Leanna Fry Balci
Assistant Librarian, Harold B. Lee Library
I always knew I would graduate from college. I don’t have any memories of my parents talking to me about my education, although my father was a professor here at BYU, but I always had an intrinsic motivation to do well in school. I worked hard in high school because I knew I had to pay for my studies, and I was able to earn a scholarship at BYU. In fact, before I even started my undergraduate degree, I was set on going to graduate school. I went on to earn two master’s degrees, and I am currently working on a PhD. Education has always just been a part of who I am.
I may sound like the average BYU professor, and I suspect there’s a stereotype of LDS women in education: driven to academic success because they are single, lonely, and have no other options. I am writing this because I want other women to know that life is not about “either or.” Either you get an education or you get married. Either you have children or you have a career. Life is more complicated than these black-and-white statements. I am a professor, a student, a wife, a mother, and the nursery music leader.
The LDS faith is inclusive. A righteous LDS woman can be a stay-at-home mom with a PhD; a working mom; a single, working mom; or a single, working woman. We are all welcome in the faith and neither our level of education nor our marital status defines our value as women or our worthiness as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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