Ten College of Business undergraduate students recognized as honorees of the 2019 graduating class.
Each academic department in the College of Business selected a top performing student from its graduating seniors for 2019 to recieve special recognition from the university during commencement week. In addition, the college selected Olivia Tsai as this years undergraduate hood recipient.
Read about the ten undergraduate honorees:
Olivia Tsai, 2019 College of Business Undergraduate Hood Recipient
Decision Sciences / Finance
Olivia Tsai is a Bay Area native who is passionate about helping people in her community. In high school, Olivia recorded over 700 hours of community service where she helped the local elementary and middle school that she once attended. It is important to Olivia that she gives back to her community as they helped shape her life into adulthood and her commitment to helping those around her continued while at San Francisco State as a Decision Sciences and a Finance major.
During her sophomore year, Olivia became a WileyPLUS Student Partner where she helps students get a successful start to their semester by showing them how to navigate WileyPLUS and inspiring student success through best practice sharing. After being a Student Partner for five semesters, Olivia was invited to be a panelist at the Wiley Teaching and Learning Summit to speak about trust and engagement in classrooms. In addition, Olivia became a tutor for Operations Management and Business Finance in her junior and senior year, respectively. It has been so rewarding for Olivia to assist and empower her classmates in the fields she is so passionate about. Olivia also served as president of the Decision Sciences Student Association where she led a group of students to the Bay Area Decision Sciences Summit.
Throughout her four years, Olivia has dedicated her time by helping her classmates and her local elementary school. Her passion for numbers and analytics has only strengthened and she hopes to use them to help those around her.
Alexia Barba graduated in December 2018 with a 3.8 GPA in her accounting major. Alexia was an active leader in San Francisco State University’s student chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), including serving as Secretary, Director of Communications, Vice President, and President. Alexia was active in encouraging students to join ALPFA and in reaching out to high school students. Throughout her time at SFSU, when students from diverse public schools around the Bay Area visited campus, Alexia led a group of ALPFA students in sharing their experiences and demonstrating the welcoming diversity of our campus.
Alexia also fostered excellent relationships with recruiters to facilitate opportunities for students. She helped host numerous firm visits and always created an inclusive environment for all College of Business students—not just ALPFA members. She played a key role in developing a mentorship program with Google and facilitated SFSU student attendance at regional and national ALPFA professional-chapter conferences and events. Under her leadership, in 2018 the SFSU ALPFA chapter earned the Western Region Student Chapter of the Year. In addition to her leadership, Alexia’s excellent academic performance led to two summer internships with PwC, and she will join the firm’s Los Angeles office full-time in fall 2019.
The Accounting Department will miss Alexia Barba’s campus leadership, but we are confident that she will achieve outstanding professional success and continue to help others throughout her career.
Nicholas Matthew Grech
Economics / Statistics
Six years ago Nicholas Matthew Grech received a letter in the mail informing him that he had been accepted into UC Davis. As honored as he was, he chose to attend San Francisco State University, and never regretted that decision. He recalled walking around the San Francisco State University campus when touring colleges as a high school senior and feeling right at home. HeI grew up in Daly City and Novato and spent a lot of time in San Francisco. His family also has a history with SFSU – both of his parents, as well as other family members, graduated from San Francisco State and his grandmother was a professor here for 20 years in the Foreign Languages Department.
During his freshman and sophomore years at SF State, he lived on campus in the dormitories with his older brother and good friend. For the remainder of his time at SF State he lived with his grandparents in San Francisco. As an incoming Freshman he was a business major, but soon switched to statistics because of his strong interests and abilties in mathematics. His initial concentration in economics developed into his major. By the end of his time at SF State, he had earned A's in all his classes, which he considers his greatest accomplishment. His course work included a wide range of academic areas, ranging from calculus to astronomy, econometrics and even Greek and Roman mythology, exposing him to a broad range of ideas and perspectives. Along the way, he built strong friendships with other students and formed relationships with some of our professors. Grech stated, "I had a very positive and full experience at SF State and made a lot of good memories. I’m sad that it’s over, but excited for the next chapter of my life."
As a first-generation college student with a troubled childhood, there were a lot of circumstances that should’ve prevented Dylan Turney from being here today. The idea of attending college intimidated him, so after high school and in order to leave his rural hometown west of Cleveland, Ohio, he joined the Air Force. He had planned to become a cryptologic linguist but was discharged early due to injuries suffered while teaching martial arts. Hoping to regain some direction, he started taking classes at the community college in Monterey, California, just weeks after his military career ended.
