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March 2, 2020

Dane’s Journey to a Degree

PathwayConnect was an answer to Lisa’s prayers — it brought her son Dane back to the gospel and to education

Dane and Lisa Warnick

Dane Warnick and his mother, Lisa, have always been close. “He’s my boy that calls me every week,” Lisa said. “There’s just a special bond there.”

In high school, Dane began suffering from anxiety and depression and ended up dropping out. He turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with his emotional struggles. “I didn’t want anything to do with the Church,” he recalled. “I distanced myself from all that, from my family, from pretty much everything I knew growing up.”

This period of time was difficult for both Dane and Lisa. She spent countless hours praying for him and searching for ways to help. When she heard about PathwayConnect, she immediately thought of Dane. She knew it could change his life and encouraged him to enroll.

Dane laughed it off at first, but a few days later, he found himself researching PathwayConnect and how to apply. He had briefly attended another university after high school but ended up dropping out because he felt frustrated and inadequate. “An education was something that I always wanted,” he said. He decided to give PathwayConnect a shot.

Rediscovering faith through friendship

PathwayConnect wasn’t easy for Dane at first. He felt awkward and out of place, but as he got to know his group members, the friendships he formed motivated him to continue. He said, “I feel like everyone just wanted the best for me. … [The gatherings] helped me get to a much more stable place in my life.”

Creating those connections was an important first step toward Dane’s spiritual transformation as well. “For the first time in a long time, I felt like PathwayConnect was helping me progress,” he said. “It helped me get back in tune with the Spirit and with my testimony that had always been there.”

Lisa was overjoyed at Dane’s progress. “The biggest change I saw was a softening of the heart,” she said. “I love how PathwayConnect lays education on top of spiritual teachings … because I think it helped Dane tap back into those things which had been laid aside or forgotten for a long time.”

A goal to give back

Lisa and her husband, Jeff

Lisa and Dane are both passionate about the power of the PathwayConnect program. “I was extremely discouraged by my previous [educational] experiences,” Dane said. “PathwayConnect completely changed that for me. … I had a support system to lift me up.”

Lisa added, “I have not seen a greater impact than that first year. … Whatever background you’re coming from … [PathwayConnect] is for you.”

Dane completed PathwayConnect and is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in marriage and family studies online through BYU-Idaho, presented and coordinated by BYU-Pathway. He plans to graduate in December 2020.

Dane’s ultimate goal is to become a counselor. “I really want to help people who have been in similar situations … because I know how lonely and scary that can be,” he said. “I feel like I had those experiences because Heavenly Father wanted me to learn from them and gain tools to be able to help others.”

Facing the future with faith

To anyone who may be struggling or feeling lost, Lisa says, “Never give up! You never know what the Lord is going to put in your lap that will change the direction of your life.”

For Dane, BYU-Pathway did change the direction of his life. He said, “I’ve learned how to be a leader, how to have confidence, and most importantly, I have direction on where I’m headed. I can always keep improving and pushing myself to learn new things.”


Dane married his sweetheart, Jacie, in September 2017. They have a one-year-old son, McGrady, and are currently expecting another baby. He is studying online through BYU-Idaho and plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marriage and family studies in December 2020.

Comments on "Dane’s Journey to a Degree"

Maren says:

I was in Dane’s PathwayConnect group!! He is awesome and I was so lucky to be in that group!! Great work Dane!

Wanda Curtis says:

Wonderful blessing.

Patricia Skaien says:

I know that PathwayConnect was inspired by our Heavenly Father to give His children the opportunity to achieve an education and grow closer to Him. Like Dane, I had lost hope too, until I heard about Pathway, and thanks to the wonderful support and expertise from BYUI instructors, I’m very close to graduating in public health.

Lauren Conrad says:

Congratulations, Patricia! That’s an amazing accomplishment.

Rachel Smith says:

Congratulations Dane! What a great accomplishment and what an inspired program. I have seen so much good through this program and the foundation it provides all those who choose to accept the Pathway Connect gift. Pathway Connect sets everyone up for success. May you continue to find success in your life, Dane, as you continue to pursue your goals through BYUI. You’ve got this!

Kesiwe Mlilo says:

Dane, congratulations for being an inspiration to others.

Walter Wisdom says:

Never give up! You never know what the Lord is going to put in your lap that will change the direction of your life.

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