Category Archives: Marketing

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Katie Kelting

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“The resources for the lab here are amazing.”

Dr. Katie Kelting had just graduated from high school and was getting a jumpstart on her college career as she sat in orientation, waiting to enroll in summer school. When she was asked to pick a major, she deferred the matter to her father, the chief financial officer for a bank.

“He said, ‘I think business is good,’” she recalls.

She never looked back.

Through the course of her undergraduate career, she took the requisite business classes. But one called Principles of Marketing hit home with her.

“I loved learning about all of the ‘behind the scenes’ strategies that marketers use to understand and attract consumers,” she says.

Inspired, she asked her professor if she could be his teaching assistant the next semester. As she applied what she was learning to the real world, she became captivated by the celebrities who endorse products on television and magazines. As a sports fan, athletes caught her attention the most. Her interest became so strong, it was the topic of both her honors and graduate theses while attending school at the University of Florida, she says.

“Celebrities are not in a box,” she says. “They’re real people doing real things.”

With the explosion of reality television and social media, Kelting says consumers are more celebrity-obsessed than ever, and they’re watching them closely. So is she.

“Celebrities have more meanings,” she says. “We’re getting to know celebrities’ professional and personal lives more.”

One celebrity she’s very familiar with is former NBA basketball player Michael Jordan, whose endorsements include Gatorade, Nike and Hanes. Those products, she says, are a good fit for him – ones that people easily associate with sports. But when golfer Tiger Woods endorsed Buick in the early 2000s, the public didn’t embrace the message; they associated him more with high-end luxury cars. Some, she says, are just strange, like when rap musician 50 Cent endorsed Vitamin Water.

After earning her doctorate from Indiana University in 2011, Kelting is starting her first academic year as a marketing assistant professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, where she teaches Introduction to Marketing Strategy. She says one of the things that lured her to the University of Arkansas was the research facilities at the college, which she says are at an “elite level.”

“The resources for the lab here are amazing,” she says.

The faculty and staff also impressed her, she says.

“I feel I’m the most successful when I’m surrounded by nice people who are smart and will challenge me,” she says.
In addition to celebrity advertising, Kelting says she also researches private-label branding. “Retailers are introducing more and more private-labels into their stores,” she says. Kelting says she’s exploring how the presence of a private-label in a category affects consumer purchases.

Away from work, Kelting spends time with her husband, Bobby, a physical education teacher and coach in Rogers. She says they spend every spring break with their family and some close friends snow skiing in Colorado. She also likes to exercise, including running.

Naturally, spare time also means watching sports on television. And paying attention to the commercials.
“I’m a Gator fan, so I love Tim Tebow,” she says. “He makes a really unique celebrity endorser.”

EPIC Spotlight: James “Jammer” Orintas

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“Planning is the key to success.”

The floodwaters took over much of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. This could have spelled the end for Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza, which had opened only eight months earlier on the edge of the city’s Garden District.

The home of James “Jammer” Orintas sustained serious roof damage that displaced him for a few months. Yet his pizzeria was spared. He consulted with his partners and they agreed: Theo’s needed to re-open as soon as possible.

And it did in early October of that year. Theo’s provided relief for those with flooded homes and others suffering from power outages. For many, cooking at home wasn’t an option, Orintas says.

A citywide curfew limited Theo’s operating hours, while Katrina itself limited the availability of menu items. For the following six weeks, diners had a choice of either pepperoni or sausage pizza with Budweiser, Bud Light, Coke or Diet Coke.

The place was packed. “We ran out of food every single day,” Orintas says.

Theo’s also looked out for the public workers trying to restore the Crescent City.

“The police were working out of a city bus across the street from us,” Orintas recalls. “We took pizzas over.”

Now, eight years later, Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza survived Katrina and has even expanded, with two other locations in the New Orleans area and thousands of “likes” on Facebook.

