2009 Undergraduate Honorees announced
News + Events : 2009 Undergraduate Honorees announced
The College of Business congratulates the Undergraduate Honorees for 2009.
Each year the departmentâ€™s top performers are selected by the collegeâ€™s academic departments from its graduating seniors.
These students will receive special recognition from the university during commencement week. In addition, one student is selected as the collegeâ€™s Undergraduate Hood Recipient, to be recognized at commencement.
We extend our congratulations and best wishes to each student!
- Igor Ryvkin, Accounting; Undergraduate Hood Recipient
- Rebecca Weisbert, Decision Sciences
- Jan Michael Dizon, Finance
- Karen Fong, Hospitality and Tourism Management
- Chas Yen, Information Systems
- Rym Djermouni, International Business
- Hebat-Allah Elsakkar, Management
- Linda Lee, Marketing
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
Igor Ryvkin, Accounting, and the Undergraduate Hood Recipient
Igor Ryvkin was born in the Ukraine. When he was nine years old, he and his family immigrated to the United States and eventually settled in San Francisco. Almost immediately, he was faced with the task of breaching a difficult language barrier, but with much patience and perseverance, he was able to learn the complexities of English, adapted to his new life in America, and graduated from George Washington High School. â€œLike many others, I believe that for a person to succeed today, a college education is required,â€ he says. â€œSo I enrolled in SF State with a declared major in Marketing.â€
However, Igor realized that earning a university degree is really a journey of self-discovery, and not surprisingly, his true passions and life pursuits began to materialize. â€œAfter taking one marketing class, I knew that it wasnâ€™t the major for me. So I changed to Financial Services,â€ he reveals. But that still wasnâ€™t enough for the strong-willed student. â€œI was content with the Finance major, but as soon as I was able to take my first accounting class, things changed.â€ He found the accounting course to be challenging, intensive, and interesting â€“ all necessary ingredients of a recipe for success. He promptly declared Accounting as his primary major. Today, Igor maintains a 4.00 GPA in his Accounting core courses and 3.98 in his Accounting concentration courses.
Igorâ€™s academic accomplishments have inspired him to participate in student-related activities outside the classroom. He is currently a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the national honor society for students of accounting and finance. During the Spring 2009 semester, he was named the organizationâ€™s Membership Chairman, where he is responsible for keeping accurate records of nearly 100 members. Igor is also donating his time to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for the second year in a row.
He was recently promoted to volunteer supervisor, a position that allows him to provide greater assistance to low-income citizens who need help in filing their tax returns. To date, he has assisted in preparing over 1,000 tax returns, 997 of which were filed electronically. â€œAs a supervisor, I not only continued to expand my knowledge of tax, but I also had the chance to improve my management skills by managing the other 205 volunteers,â€ Igor says.
Indeed, his contributions as well as his achievements are many: he is a representative for Becker CPA Review; a regular Deanâ€™s List honoree; and Â was nominated for the Chevron Accounting Excellence scholarship by Professor Robin Wagner.
After he earns his bachelorâ€™s degree at San Francisco State, Â Igor intends to pursue his MBA with a concentration in Accounting. He hopes to expand upon the knowledge he received in the College of Business and attain a Â CPA license, one of his most prevalent career goals.
An exceptionally dedicated student with a genuine love for learning, Igor Ryvkin Â has triumphed both inside and outside the classroom. His academic achievements alone are exceedingly laudable, but it is perhaps his unwavering willingness to donate his time, energy, and dedication that makes him a most deserving College of Business Undergraduate Honoree.
