Michael J. Coles College Reveals 2021 Outstanding Students

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 21, 2021)Michael J. Coles College of Business Outstanding Students 2021The Michael J. Coles College of Business recently announced the recipients of the Spring 2021 Outstanding Student awards. 

Outstanding Student awards recognize exemplary students in each of the College's academic programs. Faculty members nominate students, with department chairs selecting the winners.

Below, you will find details about each of the 19 Outstanding Student award recipients as well as some information about each.

Undergraduate Program Outstanding Students

  • Hailey Denney

    Accounting: Hailey Denney 

    Hailey Denney is a gem and a student that all students, faculty, and staff enjoy being around. She lights up the room with her positive energy and smile. Hailey graduated with a cumulative GPA of a 3.94. She also plans to start the KSU MAcc program in Fall 2021. You would never be able to tell that she is a first-generation college graduate due to her scholastic achievements, deep rooted involvement in Beta Alpha Psi, and her passion and dedication for the Coles College. She has a natural ability to give herself completely to others all while doing it perfectly as she is a type A student that enjoys preparation, planning, and perfect execution. 

    • Madison Loewe

      Cybersecurity: Madison Loewe

      Madison Loewe graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. She has been on the Dean’s or President’s list every semester of her four years at KSU. Her interest in tech began in high school when she joined the Robotics Club where she competed in the VEX Robotics Challenge. In her first semester at KSU, she found Cybersecurity and made the decision to pursue the degree. She has also been pursuing acting and competing in Disc Golf during her free time, coming from a long line of theater and sports enthusiasts. In her down time, Madison can be found hanging out with her family, reading a book, or learning about something new. She has enjoyed the journey that college has allowed her to partake in and is thankful for the effort of her wonderful professors.

      • Tali Higgins

        Economics: Tali Higgins

        Tali Higgins was a double minor in Information Systems and Applied Statistics/Data Analytics. She completed a full-year internship at Surgical Information Systems as a Data Analytics Intern where she created internal dashboards and developed analytical insight for clients. She has presented projects at Analytics Day and R Day at KSU. Tali represented KSU during the FinTech Conference at GSU with a presentation on blockchain’s uses in the healthcare space. She is skilled in software and coding, including with SAS and Microsoft Power BI. Tali is known by her fellow students for always being willing to help out and try to explain the material. She recently began a YouTube channel dedicated to explaining software in easy steps.

        • Entrepreneurship: Lexus Blackmon

          Lex epitomizes the ideal undergraduate student in terms of academic performance, developing supportive relationships with other students, and interacting in a positive manner with college professors and administrators. Lex was an extremely strong student in an academic sense having earned majors in both entrepreneurship and marketing. Additionally, several of her professors noted a unique and developed ability to work extremely well with other students, particularly in team settings. On many occasions, she took the leadership role in projects and provided an organized and efficient process for completing assigned tasks. Finally, Lex routinely took the opportunity to speak with and interact with her professors with the purpose of gaining a deeper understanding of a particular topic or concept. This type of action is rarely seen, but greatly appreciated.

          • Raicheal Tringali

            Finance: Raicheal Tringali

            Raicheal Tringali is a finance major with a minor through the Coles Scholars Program. Throughout her time in the KSU Student Managed Investment Fund, she held the roles of Junior Analyst, Assistant Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Executive Officer. She also had the opportunity to be a part of the 6th Cohort of the Coles Scholars Program. Throughout her time in this program, she worked on consulting projects for Target and Hero Agriculture Inc. After graduation, she will be working for Verizon as a financial planning and analysis analyst in Lake Mary, Florida.

            • International Business: Phuong Nguyen

               

              • Anna Shamis

                Information Systems: Anna Shamis

                Anna Shamis won the Outstanding Student Award based on her overall excellence at learning and working with others in IS classes. As Professor Russell Shaver points out, "she has always exceeded expectations. She is willing to assist others and does excellent individual work as well. I can think of no higher complement than to say she is the example for others in all of her endeavors both in and out of classes." Or, as Professor Wes Rhea adds, "Anna is a very sharp student and was always a pleasure to have in class. She has quickly grasped the balance of business skills and IS skills. She always went above and beyond in her coursework. Anna collaborated very well in her group projects and working with other students." Upon graduating, Anna will join FIS as a Business Process Analyst in their two-year developmental program.

