Meet the Students

The Ballard Center hosts classes, internships, competitions, research, and award programs for over 2,500 students each year from over 100 different majors. Another 5,800 students each year become involved in TEDxBYU, the Peery Film Festival, other events, and clubs. Take a minute to meet a few of our students:

Ryan McFadyen, Economics

While walking through the crowded streets of Guatemala, I met an elderly man wearing tattered clothing and covered in filth. It was apparent by the way he stumbled and stuttered that he had been drinking alcohol. He seemed eager to speak to someone—anyone—so when I introduced myself as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he had a lot to say. 

Why I Chose to Work Against Human Trafficking

Juan Camargo, Economics

For me, growing up in a war-torn Colombia meant turning the TV on every night at 7 p.m. to find out how many children were abducted and forcibly enlisted by military groups, or how many people had been killed in rural communities simply for being born in regions where external forces determined their fate.

Afternoon Dance Parties that Changed My Life

Alyssa Clark, Masters of Public Administration

Driving up to a weathered brown apartment building in South Salt Lake, Khinhla, Win Tae, and their brothers rolled down the windows excitedly as I turned up the music. Shattering the silence, we got out and started dancing to the radio. As if anticipating our arrival, the front doors of the apartments facing us swung open and Burmese refugee mothers smiled as their children darted past to join us.

Driving People out of Poverty

Jason Koncurat, Pre-Management

During lunch in middle school and high school there was always the gathering of like-minded groups: those that loved to talk about video games, those that were theater fanatics, and those that were athletes. For one who didn’t fit any of those social constructs, I floated for years hoping one day to be surrounded by people that I can relate with.

The Special Sauce of Social Impact

Laurie Batschi, International Relations

When I walked into an info session for a Ballard Center Social Innovation Case Competition, I had only planned on enjoying a free J Dawg- replete with banana peppers and drizzled with its iconic special sauce - then trekking back to the library to finish my homework. However, as I loitered long enough to not look too much the hot dog opportunist, I got hooked...

From Corporate America To Rural Mozambique

Jeremy Skelton, Business Management

I’ve always known I wanted to go into healthcare. While the other neighborhood kids were playing army or house, I was playing with the doctor kit that my parents bought me for my birthday. The summer after my freshman year, while my friends started their summer internships I packed up my bags and moved to Sumpango, Guatemala to work as a medical volunteer in a rural clinic.

Marieka Creek, Sociology

I was left on a doorstep outside an orphanage in Hefei, China.  My village was infested with pollution, disease, and overpopulation, so my birth mother left me hoping that someone could provide what she could not.  Along with dozens of other orphan girls, my fate rested in the hands of someone who could rescue me from a future plagued with poverty.

Jordan Treglown, Experience Design Management

I saw first responder vehicles blocking off a whole street near my home. As I got to school, the hustle and bustle of class, homework, and friends consumed my attention and I forgot all about the accident—that is, until second period when the school police officer and counselor escorted me from class to the office. I wracked my brain as to what I had done to deserve the attention of the police.

Ariana Grundvig Rosenberg, Psychology

Even lifting the spatula to fry a chicken patty started to feel heavy. After returning from my mission, I struggled to find meaning in my Chik-Fil-A job. Five hours after handing in my apron and black hat, I found an opportunity that would change my life and thousands of others.

Tinesha Zandamela, Sociology & French

My dad, an African immigrant, won a significant City Council race in a small town in Washington State while I was in high school. Nine years after his win, I started working at the Ballard Center, and I decided to follow in my dad’s footsteps. This is the story of why I decided to run for office as a full-time student at 23.

Greg Hutchins, Business Management

I felt like a failure. I questioned whether doing good was even possible. Could complex problems like poverty, lack of access to clean water, or human trafficking ever be solved? Years passed, and slowly I began to lose hope. Maybe it wasn’t possible.

Emily Kwok, Industrial Design

As we walked down the street, we saw a girl about my age with dark hair, dark eyes, and brown skin just like me selling beautiful beaded bags. What really made us different?