Chemistry and Biochemistry

Graduate Student Site Visit 2015

Posted: Mar 27, 2015

“BYU professor + hard working graduate student = several publications, a great job, and a satisfying life.”

According to the graduate student recruiting committee, this is the equation for a successful graduate school experience.

Prospective graduate students and their spouses visited BYU this past weekend, March 20-21, for the annual graduate student site visit.  One of the students was Janice Darko, originally from Ghana, who will be starting her PhD program this fall.  Darko, like many of the new students, is working hard to balance school, work, and a young family.  “I have a baby and two more years in the Navy,” she explained.  Nevertheless, she and her fellow students were excited to learn about the opportunities at BYU.

Friday’s activities included meetings with individual professors and area chairs, a video about the history of BYU, and a Q and A session on graduate life with Dr. Dan Ess. “Pepper me with questions,” Ess told the students as he answered concerns about health insurance, stipends, and entrance exams.  He encouraged the students to work hard at BYU and then go out and have fun.  He specifically recommended skiing, fishing, and visiting Bryce Canyon.



Students were then treated to a delicious meal in the Hinckley Center, catered by Costa Vida.  The “tres leches” dessert was a new treat for several international students.  Hannah Wing and Aaron Johnson from BYU’s standup comedy group, Humor U, provided entertainment during the meal.  “It was a nice change to have the comedians come,” said Dr. Barry Willardson after their riotous routines.


A poster session and a raffle followed dinner.  Students were able to learn about different aspects of the research at BYU and win prizes at the same time.  

Saturday’s activities began with the Student Research Conference, followed by lunch with current graduate students. Prospective students were given the opportunity to ask their peers about different programs and research labs.  

The best was yet to come, however.  Faculty and guests took a trip to Provo Beach Resort to play on the Flowrider, an indoor wave machine.  Faculty members got in on the fun, testing their surfing skills with the new students.  The final stop was Spring Haven Lodge in Hobble Creek Canyon for a delicious dinner.

Janet Fonoimoana, the assistant graduate coordinator, was very pleased with the event.  “We believe it accomplished the goal of introducing our programs to quality prospective students,” she said, “and also gave us an opportunity to get to know some of the applicants better.”

By Jordan Wright