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Eight undergraduates receive College of Business recognition for academic accomplishment

News + Events : Eight undergraduates receive College of Business recognition for academic accomplishment


These students receive special recognition from the university during commencement week. In addition, one student is selected as the college's Undergraduate Hood Recipient, to be recognized at commencement. 

The College of Business extends our congratulations and best wishes to each student!

The 2011 undergraduate honors recipients and descriptions of their work follow:

College of Business 2011 Hood Recipient Perry Arnsfield, Decision Sciences Department

College of Business 2011 Hood Recipient Perry Arnsfield, Decision Sciences Department

Perry Arnsfield began his career as an entrepreneur, managing a small woodworking business for over 15 years that specialized in building custom cabinetry and furniture. Then tragedy struck; about six years ago, he was involved in a serious industrial accident that resulted in a severe permanent physical disability to his left arm and hand. Perry spent 2005 through 2008 undergoing intensive surgeries and physical therapy.

As a result, he was left with fairly limited use of his left hand and no longer able to continue with his profession of custom cabinetry and woodworking.In the fall of 2006, he enrolled part-time at City College of San Francisco. He joined the Economics Club and became the Inter Club Council representative in the spring of 2008, and made the Dean’s List three semesters in a row before transferring to San Francisco State in the spring of 2009. Perry continued to excel as a student at SF State, earning a GPA of 3.9.

Professor Saltzman said: “He was well-prepared for each class, and raised many good points that not only made the class more interesting for me, but I’m sure also improved the class for many of his fellow students who were unable to articulate such insightful questions”. Perry’s leadership and organizing abilities led him to become president of the Decision Sciences Student Association (DSSA) during 2010-2011. He greatly expanded the membership, planned and led workshops on resume writing and interviewing skills, and introduced a lunchtime speaker series.

In 2010, Perry was one of a select few chosen as a Willie L. Brown Jr. Fellow at SF State. As part of this program he held an internship at the SF Department of Public Works where he analyzed data on mechanical street sweepers throughout the city of San Francisco. This data was then used in computer modeling software that optimized the routes. That summer, his spirit of public service led him to volunteer at a small non-profit organization in the East Bay where he developed and installed an Excel-based inventory control system.

Perry has been nominated for this year’s Outstanding Student Leader Award at SF State’s Leadership in Action Awards. He has also been invited to join Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, an international honor society for business program students. Perry’s professional goal is to advance into the realm of public policy and be an instrument for social change. Perry says that he wants to utilize decision sciences techniques to “help policy makers face the difficult challenges at hand intelligently. My professional aspiration is to be a part of creating positive social change by analyzing important policies that face our society today.”

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Fumiko Hanaoka, Accounting

Fumiko Hanaoka

Fumiko Hanaoka was born in Japan and moved with her family to the United States as an infant. She is fluent in Japanese as well as Spanish and English. After graduating from high school in San Diego, Fumiko attended University of California, Davis where she studied Biological Sciences.

This was an extremely difficult time for her because her father, after a long struggle with a difficult illness, passed away when she was 19. After dropping out of college and trying to recover from her loss, she had a difficult time finding her place in the world. For two years she moved frequently, taking what jobs she could find until she realized that her only way forward was school. She moved back with her mother and started over at a community college.Fumiko earned a 4.0 GPA at community college, and through an internship decided she liked the field of accounting and transferred to SF State.

At State she worked hard to maintain her high GPA, taking summer classes in order to finish the program in the timeline she had set for herself. While in the program, she offered her services to the non-profit organization Whirlwind Wheelchairs setting up their financial statements for their upcoming move into the U.S. market, a difficult challenge for one person to accomplish alone. She is establishing a significant commitment to giving back to the community.

Accounting Professor Jodi Duke says: “Fumiko easily earned the top grade in my class significantly better than any other student. She possesses an easy confidence that makes her a wonderful public speaker and is very personable. She also really cares about her fellow students.”

Fumiko has accepted a position with the Japanese audit practice at KPMG in Atlanta, GA. This will enable her to use her skills with language and accounting to facilitate more business movement between the U.S. and Japan, which she hopes will lead to a faster and more complete recovery for the Japanese economy after the recent earthquake and tsunami.

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Ashley Evans, Finance

Ashley Evans

Ashley Evans, from a young age, was sure she wanted to work in the car business as a finance manager, as her father was in the car business all of her life, and her mother in accounting.Throughout her academic years, she has always been intrigued with numbers, something that continues today. Her first job was at Lexus of Marin for five years where she learned many aspects of the car business.