Orintas – who was given the nickname “Jammer” by his father when he was one of five other students named James in his kindergarten class – didn’t immediately go into the restaurant business after earning his bachelor’s degree in finance in 1999 at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Instead, Orintas worked as a budget analyst for the Al Gore-Joe Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000. He then spent four years as a financial analyst for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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Yet, he kept looking back fondly to his younger days when he worked at U.S. Pizza in his hometown of Little Rock and, later, in Fayetteville as a university student. “I thought it was a great experience,” he says. “It was really fun.”

The idea of opening a pizzeria was sparked when Orintas’ buddy and fellow Arkansas alumnus, Greg Dietz, complained to him there wasn’t any good pizza in New Orleans, where he lived. The city known more for its gumbo and jambalaya was in dire need of a quality pizzeria.

Orintas, Dietz and their friend, Ted Neikirk, also a University of Arkansas alumnus, took the plunge. They opened Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza, a friendly place with brick walls and concrete floor and exposed ceilings and an extensive pizza menu with items named “Hawaii 5-0” and “Vegan-ator”. Sandwiches and salads are also available. “To me, it has the feel of a pizza joint,” Orintas says.

He says his management and marketing classes at Walton College have been especially helpful in operating a business. “When you have 85 staff members, the day-to-day management of that alone is difficult,” he says.

The business is growing. He and his partners are looking for a fourth pizza location. They have been approached with franchising opportunities, but Orintas says they prefer to wait.

Orintas advises anyone starting a restaurant business to do their homework. That would include negotiating the best, affordable lease as well as structuring management and employees – all while keeping a good, consistent product. “Planning is the key to success,” Orintas says.

EPIC Spotlight: Heather Phillips

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Hailing from the “Spinach Capital of the World”, Alma, recent graduate Heather Phillips made her mark on the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
Phillips was chosen as the Walton College Outstanding Graduating Senior as well as one of the Outstanding Students in Marketing and Logistics.

While awaiting her entry into the Peace Corps, Phillips is interning at The Harvest Group, a sales and marketing firm in Rogers. “I was accepted into the Peace Corps in February,” Phillips said. “I am now anxiously awaiting the official invitation that will tell me where I am going and when I am leaving.”

Phillips was nominated for the Business Advising program where she says she will be able to use her education to help small business owners in developing countries. “Although I would love to go somewhere warm, I chose the option that said I was willing to go anywhere,” Phillips said. “I have no idea where I will be sent!”

Always having a passion for helping those less fortunate led Phillips to choose the Peace Corps as the perfect route for her to take to combine both her interests and her major. “I have always thought about the Peace Corps as an option,” Phillips said. “I did not decide to apply until Christmas break of my senior year.”

Phillips said during her last year of school she volunteered at Seven Hills Homeless Shelter where she said throughout college she developed a love for the homeless culture. “This probably started when I went on a four week long Campus Crusade for Christ inner-city program in Seattle,” Phillips said. “I had the opportunity to work with the homeless, as well as with people in prison.”

“I have the utmost respect for the business school,” Phillips said. “When I entered college I did not know what I wanted to do with my life, but when I was advised by some older friends to not go as an undeclared major, I randomly decided to major in General Business, and then later found my niche in marketing.”

Phillips said it never ceases to amaze her how the Walton College has perfected the art of making its students a “tight-knit” community. “I have come to know and care about a large number of my professors because they truly care about their students’ success inside and outside of the classroom.”

Phillips said her parents are always impressed by how well she knows her professors, “it is simply not something you find at every university or even in every college at the University of Arkansas.”

As a freshman honors student, Phillips was put into a classes with the same group of people and she said it was nice to get to know her classmates early on because those were the people she had classes with during her entire college career. “The whole honors section became really close,” Phillips said. “I’ve already been to three of their weddings this summer!”

Phillips was also actively involved in her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, during her college career.

EPIC Spotlight: Hayley Cocker

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“The students are really bright. The research is brilliant.”

