The Sam M. Walton College of Business recognized three exceptional alumni and nearly 60 students for outstanding achievement at its annual awards banquet. Continue reading Outstanding Alumni, Students Recognized at Walton Awards Banquet
On Friday, April 5, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted an award ceremony and reception at the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville to mark its 25thanniversary at the University of Arkansas.
Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas, recognized Barbara Lofton, Ed.D., for her 23 years of service as the director for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion – the oldest diversity office at a Southeastern Conference business school.
“Barbara is a beacon on the hill for us,” Coleman said. “The fact the Office of Diversity & Inclusion has been here 25 years is a testament to Walton College’s commitment.”
“I’m proud of the work Barbara and her team have done to recruit and retain such excellent students over the years,” said Matt Waller, Walton College dean. “Barbara’s leadership and her attention to students has been life changing for many young people.”
Ebony Wyatt, director of sales at General Mills, emceed the event. Wyatt, a Walton College alumna, shared her own memories of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. She first learned about Walton College through the Accounting Career Awareness Program summer camp hosted by the diversity office when Wyatt was a junior in high school. She also credits Lofton with helping her secure her first professional job with General Mills. Wyatt now teams up with Lofton and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion to host career workshops focused on helping students successfully secure a full-time job.
“She’s like a mother hen,” Wyatt said of Lofton. “She is always there to help support you, push you and encourage you to be your best!”
The Office of Diversity & Inclusion named two individuals Diversity Champions for their work to support minorities, students and entrepreneurs: Lonnie R. Williams, Ed.D., special assistant to the chancellor at Arkansas State University and former assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Arkansas, and Oliver L. Sims III,
America’s technical sales leader for CA Technologies, a division of Broadcom, the managing partner of Oliver Sims Advisors and Investors and co-founder of Henry Health, a mental health and self care support digital platform.
Walton College students were also honored for their leadership in the National Association of Black Accountants and the Students of Retailing Excellence student organizations. Recognized were Eric Mays – accounting senior, Joe Bradley Jr. – accounting senior, Victoria Fields – management senior, De’Stani Clark – marketing senior, Malik Dedner – Master of Accountancy candidate, Fredrica Harris – MBA candidate and Jada Gaspard – marketing senior.
Keynote speaker student De’Stani Clark shared how the Office of Diversity & Inclusion had personally encouraged her as a student at the university. Before starting college, Clark’s mother was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, which left Clark with serious choices. Clark was not sure she should leave her family to attend college due to her mother’s illness but chose to attend with her mother’s encouragement. At the end of her spring semester freshman year, Clark’s mother passed away. Clark struggled emotionally the following academic year and leaned on the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
“I felt the light of love and support of Dr. Lofton, Dr. Hughes, Mrs. Anne and Ryan,” Clark said. “I challenge you to find two students in need and let them know they have the power to choose.”
The Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation, Con-Real, LP, and Ernst & Young sponsored the 25thanniversary event.
About the Office of Diversity & Inclusion
Created in 1994, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion supports, advocates and assists the Walton College in developing plans for diversity throughout the school to increase representation, integration and the fundamentals of equality among all faculty, staff and students.
The department manages four summer outreach programs to educate high school students about business careers and opportunities at Walton College. The office also oversees several scholarship programs and business competitions for Walton College students.
RB, a multinational consumer goods company, challenged students at the Sam M. Walton College of Business to think about the corporation’s product in totally new ways. While the challenge competition lasted only two days, the winning team continues to reap the benefits.
Last fall, Lindsey Wagaman, a junior at the University of Arkansas double-majoring in marketing and supply chain management, teamed up with fellow students — Sydney Brooks, a senior majoring in marketing, and Dylan Seelye, a senior majoring in finance — to accept the two-day RB business challenge: present a solution on how to increase market share of MegaRed Krill Oil, an omega-3 supplement.
