“By Study, By Faith” Encourages Women to Finish Their Education

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When the BYU Faculty Women’s Association (FWA) was selecting its annual service project, President Barbara Smith searched for a way the group could serve and inspire students.

“Then the idea came that our wonderful, devoted, talented women faculty might be able to record and share their perspective on how to meet educational challenges today, so that if our students faithfully study, make sacrifices, and [believe], they will also reach goals, and that it will be worth it,” said Smith, of the McKay School’s Counseling Psychology and Special Education Department.

Smith’s idea evolved into a new web series, “By Study, By Faith.” The project is produced by the BYU Theatre and Media Arts Department in association with the FWA. The creators hope the series inspires young women to pursue their educational goals despite challenges that may occur.

“I really wanted to focus on our students,” Smith said. “They are in my thoughts and I pray for them a lot. I hope they can sense what a blessing their education will be . . . later in life if they continue in school.”

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The series also highlights the importance of faith in the process. “Their goals were similar to many of [our students]: major in something, marry, work, and have a family,” Smith said. “They did not know from the beginning where their journey would take them, but they sought for inspiration and guidance as they faithfully moved forward. Their prayers were answered.”

The web series features female BYU faculty members sharing stories of pursuing their own education. Each story includes the positive influence education has had on the woman’s life, as well as some of the challenges and setbacks getting that education required.

The following McKay School faculty members are featured in the series:

Roni Jo Draper, Teacher Education

“I sometimes think that things have come true in terms of dreams that I was maybe even afraid to dream when I was 25. I was afraid to wish it for myself. Just as I was afraid to say that I was going to graduate from college, like it was maybe a dream too big for me to have.”

Barbara Smith, Counseling Psychology and Special Education

“I have not always been able to do everything I wanted to, but this has taught me patience and given me a better perspective. I have gained wisdom; I have learned that there are seasons, and time for every purpose under heaven.”

Read full story here.

Betty Ashbaker, Counseling Psychology and Special Education

“Although I had a little one (pregnant with the second), and worked full time, I decided to go back to school for a PhD. My husband was supportive, and we both believed the additional knowledge and education would help our own children—along with the students I taught.”

Read full story here.

Tina Dyches, Counseling Psychology and Special Education

“You can lose your home, your spouse, your children, your possessions—but your education is something you can never lose. I believe God has prompted my family to earn our degrees so that He can place us in positions where we can have a broad and lasting influence on others.”

Read full story here.

Stefinee Pinnegar, Teacher Education

“I grew up in St. George, Utah, and I planned to marry and have many, many children, and I diligently prepared for this role. . . . I am a good example of ‘tell God what you plan and he will laugh at you,’ since what led me to become educated and attain a PhD was the whispering of the spirit that prompted me to continue my education, to become a researcher, and to come to BYU (though I wanted to be elsewhere).”

Read full story here.

Katie Steed, Counseling, Psychology, and Special Education

“I have come to learn that knowledge not only means power, it also means flexibility. As life has progressed, I have found myself married with three sweet little babies. My education has granted me the ability to be the mom I want to be while still having the ability to juggle a career that I love.”

Read full story here.

Writer: Lindsey Williams

Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922