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Passionate About Honors

Meet this year's Honors Student Leadership Council (HSLC)

Pictured Above: (back row) Melissa Chavez, Abbi Peo, Olivia Osguthorpe, Gabrielle Lenning, Maricio Morales, Aaron Gorner, Mitchell Smith, Michael Forvil, Nick O'Connor, Zach Sutton, Elias Johnson; (front row) Adah Shippen, Aaron Redd, Naomi Julian, Caleigh Kerr, Jayci Eyre; (not pictured) Jonathan Dickson.

Fall semester is in full swing, and the Honors Student Leadership Council (HSLC) hit the ground running as the academic year began. These student leaders have planned a full schedule of fun programs and exciting events for the year, and hope to get to know our Honors community. Members of HSLC hope all Honors students feel they belong in the Honors program, and that everyone's contribution is important.

In addition to their individual responsibilities, council members meet twice a week in class for instruction and training on teaching leadership through principles and building skills. Members of HSLC commit to serve a full year, both Fall and Winter semesters. They are passionate about the Honors Program and about sharing their experience with others. If this is an opportunity that sounds interesting to you, watch for the application deadline in March and reach out to a member of HSLC for the inside scoop! Now, meet your 2022-23 HSLC council members!

Mauricio Morales - President

Political Science/Middle East Studies/Arabic
I’m an international student from Bolivia, and I’m a junior here at BYU. I love spending time with friends, traveling, dancing, and talking about the United Nations—in fact, I’m a TA for the MUN program here on campus. My goal for this year is to help all of us to find our own community: a community of support, love, and work that helps us to excel in all aspects of our lives. Lately I’ve been studying the concept of “belonging” and found interesting connections in classical music, the brain, and politics.

Michael Forvil - Vice President

Besides my passion for exploring the in-depth complexity of the brain, I love playing volleyball and music, particularly the drums. Also, I recently discovered my passion for dancing! This Fall semester, I am so fortunate to be one of the pioneer dancers of the Afro Dance Ensemble–the first Africana-focused and newest performance group at BYU. One of my goals for the Honors program this year is to see Honors students put their acquired interdisciplinary skills to practice solving real issues in our community or even around the world. A recent unexpected connection I made is the relation between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with a specific part of the brain called Basal Ganglia.

Caleigh Kerr - Vice President

Family Life/Global and Community Impact
I love seeking truth, smelling the china roses around campus, and people watching in the HBLL. I enjoy Latin dancing (come to Fiesta Nov. 3) and understanding people, so please come introduce yourself if you see me. My stellar HSLC team and I are striving to transform the Honors Program reputation into one of living with honor in an effort to gather us all together and belong. Let me know if you have any marketing ideas (the sky is the limit) or what living with honor looks like for you. I have been in a place of learning from The Holy Ghost recently, and I've come to realize that The Spirit can help us unexpectedly connect all truths into one.

Olivia Osguthorpe - Secretary

Hi! I’m Liv and I love all food especially chocolate, whitewater rafting, and music! One of my goals for HSLC this year is to find ways to help people stay in the program even when it gets difficult, because let’s be real, Honors can be daunting sometimes! (Please send me your feedback, we’d love to hear from you!) An unexpected connection I made recently was the connection between the ability to tell stories about our life and our ability to process our life experiences. Ludwig Wittgenstein was really onto something when he said, “The limits of our language are the limits of our world”!

Melissa Chavez

Some of my favorite activities include playing soccer, singing, snowboarding, and ice skating. I spent Spring term 2023 in Italy and Greece on a study abroad (I had the best pasta of my life in Florence). One of my goals for the Honors program this year is to integrate a sense of belonging through events and conversations with other students. I think having a sense of belonging in the Honors Program would help ease those thinking of joining the program as a space to have where they can truly be themselves. I know for me when I started at BYU, the Honors program was one of the only places on campus that I felt this sense of belonging, and I would love to help other students feel that as well.

Jonathan Dickson

I'm from Rexburg, Idaho, and I'm in the Junior core of the Strategy program in the business school. I enjoy skiing, biking, 3D Printing, and spending time with my wife, Kelly, who just finished her thesis, and my golden retriever, Toby. I joined HSLC because administrators in the business school have actively dissuaded students from joining the Honors Program, and I disagree with them. I have two goals for the Honors program. The first is to understand the program's retention among the different majors/colleges, and the second is to create an actionable plan to increase retention.

Jaycelin Eyre

Hey, I’m Jayci! I’m going into organizational psychology with the goal to become a leadership development consultant. When I get my daily five minutes away from homework, I love to read, thrift shop, sleep, and hang out with my husband. My top goal for the Honors program is to spread the word that Honors is for everyone! If every student at BYU knew that they didn’t need a “4.0” to be in Honors, we could have so much more impact for good. An unexpected connection I recently made is that you can apply marriage communication tactics to international relations.