Hayley Cocker first learned about Arkansas from a jigsaw puzzle. She remembers as a child sitting in her home in Lancaster, England, putting together puzzle pieces that composed a map of the United States.

Sure, she knew about New York and California. But Arkansas? “It was one of the states I never really heard about,” she says.

That changed two years ago. A Ph.D. marketing student with Lancaster University in Lancaster, England, she presented a paper at a doctoral seminar at the University of Southern Denmark. It would be there – not the United States – when Arkansas began to have meaning to her life. Doing a presentation at the seminar was Jeff Murray, marketing department chair at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. With him was Anastasia Thyroff, a Ph.D. student from the college.

Hayley says she was impressed with their work and accepted their invitation to visit the University of Arkansas for a doctoral workshop. The experience was so rewarding, she says, she jumped at the opportunity to return this fall to teach integrated marketing communication at Walton College as she completes her doctorate.

She says her Walton College experience so far has been very rewarding. “The students are really bright,” she says. “The research is brilliant.”

It has also been a great time to share her country and background with her students. Hayley says one way she does that is by playing music from northwest England, where she’s from, such as rock band Oasis or some grime music, a genre of hip-hop that’s popular there. Her students have been known to return the favor; they have familiarized her with country musicians Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw.

Hayley says her interest in marketing began when she was an undergraduate business student at Lancaster University. She took courses that included management and economics, but her marketing classes resonated with her most, especially when it came to examining consumer behavior. “I have always been really curious and inquisitive about people,” she says.

She continued her education by earning a master’s degree in advanced marketing management at Lancaster University before working briefly in the business world for a research agency. While she says she enjoyed doing research, she found herself missing academia. Hayley wanted to teach.

Which brings her to the University of Arkansas, where she’s spending her final stretch as a doctoral student, teaching in an environment surrounded by consumer culture theory professors and students, she says.

The environment also aids in her research, which includes studying alcohol consumption practices among young adults with noticeable differences between those in the United States and the United Kingdom, she says. She also is studying how celebrities lend meaning to consumers’ lives.

While in Arkansas, she does a little local observing as well. For example, she says she finds herself photographing grocery store items on her smartphone and sending them to her friends and family back home. A jar of mayonnaise, for example, is monstrous compared to those in England, she says. Because it ties in with marketing, she pays close attention to television commercials as well.

Hayley says she is also taking time to indulge herself in the American experience. For example, she drove a Ford Mustang to Memphis and visited Graceland – Elvis Presley’s former home – as well as the National Civil Rights Museum and other tourist spots. She says traveling has been a normal part of her doctoral studies, but it’s usually for short periods of time. “I’ve never actually been away from my hometown, so Arkansas is really a huge deal for me,” she says.

EPIC Spotlight: Hannah Hobson

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“Because of my experience in the Walton College, I now look at the world through a marketing lens.”

Beginning a new school and an entirely new era in your life is both thrilling and intimidating as you enter your freshman year in college. Fortunately, the Sam M. Walton College of Business helped me in this adjustment by providing me the opportunity to attend the Walton Block Party the first week of school. It became a tradition to attend the block party every year to receive free stuff, free food, and most importantly, meet new faces. During my time at the Walton College, I have learned the importance of relationships and how fostering them can help you achieve your goals.

I have had the pleasure of learning from professors who have a passion for what they do. Professors such as Carole Shook, Dub Ashton, Steven Kopp and Molly Rapert have been instrumental in developing my passion for marketing. The pursuit of a marketing education opened the door for me to serve as an assistant marketing director for Chick-fil-A in Rogers, which then led to my current internship with Colgate-Palmolive. During the class Markets and Consumers, I was encouraged to pursue a major in marketing by Carole Shook. Although many professors might not understand the impact they have at moments like this, when the student is asking for advice such as which major to choose, these little moments are remembered and become stepping stones along a much larger path.

