Described as a “go-getter,” “magical” and “accomplished,” Megan Hansen, an alumna from Wyoming, is said by friends and faculty to be hardworking individual with an inspiring desire to learn. Her charismatic personality has touched hearts at BYU-Hawaii and will continue to leave a positive impact for the future.
Hansen graduated from BYUH in Winter 2018 with a degree in biomedicine. She plans to attend a physician’s assistant school and wants to work in dermatology. She comfortably speaks and reads six languages: English, Italian, Greek, Latin, Spanish, and French. Hansen also interned at Disney World and studied abroad in Israel. She said she “learned some Hebrew and almost became Jewish but couldn’t give up pork.”
“I love that at BYUH you can be a stellar student in your major, but also branch out and participate in different scholastic areas,” said Hansen. “I have been part of the Shaka Steel Drum Band for seven semesters, and I learned how to read Biblical Greek with Dr. Sharp. I believe these two hobbies helped keep me sane while taking physics and organic chemistry and have led me to develop treasured passions and talents I never would have found had I attended the other BYU’s or any other university for that matter.”
Michael Weber, associate professor of physics, described Hansen as a “fun-loving person.” During Hansen’s time here at BYUH she had the opportunity to both a classmate and student of Weber’s, having taken his physics courses and studied biblical Greek in Dr. Sharp’s class together. They also went as a class to Greece.
“She’s fun, very adventurous, and not afraid to try new things,” said Weber. “In Greece, she wanted to go here, then go there, now go there. She’s very mature, [and] she’s a go-getter and very interested in learning. She is willing to work really really hard to succeed. Physics is not easy, and she also did incredibly well. In Greek there is a ton to memorize, and she did. She was one of the top students.”
“I remember when I met her, I thought, ‘That girl is a spark plug,’” said Jennifer Duerden, a special instructor and director of the Shaka Steel Band. “Megan is so talented and fun to be around. She was a wonderful addition to Shaka Steel. She’s also a really good mentor and is willing to help others. She catches on to things really fast.
“Not only is she super smart, but she is so funny. When we went on tour, she would try to take pictures of herself doing handstands. She would be all over the place, talking and chatting it up with the other students. Having her around is such a delight.”
Marie Tune, a senior from Kiribati studying hospitality and tourism management, was a roommate of Hansen. She said, “We first met when we both moved into the Beehive house together. Something unique about her is that she's an outgoing person. I love how she's easily makes friends. She’s super friendly and kind. I miss telling jokes together and talk story.
“Megan has taught me in so many ways. She's the best. She has taught me how to get out of my shell and meet different people. Her personality was impactful, and she taught me to be more outgoing and friendly. It was never awkward to be around her. She's very easy to get along with, and she was one of those people that you can count on.”
Hansen was described as “unique” by Weber. He said that math 112 is required when taking his physics class, “but when you take the second semester of physics, I recommend students to take the second semester of calculus, math 113. Most students don’t, [but Hansen] did. She wants to learn. She’s not one of those people who takes shortcuts. She’s willing to work hard to learn the material well.”
One of the hardest things Hansen said she ever did was take 22 credits in one semester, which was “full of difficult core classes for [her] major. I struggled to find time to eat and sleep. I got straight A’s, except for a B+ in electromagnetic physics. I fulfilled my church calling and stayed very active, was the VP of BYUH’s Outdoor Adventure Club, an active participant in the BYUH Healthcare Professionals Club, and even had a boyfriend.
“How did I get past it? Well, I would have to thank Taco Bell and the bazillion Monsters I drank in order to keep good grades while handling such an intensive course load. My drive to go to grad school helped fuel me on those weeks when you had four or five exams in just a couple days. My hope and desire to gain a higher education, so I might someday be able to provide for my family while helping heal people in the medical field, kept me afloat.”
Hansen went on to share how she also enjoyed many experiences here on campus and on the island.
She said, “I meditate with the monks at the Wat Lao Buddha Sacksith, the Sacred Falls International Meditation Center. I met the monks there over 2 years ago and frequently go volunteer to help pull weeds, dig up rocks, level out land, and help maintain their temple grounds. I go meditate with them and do yoga there on Saturdays. They’re so spiritual. When I spend time there, I feel calm and ready to take on school.
For students needing advice, Hansen said “study in the Stake Center. You can be so comfy on the couches, play music out loud without bothering anyone, and you won’t freeze out like at the library. Bring a blanket for mental stability, plus you can take a nap right there. The elder missionaries cheer you on and give you candy. One time, I woke up from a nap and someone left a cupcake by me.”
Recalling one of her memories with Hansen, Duerden shared that “once, Megan got ahold of this mermaid tail, and she went and had a photo shoot done with it near the ocean. She looked beautiful; I thought the whole idea was cute and funny. She pulled it off. There’s definitely something magical about her.”
Hansen shared the biggest misconception people have of her is that she does too much and doesn’t study. “I work really hard for my grades, but sometimes people pass it off as, ‘You’re just smart,’ but really I’m not. Nothing works unless you do.”
Weber shared something special about Hansen, saying “she’s not afraid to express her opinion. She doesn’t want to offend people, but she is confident enough to express her opinion. She’s a strong Latter-day Saint and she’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in… That’s really important nowadays with the direction the world is going in.”