Graduation Speakers Announced

Two students and a McKay School administrator will speak at graduation convocation, August 2018.

What do a bicyclist, a twin, and a history buff have in common? They are all speaking at graduation! The McKay School has lined up the assistant dean of the McKay School, Al Merkley, and two student speakers, Kimberly Ellsworth and Hannah Stokes, for speeches this August.

Al Merkley
Al Merkley was born and raised in Alberta, Canada, and is a proud Canadian. Before coming to BYU, Merkley practiced law for 14 years in Vancouver, British Colombia, with an emphasis in complex commercial trial litigation. For the past 19 years, he has served as assistant dean. He also has spent several years overseeing the external relations efforts for the McKay School. He is also an avid road cyclist. His greatest accomplishment as a cyclist is riding each of the Stelvio, Gavia, and Umbrail mountain passes in northern Italy. Merkley and his wife, Jeri, have four children and five grandchildren. 

Kimberly Ellsworth
Kimberly Ellsworth, the twin, is from Vacaville, California. She has earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and is double minoring in TESOL (teachers of English to speakers of other languages) and family life. Recently, she has been student teaching fourth grade at Blackridge Elementary in Herriman. She was married last December to Chapman Ellsworth, who is studying accounting at BYU. After graduation, Ellsworth and her husband will move to Los Angeles for his work. She plans to apply for teaching positions there. Ellsworth chose to study elementary education because she enjoys working with kids. She is interested in child development—how children grow and progress—and wants to empower them to reach their potential. 

Hannah Stokes
Hannah Stokes was born in Bedford, Texas. She is graduating with her PhD in counseling psychology from BYU. Starting this fall, she will teach in the psychology department at a small liberal arts college in Ohio. Stokes has a love for new and diverse experiences, and an interest in understanding cultures. She enjoys traveling, eating new foods, meeting new people, reading books, analyzing films, viewing art, collecting vinyl records, and visiting museums. She jokes, "In another life I probably was an anthropologist." She is interested in multicultural research and hopes to do some qualitative research abroad. In regards to teaching, Stokes has an interest in representative multimedia in the classroom, specifically in the use of film for education. Her goal as a teacher is to understand her students so she can teach them effectively.


These speakers will address graduates and guests at the McKay School convocation on Friday, August 17, at 8:00 a.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.