Dub Ashton had the ability to make a 7:30 a.m. summer session class one of the most intriguing and engaging classes I have taken in my college career. (Talk about talent!) His method of teaching in Introduction to Marketing Strategies has benefited me greatly because I can still recall much of what he taught, and it since has been retaught in my upper-level marketing classes. When I would visit with him, he was always kind, and always made sure I learned something new. Once when we were in the midst of a conversation, he reached into one of his bookshelves to pull out a book. He then gave it to me as a gift. To this day, I am still surprised he gave me a book that had his personal highlights in it.

Although I was disinterested in Marketing Research initially, as I dedicated more effort to the class it became my favorite of the semester and Steven Kopp became another professor who would influence my life in a positive way. He continuously helped students and would often become excited about a topic during class lectures. He was passionate about what he taught and was always encouraging and friendly. I saw him recently on campus and he said, “Come visit me anytime!”
During this semester, Molly Rapert has demonstrated an area of marketing that I have never experienced before. The creative, innovative and ever-changing side of marketing is exciting and stimulating. Her Marketing Management class is structured in such a way that it enables the freedom for students to actively engage in creativity through assignments, projects and exams. It is because of her class that I feel comfortable discussing current marketing trends with potential employers.

As a sophomore, I was able to meet Renee Clay and was urged by her to join Leadership Walton. Leadership Walton gave me a jump-start on career preparation through events such as career fairs and resume revision sessions. It was through a career fair, and through the level of professionalism I attained from Leadership Walton, that I was able to acquire an internship with Colgate-Palmolive. While working with Colgate-Palmolive, I have learned many skills and gained valuable knowledge I expect to utilize in future occupations.

Every semester, the Walton College has presented me with projects within my classes. This semester, I am working on several projects that I am excited about, including working with the nonprofit Youth Strategies to create a cause-marketing plan through my Nonprofit Marketing class and working with Ozark Natural Foods through my Marketing Management class to create marketing strategies to implement within the store.

Because of my experience in the Walton College, I now look at the world through a marketing lens.

Reflecting on my first week at the University of Arkansas, when I was intimidated by the uncertainty ahead, I realize that I am writing the last few sentences in perhaps one of the most meaningful chapters of my life. I am truly grateful for all those in the Walton College who have invested in me. It is because of them that I am more prepared to meet the uncertainty that is certain to occur. As I finish writing this chapter, and begin the next, I know that much of what I have learned while attending the Walton College, with particular emphasis on relationships, will guide my pen.

EPIC Spotlight: Elijah Garcia

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Each year, Elijah Garcia and his family would load up the car and travel from his hometown of Santa Fe, N.M., to visit relatives in Northwest Arkansas. It was one of the few times he would ever get to travel, but he always enjoyed his visits. “There’s a lot of stuff to do in the area and a lot of opportunities here,” he says.

Now it’s time to pursue those opportunities. Like many University of Arkansas students nearing graduation, he’s interviewing for jobs – some of his contacts were made at a career fair held on campus. While he says he’s keeping his options open, should he end up staying in Northwest Arkansas, it would be fine with him.

A senior retail and marketing major at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Elijah has spent the past year working as a management trainee intern at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Fayetteville. He says his duties include serving as a middleman between insurance adjusters and the managers of rental vehicles in northern Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. When Enterprise sponsored a competition among the region’s interns, Elijah came in second with his presentation and won first place overall, earning a scholarship.

Elijah says his decision to attend the University of Arkansas was an easy one. With family in the area, he knew the transition to the next stage in his life would go smoothly. When he learned more about Walton College, it was practically a no-brainer. “That Walton College is highly respected and highly ranked made my choice a little bit easier,” he says.

He paid a visit to the campus before enrolling, and the first thing that impressed him was the buildings with the latest technology, especially Willard J. Walker Hall, which, on the third floor, features a stock market ticker that can be viewed from the second and fourth floors. Then, he met the professors, whom he calls “topnotch.” It all felt right.