Since 2007, she also worked as a hostess, server, and bartender at The Cheesecake Factory. Ashley’s dream of being a finance manager at a car dealership has changed, yet she still strives to be an influence on the finance industry and looks forward to the obstacles and challenges that are sure to come.

Ashley says: “When it was time to consider college, it was important to me to finish in four years and do so with high honors. That dream has now become a reality. I am the first in my immediate family to graduate from college.”

While in school, Ashley obtained a highly competitive internship at a well-known finance company, UBS Financial, while maintaining her impressive GPA of 3.87. She was on the Dean’s List for three semesters while at SF State after transferring from San Diego State, where she was also on the Dean’s List.

Assistant Professor of Finance Deniz Tudor says: “Not only was Ashley superb in my class, she was very responsible and she had great character, leadership and team skills. She was able to juggle both work and school at the same time. Above all, she maintained a positive attitude about all the hard work she had to put in for her classes.”

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Whitney Okuda, Hospitality and Tourism Management

Whitney Okuda

Whitney Okuda, a fifth generation Japanese American, was raised with exceptional parental guidance and respect for education, hard work and personal growth, and followed her mother’s footsteps to study at SF State.

With rich and rewarding experiences from internships at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco, St. Francis Yacht Club, and Walt Disney World through the Disney College Program, Whitney gained access to a wide range of hospitality industry segments including hotels, private clubs, restaurants, and resorts. Whitney also worked about three days a week at Terzo, a small local restaurant in the Marina, to help support her education at SF State while enrolled as a full-time student.

Whitney became deeply involved with every aspect of college life. She was the campus representative in support of the Disney College Program. She joined the various Leadership Symposiums offered on campus, worked as a Gator Greeter with on-campus housing, and expanded her educational learning experiences with diverse classes outside of her major, such as ethnic studies and recreation parks and tourism.

Her search for a leadership role began with presidency of the Hospitality Management Society (HMS). Whitney enthusiastically led a team of seven officers to elevate the once small organization to become a club where students could attend at least one event each week. She was also the conference coordinator of the Club Manager Association of America.

Whitney dedicated the past three years to gain leadership experience in support of the annual Taste of the Bay fundraiser. Together with the HTM Chair, faculty, and a talented team of approximately 100 HTM students, the event raised $108,000 in 2008, $126,000 in 2009, and $140,000 in 2010 to support program needs and student scholarships. Each year, the money raised was also used to pay for lecturers and program needs.

Whitney says that San Francisco State University provided her with the perfect combination of cultural diversity, educational experiences, and professional development opportunities which have resulted in her personal growth as a student, leader, and future industry professional. Whitney is graduating with a GPA of 3.97.

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Christian Pascual, Information Systems

Christian Pascual

Christian Pascual, born in San Francisco, is the first of two children whose parents immigrated to the United States from the Philippines. After graduating from Lowell High School, Christian joined the United States Marine Corp where he served for five years as a laser and optics technician for F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets.

“I thought I was taking time off from school, but I ended up going to two different training institutions over the course of a year for math, physics, and electronics courses,” he says. He traveled the world, visited 17 countries, and was even sent to the Middle East in 2003 as part of the first Marine force to enter Iraq for what became the Global War on Terror. After finishing his tour, Christian came back to San Francisco: “No matter how much fun I had, how much good food I ate, and how many great people I met all over the world—nothing beats home!” he says.

Christian initially enrolled at City College of San Francisco as an electronics engineering major. It seemed like the obvious choice considering his experiences in the field, coupled with the certifications and licenses accrued as a Marine. But when he took the required C++ and Java programming courses, it sparked interest and curiosity that was enough to make him switch majors. Christian made the choice to go into business and information systems after researching viable options. “I felt my military training in leadership combined with a passion for technology, made me well suited for this discipline,” he says.

At SF State, Christian is an active member of the information systems organization, iMSA (Information Management Systems Association), where he networked with others sharing the same interests. The decision to join iMSA was simple, since it offers workshops and events that expose members to topics not generally covered in the classroom, giving him an edge in the job market. After commencement, Christian plans to pursue a career as a business systems analyst or data administrator with future ambitions to become an IT project manager as well as attain an MBA.

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Kaset “Brian” Mattantipon, International Business

Brian Mattantipon

Brian Mattantipon was born in Thailand and raised from the age of 13 in Singapore. Brian credits his love of culture to his early experiences in South East Asia and in our equally diverse City by the Bay. Pursuing studies in international business was a natural choice for Brian, who early on recognized that the world is becoming more integrated all the time due to globalization. He is also keenly aware that while cultures converge in so many aspects of our daily lives, the importance of differences in culture at the personal level remains critical to understand.

