The College of Business congratulates and extends best wishes to the ten undergraduate honorees of the graduating Class of 2017.
Each year the department's top performers are selected by the college's academic departments from its graduating seniors. These students receive special recognition from the university during commencement week. In addition, Valerie Badua is the college's undergraduate hood recipient, to be recognized at Commencement.
Read about the ten undergraduate honors recipients:
Valerie Badua, College of Business Undergraduate Hood Recipient
Department of Information Systems
Valerie Badua was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1995. She grew up in Northern California and joined the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 18 where she served for 6 years. Joining the military allowed her to see other parts of the world, including Iraq, where she was deployed and sustained an injury that caused her to be medically discharged. Despite her injury, she is grateful for the experiences she gained while serving in the military, which included meeting her husband who is also a Marine.
Valerie relocated to Irvine and enrolled in Irvine Valley College where she completed several courses before moving to Riverside. Determined to earn her AS degree, she frequently commuted over 4 hours round-trip from Riverside to Irvine and earned her AS in Business Administration. Valerie chose to attend SF State to complete her BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems even though it required that she commute back and forth to Southern California.
During her 2nd year of studies at SF State, she and her husband discovered they were expecting a child. Undeterred by the long commute, separation from family, and being pregnant, Valerie was determined to complete her BS degree. She gave birth to her son in January of 2017 and continued to take courses at SF State while raising a newborn baby. Despite the many challenges Valerie faced, she credits her success and academic accomplishments to the support and encouragement of her husband and her professors.
Department of Accounting
Chelsie Batbold left her family and friends in Mongolia at age sixteen to build a better future in the United States. It was her goal to receive a degree and get a good job after graduating from college. To achieve that goal, Chelsie studied hard to learn English and immersed herself into a new culture. Though there were many obstacles along the way to her success, Chelsie managed to maintain a positive perspective.
During her junior year, Chelsie lived in Tokyo, Japan, through SF State’s study abroad program, which tremendously expanded her horizons. After returning to the US, Chelsie joined Ascend at SF State and later served as the president during her last semester at school. Joining Ascend has not only given Chelsie an opportunity to grow professionally, but also taught her to not only dream about having a job, but to dream about having a career. In the future, Chelsie plans to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Her next goal is to work full-time at one of the nationally renowned accounting firms. A shy, quiet girl growing up in a small country, Chelsie is now a confident, striving young woman who is joining the accounting profession and has mettle to succeed in it.
Department of Decision Sciences
Xuewen Zhu was born and raised in Zhongshan, China, the hometown of Dr. Sun Yat-sen—the democratic revolutionary who overturned the Qing Dynasty. She was influenced by Dr. Sun’s philanthropism and innovative spirit since her childhood. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in international business and specializing in marketing for two years, Xuewen realized that she needed to expand her knowledge to fulfill her career goals. She gave up a promotion as a regional manager in her former company with a determination to step out of her comfort zone and study abroad.
In 2013, Xuewen enrolled in finance at SF State. She has worked hard and has been on the Dean’s list since then. After attending decision sciences classes, Xuewen’s interest and passion for DS kept growing. She was amazed by the complexity of optimization problems and the elegant solutions that can be applied to solve real-world problems. She decided to pursue a double major in DS to explore this discipline in more depth.
Xuewen is currently involved in the decision sciences community as a Research and Teaching assistant and serves as a tutor for the practical DS412 “Operations Management” class. She helps students comprehend the problem-solving process and potential applications in their daily lives. She also volunteers for several non-profit organizations such as Avon39 Breast Cancer Walk and CleanTech.
Xuewen seeks a career in analytics. She believes that her knowledge and skills acquired at SF State will enable her to help businesses face today’s “Data Revolution” challenges.
Department of Economics
Paloch Suchato was born in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. Though beautiful, Bangkok is prone to problems such as human trafficking and corruption. Growing up with these problems, Paloch started to consider the real roots of these problems.
In the US, he first attended DeAnza College, where he took his first proper introductory economics class. In 2014, he attended CSU Fresno, where he saw the impact of the drought on California’s central valley. He witnessed the job loss caused by the drought and the impact it had on migrant farm workers’ families. This is when he discovered his passionate interest in water resources management. He started to learn more about environmental and natural resources economics. His research interest is in the field of environmental resources economics, particularly in the field of sustainable resources management.
At SF State, he is active in the Economics Student Association and the Economics Department as both a grader and tutor. His almost perfect GPA is even more remarkable when seen in the light of the difficult courses he has taken in preparation for graduate school: graduate econometrics and time series analysis, mathematical statistics, and real analysis. In fall 2017, he will join the department of Agricultural Economics at University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a research assistant and graduate student conducting research on “The Effects of Institutions and Hydrological Conditions on Optimal Management of a Shared Aquifer: a case study of the High Plains.” Paloch’s goal is to come back to California and become a professor at a CSU school.
Department of Finance
In 2012, Trieu Nguyen decided to come to the United States for a better education and access to more opportunities. He overcame the language and cultural barriers and chose SF State for its diverse community.
Trieu believes knowledge and hard work are the core elements of success. Guided by these values, he volunteers at André Dũng Lạc Vietnamese Language School as a Vietnamese language Instructor in the Vietnamese American Community in San Jose. As a tutor at the Campus Academic Resource Program (CARP), he helps many fellow students at SF State who are willing to put their best effort to study finance, accounting, and math.
Trieu believes happiness comes from giving, not just receiving. Serving as the president of Financial Analysis & Management Education (FAME), Trieu and his team have provided opportunities for students to learn and network with professionals through the organization’s activities, specifically the Annual Investment Conference. By concentrating in Finance, his goal is not only to enrich his personal portfolio, but also to invest in building a loving community.
