Ten undergraduate business students recognized for academic accomplishment
Monday, May 16, 2016
The College of Business congratulates and extends best wishes to the ten undergraduate honorees of the graduating Class of 2016.
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, Danh Nguyen is the college's undergraduate hood recipient, to be recognized at Commencement.
Read more about the ten undergraduate honors recipients:
Danh Nguyen, 2016 College of Business Undergraduate Hood Recipient
Department of Decision Sciences
Danh Nguyen born in Saigon, immigrated to the U.S. at age seven with his family through the Orderly Departure Program. His father was a former Reeducation Center Detainee who had been a prisoner of war after the Vietnam War. At a young age, Danh was aware of the large differences between the two cultures, and he worked hard to overcome difficulties in school—the language barrier, bullying, racism, and violence—to fulfill his dream of higher education.
Danh considers knowledge and awareness to be the keys to success, which he defines as the level of internal happiness a person achieves. He volunteers for two non-profit organizations in Oakland: the Vietnamese American Community Center (East Bay) and the Huong Viet-Vietnamese Language School, where he serves as a lion dancer, vice principal, ESL teacher, and counselor. Danh chose to study at San Francisco State because its goals—courage, life of the mind, equity, community, and resilience—closely align with his own. Over the past year, Danh has helped many of his fellow students by serving as a tutor for the challenging DS 412: Operations Management course.
Danh hopes his education will allow him to give back to the community. He chose to major in Decision Sciences to learn the hard skills that support major business decisions, which in turn greatly impact stakeholders, locally and abroad. He seeks ways of adding value to business decision-making through application of the scientific method while minimizing the negative effects of unintended consequences.
Department of Accounting
Jonathan Liu is a highly motivated fourth-year accounting student, on track to graduate from SF State with CPA eligibility in May 2016. He will be graduating with a major in Accounting and a minor in Information Systems. Born in San Francisco, Jonathan has spent his life between America and Taiwan. Eight years abroad in Taipei, accompanied with travel to other countries, has ingrained Jonathan with a rich understanding of both East Asian and American culture. With an international perspective, he has developed the tools to think critically and to adapt to diverse environments.
As a Taiwanese-American, Jonathan feels a strong cultural affinity with the welcoming atmosphere at SF State. He has excelled in the classroom by earning a cumulative GPA of 3.92. In extracurricular activities, he has been able to align his personal aspirations of being a public accountant with the mission and purpose of the student-business organization, Ascend. Part of this mission is to help cultivate critical soft-skills in young professionals. Jonathan rose to the challenge by taking on additional responsibilities in Ascend along with an internship during his early college career. With 4 years of Ascend under his belt, Jonathan currently serves as part of the Advisory Board to the student chapter where he offers mentoring to younger students. Jonathan has practiced real-world application of accounting concepts through internships with Core-Mark and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is grateful for these opportunities and, upon graduation, will be starting fulltime with PricewaterhouseCoopers in San Francisco.
Department of Economics
Estevan Lopez comes from a humble, single parent, Mexican household in San Jose, California. Growing up, he was always told that, due to family financial limitations and subpar school quality, he would never make anything out of himself. He has worked hard to prove his detractors wrong by thriving in academics and showing that, regardless of where you come from, you can be anything you want to be. He is currently double majoring at SF State in Economics and Statistics. Due to his 3.8 GPA, he has been on the Dean’s List since his first semester at SF State and he has earned several scholarships, including the Ramona K. First Award and the George Feliz Memorial Scholarship from the Economics department.
In the summer of 2015, Estevan attended the American Economic Association (AEA) Summer Training Program at the University of New Mexico. This national level program pays for selected students to be trained with the expectation of continuing doctoral studies in economics. He served as President of the Economics Students Association for 3 semesters and led the “Up to Us” national collegiate competition in 2015 and 2016 to increase awareness of economic issues. His future goals are to attend graduate school in Economics to attain a Ph.D., become a professor at a university, and conduct meaningful research that will make the world a better place while ultimately serving as a role model for upcoming generations.
Department of Finance
Randy Lloyd was born and grew up in British Columbia, Canada. His interest in finance began in the 10th grade when one of his teachers introduced him to the Investopedia stock simulator. At the time, he had his mind set on studying science after high school. However, after his first semester in science, he decided business was where he belonged. He then explored a few disciplines, taking a particular interest in economics and accounting. After studying for four semesters at Thompson Rivers University, at age 19, he decided to move to Berkeley and attend Berkeley City College where he completed the necessary coursework to transfer to SF State.
Although Randy transferred to SF State intending to major in accounting, he found his true passion was in the investments area of finance. He believes that you should experience and learn as much as you can from your education. This mindset led to a desire for academic excellence and a deep understanding of the content presented. Randy is on track to achieve his goal of graduating on time, and he is in the process of obtaining permanent residency in the U.S. where he and his wife plan to reside after graduation. To this day, he still plays the Investopedia simulator and is currently working on a project analyzing the commodity market within an MMORPG.
Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management
Fion Hu’s inspiration to work in hotels came from her mother who was a hotel housekeeper for most of her working life. As with many students, Fion transferred to SF State after starting off in another field (Pharmaceuticals) but decided this was not for her and switched to Hospitality and Tourism Management in Fall 2013. Fion began her hospitality experience as a server at Hotel Adagio before she became a sales intern at Westin SFO, and then a Front Desk agent at Holiday Inn SFO. She is currently interning at AlliedPRA, a Destination Management Company. Fion has become a student leader at SF State performing outreach activities such as leading campus tours, serving as the Public Relations Manager for the 2014 Hospitality Celebration Committee, and as the Vice President for the 2015 National Society of Minorities in Hospitality.
