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Meet the 2024 Social Science Valedictorians

April 25, 2024

With graduation around the corner, we want to take a moment and highlight the eight students from the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences who have been named valedictorians for 2024. These students represent each department in the college and are selected based on GPA, faculty recommendations, and department involvement.

Read on for details about our valedictorians and visit to see profiles of all graduates. We'll see you at our college convocation on Friday, April 26, at 11 a.m. in the Marriott Center. Tickets are not required.



Image of Jenna Norris

Anthropology: Jenna Norris

Jenna Norris is from Orem, Utah, and pursued an anthropology major with an emphasis in archaeology. She had several unique opportunities including the chance to analyze ancient Egyptian textiles as part of an internship with Dr. Kerry Muhlestein, excavate sites in Egypt and Jordan, as well as her current work as a registrar at the BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures.

Though Norris was hesitant at first, she believes her decision to choose anthropology has greatly blessed her life. She's been interested in archaeology from a young age and is grateful for how this program pushed her to learn new things. She feels indebted to the professors that have helped her get to this point. Norris is now pursuing a PhD in Middle Eastern art and archaeology, something she says she couldn’t have done without the growth from her experiences as a student.

Image of Allen Coulson Otterstrom

Economics: Allen Coulson Otterstrom

In Fall of 2018, Allen Otterstrom’s childhood dream of one day attending BYU came true. A Provo native, Otterstrom took an academic break to serve a two-year mission from 2019–2021. After returning, he declared his major in economics, alongside studies in mathematics and geography.

Keeping up with his studies was difficult, yet fulfilling, especially when his son was born during Otterstrom's junior year. During his time as a student, he was a research assistant for Dr. Joe Price as well as a teaching assistant for Dr. Brigham Frandsen — opportunities that he enjoyed immensely.

Now, married to his eternal companion and ready to graduate, Otterstrom plans to work as a research professional at the University of Chicago for two years before pursuing a PhD in economics.

Image of Emily Burdette

Family Life: Emily Burdette

After serving a mission, Emily Burdette returned home briefly to Saratoga Springs, Utah, and then headed to BYU and declared a major in family and consumer sciences education.

Burdette enjoys working with students as they learn to find their own passions and explore the opportunities that lie ahead of them. In addition to her professional ambitions, Burdette also enjoys spending time with loved ones, baking, quilting, and upholstery.

Image of Andrew Miller

Burdette is grateful for all the mentors who have been able to make her dreams come true, whether it was her professors or supervisors at the Upholstery Shop and the Food Lab. With her degree, she plans to launch a career teaching full-time in the fall.

Geography: Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller, from Eagle, Idaho, majored in geography with an emphasis in geospatial science and technology. Miller was born deaf and the majority of Miller’s hearing comes from a cochlear implant he received at age three.

For the past year, Miller has worked in the Geospatial Services and Training Lab at the Harold B. Lee Library and has completed several geographic information system (GIS)-related internships.

Miller believes maps hold great value in the way that they can provide a perspective on the world that can’t be seen any other way and have useful application in every discipline.

In his free time, Miller likes to play sports and exercise. He hopes that the skills he’s developed as a BYU student will help him make a lasting positive impact on the world.

Image of Emma Griffin

History: Emma Griffin

Emma Griffin, a history major from Andover, Massachusetts, has enjoyed learning about the history of different peoples across the world while at BYU. Her studies have included a focus on the early modern Atlantic world, the history of slavery, and the empire of the Caribbean.

Griffin has spent time working as a research, teaching, and editorial assistant for professors in the History Department, and as an editor for BYU's undergraduate historical journal The Thetean. Griffin also served as president of BYU's chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, a national History Honor Society.

The next step in her academic career will be in the fall at NYU, where she will pursue a PhD in Atlantic history. Griffin is grateful for all the professors who have helped her accomplish her dreams, but she’s especially appreciative to her family and friends for all their support.

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Political Science: Julia Chatterley

After becoming an avid fan of the political drama TV series “The West Wing,” Julia Chatterley decided to major in political science, with a minor in statistics and legal studies.

Chatterley grew up as an army brat and moved often, living in places such as Arizona, Colorado, and Germany. Once she got to BYU, Chatterley’s passion for research took her to Morocco, Spain, and Malaysia, to study comparative and international politics.

Chatterley also served as co-president of the BYU Political Affairs Society, co-president of Students for International Development, and editor of BYU’s politics journal The Political Review.

She’s thankful for how mentors, professors, and family supported her time as a student.

Image of Dantzel Lily Petersen-Hancey

Psychology: Dantzel Lily Petersen-Hancey

Dantzel Lily Petersen-Hancey, a psychology major from Moxee, Washington, is passionate about advocating for socially disadvantaged individuals, including immigrants.

While at BYU, Petersen-Hancey worked with several professors and organizations. She was extensively mentored by Dr. Roy Bean on his MORE project (Minority-Oriented Research Evaluation) and worked at the Biofeedback Lab in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Petersen-Hancey was also an advocate for the mental health awareness club NAMI.

Her education at BYU has continued to foster her love of Jesus Christ and covenants with Him, as well as running, health, and violin. She looks forward to pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology this fall.

Image of Tatum Anderson

Sociology: Tatum Anderson

Tatum Anderson, a sociology major with minors in global women’s studies and communications, became interested in these studies through local social movements and volunteerism in her home community of Mebane, North Carolina.

Anderson participated in research aimed at improving the experiences of underserved communities including first-generation college students and immigrant adolescents. While at BYU, she interned abroad in Poland and the Czech Republic, which solidified her interest in quantitative research and policy analysis.

After graduating, Anderson plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy, hoping to address social inequalities through policy research. She’s thankful for the help she received from the sociology faculty, family, and friends.

Visit our graduation site for more details about the 2024 graduation activities.