Shuqing (Sue) Li
Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management
Shuqing (Sue) Li was born and raised in a small village in Southern China. In 2008, her parents moved to the US, in hopes of creating a brighter future for her and her brother. The transition from a small village to a big city was challenging. It took her about two years to adjust to life in America and she struggled to learn English.
Her sophomore year of high school was a turning point in her life. It was at that time that she realized she could do anything she wanted in the future. She made the personal commitment to attend college and become a strong, independent person. She studied hard and successfully became a student at SF State in 2012.
Shuqing discovered her passion in the field of Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2014. During her internship at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel, a couple came up to her and said, “Thank you for your service! We came here for the great smiles!” Creating such positive experiences for others fuels her desire to pursue a career in hospitality and tourism management. She enjoys the busy college life and takes pride in her time management skills.
Niki Shizuko Hirota Wong
Department of International Business
Niki Shizuko Hirota Wong was born and raised in San Francisco, California, to Japanese-American and Chinese-American parents. With a multicultural family background and inspired by the diverse community in San Francisco, Niki grew steadily more and more interested in cultures different from her own. For this reason, she decided to pursue a major in International Business at SF State (2012–17). As a mature and highly motivated student, Niki is an active participant in her classes. She has achieved an outstanding, almost perfect GPA.
One of Niki’s accomplishments while studying at SF State was when she was chosen in 2014 as one of twenty-four Japanese-American applicants nation-wide to participate in the Kakehashi Japanese-American Young Adults Program organized by the Japanese American Citizens League. Through this program, she was able to participate in an all-paid cultural trip to Japan with the purpose of strengthening ties between Japan and America through Japanese-American youths. Niki further excelled through her participation in a SF State study abroad program when she was named Student of the Year in the Global Business class at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan (2015–16). “I had an amazing experience studying and analyzing current global trends and events in business alongside other study abroad students from around the world,” said Niki.
In the future, Niki would like to use her studies and experiences to further strengthen cultural ties between countries in business. In particular, she hopes to be able to work in a cross-cultural environment at home or abroad upon graduation.
Labor & Employment Studies Program
For the past 18 months, Quinton Silket has worked as an organizer with UNITE HERE Local 2, the union for hotel workers in San Francisco. Quinton comes from a working class African-American family in the Bay Area. His mother was active in the California Nurses Association, and Quinton regularly attended union meetings with her as a child, which is why he decided to major in Labor Studies. As a Labor Studies major, reports Quinton, he has learned about workplace relations and about how to enforce labor rights. In November, Quinton was one of the first recipients of the Ernest C. Dillard Sr. Scholarship in Labor Studies.
Quinton has made an outstanding contribution to the Labor Studies program. He worked for UNITE HERE as an intern as part of his Labor Studies degree and received terrific evaluations. After his internship, he was immediately offered a full-time position with UNITE HERE. Quinton says of his experience working at UNITE HERE: “I want other students who are interested in labor to have the same rewarding experience that I did. I have been able to offer internships to SF State students who want to learn about employment relations and working conditions in the hospitality industry in San Francisco.” This year, Quinton supervised two SF State labor studies students during UNITE HERE’s intensive 8-week summer training program, and several more students who interned in the Fall or Spring semesters. He will host two more students this summer and hopes to supervise many more SF State interns in the future.
Sudharmono (Sudhar) Siman
Department of Management
Sudharmono (Sudhar) Siman was born in Indonesia to Chinese parents. He went to a Buddhist temple school and then transferred to Indian elementary and high schools. Throughout his school years, he participated in the Chemistry Olympiad representing three counties and won the regional Yamaha-Guitar Championship.
He has excelled during his time at SF State both academically, having graduated Summa Cum Laude, and in his efforts to lead and help other students. According to Management professor, Dr. Monica Sharif, Sudhar’s professor in his MGMT 648 Leadership Skills class, “Sudhar is the best student I have had here at SF State. He far outperformed his peers on all assignments in my class, always provided very thoughtful comments in discussion, was a wonderful team leader and had the most creative class presentations. In his team projects, he led some very shy students to be enthusiastic and very active in the presentations as well.”
Sudhar currently lives in the East Bay town of Pittsburg, California, and works as a business analyst for a software consulting company where he is involved in all phases of software development cycles and quality assurance. He also has extensive experience mentoring students, having privately tutored more than 25 students in academics subjects, as well as helping prepare them for the SAT and ACT.
He notes that his passion is “bettering the next generation,” which is reflected by his favorite quotation: "Success is how many people are better off because you lived."
He speaks four languages: Chinese, Indonesian, English, and Hindi.
Department of Marketing
Emily Holtz is a Bay Area native who began attending SF State in 2009. With interests in consumer behavior and product design, Emily found the Marketing Department to be a natural fit. Her strong academic performance earned her recognition on the Dean's List and an invitation to join Beta Gamma Sigma, the international society that honors achievement in the study of business.
While still an undergraduate student, Emily was recruited by a Fortune 500 company for a role in apparel buying and she eagerly accepted the challenge. Working full time, Emily initially continued coursework in the College of Business before taking a break from school to focus on her career. In the years that followed, Emily's range of skills in market research, data analytics, and project management, combined with a keen ability to leverage technology to optimize business results, led to several promotions within the industry. In a recent role, Emily collaborated with a cross-functional team of designers, planners, sourcing, and sales professionals to drive an $80 million business unit for a widely respected local apparel company.
Still, education was a priority, and Emily was proud to return to SF State in 2016 to complete her Bachelor's degree in Marketing summa cum laude. She is now continuing with the university as a graduate student in the MBA program. Emily's current passions center around data-driven business, mission-driven organizations, and empowerment of women through educational and economic opportunities.