Rebecca Weisbart, Decision Sciences
Rebecca Weisbart originally came to San Francisco State University as a Political Science major. Inspired by her father, who encouraged her to always endeavor to do more, she felt compelled to use the power of education to make the world a better place. She knew that knowledge paved the way to understanding, especially when concerned with cultural acceptance and diversity. â€œIt wasnâ€™t until I started learning about [discrimination] in school that I was really exposed to the idea that people actually treated others differently because they were different from themselves,â€ she says. â€œI wanted toâ€¦help people understand that there is more than one right way.â€ Realizing that a degree in business would be an invaluable asset towards making her dream become a reality, Rebecca switched her major to International Business. However, she was eager to learn more, Â particularly about business processes. She decided to pursue a double-major by adding a concentration in Decision Sciences, Â a choice she admits was not completely her own. â€œI blame DS Professor Vijay Mehrotra for this,â€ Â Rebecca reveals good-humoredly. â€œWhen I first started taking business classes, I had no idea what Decision Sciences was. Â I thought it was just a math major. Then I took Operations Management, and I realized how much I enjoyed doing all of the Â assignments and learning about all the different aspects to it.â€ Her epiphany came, perhaps a bit unusually, in the form of homework, Â a task typically detested by students. â€œWhen homework is actually fun, you realize that maybe, â€˜This is what I should be doing.â€™â€ Â Rebecca soon discovered that Professor Mehrotra wasnâ€™t the only DS faculty member to have an impact on her studies. â€œAll of the DS classes I took with Professor Roeder, Â Professor Eng, and Professor Miyaoka convinced me to stay a DS major. The classes were always interesting and allowed me to apply the knowledge I learned instead Â of just memorizing and repeating facts on a test.â€ Furthermore, as a result of the classes she took, Rebecca became actively involved in DS-related student Â activities; she is currently serving as president of this yearâ€™s DS Student Association (DSSA). As she looks toward the future, Rebecca remains committed to her Â dream of bringing change to the world according to her own beliefs. â€œI decided to study business and make a change that way,â€ she says. Presently, she works Â full-time as a teller at Chase Bank, but she still has her sights set on education. â€œI hope that I will be able to someday contribute back to society.â€
Jan Michael Dizon, Finance
Jan Michael Dizon came to United States from his native country of the Philippines, the son of a calculus and chemistry teacher. After graduating high school, Jan joined the United States Navy. He was stationed in Japan for four years as an aircraft mechanic for fighter jets aboard the recently retired USS Kitty Hawk. He also traveled around Asia and Australia, where he experienced cultures rich in diversity and tradition. Jan credits the military for teaching him discipline, motivation, and perhaps most significantly, perseverance. He learned that limitations are not insurmountable, and that boundaries can be breached through sheer determination alone. Upon returning home from serving abroad, Jan decided to continue his education by going back to school. After graduating from a community college with honors, he came to San Francisco State and promptly declared a major in Business Administration. The problem then became choosing a specific business concentration. The solution came in the form of FIN 350, the sole finance course in the business core, required of all business students. Jan discovered that he had a genuine passion for finance and its real-world concepts. He viewed his undergraduate training as more than merely numbers and dollar signs. He enjoyed the variety of work involved in finance, as well the art of decision-making and its potential impact on the overall condition of a firm, person, or entity. While Jan states that his professors in the College of Business were challenging, he is grateful for the knowledge they gave him, which will no doubt prove essential after graduation. He even loved exams, simply for the thrill of the challenge. According to Jan, â€œThe tests were hard and they could be stressful, but at the same, they were fun and made me want to learn more.â€ Last summer, Jan was able to channel his passion for finance into an internship at Bechtel Corporation, one of the leading construction companies in the United States. He learned firsthand about corporate treasury, financial accounting and reporting, and management planning. Currently, Jan is training as treasury analyst for foreign exchange and credit. â€œIt is one thing to learn financial concepts in school, but actually putting them to use â€“ especially when it involves real money â€“ is serious because you cannot make a mistakeâ€¦or simply use an eraser to fix your error,â€ Jan says. â€œIt suddenly dawns on me that I must now step up to the plate and be an actual analyst, but thatâ€™s just part of why I love the world of finance.â€
Chas Yen, Information Systems
