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Impact Magazine

Dean Porter's Last Message

Dean Porter, a white man wearing a suit, stands in his office with his arms folded, smiling at the camera.
Photo by BYU Photo

I am amazed at how often the work of students from the College of Life Sciences is featured by various campus and off-campus communication outlets. For example, a paper recently published in the journal PLOS One by a group of faculty and students from our Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology was recently the lead article on the BYU homepage and was covered by several local media outlets. These researchers found that the virus responsible for COVID-19 was very unstable when placed on paper money but was more stable when placed on a credit card. This work suggests that our shift to cashless transactions during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to limit the spread of the virus may have been ill-advised.

When President Worthen announced his “Inspiring Learning” initiative in 2016, our college had a head start because of our long-time culture of student mentoring. The types of scholarship our faculty pursue naturally provide opportunities for significant student involvement. Whether in a laboratory or out in the field, whether in basic research or applied research, whether in writing a journal article or a health policy statement, students have a myriad of possibilities for involvement in experiential learning. I hope that many of our readers had wonderful experiences as mentored students at BYU. Perhaps they were life-changing experiences; perhaps they just provided the confidence to carry on to completion of a degree.

This issue of Impact continues with the tradition of reporting on some of our student experiences. Look for the lessons learned that could not have happened in a traditional classroom setting. Look for the potential impact of the work to make a positive difference in the world. Look for the ways students are blessed by engaging in inspiring learning opportunities.

This will be the last issue of Impact where I am the publisher. My time as dean will come to an end on June 30, 2022. I cannot sufficiently express how meaningful the past seven years have been for me. I leave the Dean’s Office with confidence that our students’ experiences will only get better. I thank those of you who have helped with this work, whether with your time, talents, or means. Your consecrated care for the College of Life Sciences is truly appreciated. May God bless you.