                • Stuart Smith

                  Information Security and Assurance: Stuart Smith

                  Stuart maintained a major GPA of 3.9 while continuously working at the Georgia Tech Research Institute as a Co-op and completing an internship with Risk3sixty, a security auditing startup in the Roswell area. Stuart was the Offensive Security Research Club president, where he led community outreach events and served as the team captain of the 2020 KSU Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition team. Under Stuart’s leadership, the team won the SECCDC for the first time in university history and competed in the national competition. Stuart was also part of a team that helped create and run a high school CTF competition designed to introduce young students to Cybersecurity. He graduated in December 2020 and is currently employed full-time as a Research Associate at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

                  • Alexis Hiett

                    Management: Alexis Hiett

                    Alexis Hiett graduated with a 3.76 GPA. She was an active member of the Coles Scholars Program, which is a two-year leadership program for some of the top students in the Coles College of Business. She was one of 18 students selected her year to join the program. Alexis is also a member of Beta Gamma Psi.  In addition to all her classes, and the volunteer work she did for the Scholars, she also had a job throughout college. For most of that time, she worked at Canine Ranch, a shelter for dogs, and worked up to assistant manager of the facility. In her last semester at KSU, she did an internship at Home Depot which turned into a full-time job. She is currently working there as a HDE Merchandising Analyst.

                    • Grant Foxworth

                      Marketing: Grant Foxworth

                      Grant is a pleasure to teach.  He exceeded expectations in class while leading his online team to have an outstanding paper that will be used as an example in future classes.  He is a world traveler who speaks several languages and has a global outlook and interests. Grant is much deserving of this award and sets a great example to his peers. 

                      • Hannah Teague

                        Professional Sales: Hannah Teague

                        Hannah is a model student at KSU!  She is part of the honors program and an active leader of the Sales Club and Sales Team; even winning or placing in the top 10 at several sales competitions. Hannah embodies all the things that a leader should:  Integrity, grit, gravitas, and a passion for excellence. It has been my extreme honor to work with Hannah and watch her business acumen and professional skill sets grow exponentially. I cannot think of a more deserving or model student for this high honor.

                        Graduate Program Outstanding Students

                        • Andrew Hostetter

                          Master of Business Administration: Andrew Hostetter

                          After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the Honors College at UGA in 2017, Andrew Hostetter started working at Triage Consulting Group, a technology-driven financial healthcare consulting firm. Four years later, he is excited to be graduating from the KSU Evening MBA Program with a 4.0 GPA and an invitation to join Beta Gamma Sigma. He is looking forward to leveraging his newfound skills as he continues his career at Cloudmed (formerly known as Triage), where he is currently in the Senior Consultant role. He enjoys leading small, rotating teams in servicing hospitals and healthcare systems across the country. Andrew is equally proud of his wife, Logan Hostetter, for graduating with a 4.0 GPA with a Masters in Education. They are looking forward to attending Braves games and catching up on some well-earned vacation and rest!

                          • Angie Jackson

                            Master of Accounting: Angie Jackson

                            Angie Jackson is the Outstanding MAcc student because her work ethic, attitude, intelligence, humility, and interest in others are unmatched. Not only did she perform in the top five of every class she completed in the MAcc, but Angie passed all three parts of the CPA exam she has taken. Angie is the first to volunteer to take the lead on anything from speaking at a workshop for undergraduate students, to overseeing the crafting of a letter the class sent to the Financial Accounting Standards Board, to helping classmates with assignments and CPA studying. Angie also served as a Graduate Research Assistant this year, helping with the School of Accountancy’s Financial Reporting Roundtable. Mary Hill states, “Angie was always so professional and dependable in her communications. She never let anything slip through the cracks.” Dana Hermanson says, “Angie is one of the very best students I have encountered in my entire teaching career at Kennesaw State University, which began in 1993.”  

                            • Lawanda Graham

                              Executive Master of Business Administration: Lawanda Graham

                              Lawanda Graham is an exceptionally talented and bright individual who is graduating an extremely rigorous and demanding program with honors. She is the Director of Launch Project Manager at 3DE Schools, is a certified gender, equity, and diversity Facilitator at CARE USA, holds an American Express Leadership Academy certificate from Thunderbird Global School of Management, and is a certified Bronze Toastmaster and Competent Leader. Lawanda is an active member in her community, serving on the leadership team of her church for more than nine years and overseeing leadership workshops with the Global Youth Ambassadors Program. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Grambling State University and is the proud mom of son, Zion.

