Michael J. Coles College Reveals 2020 Outstanding Students

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 18, 2020)Michael J. Coles College of Business Outstanding Students 2020The Michael J. Coles College of Business recently announced the recipients of the Spring 2020 Outstanding Student awards. 

Typically given out at a dedicated ceremony each spring, the Outstanding Student awards recognize exemplary students in each of the College's academic programs. Faculty members nominate students, with department chairs selecting the winners.

"Even though global events prevented us from recognizing these students in person, their achievements should definitely still be celebrated," said Coles College Dean Robin Cheramie. "Our Outstanding Students have all accomplished great things throughout the academic year, and I have no doubt that their successes will continue long after they've earned their degrees."

Below, you will find details about each of the 15 Outstanding Student award recipients as well as some information about each.

Undergraduate Program Outstanding Students

  • Accounting Outstanding Student Winnie Tan

    Accounting: Winnie Tan

    Winnie Tan is graduating this spring with a 4.0 in accounting. Her professionalism and attention to detail stands out above the rest. She is loved by her peers and employers as she is a joy to be around. Winnie has been an active member of Beta Alpha Psi since Spring 2018 and has served on the Executive Board as President since fall 2019. She helped lead the chapter to reach Superior status for the first time in many years. Winnie has already begun studying to take the CPA Exam, and will start her career at Bennett Thrasher after graduation.

    • Economics Outstanding Student Kimberly Snoddy

      Economics: Kimberly Snoddy

      Kimberly Snoddy was a joy to have in the classroom.  A careful thoughtful worker, she is well trained in the methods and a master at analysis and explanation. Her work particularly stood out in the fields of microeconomic theory and public policy, indicating that she will encounter a breadth of opportunity upon graduation. The bottom line is that Kimberly is the epitome of what an economics major should be: curious, insightful, and hard working.

      • Entrepreneurship Outstanding Student Christian Brown

        Entrepreneurship: Christian Brown

        Christian Brown is all about taking entrepreneurial action. He went beyond classroom requirements to make his dreams come true. In his classes, Christian consistently performed above expectations. He contributed to class activities that simulated challenges that entrepreneurs faced, including those featured in the ‘cup-stacking’ and the ‘rainmaker’ exercises. What was particularly memorable about Christian was his avid interest in reading. Christian always sat in the front of the classroom and invariably had a couple of books on his desk. Before class, he would engage in probing discussions with the teacher concerning some of his ‘latest and greatest’ reads. Consequently, it was not a surprise that the new venture he selected for his marketing research project and marketing plan was a publishing company to help fledgling authors with their manuscripts. Given his tenacity, Christian will undoubtedly achieve whatever goals he sets out to accomplish.

        • Finance Outstanding Student Brittany Doyle

          Finance: Brittany Doyle

          Brittany Doyle graduated magna cum laude this semester with a degree in finance and a minor in marketing. She is a member of Delta Phi Epsilon and is actively involved in many different forms of charity, with the largest being Cystic Fibrosis. Outside of her sorority, Brittany is a member of the Order of the Omega (Greek leadership society) and participated in the yearly Dance Marathon fundraiser for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. She has been on the President's List multiple times and Dean’s every other semester. In summer 2019, she worked as a full-time Data Analytics Intern for the Retail Finance department of Yamaha Motor Corporation, and has recently accepted a position at WestRock as a Financial Analyst.

        • International Business Outstanding Student Ian McDonald

          International Business: Ian McDonald

          Ian McDonald is a member of the Coles College of Business Scholars Program. He was voted most likely to be successful by his peers in his cohort. Ian was captain and president of the KSU Ice Hockey Team during the 2019/2020 season. Prior to that, he was named part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association D3 South Region All-star Team, where he served as assistant captain and treasurer. During his college career, he has worked in the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) as well as the Distinguished UN-SDG Ambassadors Program, where he developed an initiative to help KSU eliminate single-use plastics and create a more sustainable campus. Along with learning German and studying abroad in Germany and the Dominican Republic, Ian completed internships for RBT Analytics, where he created business dashboards, Georgia Pacific, where he automated their credit review process, and Connections Housing, where he automated their reporting process.

          • Information Systems Outstanding Student Emily Onofrey

            Information Systems: Emily Onofrey

            Emily Onofrey is a senior IS major with one of the highest GPAs in the program and who actively encourages her peers to excel. While maintaining her grades, she stepped forward and served as the President of Women in Technology, where she developed and delivered a full program of events, a robust leadership team, and many collaborative projects with other organizations on campus. While studying, she also works at RESICAP, a local company innovating the residential capital management industry with new technologies and processes. According to their CTO, Emily is one of the best interns he has ever hired. For her capstone project, Emily worked with a team to develop an in-depth analysis of the systems supporting student clubs at KSU with economical, targeted recommendations for improving leadership and student engagement. She has also actively participated in BrainLab research during her free time.