Prior to joining SF State, Brian worked for the German airline Lufthansa where he progressed through the ranks, tackling jobs in marketing and advertising, which gave him formative exposure to a host of multinational clients throughout Southeast Asia. At State, Brian continued to shine in his academic endeavors, earning a GPA of 3.93, and an invitation to join the prestigious international Beta Gamma Sigma honors society.

Brian has served as vice president of the International Business Society (IBS), playing a key role in helping the student group deepen and broaden its activities. He has given liberally his time and energy to the annual International Business Commencement celebration. Brian’s altruism is readily apparent in his community voluntarism with Project SHINE where he helps elderly immigrants prepare for their INS naturalization examinations.

Brian has also held a job as an office administrator with the Program Services office of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, working closely with the assistant director of program services to enhance the overall quality of student life at SF State.

Brian has established the bonds of friendship with students, faculty and community members. His long-term vision is to take what he has learned and experienced in San Francisco back to his beloved Thailand where his goal is to become a professor and establish a non-profit organization to provide education for the less fortunate Thai youth in rural communities.

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Agnieszka Madej-Kobernus, Management

Agnieszka Madej-Kobernus

Agnieszka Madej-Kobernus comes from a small town of 3,500 in Poland. After graduating from high school, she moved to the Netherlands to care for three children while taking English classes at Cambridge University and Dutch classes at the University of Amsterdam. Driven by her passion for business, Agnieszka eventually landed a job as a guest house manager at a prestigious hotel. While in Amsterdam, Agnieszka met an American man who would become her husband, and after 18 months of long-distance courtship, she moved to San Francisco.

Agnieszka enrolled at City College and four years later transferred to SF State. While in school she worked full time as a nanny for two families, babysat at night for three additional families, cleaned houses, sold clothing for Gap Inc., catered events, and worked as customer service representative at Spa Radiance where she was eventually promoted to assistant manager (her current position). These jobs tapped her people and customer service skills and provided her with important opportunities to learn more about service and business.

Agnieszka feels that SF State has more than exceeded her hopes and expectations—as the first in her family to earn a college degree, she has a feeling of an incredible accomplishment, especially for someone who speaks English as a second language. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in two years. In the short-term, she plans to finish yoga teacher training and give back to the community by volunteering and teaching yoga to at-risk teenagers, hopefully showing them that there are people who care and want to give them a hand up in life.

“When I go home to Poland to visit my niece and nephew, I see how interested and inspired they are by my life. I tell them how my education helped me to grow and better understand other people’s view points,” says Agnieszka. “I see the wonder in their eyes and I know that all the hard work was worth it. I am determined to give back to the world, and hopefully will stand as an inspiration to others to do the same.”

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Jordan Hodgson, Marketing

Jordan Hodgson

Jordan Hodgson saw that the American Dream is often filled with sleepless nights—his father excelled in college at age 35 while working at a manufacturing factory. “My dad was a true inspiration to me. He went from the grips of addiction to a senior technical writer in fifteen years—all while raising my brother and me on his own.” Jordan attributes the ability to maintain his GPA, balance two jobs, and fulfill his presidency with the Marketing Association to his father’s example.

After transferring from American River College in Sacramento, Jordan joined the Marketing Association student organization, where he immediately demonstrated a talent for collaboration, creativity and continuous innovation. He collaborated with other College of Business student organizations to help bridge the barriers that traditionally separate different student groups. Jordan says “Leadership is not only about doing the right thing when no one is looking, but also when others are looking. We need to be transparent role models for those around us in order to inspire others to act ethically.”

Jordan chose to pursue marketing because he felt it would lead to a career that views creativity as an asset, not a potential liability. While he has enjoyed the hustle and bustle of working at a local public relations firm during his senior year, Jordan is looking forward to using his creative prowess for the greater good. He plans to pursue a career as an environmental marketing consultant or start a cause-marketing advertising agency so that his contributions will intersect both the business and environmental worlds. “The College of Business program has instilled the importance of considering the stakeholders that fall beyond a company’s bottom line. The values that the San Francisco State community has taught me will surely guide my business decisions throughout my career.”

With the business ethics that SF State has ingrained and the tireless work ethic his father has exemplified, Jordan is poised to make a positive impact on the marketing industry and beyond.

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