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Emily McQueen

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Place of Residence San Jose, California Graduation Year 2004 Major University Studies, Elementary Education, and Art Current Occupation Stay-at-home mom Family Spouse: Chris; Children: Alex, Aaron, Jacob, and more on the way
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How has your BYU-Idaho education helped you in your life?
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My education at BYU-Idaho has instilled qualities in me that I could have achieved in no other way. Qualities like keeping an eternal perspective, frugality, hard work, the ability to council and teach are products of
BYU-Idaho not because of classes I attended, but because of the opportunities I was given. Classes were the foundation. They gave me content to build upon, but I then became able to apply that knowledge as I participated in the Student Activities Program and served in my campus ward.

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Since graduating from BYU-Idaho, what have been your greatest personal and professional accomplishments?
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My personal accomplishments are summed up in my three sweet boys. Everything I do as a mom is to help guide them to their full potential. I adore my time with them. I had my oldest just two months after I graduated from BYU-Idaho. From that point on I haven’t worked outside the home. My focus has been solely on them, but I still think of ways I can use my education to keep my learning up to date in my field.

Because my University Studies degree consisted of elementary education and art, I have thought a lot about the environment in which kids can best learn to be creative. I developed a model for and implemented “family art lessons” in which I instructed both parent and child in core art principles and they worked on separate projects simultaneously.

It was very rewarding to see parents and children working on art at their own level but utilizing the same principles. It helped the parent to model good art habits and not critique their child’s work because the parents were also the students. I count this unpaid research project that took place in my home as my professional highlight so far. I will continue my research and development of this idea as my kids get a little older.

The last few years I have taken a completely different focus with my spare time and trained for several marathons. Finishing the Boston Marathon this year and taking 8th place in the women’s wheelchair division was a great moment. This shift to a healthier lifestyle has changed my life. I will do wheelchair racing as long as my arms will let me.

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How does being a BYU-Idaho graduate help you be a leader in your workplace?
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My workplace as a stay-at-home mom consists of my home, my kids’ school, my neighborhood, and the community. I made so many leadership “mistakes” as a student at BYU-Idaho that I am not afraid of any leadership challenge I take on. Those mistakes were made in a safe setting and now I am more aware of how to enable and uplift those I lead with.

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How does your BYU-Idaho education help you serve in the community?
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I have the confidence to reach out to those I don’t know and volunteer when there is a need. My time at BYU-Idaho taught me that my best effort was enough for the circumstances and I could add value as I served even if I wasn’t the most qualified.

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How did your time at BYU-Idaho prepare you for service in the Church?
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The combination of spiritual and secular learning that took place at the same time created an environment for the most spiritually uplifting time of my life so far. Because I lived in that environment for four years, I know I can recreate that kind of spiritual incubator whenever I want. Righteous living, personal religious observances, and learning both the secular and the spiritual equal a closeness to the Holy Ghost.

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What service have you rendered in the Church since graduating?
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From 2005 to 2011, I served in the Primary. I was a presidency member multiple times, chorister, teacher, and even a permanent substitute teacher where I hopped from class to class where needed. I love Primary. Then when we moved to San Jose this year, I got a calling as a ward missionary and I am totally enjoying that.

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How does being a BYU-Idaho graduate help you lead your family?
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My education has helped me to follow a vision, to make a plan, and make adjustments when necessary. Whether my vision is to make a sustainable family budget, create a summer reading program, or facilitate consistent family home evenings, I have a better idea of how to make the end goal a reality. I feel like the real value in my BYU-Idaho experience was the trust the teachers and advisers had in us to make a plan, execute it, and evaluate afterward. After practicing that process many times, it now comes naturally.

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Is there anything else you would like to share about your BYU-Idaho experience and how it blesses you today?
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I have to say something about the experience I had recovering from my accident in 1999. When I was a freshman at Ricks College, I fell from a tree behind my dorm and broke my back. I went back to Portland, Oregon to complete my physical rehabilitation, and re-enrolled in the summer of 2000. The spiritual environment on campus allowed me to rehabilitate spiritually, accept God’s plan for my life, and transition to being a paralyzed woman. During that transition I had to accept that opportunities I had hoped for in life were being closed off to me. BYU-Idaho helped replace those losses with new hopes and vision for my life. It was perfect for me.

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