Chas Yen was born in Taipei, Taiwan, but he was raised in the United States among the sunny streets of Los Angeles. Initially, he chose not to pursue a college degree, but to focus on his career. He worked in the transportation industry for seven years as a fleet manager, where it was his responsibility to ensure his companyâ€™s compliance with state and federal regulations. It was during this time that Chasâ€™ true passionâ€“technologyâ€“began to materialize. He wanted to study it and to understand its correlation to a business environment. Pursuing a college degree appeared to be in the cards for Chas after all: he was admitted to SF State and declared business as his primary major with a concentration in Information Systems. During his time at SF State, Chas was in his element. His stellar academic achievements notwithstanding, it was his efforts outside the classroom that demonstrated his talent for information technology. He was a lead business analyst and systems developer intern for salesforce.com, an opportunity made available by the Center for Business Solutions (a non-profit within the College of Business), where Chas himself worked as operations coordinator. This experience allowed him to be a salesforce.com â€œexpertâ€ to a team of four student interns with projects of their own. Each project posed different challenges to not only the students, but also to Chas. He was able to exercise his understanding of information system design as well as learn basic leadership skills, such as communication, organization, and team-building. Chas demonstrated his leadership skills once again when he took it upon himself to revitalize the Information Management Systems Association (iMSA). When he became president of the student-run organization during the summer of 2008, he fulfilled his vision of creating an Information Systems portal for students to learn more about the program and the surrounding Bay Area tech industry. In addition to iMSA, Chas offered technical assistance to four other College of Business student organizations, including the Management Organization for Business Students, Women in Business (graduate and undergraduate groups), and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. As the official IT officer, Chas created new websites for each organization, some of which boasted integrated customer relationship management capability. After he graduates from SF State, Chas is hoping to spend the next several years working in the Bay Area tech industry and plans to move to Japan in the near future.
Rym Djermouni, International Business
Rym Djermouni was born in North Africa. Because her father served as a diplomat to the United Nations, she was already a citizen of the world long before she arrived at San Francisco State; Austria, Lebanon, and France are just a sampling of the nations she has called home. She attended a French-speaking school in a German-speaking nation, and speaks a host of languages. When Rym moved to the United States to pursue a college education, she chose to attend San Francisco State because of its diverse and dynamic business environment. It was only natural that she chose to major in International Business. Her dedication and attentiveness in the classroom was noticed by her teachers almost immediately. According to Assistant Professor Lihua Wang, â€œRym is not only smart, but also hard-working. She is very articulate and thoughtful, making a lot of good comments during class.â€ Professor Roblyn Simeon agrees, elaborating on how Rym frequently went above and beyond the call of duty. â€œSheâ€™s an active contributor to class discussions and has received perfect scores on her exams. She also volunteered to do extra credit research assignments and did an excellent job with all them.â€ Rym has also has significant experience as a student assistant. For the past two years, she has helped Professor Joel Nicholson manage IBUS 330, the online introductory course in International Business. â€œRym is always respectful, always a good listener, and always helpful,â€ says Professor Nicholson. â€œShe is among the best and brightest, to be sure.â€ During the summer of 2008, Rym was an intern at Upwardly Global, a San Francisco-based non-profit that specializes in bringing employment opportunities to highly qualified immigrants. Working in this diverse environment helped Rym discover her passion for helping people the world over, which she hopes to turn into a successful career.
Hebat-Allah Elsakkar, Management
Hebat-Allah Elsakkar, known to her friends and family as Heba, has definitely made her mark during her time in the College of Business. According to Management Professor Tom Thomas, Heba is â€œamong only a small handful of students of such a high caliber.â€ During her four years at San Francisco State University, Heba has been active on campus as well as in the community. She served on the Community Relations Committee and the Student Center Governing Board, and is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and the Decision Sciences Student Association. Additionally, for more than a year, she made significant contributions as an intern to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Jeff Campbell, the Chamberâ€™s Chief Financial Officer, can only praise Hebaâ€™s efforts during her time under his leadership. â€œHeba has by far been the most productive intern I have ever had,â€ he says confidently. â€œShe has aspirations to continue to work with projects involving innovative business models that are successful [while maintain] accountability to the community at large.â€ Because she was fortunate to grow up surrounded by a warm and loving family, Heba has received nothing but encouragement and support in all of her lifeâ€™s pursuits. Her parents, both of whom emigrated from Egypt to the United States, dreamed of being able to provide their children with a quality education. As Heba prepares to graduate from college, she is exceedingly proud to be making that dream come true. It is with a deep appreciation of her parentsâ€™ sacrifices that reminds Heba to always strive for the best.