Fion is the recipient of a number of scholarships from organizations, including the California Hotel and Lodging Association and the U.S. Travel Association, and she was awarded the prestigious John A. Marks scholarship from the SF Travel association in 2015. Last year, Fion also received the top honor of the Hilda Watson Gifford Memorial Award at the Hotel and Restaurant Foundation. This prestigious award is given to the top scholarship applicant, chosen from 150 applicants and 70 scholarship recipients. The last time a student from San Francisco State University received this award was in 2001. Post graduation, Fion’s career goal is to become a hotel sales manager.
Department of Information Systems
Rongguan Huang is the first member of his immigrant family to receive a college degree. Born and raised in Guangzhou, China, he moved to San Francisco with his family in the year 2010; although, due to the family’s financial hardship at the time, he had to delay college to work full time to support his family for that first year. Believing that education is the key to a successful life, he eventually attended City College of San Francisco. Struggling with culture differences, difficulties in language, and his work schedule, Rongguan almost gave up college in the first year; but, thanks to his family’s encouragement and support, he received an Associate’s Degree in Science and Mathematics with a high GPA in 2014.
He continued his education at SF State where he developed an interest in Information Systems. He enjoys his studies at SF State thanks to its interesting classes and he appreciates faculty members who are always willing to help. He worked diligently and considered the University’s library as his second home where he would spend hours each day, earning a spot on the Dean’s List for three semesters—an achievement he attributes to all helping professors. Currently, he is looking for an internship in the IT industry to gain practical experience and he is planning on attending graduate school in Information Systems in the future to insure a successful career in the IT industry.
Department of International Business
Nana Okuyama's first life changing experience happened in 2008 when she traveled to Pakistan at age 14. She saw little children selling flowers to support their families and asked herself why she was so fortunate and they were not. She wanted to help them but did not know how. Later, she came to the U.S. One day, her new immigrant program teacher said, “Education can change the world” and entered her in a mathematics competition, despite her limited English. Her winning prompted the program to offer mathematics and science classes which inspired similar programs to follow suit. She then realized that she could empower the disadvantaged by offering her knowledge and she volunteered to teach those subjects. When the program was in danger of being cancelled, Nana’s passion and dedication touched many people, and through her hard work, she saved the program, witnessing first-hand how her actions could create a better world. Nana continues to volunteer, teaching music, origami and Japanese culture in summer camps at a Japanese Temple. She considers her volunteer work as her “small” way to promote cultural exchange and the respect for cultural differences.
Nana loves reading and has read over a thousand books. They give her knowledge and confidence. As she graduates, Nana said, "I am stepping out of the campus with a mission of helping the less fortunate to reach their full potential. I hope my small steps will narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots.”
Labor & Employment Studies Program
In addition to her academic work, Michelle Flores has interned with the United Food and Commercial Workers union, and played a prominent public role in the enactment of the 2015 San Francisco Retail Workers Bill of Rights (RWBR).
Michelle grew up in Seeley, which has the second highest unemployment rate in California. Her grandparents —undocumented immigrants from Mexico who worked in the same fields as Caesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta—raised Michelle. She is the first member of her family to attend college. Throughout her studies, Michelle has worked at Safeway, which provided her with an insight into the low wages, poor benefits, lack of full-time work and erratic schedules that affect many retail workers. This experience motivated Michelle to campaign for the RWBR, pioneering legislation that provides more full-time work and predictable schedules for 100,000 retail workers. Michelle’s RWBR work has been profiled in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, Mother Jones and other publications. In 2015, Michelle, along with other SF retail workers, was awarded the Jobs with Justice annual Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award.
Michelle says that her degree will be “an emblem of my gratitude towards my grandparents who left everything they had in Mexico to raise me and to put me on a path to college.” Michelle represents all that is good about SF State: economic and racial diversity, first generation graduates, a commitment to social justice and engagement with the local community, and strong leadership potential.
Elena Marie Roldan
Department of Management
Elena Marie Roldan was born and raised in Foster City, California, as the youngest of four children. Her mother is a homemaker, and her father works for the Federal Government. She studied at College of San Mateo (CSM) for two years before transferring to SF State in Fall 2014. At CSM, she was the Co-Founder and Secretary of the Business Club, Founder and President of the Fashion Club, and Vice President of Communications, Fellowship, Campus Relations for the Beta Xi Eta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.
While at SF State, she has served as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Management Organization for Business Students (MOBS), Vice President of the Fashion Network Association (FNA), and has worked as a Retail Management Intern at Nordstrom. She is currently a Pastoral Council Member and a Eucharistic Minister at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church.
Department of Marketing
Olivia Dippon was born in Germany and raised both overseas and in the Sierra Nevada foothills. This exposure to multiple languages and cultures shaped her perceptions of the world and inspired her interest of international business and travel. As an advocate of the maker movement, she enjoyed beginning her marketing career as the social media manager for the Journal of Product Innovation Management for which she developed the marketing and social media strategy from the ground up. Currently, she interns at Women in Consulting (WIC) where she works closely with the social media team. As the WIC blog chair, she curates submissions and writes posts on the featured speakers which generates steady growth in viewer engagement.
Olivia now lives in Oakland where she takes advantage of the vibrant art and music scene. In her free time, she loves to read, cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. She places great value in local business and sustainability, which she hopes to combine with her passion for marketing as her career develops. Her enthusiasm for advertising, branding, new product management, and marketing management was shaped during her time at SF State through exceptional teachers, hands-on experience, and engaging material. Olivia aspires to work in marketing, branding, and new product development in an environment where work is defined by passion, dedication, and creativity.