            • Information Security and Assurance Outstanding Student Emily Gilmer

              Information Security and Assurance: Emily Gilmer

              Emily Gilmer graduated in spring 2020 with a 3.51 GPA. She was an active member of the Offensive Security Research Club, and was captain of the KSU team that placed third in the 2019 southeast region of the National Collegiate Penetration Testing Competition. She is also a two-year member of the KSU Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC) team. In addition to working as a lab assistant for UITS in the Burruss computer lab, Emily worked internships at both ETrade and Huntington-Ingalls, a Navy defense contractor. The Huntington-Ingalls internship required Emily to be in Huntsville, Alabama two weeks out of the month, which she did while also enrolled in classes and gearing up to compete in this year's Southeastern Cyber Defene Competition, which KSU won. She will go on to compete with the rest of the team at the upcoming National CCDC event. Emily received multiple job offers pending graduation at the end of the semester and ultimately decided to accept a security position at NCR.

              • Management Outstanding Student Phillip Barton

                Management: Phillip Barton

                Phillip was exceprional among his classmates in terms of maturity, intelligence and drive. He preferred to sit in the first row in his classes, he had a great sense of humor and, always had a smile on his face. Phillip enjoyed learning for its own sake, with a minimal focus on the grade. It was evident that he possesses an uncanny, natural ability to comprehend complex subject matter. Phillip was the self-appointed leader for his project teams, and through his efforts, ensured that his teams were able to earn top grades. Phillip has a very low-key personality, which is something unusual among students with a 4.0 GPA. He was an extraordinary student, and someone who will be quite successful in whatever vocation he pursues. His professors have commented that Phillip enabled them to “enjoy teaching a lot.”

                • Marketing Outstanding Student Laura Stallings

                  Marketing: Laura Stallings

                  Laura Stallings is a spring 2020 Cum Laude graduate, receiving a BBA in marketing and a minor in finance. As a member of the American Marketing Association’s Kennesaw State Collegiate Chapter, she has been appointed to Board Advisor and attended the AMA International Collegiate 2020 Conference in New Orleans. Stallings competed in the Morehouse Marketing Conclave’s Amazon Case Study Competition, winning first place with her team and receiving an official Amazon job offer. She has also competed in the KSU Digital Marketing Competition sponsored by Solid Source Realty, winning first place and best strategy along with her teammate, and participated in KSU’s first-ever Virtual Symposium of Undergraduate Research. Laura has received an IRB certification to conduct market research studies from her Marketing Research course. One of her most memorable experiences was a May 2019 study abroad to Ireland and the UK to study Comparative Advertising and International Business, which she described as the most exciting trip she has ever taken. When she is not busy being an active student, she is working part time as a marketing assistant in the Department of Marketing and Professional Sales. She has enjoyed every minute as a student at Kennesaw State University and is extremely excited to see what the future has in store.

                  • Professional Sales Outstanding Student Michael Smoak

                    Professional Selling: Michael Smoak

                    Michael Smoak is a professional selling major graduating this semester. He is a student dedicated to gaining an education, not just a degree. Over the past two years, Michael poured himself into the sales major. He has served as treasurer of the Sales Club, captain of the KSU Sales Team, and served on the Dean’s Advisory Board. This semester, Michael finished 3rd place in the National Collegiate Sales Competition and in doing so, helped the KSU Sales Team earn first place among the 72 teams competing. Perhaps even more impressive than his success with the sales team, Michael is graduating Magna Cum Laude. Michael’s curricular and extra-curricular success did not go unnoticed by recruiters. He received multiple job offers and is entertaining multiple opportunities.

                    Graduate Program Outstanding Students

                    • MBA Outstanding Student Jonathan Denis

                      Master of Business Administration:Jonathan Denis

                      Jonathan Denis maintains a 4.0 GPA and is nearing graduation from the KSU MBA Program. He has been repeatedly described by faculty as a student who works with excellence. When he was recommended for this award, the comments given by his professors include "He may be the best MBA student I have had," "he was...extremely engaged in his education," "going above and beyond," and "aided other students during our transition to online instruction." Based on his excellent academic record and reputation among the faculty, as well as his service to other students, we are proud to call Jonathan Denis this year's Outstanding Student for the Evening MBA Program.

                      • Master of Accounting Outstanding Student Emma Etelalahti

                        Master of Accounting: Emma Etelalahti

                        Emma Etelalahti completed the Master of Accounting (MAcc) program in May 2020, with a focus on tax. She will then begin her career with Aprio. During the MAcc program, Emma maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA, passed the three parts of the CPA exam taken so far, and worked as a Graduate Research Assistant. Emma’s performance in the MAcc was outstanding all around, with excellent mastery of the material, very strong contributions to class discussions, and a wonderful attitude. She contributed to the MAcc in many ways, including in the program’s outreach efforts to potential students. We are very proud of all that Emma has accomplished in the MAcc, and we look forward to watching her career progress in the years ahead. 

