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Representing Christ Wherever She Goes

January 2024

Crystal Tania in her graduation robe and holding her graduation cap, standing in front of a green mountain in Hawaii

Crystal Tania is an excellent example of BYU–Hawaii’s mission to develop students into disciples of Jesus Christ. From growing up in Indonesia, a country known for its large Muslim population, to being one of the only members of the Church at her internship in Boston, Massachusetts, Crystal has learned to be a representative of her beliefs wherever she goes.

Getting to Hawaii

Being raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Indonesia was a formative experience for Crystal. “My friends not of the same faith would question my choices when it came to avoiding alcohol, coffee, and smoking. They would also ask questions about the Book of Mormon and serving missions,” she says. “Despite belonging to the minority religion, I truly was able to live in harmony with those of different religious beliefs. This only strengthened my testimony and developed my appreciation for diversity.”

When Crystal was a teenager, she began thinking about where she would attend college. Crystal’s father is a BYU–Hawaii alum and often shared his experience with her and her sister about his time at the university. Knowing this, Crystal was particularly drawn to the BYU–Hawaii campus reps who visited an annual Church youth camp in her area. She recalls, “I knew right then and there that, one day, I would be a BYU–Hawaii student.”

Though she worked hard in her studies and spiritual preparation, Crystal was rejected the first time she applied to BYU–Hawaii. “At this time, it was difficult for Indonesian students to get into the university,” she says. “However, I applied again and was accepted to BYU–Hawaii and the IWORK program. And now we have more than 50 Indonesian students on campus.”

“Despite our diverse backgrounds and mother tongues, we are united at BYU–Hawaii and we all carry a special light distinct to this sacred place.”
– Crystal Tania

Going to Boston

Crystal is majoring in communications, media, and culture, with minors in marketing, psychology, and Spanish. As part of her involvement in the IWORK program, Crystal recently completed an internship in Boston with Moderna, a pharmaceutical company known for its COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. It was here that she had another opportunity to be an example of her faith.

As part of her internship, she led onboarding sessions for new hires that often included researchers, scientists, and executives. She shares, “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I—someone without a science background whose first language was not English and who has not even graduated yet—would have the chance to lead and address a group of remarkable individuals dedicated to advancing health technology and providing aid in a global pandemic.”

A few days after leading an onboarding session, Crystal met a woman who recognized her from the session and introduced herself as Sarah from pharmacology. After talking for a few minutes, Sarah asked her, “Do you go to BYU–Hawaii?” Crystal was surprised by the question but quickly responded yes.

Sarah explained, “I was recently at the Polynesian Cultural Center with my husband. Our guide and the workers there were mostly BYU–Hawaii students. They had this strong aloha spirit, treated us so kindly, and really left a positive impression on my husband and me.”

Sarah continued, “As I sat in your training yesterday, I wondered if you were also a student there because I felt the same warmth I experienced at PCC. You guys really have this special charm.”
Moved nearly to tears, Crystal felt an immense sense of pride, not just for herself but also for her hardworking friends at PCC and the entire BYU–Hawaii ‘ohana. Crystal says, “Despite our diverse backgrounds and mother tongues, we are united at BYU–Hawaii and we all carry a special light distinct to this sacred place.”

This interaction with Sarah made Crystal realize that, in addition to advancing her skills and giving her valuable experience, her internship was also teaching her the impact she can have as a representative of Jesus Christ.

Preparing for San Diego

As graduation approaches, Crystal is preparing to move to San Diego, California, where she will start her career at a marketing agency and continue to carry the spirit of aloha and the light of the gospel with her.

“I’m eager to see how I can go forth to serve and make meaningful contributions in a full-time role, church calling, community engagements, organizations, and beyond,” Crystal says. “And this is all possible because BYU–Hawaii allows for an internship program to take place. I want to express our gratitude as Indonesian students to you, the donors. Your generosity has transformed our opportunities.” 

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