A year later, he transferred to San Francisco State Univesity where he spent three semesters immersed in schoolwork, while working in various part-time jobs to support himself, as well as getting involved with organizations on campus. Turney states that Fame was the most rewarding organization he was a part of. He served as vice president of FAME during his last year at SF State. The pinnacle of his college career arrived the first day of finals week in his last semester, December 17, 2018. On that day, he became the father of a beautiful boy. Turney expressed, "I am now starting my career as a financial analyst at Wells Fargo, and my college days will soon be behind me, but I’m proud that my son will always remember his dad as a college graduate."
Matthew Douglas Hurd
General Business / Decision Sciences
After working for several tech companies in the Silicon Valley for over fifteen years, Matthew Douglas Hurd decided to pursue a bachelors in business. While the work experience was invaluable, the goal of obtaining a college degree became increasingly important.
His “can do” attitude had helped him advance in the workforce, but the lack of a four year college degree created roadblocks to his continued upward advancement. Matthew took the initiative by enrolling at Cabrillo College in Aptos where he graduated with honors obtaining his Associate of Science in Business.
As a transfer student, Matthew decided to come to San Francisco State and enroll in the College of Business. Deciding on which major to declare posed a challenge. In his work experience he was known as a “jack of all trades.” When asked if he knew how to do a task, his response was, “If I don’t, I soon will.” His ability to adapt enabled him to assist multiple departments within the organizations. After seeing the General Business degree path, Matthew felt that this diverse program allowed him to study multiple areas of interest and fit well with his educational goals. At the beginning of his senior year, he found that his interest was peaked by data analytics and declared Decision Sciences as his minor.
Throughout his educational career here at San Francisco State University, Matthew has been included in the Dean’s List each semester, has created lasting relationships with fellow students, and shown leadership and mentoring qualities that he did not know he had.
Hospitality & Tourism Management
Wenfeng Ma is the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department Undergraduate Honoree. Wenfeng was born and raised in China and came to the United States with his family seven years ago. As the only college student in his family, he had to work hard to navigate the college experience at SFSU. While living in San Francisco, Wenfeng found that tourism is a growing trend in the Bay Area resulting in him choosing Hospitality and Tourism Management as his area of study.
Before applying for college, Wenfeng worked in a company that prepared in-flight meals. Quickly Wenfeng realized that many of his colleagues didn’t communicate as they struggled with speaking English. He realized learning English and being able to communicate with others was a valuable skill for a new immigrant. After entering SFSU, he spoke English as much as possible with teachers in class and with colleagues while collaborating on group projects.
While at SFSU, Wenfeng is proud to have gained lifelong skills. He realized the value of asking someone for help, from either fellow students or instructors and he appreciated that many people are willing to help. He also learned that any problem can be solved if you approach it step by step. Sometimes a complicated assignment or project seems daunting, but you will never know that you can complete it if you never start doing it. Wenfeng Ma is grateful for all who have supported him to successfully graduate from San Francisco State University.
Information Systems / Decision Sciences
Emily Guan was born and raised in San Francisco. Her parents immigrated from China in hopes to provide Emily and her sister with a higher standard of living. Due to the expensive and time-consuming nature of starting a family, Emily’s parents never graduated from college. Regardless, they always emphasized the importance of education to Emily and her older sister. Emily’s parents knew that a proper education would help their children avoid the struggles and hardships they experienced as immigrants.
To demonstrate her heartfelt appreciation for her parents’ sacrifices, Emily has always strived to make the most out of her education. Despite taking on two majors and a leadership position in a student organization, Emily has maintained a high GPA throughout her time at SFSU. With the help and push of her sister, Emily was able to graduate college within 3 and a half years.
During her sophomore year, Emily became involved in Ascend SFSU, a student business organization. Through Ascend, Emily was able to develop her professional and leadership skills while building relationships with her peers and professionals. Being surrounded by like-minded, ambitious individuals motivated Emily to make the most out of the opportunities presented to her. This eventually inspired Emily to take on Decision Sciences as her second major.
Emily attributes much of her success to her friends, family and Ascend. She acknowledges the fact that her college experience would not have been even a fraction as enjoyable without their support.
Now that she has graduated, Emily is laser focused on her career in the technology industry. In March 2019, Emily jumpstarted her career at one of the largest technology conglomerates and hopes to transition into a Data Analyst role in the near future.
