Information Systems Major Named 2021 CECS Valedictorian

Published: April 08, 2021 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 3 minutes

Valedictorian Hayden JohnsonHayden Johnson has been named 2021 valedictorian for the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences (CECS). Johnson graduated in December 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems with dual minors in computer science and management & finance.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as a valedictorian,” said Johnson. “I know the quality of students that SUU has to offer and so this is something I'm very proud of. Thanks to all of the help that I've received I have been able to do more than I ever thought that I could.”

Johnson grew up in the small town of Orangeville, Utah enjoying spending his time outdoors hunting and fishing. He graduated from Emery High School in 2014.

“I loved growing up in a small town; much of who I am is a result of my upbringing and surroundings. It's important to me to try to create pathways and opportunities for other people who would like to establish themselves in rural areas and raise their families there as well. I also enjoy working with technology and computers and I see that as a way to help rural areas and their economies”

Johnson got involved at SUU through the College of Science & Engineering. The STEM Leadership Board coordinates events and tutors local K-12 students in subjects related to STEM fields.

Johnson also completed multiple internships during his time at SUU.

“I interned for Made in Southern Utah, a Cedar-City-based manufacturing organization where I created content and led web design for their website and interviewed many professionals in the manufacturing industry,” said Johnson. “I also was able to intern at the Cedar City Hospital for Intermountain Healthcare in their information systems department where I worked with great people and gained a ton of on-the-job experience. Both of those things prepared me for the role that I have now and were fantastic experiences.”

He also completed a research paper alongside Professor Laurie Harris. For over a year, the pair studied the technology industry in rural Utah and they have a paper on the subject that is pending publication.

“I had the opportunity to mentor Hayden on his undergraduate research,” said Professor Laurie Harris, assistant professor of computer science and information systems. “This partnership came about because we discovered a shared interest in rural Utah while recruiting at an SUU Red Riot event. Hayden has a deep connection to his rural roots and would like to see tech companies create offices in rural areas. This would allow rural students to stay in these rural areas to find tech jobs, and enable them to contribute to their rural community. This idea brought about his research on “Viability of Technology Industry in Rural Areas”. Hayden spent well over 200 hours researching tech companies in rural areas. He also met with economic development directors, school districts, professors, and state economic specialists in 14 rural counties to ask questions and gather data about the state of the technology in the area they support. His work showed an ability to deliver a clear, concise and well-thought-out presentation.”

“Hayden has a keen sense of observation and a desire to learn which are skills that will help him throughout his life. It was a pleasure working with Hayden on this project as his enthusiasm and excitement for this subject was contagious. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of being selected as Valedictorian than Hayden Johnson.”

Johnson is passionate about rural communities and plans to serve them throughout his career. He is currently working as an IT Specialist at Jones and DeMille Engineering in Richfield, Utah, and earning his Masters of Science in Information Systems from the University of Utah.

Learn more about the 2021 valedictorians or Southern Utah University's 2021 Commencement Ceremonies.

Tags: College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Information Systems Graduation

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