One aspect he’s taken advantage of as a college student is traveling. Elijah, who has a Spanish and economics minor, studied abroad for five weeks in Puebla, Mexico, visited New York and, most recently, New Orleans on an AMA trip. He is also a Silas Hunt Scholar and served as a mentor his sophomore year.

Elijah is active with the American Marketing Association’s student chapter where he serves as vice president of fundraising. He says the experience has been invaluable in getting a taste of the corporate world. The group has been researching with Walton College’s supply chain department a “scan and go” app where Walmart and Sam’s Club customers can scan their purchase items with their smartphones before paying at a self-checkout station, he says.

There are also group activities in his Walton College classes, which he says has enhanced his communication skills. “A lot of the group work has really led to my maturity as a professional as well as a person,” he says.

When he’s not in the classroom, Elijah can be found on the campus’s athletic fields, participating in intramural sports. His flag football team recently won the men’s championship. Now, with his college career about to come to an end, there will be new opportunities to champion.

EPIC Spotlight: Dylan Breeding

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Nobody offered him scholarships. Nobody recruited him. But Dylan Breeding knew he had to try for a spot on the Arkansas Razorback football team.

A talented punter, Dylan dreamed of playing college football. Ideally, it would have been for the University of Alabama, located near his hometown of Hoover, Ala. But when there was no opening for a punter on the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, he began looking elsewhere.

The Razorbacks needed a punter. He contacted the coaches.

“They were really excited that I was coming,” he says. “But nothing was promised.”

In June 2009, immediately after graduating from high school, he moved to Fayetteville, enrolled in summer school and, by August, began football practice, where he was designated as a preferred walk-on, which assured him a spot on the team but no scholarship money.

Two days before the 2009 football season began, Dylan was informed he would be the starting punter. From there, it kept getting better. That season, the team went to the Liberty Bowl. The next year, it was the Sugar Bowl. Then, in January, Dylan punted in the Cotton Bowl with a win that ranked Arkansas No. 5 in the nation. (His career long, so far, happened against Louisiana State University last November with a 70-yard punt.)

As a punter, Dylan explains his role on the Razorback team succinctly.

“My goal as a punter is to give our team the best field position possible,” he says.

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He’s also working for the best position possible off the field. One way he’s doing it, he says, is by attending the Sam M. Walton College of Business, where he’s majoring in marketing. Even with training, practice and football games on the road, Dylan is in the Walton College Honors Program, which motivates him to keep at his best, he says. That means studying whenever he gets a chance, especially on Sundays. “The discipline is that I don’t sleep much,” he says.

Dylan says playing professional football is his goal, though he says he feels he needs to improve. “I would like to play football in the future, but I need to be able to fall back on a career as well,” he says. Intrigued by marketing concepts, Dylan says sports marketing would “obviously be the way to go.”

He says his first visited to the University of Arkansas was a bit of a whirlwind tour. But he says he soon learned that Walton College had a great reputation. “I liked the business college – it being so prestigious,” he says.

Since coming to the university nearly three years ago, Dylan has earned a scholarship. He also was nominated for the Brandon Burlsworth Trophy the past two seasons, which goes to an outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on, and the Rudy Award, which honors student athletes who demonstrate exemplary character, courage, contribution and commitment as members of their team on and off the field. In January, Dylan was selected to the 2011 Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll and the All-SEC second team for football.

Off the field, and outside of the classroom, Dylan is active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which has active Razorback members, and speaks to groups on behalf of the organization. He also plays golf.

One other thing has happened as well: confidence.

“I don’t feel as much pressure as I used to,” he says. “I just take it one punt at a time.”

Dylan says he expects to graduate this December, which leaves him a few months until the NFL draft. “I’m going to stay up here, train and hope for the best,” he says.