Linda Lee, Marketing
Marketing student Linda Leeâ€™s academic achievements at SF State are many, but it is her personal history that makes her successes all the more impressive. Her parents are originally from Vietnam and China, and both are survivors of the Vietnam War. Following their separation, Linda took it upon herself to assume financial responsibility for her family and started a business at the age of 18â€“she created ariascientific.com, a website intended for marketing scientific products and solutions. When her parents reunited and immigrated to the United States, it was Linda who helped them acclimate to their new country. â€œThroughout my childhood, I had to struggle to embrace my heritage and assimilate into American society. Now I have the honor to be the first in my family to finish college and create a path for my younger siblings to follow,â€ she says proudly. Linda knew that developing her business sense beyond the classroom was an important stage in her undergraduate education. Recently, she was selected to take part in SF Stateâ€™s bilateral exchange program by studying abroad at City University of Hong Kong in China. Stateside, she was an officer in the Marketing Association, and was the recipient of both the Gilman Scholarship Award and the Target Scholarship Award. Professor Ian Sinapuelas, one of Lindaâ€™s instructors, elaborates, â€œLindaâ€™s group won the Target Case Competition in Fall 2008, and she personally impressed the judges from Target with her clear understanding of the business problem and the comprehensive solutions that her team provided.â€ According to instructor Shari Weiss, Linda has accomplished a great deal during her time in the College of Business, both academically and personally. â€œI can truthfully say that I have never had a student who has shown as perfect a blend of leadership, charm, dedication, and responsibility as Linda has done in the two years I have known her,â€ she says. â€œNot only was she the model student in class, but she made a point to come to my office to chat about class assignments and career aspirations.â€
Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
Karen Fong, Hospitality and Tourism Management
Karen Fong has always loved food. From sampling scrumptious hors d'oeuvres to capturing the beauty of cuisine in pictures, food has continually served as the main course in her life. Intent on pursuing her dream of opening her own restaurant, she enrolled in the Hospitality & Tourism Management program at San Francisco State. Karen learned a great deal about the food industry in the classroom, and eventually, she was able to put that knowledge to the test by working in The Vista Room, SF Stateâ€™s student-run dining establishment. In Spring 2008, she was promoted to Dining Room Manager. It was her job to supervise the restaurantâ€™s overall operation, with responsibilities ranging from handling reservations and keeping inventory to monitoring sanitation and safety levels in the dining room and kitchen. This unique work experience proved to be ideal preparation for Karenâ€™s career advancement. â€œThe learning environment in The Vista Room gave me irreplaceable experience for a career in restaurant management,â€ she says enthusiastically. After three semesters working in The Vista Room, Karen felt confident about her prospects as a restaurant manager. More importantly, however, she was grateful for the opportunity to work in a fully-functioning and upscale eatery, one that is conveniently located on the universityâ€™s campus. Still, Karen had an insatiable appetite for learning more about the hospitality industry, so she turned to hotels. She chose Hotel Management as her concentration, and using the skills she acquired in The Vista Room, she was able to turn her customer service experience into an internship in the Accounting Department at the Prescott Hotel. She worked over 20 hours a week while studying part-time at SF State in addition to the 20 hours she spent in The Vista Room. Additionally, she somehow found time to participate in extra-curricular activities in the HTM Department: she was actively involved in the 2007 Taste of the Bay Fundraiser, and she served as both secretary and treasurer of the National Society for Minorities in Hospitality. While Karen admits that the road to success is not paved without hindrance, she nevertheless chooses to travel down the road anyway. â€œYou learn the best from your mistakes,â€ she maintains optimistically. â€œAfter making them, go back and show everyone how awesome you really are.â€