Meet the Lam Family College of Business Distinguished Achievement Graduate Honorees for 2021

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The Lam Family College of Business Congratulates the Graduate Honorees for 2021!

These seven students receive a Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Achievement from the University during Commencement week. In addition, one student is selected as the college’s Graduate Hood Recipient.

To read about the Lam Family College of Business 2021 Distinguished Achievement Undergraduate Honorees, click here.


Krista McNally
Graduate Hood Recipient

Master of Business Administration for Biotech Professionals

As a member of the first cohort for the MBA for Biotech Professionals, Krista McNally will be earning her MBA degree alongside a select group of students who started this program in Fall 2018.  During her time a graduate student, McNally participated in numerous outreach programs, spoke to prospective students, helped publicize the program through social media and at networking events, and consistently provided helpful feedback to the Lam Family College of Business to help us improve this unique program.   

McNally currently works as a scientist for Chimera Bioengineering, a small start-up in South San Francisco, which focuses on discovering and developing new immune cell therapies to fight cancer.  Over the past three years, her work has become progressively more externally facing and now includes alliance management activities, such as guiding projects in partnership with other biotech companies and managing in vivo studies performed by contract research organizations. McNally recently transitioned to a new role as Head of External Manufacturing.

Krista McNally has served as a volunteer Tax Preparer for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program for four tax seasons and as a judge for the Synopsys Science and Technology Championship for five competitions.  She earned a Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude, from Western Michigan University and maintains a membership in the Chamber Musicians of Northern California, where she plays violin with other amateur chamber music enthusiasts.  McNally feels empowered while playing chamber music, and it’s in this context that she has learned how to be both a leader and a team player at the same time.

Outside of work and school, McNally and her partner enjoy spending time spoiling their American Bulldog-Boxer, Alba, playing table-top board games with friends, and watching professional soccer.  She enjoys traveling and camping – especially to Yellowstone National Park, which is a location she has visited over twenty-five times during her life.

Yasmin Aly

Yasmin Aly

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Since beginning her MBA studies at SF State, Yasmin Aly has been actively involved with organizations within and outside of the University. Aly was a member of the UCorp Board of Directors and Finance Committee. She worked with professors, alumni, and industry leaders to enrich the college experience for students, faculty, and staff. She was also a member of Financial Analysis and Management Education (FAME), a student organization aiming to advance the financial education of students by bridging the gap between the classroom and the business world.

Aly also served as a Community Lead at Impact Hub San Francisco, a civic and social organization that hosts events connecting global innovators, investors, foundations, institutions, and social entrepreneurs. Additionally, she is a member of the Financial Women of San Francisco, where she works with professionals to promote women's development, career progress, and leadership in finance.

Aly worked as an Equity Research Intern at Lighthaven Capital Management and was promoted to an Investment Team Lead, supervising the investment research process in its entirety. Yasmin also interned at GS Capital, an international investment bank, working with startup founders to raise capital and on merger and acquisition deals.

As a former professional gymnast who competed in several international championships, Aly always felt that gymnastics engrained in her a deep sense of dedication and tenacity, which she developed further when she moved from Egypt to study in the United States and during her professional endeavors. She is interested in the intersection of finance and data analytics and is excited for the next chapter in her life as she pursues a second graduate degree in Business Analytics at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Nicole Chacon

Nicole Chacon

Master of Business Administration (MBA) for Executives

Nicole Chacon completed her MBA program in Summer 2020.  Shortly after starting her graduate studies, she was invited to join the Board for Boost Kids!, a youth enrichment program in San Bruno.  Boost engages young, underrepresented learners with fun, hands-on activities in computer science, engineering and physics so they are able to realize greater success in higher education. The organization hires and trains high school students to teach, mentor, and inspire young learners.  Working for Boost was a great opportunity for Nicole to help launch a meaningful program in her community and work alongside others who have the passion, heart and wisdom to serve children. Since completing her MBA program, Chacon has taken on the volunteer role of Executive Director, a position designed to scale their existing programs, pilot new programs, and provide more opportunities for local youth.  She finds that working in the non-profit sector offers an opportunity to focus on being resourceful, efficient and influential – skills she believes are crucial in any leadership position.

Chacon is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an international business honors society created to recognize high-achieving students from programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).  She is currently contracted with RKI Interior Design as a Project Manager and Senior Interior Designer, specializing in custom home construction projects and remodels throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  This role allows Chacon to be creative in designing unique solutions for every client, while also providing her with opportunities to collaborate and lead internal and external teams.  Some of Chacon’s greatest strengths are stewarding relationships and creating collaborative environments, understanding roadblocks, creating an action plan, and taking initiative to help a team overcome hurdles.

