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Graduation 2020

Promoting Innovation in Climate Change Policy

Honored Graduating Student: Kaleb Christensen (Bio)

Kaleb Christensen's passion for biology has inspired him to promote change in climate change policy. He looks forward to starting medical school this summer at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

As a freshman learning the ropes at Brigham Young University, Kaleb Christensen discovered his passion for biology while taking an introductory course. After charting his educational path, he had the opportunity to work on a research project on the artificial evolution of Antarctic nematodes for which he received a College Undergraduate Research Award (CURA) grant. However, his long-term interests lie in raising awareness and endeavoring to change current policy regarding climate change.

Christensen’s political activism and desire to make greater change on subjects surrounding climate change was accelerated after watching the documentary, “Chasing Coral” with a group of graduate students and faculty. This experience stands out in Christensen’s memory because it inspired him to want to make a change.

In fall semester 2018, Christensen coordinated an intercollegiate event with students from BYU and the University of Utah to demonstrate that young people in the state of Utah are unified in their concern about climate change. Together, students lit a purple U on the mountainside in Salt Lake City over the rival schools’ football game to indicate that although the schools may be sports rivals, they stand together on important issues such as climate change.

Christensen will carry these inspiring experiences with him through graduation and as he begins medical school at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in August. He encourages students to find and cherish opportunities that inspire and motivate them, to find what they’re passionate about, and to become better people.

“Take advantage of every single day at BYU,” Christensen says. “Learn to savor every day, and please, don’t get so caught up in chasing grades that you miss out on great life lessons. BYU has the power to change you in extremely good ways, but it can’t do it without your willingness and active engagement.”