Category Archives: Alumni News

October 11

OBHR Lessons from the Caribbean

When two young missionaries lost the trail while hiking Mont Pelée, a volcano on the French Caribbean island of Martinique, Reid Robison had to act quickly. After receiving the news that the two young men had gone missing, Robison, then president of the West Indies Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, […]

August 09

Class Note: Hot Off the Press

Kim Borup knows a good investment when she sees one. The skills that the 1992 Marriott School business grad earned during years of experience in the field are currently bearing fruit in Paper Bandit Press, the letterpress printing company that Kim began with her husband, Brett, more than two years ago. “I’ve used my degree […]

August 03

Romney students fight real-world wildfires

BYU MPA students don’t have to wait to graduate before tackling hot issues. In their second year, students enroll in a class that partners them with government or non-profit entities, giving them the chance to solve real problems for real organizations. And while it’s no easy feat, they will tell you it’s one of the […]

July 19

The Business of Show Business

The white letters of the Hollywood Sign are framed in Rick Johnson’s office window, along with a city street lined with palm trees. Down one block is the Jimmy Kimmel Live! headquarters, where Johnson once hoisted his nine-year-old daughter atop his shoulders to watch a free Taylor Swift concert hosted by the studio. As a […]

June 30

Sky’s the Limit for MPA Alum

“Reach for the stars” is a figurative goal for most of us, but for Kevin Watts, a 1986 graduate of the BYU Masters of Public Administration program, it is an everyday reality. Watts, originally from Salt Lake City, has worked at NASA for thirty years. He graduated from the University of Utah with a degree […]

June 23

Entrepreneurship Is a Romp

As a busy neuroscience graduate student and teacher of undergrad psychology courses at Duke University, Stephanie Santistevan-Swett needed a versatile outfit to get her through busy days. Rompers—loose, one-piece garments combining a shirt and pants or shorts—were the perfect mix of comfy and cute, but she was having a hard time finding any with sleeves. So […]

March 29

MPA Alum Takes Over the Family Farm

A group of seasoned farmers sit facing Rebecca Loveland, a recent college grad in her mid-twenties, as she leads their discussion on everything from daily planning to marketing to an upcoming potato audit. Loveland feels inexperienced but plows forward, relying on the leadership skills she developed with her Marriott School training to make decisions and […]

March 08

For One Alum History is Business

For some, the path less traveled is the wisest course. For Reid Neilson, it was traversing two seemingly disparate paths that made all the difference. In grad school at BYU, he couldn’t choose between his two passions, so he took on two programs at once—an MBA and an MA in history. Neilson’s choice to follow […]

March 01

Spicing Things Up with Sriracha Box

Working as an attorney at one of the oldest firms in New York City, Chandler Tanner finally understood what the classic rock band Loverboy meant when they sang “Working for the Weekend.” In the City that Never Sleeps, Tanner found a work culture that constantly awaited Friday’s gateway to the weekend—and dreaded Monday’s return to […]

February 16

MPA Alum’s Comic Creations

By day, Arie Van De Graaff is a public servant, but by night he is an accomplished cartoonist. Van De Graaff, who graduated with an MPA from BYU in 2001, has been in the public sector for nearly fifteen years, working as a research analyst for the Utah Association of Counties. “I liked the idea […]

January 28

Class Note: Karl Hale’s Moving Art

Switching from a degree in accounting and a career in software engineering to life as a full-time artist is strange, admits Karl Hale. But when his after-work detox projects turned out to be works of art, that’s exactly the leap he took. Hale calls himself a kinetic artist. A longtime woodworking hobbyist, he now carves […]

December 22

Class Note: Spelling Student Success

It was 6:30 p.m., and Dora Ho-Ellis was still in her office. “Normally, I’m not that hardworking,” she quips. But when the phone rang with a pivotal opportunity for the entrepreneurship education program she spearheaded at Singapore Polytechnic, she was grateful she was there to answer. A rep from the Changi Airport Group was on […]

November 19

Class Note: BYU’s Champion at Google

What does Matt McGhee say most prepared him to thrive in his dream job at a multinational tech giant? Participating in his LDS young single adult ward activity committees—planning dances and mix-and-mingles. That’s because he works at Google. The company is known for championing a different kind of corporate culture—one that McGhee loves for more […]

November 17

Extending the Public Sector Network

With a couple temporary employees and 2,500 phone numbers, Vicki Okerlund set out in 2001 to create a network of BYU MPA alumni. Eight months later, she and her team had called every single alum, reaching about 90 percent of them and starting an alumni network that continues to enrich BYU’s MPA program today. Okerlund, […]

October 28

Class Note: A New Vision for Charity

Doug Jackson is bringing sight to tens of thousands around the globe—thanks to a new kind of vision for humanitarian work. “The best charity work is when the locals are doing it,” Jackson says. “It’s not when the foreigners come in to do it; they just come and go. If you don’t set up the […]

September 18

Alum Alan Olsen’s Life by the Numbers

Now that he thinks about it, Alan Olsen hates accounting. You wouldn’t expect this from a man with more than thirty-five years of experience in public accounting who serves as one of the managing partners at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, a firm consistently recognized as one of the best and fastest-growing in the […]