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Robin L. Soster

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Robin Soster is getting used to the ribbing when people step inside her office. On the wall is a Gamecocks banner from her alma mater, the University of South Carolina.

“That’s probably my favorite thing: when people come in my office and ask me where I’m from,” she says.

Newly transplanted from South Carolina, where she has spent most of her life, the Department of Marketing assistant professor says she’s already warming up to the Gamecocks’ rival, the Arkansas Razorbacks. Also on her office wall is one of many famous hog hats worn by diehard Arkansas sports fans. Because both the Gamecocks and Razorbacks are Southeast Conference teams, she says this helps her feel like she’s not so far from her hometown. In fact, until her job interview at the University of Arkansas, she had never stepped foot in the Natural State.

There have been Arkansas connections, however. Midway through graduate school at the University of South Carolina while pursuing her marketing MBA, she found herself working for Gamecocks football Coach Lou Holtz, who once coached the Razorbacks. Through her alma mater’s FABER Entrepreneurship Center, she helped design the team’s promotional hats and T-shirts.

Soster, who teaches consumer behavior, says her academic journey into marketing stemmed from a question she asks herself when she goes shopping: Why am I buying this? Though she earned bachelor of science degrees in both management science and economics, she says the behavioral aspect intrigued her. “Marketing was just the natural fit for me,” she says.

Her ability to “practice” consumer behavior was one of the many aspects that attracted her to Northwest Arkansas. Up the road in Benton County are plenty of shopping centers and stores. She says her husband, Eric Soster, and three children love the “cool” and “funky” side of Fayetteville and get out and enjoy the Ozarks as much as possible.

Soster’s journey to academia was a winding one. Before deciding to go back to the University of South Carolina to pursue her Ph.D., she was a marketing and financial analyst for a private equity firm, worked as a computer programmer and even toyed with becoming a high school teacher until she had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. Once “bitten by the teaching bug,” she decided to go back to school, completing her degree in 2011.

As one the newest faces at Sam M. Walton College of Business, Soster says she hopes she can leave a lasting impression with her consumer behavior students. She says she challenges them to make rational decisions in the marketplace and to be the kind of managers that enable other consumers to do so as well. She says she tries to convey this message through humor (on her non-teaching days, she can be found in her office wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt) and assigning her students books business professionals are reading.

“People like seeing how irrational we humans can be,” she says. “We do not necessarily think like economists!”

EPIC Spotlight: Ben Rector

“I've just been really fortunate to do something that I love.”
“I’ve just been really fortunate to do something that I love.”

A lot has happened since Ben Rector performed concerts downstairs from the cafeteria of the Pomfret Hall dormitory. As an undergraduate, Rector was juggling two worlds: that as a marketing student at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, and the other as an up-and-coming musician with weekend gigs.

“I tried to stack all my classes on Tuesday and Thursday, and leave Thursday night or Friday morning,” he says. “That was an interesting double life.”

In between hitting the books, Rector was always finding ways to make some pocket change through performing, and even managed to release a music album his freshman year. In 2006, he won the grand prize in the pop category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his song “Conversation.”

By his senior year, the singer-songwriter whose diverse music talent ranges from folk to pop had released three full-length albums, performed about 200 gigs and was engaged to be married. He also made another big decision about life after graduation: moving to “Music City U.S.A.” – also known as Nashville, Tenn.

That was in 2010. Rector and his wife, University of Arkansas graduate Hillary Swanton Rector, have since watched his career flourish. His 2011 album, “Something Like This,” peaked at No. 15 on Billboard magazine’s Top Rock Albums and fared even better at No. 11 in each category for the magazine’s Top Digital Albums and Independent Albums. His music has been featured on television shows from “ESPN SportsCenter” to ABC’s “Modern Family.”

