How alumni use their BYU education to serve their communities, neighbors, and families.

Tailored Learning

When I switched schools in the middle of third grade, the other students were using math strategies that were unfamiliar to me. I quickly fell behind, and from that time on I told myself that I just wasn’t good at math.

Years later, I took a math education class at BYU. We studied how children learn math and how they will invent their own algorithms if you let them. The children we studied could work with double- or triple-digit numbers in their head—it was amazing! I realized then that each person has a different method of learning that works best. When I felt free to solve problems in my own way, I quickly found that I too could do mental math.

As my children grow, I try to remember what I learned in that class: every child learns differently. It is amazing how well my children respond when I find the method that suits each best.

—Carmen Purnell Heap (BS ’11), Moodus, Conn.

Preparation Beats Punishment

When I began to maneuver parenthood, a lesson I learned in a human development class from A. Lynn Scoresby (BS ’65, MA ’66) came back to me. “Prepare more than punish” reminded me to teach my young children proper behavior before certain occasions arose, rather than dealing with misbehavior during those occasions. Before we walk to a park, I’ve learned to tell my children that if they obey when it is time to leave the park, we will be able to go back more often. Before we eat a meal, I’ve learned to prepare my children with clear instruction on proper mealtime behaviors. Over and over again, preparing has helped reduce the need for punishing and has greatly contributed to a happier home and family life.

—Amber Zierenberg Lasley (BS ’02), Blacksburg, Va.

Tomatoes growing on a vine and tied to a wooden post.

Hopeful that gardening could help her cope with anxiety, Janae Stubbs employed her persuasive-writing skills to campaign for a community garden in her apartment complex. Photo by Bradley Slade.

Planting A Seed

love gardening. When I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, I needed a calming outlet, and I decided I wanted a garden. But our young family was living in the family housing at Utah State University, where my husband was a student, and one thing that most students don’t have is land. Luckily, I had taken a persuasive-writing class during my time at BYU, so I put my skills to task to ask for a community garden in the family housing area. I did a lot of research and created a proposal based on the school’s mission and value statements. It took a few months, but administrators eventually approved a pilot program, and my family and neighbors were able to have an enormous garden in our own backyard. The veggies we grew were the best ever!

— Janae Card Stubbs (BS ’11), Logan, Utah

Share Your Story

How has your BYU education helped you better serve others in your daily, nonprofessional life? Send us your tips and stories of the specific things you learned at BYU that have proven helpful in your home or community. BYU Magazine will pay you $50 if we choose to publish your submission in Learning for Life. Submissions may be edited for length, grammar, appropriateness, and clarity. Send your story to

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