Trea McElhone

Trea McElhone

Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA)

A Bay Area native, Trea McElhone earned her bachelor’s degree in International Business Management with a regional focus on European business from Pace University in New York City.  After completing her undergraduate degree, she took a gap year and bartended in Cardiff, Wales.  McElhone continues to work within the hospitality industry and is currently employed as a bartender and COVID-19 Supervisor at Fiddlers Green in Millbrae.  Her responsibilities at Fiddlers Green dramatically changed due to the pandemic. When she transitioned into the COVID-19 Supervisor role, she conducted research on how similar businesses were re-opening, what safety precautions would need to be taken, and how to develop an implementation plan for re-opening at different levels.  McElhone will be leaving Fiddlers Green in July 2021 to launch her accounting career as an Audit Associate with Baker Tilly.

Trea McElhone is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society and the Beta Alpha Psi Executive Graduate Honors Program.  She briefly served as the Treasurer for Net Impact in fall 2020.  Her MSA culminating experience projects concentrate on the area of accounting standards ethics.  Her group project focuses on pension accounting transparency and adequate reporting, while her final paper discusses the effectiveness of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.  Both topics evaluate standards and requirements within the industry and determine whether further regulation is necessary.

Kelly Nelson

Kelley Nelson

Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)

Kelley Nelson completed her MSBA studies in fall 2020.  She worked on her final project in conjunction with Zabble, Inc, a company that helps universities and hospitals reach zero waste by delivering real-time, actionable insights on waste management processes.  As a part of her project, Nelson built an algorithm to identify opportunities to reduce waste hauling costs for commercial customers.  Her model found significant savings potential for large commercial or institutional buildings in the California city that was analyzed. Her model can be used as a tool to project the cost benefits that can be achieved by optimizing waste service levels while also making progress toward a building’s zero waste goals.  Nelson began working as a Senior Data Scientist with Zabble in March 2021.  In her role with this company, Nelson is helping to develop the tools that give building and sustainability managers a deeper understanding into their institutions’ waste generation patterns, so they can use insights from Zabble’s analytics to initiate programs that save money and send less waste to landfills.  She continues to work with current MSBA students so they can build upon the work she accomplished through her practicum project, which she completed in fall 2020.

Nelson spent most of her 10+ year career in the non-profit sector, primarily in fundraising and operational roles at the ClimateWorks Foundation and the National Audubon Society. Her work helped to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and to protect some of the natural landscapes that make California special.  For several years, Kelley Nelson has volunteered at the public elementary school where her two children attend, supporting the school’s fundraising efforts and lately providing technology support to teachers and fellow parents during the pandemic.

Sina Shariati Samani

Sina Shariati Samani

Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)

Prior to coming to SF State in fall 2019, Sina Shariati Samani earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Sharif University in Tehran, Iran, and a Master of Business Administration from Tehran University. In addition to these degrees, he earned Certificates in Innovative Management & Entrepreneurship and in Marketing from the University of California, Irvine.

Samani has been active at SF State since joining the MSBA program.  He currently works for the Tutoring and Academic Support Center (TASC), providing tutoring to students in undergraduate and graduate Decision Sciences courses.  Samani is also a Teaching Assistant for Data Mining and Advanced Statistical Methods for Business Analysts (DS 861). In the summer 2020, he was a Graduate Research Assistant for Decision Sciences Assistant Professor Rex Cheung.  His work included conducting a literature review, performing statistical analyses using a genetic algorithm on time-series data, and building a model using Python, a high-level programming language.

Samani was also a member of the Lobby Corps Assembly (an organization that is part of Associated Students), which is designed to establish and promote civic engagement at SF State. As Vice-Chair, Samani worked to address student concerns about housing, transportation, and the impact of COVID-19 with SF State’s Government and Community Relations (GCR) department and the Institute of Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE).  He also participated on a Continuing Student Panel, providing guidance to incoming MSBA students, during the spring 2020 Graduate Business Programs New Student Orientation.


Garrett Adam Young

Master of Science in Quantitative Economics (MSQE)

Before moving to the Bay Area from San Diego, Adam Young was a member of a music band that performed throughout Southern California.  While he enjoyed performing music, Young always knew his primary calling was a career in public policy, fighting for policies to address the injustices and inequalities that permeate our society.  Young’s main areas of research interest include income inequality, public policy, and labor economics.  Young has been very engaged in the Economics department since he started his MSQE program in fall 2019.  He has contributed a great deal to the department’s faculty and students through his work as a Grader and Tutor, a Graduate Assistant helping faculty set up their online courses, and as a Peer-Mentor helping students navigate the challenges of online learning.  Young was awarded the Don Scoble Scholarship in Economics in spring 2020 and the Ramona K. First Endowment Scholarship in fall 2020.

Young has collaborated on a number of research projects with Economics faculty.  He is currently working on a project with Professor Michael Bar that uses data on mortgages in California provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.  Motivated by previous research showing racial discrimination in the approval/denial of home loans, in addition to evidence of variation in measured discrimination across institutions, their work investigates whether there is racial discrimination in the cost of the loan through the interest rate. Young has assisted Professor Anoshua Chaudhuri on a community-based participatory research project in collaboration with the San Francisco Small Business Commission to study the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses in the city.  He has also assisted Lecturer Faculty Anne Wenzel with a compensation analysis for the Association of Livermore Employees Union in their upcoming contract negotiations with the city of Livermore.