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Genuine Gold: Joyce Tan

Joyce Tan, an alumna and former faculty at BYUH, is helping develop BYU-Pathway as part of her doctorate study. She said her husband and her want to be financial donors of BYUH in the future.

Photo of Joyce Tan and her husband standing in church clothes in front of the Laie Hawaii Temple.

When did you attend BYUH? 

“I attended BYUH from 1992 to 1995. I met my husband Peter Chan and had our first child at BYUH. I majored in TESOL and secondary education and minored in PE coaching because I love sports. I used to play tennis and [run] cross country for BYUH.”

What advice would you give to students at BYUH?

“Don’t be in your first-language bubble - rooming, eating, working with the same nationalities. Instead mingle with others and improve your English.

“Build your career from your college years. When you are a freshman, it is okay to do hard labors, but do not do that for four years. In your junior and senior years, do major-related work and obtain marketable skills in your chosen field. In my junior year, I worked as a tutor and learned many tangible skills. I was also one of the pioneer students who did an internship in Western Samoa in the TESOL Education program where we helped one Chinese lady to come to the gospel.

“I would also advise to never forget your main goal. Study hard first then work hard and play hard, which means have a healthy social life participating in clubs, wards and school activities.”

How did attending BYUH build your testimony?

“I am a convert from a humble background. I saved up my own mission contribution for five years by being very frugal. When I came back from my mission, I did not have any money to go to school.

“I made a covenant with God if He helps me to go to BYUH, I will serve Him for the rest of my life. I kept that promise. This gospel gives me so much hope. Through higher education, we can pull ourselves from generational poverty.”

What blessings have you seen from BYUH?

“We built wonderful friendships and developed love for cultures from our student and faculty years at BYUH. We are still in contact with some of our friends and students. I used to teach all levels of EIL classes and Book of Mormon classes. Those were great years of touching many lives. I see working at BYUH as a humbling and sacred calling.”

Photo of Joyce Tan and her husband wearing graduation caps and gowns holding their son all wearing leis with the Laie Hawaii Temple in the background.

What special memories do you have from BYUH? 

“We are both from humble backgrounds. My parents borrowed money to buy a one-way air ticket to send me to BYUH, and after that, no financial support. I was on my own and learned to work hard.

“When I was a student, I created an American Sign Language club because of my two student schoolmates. Peter and I still hold it sacred in our hearts the mission statement of BYUH and try to be leaders for good internationally.”

What was your career and educational journey after BYUH? 

“I am from Singapore, and my husband is from Hong Kong. After graduation, we went to Hong Kong. ... I started to work as a paraprofessional at American International School.

“After two years, my husband got into BYU in Provo’s instructional psychology and technology program. In the future, we wanted to build a school, so I got my master’s degree in education leadership.

“We both were hired as faculty at BYUH and worked there from 2002 to 2008, where we learned many important things. It prepared us to help establish international schools in China. Now we have two schools in Utah, where we recruit international high school students to study.”

How do you help develop BYU Pathway?

“I wanted to do my doctorate degree and was wondering what I should study. I remembered how much I wanted to help develop the BYU-Pathway program. Then I was accepted into two different schools including BYU. I prayed and felt that I have to choose Johns Hopkins.

“Currently, I am pursuing a doctorate degree online via Johns Hopkins University focusing on helping BYU-Pathway Worldwide international students improve their English language proficiency skills.

“It’s been a very academically rigorous albeit supportive nurturing online environment. For now, I am not holding any position at BYU-Pathway, but it is just my little payback time.”

Joyce Tan wearing a white shirt and scarf smiling and folding arms leaning against the red-brown canyon wall.

What are your future goals?

“In the future, we want to be donors of BYUH to help students finish their degrees without financial burden. We have been given much, so we are striving to serve and be courageous instruments in God’s hands. The Lord blessed me

with master teachers to mold me to be a better teacher. We have extensive network connections with educators in China.

“Our goal is to use our talents, abilities, and connections to serve our Chinese people in the near future when we retire and go on our missions.”

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