything else, dance is an exercise in sharing joy. Everything we do as dancers is for the audience. We may cross off some bucket list items along the way, but at the end of the day, it’s all for them. That’s what makes the hard work matter. The publication of student articles allows the College of Fine Arts and Communications to highlight the experiential learning opportunities and behind-the-scenes experiences of students and faculty and tell stories with a unique voice and point of view. Submit your story at cfac.byu.edu.
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Share Your Story: #CFACgrad Tessa Ostivig

May 14, 2020 12:00 AM
Tessa Ostivig, who graduated in April 2020, reflects on her time at BYU
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Share Your Story: #CFACGrad Hannah Larsen

May 05, 2020 12:00 AM
Graduating
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Share Your Story: Esther Chang

April 30, 2020 12:00 AM
School of Music
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Share Your Story: #CFACGrad Samm Madsen

April 29, 2020 12:00 AM
Department of Theatre and Media Arts
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Share Your Story: Sara Anderson

April 27, 2020 12:00 AM
Photography graduate Sara Anderson shares how an experiential learning opportunity has enhanced her time at BYU
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Share Your Story: #CFACGrad Mckenzie Rucker

April 23, 2020 12:00 AM
Graduating student Mckenzie Rucker reflects on her time at BYU
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Share Your Story: #CFACGrad Isabella Vaughn

April 23, 2020 12:00 AM
Isabella Vaughn, who graduated in December 2019, reflects on her time at BYU
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Share Your Story: #CFACGrad Eliza Robinson

April 22, 2020 12:00 AM
Graduating
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BFA Graduate Caitlin Shill Shares How Dance Has Stretched Her Soul

April 17, 2020 12:00 AM
Shill — a native of Cottonwood Heights, Utah — will graduate with a BFA in dance on April 24, 2020
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Share Your Story: #CFACGrad Cameron Cox

April 15, 2020 12:00 AM
Graduating theatre student Cameron Cox reflects on his time at BYU
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Art Major Elisabeth Baird on Inspiration, Collaboration and Kindness

April 10, 2020 12:00 AM
Baird — a native of Garden Grove, CA — will graduate with a BA in art on April 24, 2020
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Life Imitates Art: Design Graduate Brinnan Schill Reflects on BYU, Photography

April 09, 2020 12:00 AM
Schill — a South Carolina native — will graduate with a BFA in photography and a BA in sociocultural anthropology on April 24, 2020
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Media Arts Major Allyse Clegg Finds Voice, Personal Transformation Through Documentary

April 08, 2020 12:00 AM
Clegg — from Fruit Heights, Utah — will graduate with a BA in media arts studies on April 24, 2020
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Pianist Spencer Hodgson Prayerfully Navigates Shifting Career Path

April 08, 2020 12:00 AM
Hodgson — from Sandy, Utah — will graduate with a BM in music performance with an emphasis in piano on April 24, 2020
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Communications Graduate Abbie Speed Reflects on Lessons Learned at BYU

April 07, 2020 12:00 AM
Speed — a native of Denver, Colorado — will graduate with a BA in communications with an emphasis in communications studies on April 24, 2020
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Vocalist Brigitta Teuscher Turns Setbacks into Skills as Commercial Music Major

April 07, 2020 12:00 AM
Teuscher — from Vancouver, Washington — will graduate with a BM in commercial music on April 24, 2020
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Dallin Jones on Animation, Filmmaking and 'Curing Souls' Through Art

April 06, 2020 12:00 AM
Jones — a native of Midland, Michigan — will graduate with a BFA in animation on April 24, 2020
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Rachel Henriksen on Exploring through Art, Building Relationships

April 06, 2020 12:00 AM
Henriksen — a native of Provo, Utah — will graduate with a BFA in studio art on April 24, 2020 Rachel Henriksen came to BYU confident that art was her calling. “I’m one of those lucky people that already knew what they were going to do,” she said. Henriksen was drawn to art because it allows her to engage with a wide variety of other interests, including philosophy, psychology and sociology. “Some of the most amazing art I’ve seen is interdisciplinary, where an artist will explore scientific concepts abstractly through art instead of trying to explain them with data, numbers and logic,” said Henriksen. After being accepted into the BFA program, she left to serve a mission — but upon returning home, she began to feel lost. “I felt like I didn’t know how to do art anymore,” said Henriksen. “It felt like a selfish pursuit when I had just been serving so many other people. Art felt like an indulgence.” It wasn’t long, however, before she felt at home in the art program. “The faculty and students in the art program pulled me in,” said Henriksen. “They're really special people, and I think that's what drew me to the major.” Her most memorable experiences in the program include an advanced art summer intensive in 2017, during which she and her peers traveled around Utah and LA, visiting land art installations such as the Spiral Jetty and Sun Tunnels and drawing inspiration from museums and landscapes. Henriksen also interned as an art assistant in Berlin for a summer. Henriksen’s most challenging — and rewarding — experience while at BYU was her solo show “knew/new” at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, inspired by time she spent with her grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. She found out about the opportunity in mid-September of 2019, and was tasked with creating a full show of her own work by the end of October. “It was a short turnaround, and really intimidating being invited to do this at a notable museum,” said Henriksen. “But it really pushed me — I knew I could do it if I put my mind to it, and so I did.” Henriksen is currently applying for residency programs and is planning on taking some time post-graduation to experiment with her art. “I eventually want to go to grad school, but I want to take a few years off and see what I make without the influence of academic critique,” she said. An independent person by nature, Henriksen has learned throughout her college career how to reach out and ask for help from professors, friends and the Savior. “I’m a stubborn person when it comes to doing things on my own; I feel like I have to prove to people that I can carry everything by myself even though it’s way too heavy for me,” said Henriksen. “But there have been so many times in this program where I’ve needed to reach out. I recognized it as giving other people an opportunity to serve by asking for help, instead of selfishly denying them that opportunity.” Henriksen’s advice to prospective art students is to get to know their faculty and peers and to take advantage of opportunities to build a network of strong relationships. “You can take those relationships beyond school and have a network of people that you can turn to after college. Being an art major is not necessarily something that leads you to a lucrative job right away,” said Henriksen. “You have to work your way through the world and figure out your own path. Having people to turn to is a good thing.” Q&A WITH RACHEL HENRIKSEN, BFA ‘20 ART | STUDIO ART What did you want to be when you grew up? “My mom said I always used to tell her I wanted to be a street performer who played guitar or danced for money. And then that turned into wanting to be on Broadway, until I realized I really can't dance or sing.” What was your favorite class that you took at BYU? “I think most of my favorite classes were the art theory classes for my major — the ones that were less about technique in art, and more about ideas and concepts and theories.” Is there a specific work or practitioner in your field that has had a particularly strong influence on you? “There’s a contemporary artist named Felix Gonzales Torres who passed away only a few years ago. He’s a conceptual artist who creates really powerful works in really simple ways. He uses a lot of universal themes that we all experience and feel, like love and loss.” Do you have a hidden talent? “I'm unusually good at finding really cool stuff at yard sales and thrift stores — just funky stuff that is hidden in weird places. That comes in handy, especially as an artist.” What is your favorite snack for between classes? “I usually have some sort of dried fruit with me. Right now I really like apricots.”
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Violinist Spencer Day Confronts Performance Anxiety, Develops Artistry in School of Music

April 03, 2020 12:00 AM
Day — from Sandy, Utah — will graduate with a BM in music performance with an emphasis in strings on April 24, 2020
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