                                • Master of Science in Information Systems: Karen Dsouza

                                  Karen Dsouza is the Arts and Living Writer for KSU Sentinel newspaper, has been a delegate for Model for United Nations, and is a member of the KSU Society of Women Engineers and Google Explore CSR competition. She represented KSU's Girls Who Code RSO in the Women's History Month Edit-a-Thon - organized by United States' White House Gender Policy Council, Domestic Policy Council and Wikimedia (March 2021). She also presented ESG (environment, sustainable, government) Dashboard for the CCSE Hackathon (March 2021). 

                                  • Ijeoma Ikedum

                                    Master of Science in Healthcare Management & Informatics: Dr. Ijeoma Ikedum

                                    Ijeoma Ikedum is a Nigerian-trained medical doctor with over eight years of exemplary service in the medical field. She was recently certified as M.D by the ECFMG after completing her United States Medical Licensing Examination. Ijeoma's quest to understand care processes, informatics concepts, information technology, and healthcare transformation on a broader scale inspired her to pursue her Master of Science in Healthcare management and informatics degree at Kennesaw State University. Ijeoma was the 2020 Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) scholarship award. She is a student member of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)  and HIMSS. Ijeoma served as a student volunteer at HIMSS and volunteers her time at a Hospice organization. She excelled in her master's program coursework and consistently maintained a 4.0 GPA. She was engaged in several research projects and published articles, including blockchain technology and community health improvements through vaccination. She plans on starting her post-graduate training in internal medicine in 2022. As a fun fact, while not at school or work, Ijeoma can be found playing with Ivana and Hillel, her two adorable kids.

                                    • Rebecca Burcham

                                      PhD in Business Administration: Rebecca Burcham

                                      Rebecca Burcham is an Assistant Professor in Healthcare Management at Lipscomb University. Prior to joining Lipscomb, Rebecca spent over two decades serving in a variety of marketing and sales roles for several Big Pharma companies. Her career began as a microbiologist serving in a laboratory position of an environmental nuclear testing laboratory and in management roles at an FDA-contracted medical testing laboratory. Rebecca earned a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Mississippi State University and an MBA from Belmont University before getting a Ph.D. in Business Administration in Marketing from Kennesaw State University. Her research interests include sales and marketing ethics in healthcare, outsourcing of sales and marketing functions in healthcare, and salesperson performance factors. Her dissertation was titled, “Shedding Light on Sales Relationships: What Effect does the Sunshine Act have on Salesperson Ethical Behavior and Customer Response?” Rebecca also has a strong background in non-profit service including volunteering with numerous animal welfare agencies. She graduated from the Young Leaders Council and was appointed to the Mayor’s committee to form the Safe Coalition, a collaboration of non-profit, government, and corporate partners to better the lives of pets in Nashville.

                                      • Maribel Bailey

                                        WebMBA Program: Maribel Bailey

                                        Graduating with high honors, Maribel earned her Associate of Science degree in Business Administration at Panama Canal College in Panama, Republic of Panama, continuing her college education at Florida International University in Miami. With a great mix of skills and knowledge, along with her dynamic leadership, Maribel has gained 20 years of healthcare finance operations experience within non-profit organizations. She worked in healthcare administration – including three leadership positions – for the first 16 years of her career at the University of Miami. Maribel currently works for Wellstar Health System as the Director of Financial Operations leading in a servant-leadership approach to team direction, process improvement, and organizational change management. Additionally, her interpersonal skills have added value to her career since she has been able to relate and convey financial information across all levels of management. Pursing the webMBA program at KSU has added business leadership skills Maribel will leverage to enhance her career. A strategic planner with a positive character, Maribel has proven her capabilities by taking on higher management positions and constantly creating opportunities for her organizations to attain their goals.  

                                        • Kimberly Heine

                                          WebMBA Program: Kimberly Heine

                                          Kimberly Heine is completing the WebMBA program through the Coles College of Business this summer. She currently has a 4.0 GPA and has excelled in the team-based structure within the program. Kim serves as the Area Director of Revenue Management for Loews Hotels supporting the Atlanta, Tucson and Hollywood area hotels. Kim enrolled in the WebMBA program to expand her skill sets and particularly enjoyed the Entrepreneurship and Strategic Marketing classes, finding them "eye-opening" as they are outside her area of expertise.

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