WE@BYU engineers happiness at annual celebration

On Tuesday, March 14, 150 women students and 30 Ira A. Fulton College alumni came together for the WE@BYU: Women in Engineering and Technology Annual Celebration. This year's theme was "Engineering Happiness." 

The event was an opportunity to celebrate women in the engineering and technology fields, and promote mentoring. Guests enjoyed dinner and pie, and the college recognized the recipients of the WE@BYU Research Mentorships. The Women in Engineering and Technology Research Mentorship is a program where first- and second-year female students in the Ira A. Fulton College have the opportunity to do research and be mentored by a faculty member. 

Attendees of the event also heard from two guest speakers and BYU engineering alumni, Sydne Jacques and Catherine Wiggins, who gave advice on how to engineer happiness into your life. 

Jacques is the CEO and founder of Jacques and Associates, and she graduated from BYU in civil engineering. She spoke to students about how they can engineer happiness into their lives by just enjoying every stage of life they are in. 

Jacques taught that living in the moment and being 100 percent present in every situation will help you succeed. She advised audience members to be totally involved and be proactive in making decisions, because it will affect their lives later. Jacques also taught the audience that being focused on whatever setting they are in, whether it be school, home or work, will help them to enjoy it more and will make a big difference. She shared her favorite self-attributed quote, which goes, " I am happy and content with my life today, knowing that because of the choices I am making, my life will be even better in the future." 

Fear of failure should not get in the way of decision-making. Jacques shared her experience about quitting her job and starting her own business. She was scared, but realized that if it didn't work out, the worst that would happen is that she would have to get a new job. Jacques took a chance and it paid off, and she is happier now because of it. 

Wiggins is a wife, mother and teacher, and worked at a Fortune 50 company for many years. She graduated from BYU in chemical engineering. She also discussed how students can engineer happiness, using a four-step process to handle stress "like a BOSS." BOSS stands for body, oxygen, situation, and spirit. 

Wiggins explained that "body" is all about taking care of one's body. It is important to get enough sleep, exercise and have proper nutrition. Wiggins even suggested taking advantage of BYU's Biofeedback program to track heart rate and brain activity. "Oxygen" is the importance of breathing. She said a way to take control of this is to meditate with a phone app, like Calm or Headspace. 

Wiggins says that to control the "situation," sometimes the best thing to do in a high stress situation is to take a break from it and walk away from the issue. Finally, for "spirit," remember that the tough situations will be over eventually. And by staying connected with Heavenly Father, tough situations are easier to handle. 

"It becomes so important to learn how to take those high stress moments, and learn how to process them so they don't affect you long term," Wiggins said. 

BYU students have a lot on their plates, and it can be easy to get stressed or feel down. Jacques and Wiggins emphasized that happiness is a choice, you just have to do your best to make it happen. 

Dean Michael Jensen gave closing remarks and acknowledged the importance of mentoring, connecting with alumni and building relationships. "I hope you will take these relationships that you're able to develop throughout your lives and build those relationships and maintain those relationships and keep contact with one another and help each other," he said. 

Jensen also advised the students to help others and do good with the opportunities they've been given. 

"You have the education and the power is within you to go out and make that impact," he said. "Use your connections and go out and influence the world for good no matter what form that takes." 

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