February 19, 2019
Writer: Shelby Delbridge
“The interdisciplinary studies program, to me, is priceless,” said Billie Mastin Yohan, an online BYU-Idaho student in her sophomore year. She was born in Danville, Kentucky and grew up in Garland, Texas where she’s living currently.
Billie is an interdisciplinary studies major with an emphasis in family history research and a minor in English. She has plans to utilize her minor in English to help her develop her writing skills as she works toward starting her own genealogy company.
“With every person I find, with every ancestor I can break through those brick walls is another opportunity for someone to have work done in the temple,” Billie said “I want my own genealogy company because I want to be able to help other people.”
Billie is a single mother to a son with Cerebral palsy and the interdisciplinary studies online degree allows her to not only customize her education but also create her own schedule for school around an unpredictable schedule.
“Flexibility is number one. If I have something that I need to do for my son that day, I’m not missing out,” Billie said. “I can still be a mom and a caregiver and get my education at the same time.”
Billie has taught seminars on discovering the power of sources and how they can help you correctly build your family tree.
“If your family tree is not accurate and you don’t have it backed up with credible sources, it’s worthless. So I want to change that,” Billie said.
Billie is a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and she looks to family history in times of need.
“It’s amazing how much you learn when you learn about an ancestor that came before you and what their life was like,” Billie said. “ You can look back at their life and draw strength from them.”
Before Billie even opens her computer to do school work she says a quick prayer and often times reads her scriptures to help her in her studies.
“I think it has helped me have a perfect 4.0 GPA.” Billie said.
Billie aims to help others, not only in family history but in any capacity that she can, whether that’s serving in her community or helping someone she knows personally. She leaves some advice for students in or considering interdisciplinary studies for their degree.
“When you go through the interdisciplinary studies program, even if you have to go one class at a time, put everything you have into it because employers will look at your transcripts,” Billie said. “Go in it with a zeal to learn what [the professors] have to teach you and you’re going to do well.”