Kevin Huang is a first-generation Chinese-American who was born and raised in San Francisco and also a first-generation college student in his family. Growing up in such a diverse and accepting city gives Kevin pride in his own heritage and interacting with his peers at SFSU has only strengthened his belief in the importance of culture competencies.
Starting in high school, Kevin developed an interest and passion for learning the Japanese language. He has continued studying Japanese as his minor throughout his college education. During his four years at SFSU, Kevin sees his greatest and most fulfilling achievement to be passing the N1 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, which marks an advanced level of fluency in the language, and ranking in the 98.5 percentile among examinees globally.
Learning a foreign language from scratch has been a challenging yet enhancing experience that Kevin believes will prove to be extremely valuable especially in the field of international business where a heavy emphasis is placed on cultural sensitivity in interactions between countries. As a mature and highly motivated student majoring in International Business, Kevin is an active participant in his classes. He has achieved an outstanding GPA of 3.99. His outstanding performance has made him on the Dean’s List since fall 2015.
In the future, Kevin hopes to find a career path where he can make use of his trilingual ability and knowledge of Chinese, American, and Japanese cultures alongside the business skills that he has gained from the International Business program at SFSU to strengthen cultural ties and bridge cultural gaps in the business world.
Labor Studies / Spanish
Trang Huynh graduated with a major in Labor and Employment Studies and minor in Spanish in December 2018. Prior to her arrival SFSU, Trang interned with the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce. Since arriving at SFSU, she has developed an outstanding record of university and community service and has completed several internships with community and academic organizations. She has used her three languages – English, Vietnamese and Spanish – while working on her internships and volunteer activities.
Trang has interned with UNITE HERE Local 2, which represents SF hotel workers. In 2018, she was awarded a highly-competitive paid internship through the UC Berkeley Labor Center. Trang has volunteered with the SFSU Legal Resource Center to help students gain access to low-cost legal help, and with Tenant Together, a group that allows people access to low cost legal rights. She has also worked as an assistant for the Labor Studies Program’s online courses.
Trang has received three academic scholarships at SFSU: the Ernest C. Dillard Sr., Yetta K. Zetoony, and Alumni Association Senior Scholarships. Trang has participated extensively in COB activities. She won the Innovation Pitch Deck for proposing an e-contract for gigs between musicians and local venues, and participated in the COOP Data Analytics Apprenticeship. Trang has also worked as a research and teaching assistant at Saint Mary College, including working on major data research project.
Along with her excellent academic performance, Trang’s extensive university and community service provides an outstanding example of the social justice and service missions of SFSU.
Wade M. Crosson
Wade M. Crosson is a native Californian and San Francisco resident for the past 25 years. He is a human resource professional currently servingas Senior HR Manager for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His career spans more than 25 years in a variety of roles in the Human Resources Management field, and he is looking forward to carrying his experiences from SFSU into the next stages of his career.
Wade’s journey toward his degree began with attending classes at City College of San Francisco in 2003, with occasional pauses to focus on work. He transferred to SFSU in 2016 and has since been dedicated to achieving his degree in Business while working full time. By starting this journey later in life than most – graduating at age 47 – he is testament that it is never too late to reach for your goals. He is a firm believer that everyone is capable of defining and charting their own unique path to excellence and fulfillment. He is especially proud to be the first in his family to obtain a college degree and hopes that he can be a positive example for his niece and nephews.
Wade sincerely appreciates the College of Business faculty’s insight, encouragement, and expertise, and values the lessons and learning experiences he received through coursework and projects. He has also appreciated collaborating and networking with fellow students and has enjoyed their passion and energy.
Anna Wark’s journey to SF State is full of stops and starts. Born in a far east town in Russia, Anna obtained an Associate’s degree in Elementary Education from Blagoveshchensk State Pedagogical University. With an associate’s degree, Anna sought a new career path and worked as a kindergarten teacher’s assistant in Shenzhen, China. Her work as an educator in a foreign language, English, reignited Anna’s passion to complete her degree. With this in mind, Anna attended ESL schools, studied with personal tutors, and took college-level English writing classes.
In 2013, she was accepted at SF State as an international student but had to decline admission due to visa-related issues. She was able to move to San Francisco a year later and applied as a non-resident student. However due to some confusion, her college credits from her previous Russian university did not transfer. Anna had to spend three years at City College of San Francisco to complete high school and transfer requirements. Finally, in 2017, Anna was able to enroll at SF State. After facing so many adversities, Anna is determined to complete every SF State marketing course with excellence and is expected to graduate with high honors. Not a small feat for someone who is the first in her family to attend college in Russia and the first to study abroad.