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In high school, Rector filled much of his time writing songs, playing the guitar and singing. “It felt really natural for me, and it was something I really enjoyed,” he says. But there was the matter of college. His older sister had attended the University of Arkansas, which wasn’t far from his Tulsa, Okla., home. He says he already liked Fayetteville from visiting here. When the university offered him a scholarship, it was hard to refuse, he says.

As for a major, he decided marketing would provide a good foundation to just about any career he pursued. When it was apparent that having a music career was essentially launching a business, he began applying things he learned from his business classes. Now, Rector says he plays an active role in finding new and creative ways to market his songs and concerts. “Obviously, the huge part of making music is, hopefully, that people will know you are making music and want to buy it or want to come to shows,” he says. He says he found good mentors in Dr. Molly Rapert, marketing associate professor who already knew his sister, and Mark Risk, a real estate instructor with the finance department who encouraged Rector with his aspirations in music. Rector, in fact, did a commercial real estate internship in Dallas as a student. “I spent a lot of time at the W-C-O-B,” he says.

After a tour this spring, there’s no time for rest. Rector says he’ll release a new album followed by another tour, possibly in the fall at the earliest. And he doesn’t mind at all. “Things have grown quicker than I thought they would,” he says. “I’ve just been really fortunate to do something that I love.”

(Posted May 2013)

EPIC Spotlight: Anastasia Thyroff

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As students find their seats, Anastasia Thyroff’s classroom is often filled with music. The songs, which she broadcasts through the classroom computer, can be something she’s heard while on her travels or something that reflects a personal aspect about her.

During the week of the Super Bowl, she played songs that were featured in commercials for the televised event. It got conversations going.

“There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than a class where the students look zoned out or bored out of their minds,” Anastasia says.

Her teaching and enthusiasm are two of many reasons the Sam M. Walton College of Business bestowed her with the 2012 Outstanding Graduate Student Award.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about how grateful I am for this award,” she says. “It makes me very appreciative for all of the teachers who have inspired me and help guide me down the path of academia.”

As part of the nomination process, Anastasia had to compile a portfolio of her accomplishments for the selection committee.

“Sometimes, as Ph.D. students, we’re just going and going and going. It was nice having an excuse to stop and reflect,” she says.

In her third year at the Walton College, Anastasia is pursuing a doctorate with a concentration in marketing. She also teaches Integrated Marketing Communication.

Growing up in Rochester, N.Y., Anastasia always planned on being a teacher. When she signed up for a business class in high school, her plans took a detour.

“I fell head over heels for marketing,” she says. “I just ‘got’ marketing.” Her classmates also noticed, she says. When they did a virtual enterprise project, all of the “companies” tried to get her to be their director.

Others were taking notice as well.

“My business teachers, they knew I’d end up in marketing,” she says.

As for finding a university, Anastasia says she was growing tired of Rochester’s cold winters, which can include large amounts of lake-effect snow courtesy of Lake Ontario. She says she found a warmer alternative in South Carolina when she enrolled at Clemson University. While there, she took a marketing research class and, again, her focus was being refined. Anastasia says when a professor suggested she pursue a Ph.D., she realized her childhood dream of becoming a teacher could be fulfilled while being involved with both marketing and research.

“It’s just a win-win-win,” she says.

After earning her bachelor of science degree in marketing, she continued her education at the University of Georgia where she earned a master’s degree in marketing research. When it came time to select her final phase of her education, she says there were a couple of offers from universities. But when she visited the University of Arkansas, she sensed something special.

“It just immediately felt like home,” she says. “The marketing department was no different. You could just tell there’s this nice, friendly camaraderie.”

There’s also plenty of room for research. Anastasia is currently exploring how nanotechnology is being legitimized – or not – in our everyday lives.

Anastasia says when she needs to take a break, she’ll grab her dog Belle, a soft coat wheaten terrier, and go for a run.

“I rescued her two months ago, and she’s the love of my life,” she says.

Then, it’s back to the classroom, playing music for her students and engaging them in discussion.