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BYU Students Benefiting the World

October 2023

Jennifer Canizales presenting at a conferenceMath + Art = Better Boards

Jennifer Canizales, who recently graduated with a master’s degree in math education, has always loved math. But she’s an equally gifted artist—and she’s using this rare combination of talents to help students learn. 

“Like many students, I’ve been in math classes where it’s hard to follow all of the infor¬mation that’s up on the board,” Canizales says. 

She drew on principles of design to create new board plans to make math more appealing and understandable.
After testing her new board work model in math classes at BYU, Canizales found that “we can lower the extraneous cognitive load for students and increase their ability to understand the math.” 

Canizales presented her findings at educator conferences and is now working to publish her research to help teachers be more effective.

Abbie Speed smiling against a white wallThe Whys of Addiction

As an undergraduate transfer stu¬dent to BYU, Abbie Speed worked closely with a few professors on research projects—an experience she says she wouldn’t have had at her previous school. She will soon graduate with a master’s degree in mass communications. 

Speed has researched video game addiction. To learn why it develops, she analyzed gamers’ motivations and found three: achievement (to win awards), immersion (to be distracted from daily life), and social interaction (to become part of a group). 

Obviously, gamers who play every day of the week are more likely to be addicted, but Speed learned that “if you are logging online to play games and treat¬ing it as a standing appointment with friends and if you can get back to your daily life after the appointment ends without feeling compelled to play, then you’re not developing an addictive behavior.”

Anna Monson, a BYU biology student, outside by a creek in winterTrees, Fish, and Provo

Anna Monson, a biology student, organized volunteers to plant willows beside the Provo River delta as part of her senior cap¬stone. In time the trees will shade and stabilize the river’s banks and provide lifesaving hiding places for young June sucker fish. 

Monson says her time at BYU has helped her develop an appreciation for God’s creations and inspired her to actively care for the earth and strengthen eco¬systems. “The Provo River delta is right up against beautiful trails, and this project is adding to the recreational impact of the area,” says Monson. 

To prepare for her project and learn about local conservation efforts, Monson attended Provo’s Sustainability Council meetings, met with civic leaders, and part¬nered with the BYU Sustainability Office. She says she is following her professors’ examples of being involved in the community.

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