Aaron Gorner

Comparative Literature/French Studies/Ancient Near Eastern Studies
I love to play hockey, tennis, and most of all to find repose from the oppressive sun in shady grotto, with a good book and some form of caffeine. A major goal I have for the Honors Program this year is to establish a greater academic presence, one which provides utilization and expansion of the great minds that make up this great entity. I recently encountered the unexpected connection between the tone of Christine de Pizan in her book The City of Dames and the tone of Joseph Smith in Joseph Smith History.

Elias Johnson

Biodiversity & Conservation
I’m an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University studying biodiversity and conservation. I have worked with multiple environmental advocacy groups in the state. I enjoy spending my time in Utah’s beautiful natural places climbing, mountain biking, and snowboarding. I also enjoy reading and writing.

Naomi Julian

Hi friends, I’m Naomi! I’m a Sociology major and I absolutely love it and can talk your ear off about what I’m learning. However, I’m not a complete nerd so I also really enjoy painting, collage, or anything creative! My goal for the Honors Program this year is to embody the meaning of belonging because that’s what it’s all about! Just like the foundation of the building, the Honors Program is the foundation of success through the support, connections, and diversity of thought each student brings.

Gabrielle Lenning

Environmental Science and Sustainability/International Development
Hello everyone! My name is Gabrielle Lenning and I like to ski, hike, play violin, and cook. I am originally from Washington State and as a proper “Washingtonian,” I love steamed clams. One of my goals for the Honors program is to build community by helping others progress in their individual disciplines and create cross-disciplinary connections with colleagues. An unexpected connection I made recently concerned how diseases and other ailments can transform political opinion as well as artistic expression.

Nick O’Connor

A fun fact about me is that at age 9, I pogo-sticked for 4 miles without dismounting. My favorite food is HUman chocolate. A few things that I am passionate about are slacklining, biking party pace (google it!), sewing, and making my own sandals. One of my goals for the Honors Program this year is to increase enrollment of Math majors. A recent unexpected connection I made is that steel and aluminum have different rates of thermal expansion. That’s why my bike squeaks in the morning!

Abbi Peo

My name is Abbi Peo! I have a twin sister who is currently on a mission. I am from California, so I love to go to the beach and my favorite food is chicken tacos! One of my goals for the Honors program this year is to connect with new people! Being a part of Honors Student Leadership has helped me foster new relationships and interact with my amazing peers and scholars. An unexpected connection I recently made is that I went on a civilization study abroad and connected it to my major: psychology. I have a deeper understanding of what makes people human and different ways of life.

Aaron Redd

I love everything to do with the outdoors! My favorite food is either avocado toast or Clif bars, and I’ve probably eaten more “Choices” bowls than anyone you know. I do research in an optics lab on campus, so I play with lasers and get paid for it. One goal that I have for the Honors program this year is that more students will make it through the final stages of the program (Leadership Experience, Thesis etc.) and on to graduation. I’m currently reading a book that finds unexpected connections between anthropology, geography, and biology, with the central through line of running.

Adah Shippen

Public Relations/Spanish
I’m a sophomore here at BYU and I recently returned from my LDS mission in Los Angeles, California speaking Spanish. A few facts about me: I love being outside, listening to Noah Kahan, playing the piano and the cello, talking, and going to REI. My goals this year in the Honors program are to help more students become aware of the Honors program and feel like they belong, so they can enrich their academic experience like I have. Something that I love about the Honors classes is how they connect with every aspect of my life. As I have taken my unexpected connections classes I have not only discovered new ways to approach my major, I have found new ways to approach my life.

Mitchell Smith

Interdisciplinary Humanities
My favorite activities include running, downhill skiing, hiking, playing soccer, and exploring new places! I also love the beach and spending time with family. My favorite food is curry, and a fun fact about me is that I’m able to ski downhill with just one ski attached. One of the goals that I have for the Honors Program this year is to finish my thesis! One of the most recent unexpected connections I’ve made is the connection between the humanities and medicine; many of the analytic techniques used in the humanities can be used in medicine for the visual diagnosis of patients.

Zach Sutton

Mechanical Engineering
I was born in Utah and grew up for a long time outside of Washington DC in Great Falls, Virginia. I love food, sports, video games, and my Math 113 class this semester! A fun fact about me is that I can whistle like a cricket. One of my goals for the Honors program this year is to help spread the image that the Honors program is really open for everyone who wants to think more—it is not an exclusive club for the top students at BYU! One of the unexpected connections I have made recently was actually in one of the Honors classes I took last semester. We watched different sci-fi films, and analyzed the symmetry, symbolism, and the concept of infinity in each film.