BYU College Highlights: BYU Researchers Discover Locations of Sacred Mayan Groves, Bonnie L. Oscarson Talks Learning Through Literature

College of Life Sciences

BYU faculty and graduate students are working with American and Mexican archaeologists to identify sacred cocoa groves of the ancient Mayan civilization. (BYU College of Life Sciences)

A BYU research group consisting of a professor emeritus and graduate students worked with archaeologists from the United States and Mexico to identify the locations of sacred Mayan cacao groves.

The results of this study show that cocoa plantations played an important role in ancient Mayan rituals and trade routes, impacting the Mesoamerican economy.

“We now have these connections between religious structures and religious cultures cultivated in these chasms,” said BYU professor emeritus Richard Terry. “This new understanding creates a rich historical narrative of a Maya landscape highly charged with economic, political and spiritual value.”

College of Family, Domestic and Social Sciences

A new study from BYU suggests that the main character of Disney’s latest film “Encanto” would have strong family ties even though she lived in the United States.

The study explored how much time young Latinos in the United States spent with family members and compared the results to those of teenagers from other ethnic groups.

“A fundamental Latin American cultural value is familismo; the idea that devotion and loyalty to family should be a top priority for every family member. We see that play out in the film and in our research,” said family life professor Jocelyn Wikle.

“Latino teens spend more time each day with their parents and siblings than teens from other racial or ethnic groups with their family members. Much like Mirabel, we find that family is an important part of life. lives of Latino girls in the United States,” she said.

College of Humanities

Former Young Women General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bonnie L. Oscarson speaks about the power of literature in the learning process. (BYU College of Humanities)

Former Young Women General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bonnie L. Oscarson gave the 2021 Honored Alumni Lecture for the BYU College of Humanities on learn through literature.

Oscarson spoke about the impact literature had on her life from growing up in Bountiful, Utah to her time as an English major at Brigham Young University.

Oscarson said studying literature prepared her for Church callings she later received.

“Reading and literature have always been a joy and an escape and have filled my life with thoughts and experiences that I might not otherwise have had. Literature has made my life richer and more meaningful,” Oscarson said.

“My opportunity to learn from scholars and teachers in the College of Humanities has helped me to be more compassionate, to have more empathy, more awareness of the world. These learning experiences have changed me in a way that I can’t begin to name,” she said.

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