                        • Executive MBA Outstanding Student Carmen Hughes

                          Executive Master of Business Administration: Carmen Hughes

                          Carmen Hughes is the Executive Director for the HIT Division for the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine. Prior to Morehouse, she was a Research Professional at the A.L. Burruss Institute for Public Service and Research at Kennesaw State University and served as the Vice President and Senior Strategist at VHA for Georgia. Carmen is actively engaged in several community and civic organizations which include board of directors’ seats with Families First, WellStar Cobb Regional Board, and WellStar Cobb Hospital Authority Board. Her extensive volunteer service includes voter registration, community soup kitchens for the homeless and less fortunate and she is a dedicated member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Ben Hill United Methodist Church. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Spellman College and she also graduates this spring with a 4.0 from the Executive MBA Program with an invitation to join Beta Gamma Sigma.

                          • Outstanding Executive MBA Student Lauren Reed

                            Executive Master of Business Administration: Lauren Reed

                            Lauren Reed, MFS, MBA, is the Senior Director for Biometric Forensics at IDEMIA National Security Solutions and is DefendHer6, an independent Damsel Pro with Damsel in Defense. She has been an invited to speaker on ethics in forensic science and advanced forensics evidence at multiple universities including Kennesaw State University as well as at conferences and training events, both within the United States as well as internationally for NATO Special Operations, the UK Metropolitan Police and Ministry of Defense, Jordanian National Police and Military, and the Government of Afghanistan. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa from Washington State University and a Master’s degree in Forensic Science from National University. She volunteers as a mentor and life skills coach for Gigi’s house and has won multiple awards including being named a 2020 Women in Biometrics winner, receiving the U.S. Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the FBI Director’s Award for Exceptional Public Service, and the Outstanding Dedication and Customer Commitment Award. She graduated this spring with a 4.0 from the Executive MBA Program with an invitation to join Beta Gamma Sigma.

                            • Master of Science in Information Systems Outstanding Student Susravya Kondamuri

                              Master of Science in Information Systems: Susarvya Kondamuri

                              Susravya Kondamuri enrolled in the dual degree MBA/MSIS program in August 2018 and will complete from the dual program this summer. That means 54 credit hours in 20 months with a GPA of 3.85. This amply describes her academic achievement, including the speed and efficacy of her efforts. She is one student who always pushes herserlf to the maximum effort level, which led her to a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech and, immediately following that, to a job in the corporate sector. There were tough times in her personal and family lives, but her karma-centric positive perspectives to life, in her own words, help her press on. She currently works as a Solution Architect for Dassault Systemès specializing in CAD design tools, and hopes to move up to managerial and executive roles soon with the KSU degree under her belt.

                              • Outstanding Master of Science in Healthcare Management and Informatics Sarah Thompson

                                Master of Science in Healthcare Management & Informatics: Sarah Thompson

                                Sarah Thompson BSN, RN, CCRN is a pediatric critical care nurse currently working at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in the Cardiac ICU. She is also currently chair for Egleston's Nursing Shared Leadership. She has won the Elle Marks Award and the Daisy Nurse Award for excellent primary nursing care. Sarah has always been interested in how to use data to help improve patient outcomes and improve inefficiencies within workflows. She was a poster presenter at CHOP Cardiology Conference 2017. Since she obtained her RN-BSN in 2014 at Kennesaw State University; it was a natural choice to obtain her Master of Science in Healthcare Management and Informatics at KSU as well. Sarah hopes to use her skills to continue to support her vision of an efficient, positive outcome-focused healthcare system. Sarah is also a super-mom and has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the HMI program despite competing commitments professionally and personally.

                                • PhD in Business Administration Outstanding Student Jason Williams

                                  PhD in Business Administration: Jason Williams

                                  Dr. Jason Williams is an assistant professor in Augusta University’s School of Cyber and Computer Sciences and an adjunct instructor of enterprise systems and business analytics at Georgia Southern University. Jason holds a PhD in information systems from Kennesaw State University and a BBA and MBA in information systems from Georgia Southern University. Jason’s primary research centers on IT use in organizations. His research focuses on the individual level and includes theory development and mixed research methods. Jason was selected for the 2019 International Conference on Information Systems doctoral consortium. He has published research in the Journal of Computer Information Systems and presented at several conferences including the America’s Conference on Information Systems and the International Conference on Information Systems. Prior to joining Augusta University, Jason was the director of IT project management at Georgia Southern University and CIO at Savannah Technical College. While not pursuing professional endeavors, Jason enjoys spending time with his wife, Rebecca, and their four children, ages 6 - 12.

                                  • WebMBA Outstanding Student Michael Goodrich

                                    WebMBA Program: Michael Goodrich

                                    Michael Goodrich has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout the WebMBA program here at KSU, all the while being located in Prague, the Czech Republic. This puts him on a much different time zone than his team and cohort, yet he has maintained excellence in his academics while also serving as the Director of Engineering and Sales for Flexible Metal, Incorporated's European customers. We're honored to present Michael as KSU's Outstanding Student for the WebMBA Program.

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