On the first day, student teams reviewed sales and research on MegaRed, a Schiff Vitamin brand that is a subsidiary of RB, a multinational consumer goods company. RB executives coached teams and delivered feedback on presentation strategy and approach.
Wagaman, Brooks and Seelye gathered information, collaborated on ideas and developed a presentation.
“My team agreed that the majority of people who took krill oil pills were affluent middle-aged to elderly adults. We decided to position MegaRed products as a preventative measure for the whole family in order to expand the target market,” Wagaman said. “To do this, we proposed krill oil gummy vitamins for kids, biscuits and oil for dogs and subscription boxes. We highlighted different marketing aspects such as a heart mascot on the gummies and connections to popular nonprofit organizations like the American Heart Association.”
On the second day, student teams presented solutions to RB. While Wagaman, Brooks and Seelye’s team won the challenge, they received more than just bragging rights.
“Hands-on experience is one of the most valuable skills students can have. Having the opportunity to work on a real problem faced by a company helps students change their perspective and think about issues differently,” Wagaman said. “Many of the questions recruiters ask in interviews are about past experience in particular situations. Being able to draw on these experiences as answers to interview questions is a simple way to highlight hands-on experience and give students an upper hand when job hunting.”
“Jordan Fry was the RB representative I gave my executive pitch to. As I was going through my involvement and experience he continually asked me why I do the things I do, and what I’m passionate about. I had never taken a step back to think about what I was really passionate about from a professional standpoint before. This question was asked throughout the two-day competition. Because of the push to connect the personal aspect to our professional careers, my group and I incorporated personal stories and experiences into our presentation.”
“My group and I have remained in contact with RB representatives since the challenge,” Wagaman said. “We have been able to meet with them to further develop our solutions from the challenge and receive executive mentorship. I’m looking forward to maintaining my relationship with RB and continuing to work with them on our ideas.”
RB Challenge Benefits
“The most impactful part about RB’s Challenge to me was the amount of direct feedback each student received. On the first day of the challenge we each gave our executive pitches to an RB representative. Students received one-on-one feedback including tips for interviews and professional advice. Direct feedback is not something most employers or representatives give to students seeking internships or careers,” Wagaman said. “I would recommend all students apply for the spring RB Challenge because it’s a valuable opportunity that not many students get.”
Students have the opportunity to take the RB Challenge on Thursday, Feb. 7, by registering on Handshake no later than Thursday, Jan. 31.
Find out more about the RB Challenge through the Career Development Services at theSam M. Walton College of Business by emailing Catherine Beasley, corporate programs manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RB — the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company — never tires of challenging the norm, and keeps giving people innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes. Visit RB.com for more information on RB’s career opportunities and graduate programs.
The Information Technology Research Institute is hosting an IT Executive Forum for College Students on Thursday, Nov. 1, from 4-5 p.m. in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development auditorium at the Sam M. Walton College of Business on the University of Arkansas campus.
Attendees will hear from information technology executives and may ask them questions about careers and the technology industry. The technology leaders represent Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., Tyson Foods, Acxiom, FedEx and Movista. The panel will field questions from students. Intermittently, door prizes will be drawn for attendees.
For additional information, contact Eric Bradford, managing director of the Information Technology Research Institute, at email@example.com.
- Corporate Comes to Campus: Aug. 23, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- General Mills – Company of the Day: Aug. 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Walmart Career Fest: Sept. 5, 12 to 4 p.m.
- Aldi Corporate Spotlight: Sept. 11-13
- Walmart Networking Event: Sept. 12, 1 to 4 p.m.
- Resume Rescue: Sept. 18 & 19, 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.
- The Kraft Heinz Company – Company of the Day: Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Leadership Walton Pre-Career Fair Networking Event: Sept. 24, 5 p.m.
- Business Career Fair: Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m.
- Are You Ready? Pop-Up Shop: Sept. 4, 11, 20 and 27, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- WACO Title – Company of the Day: Oct. 3, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Walmart Trivia Night: Oct. 3, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- Diversity is EPIC Week: Oct. 8-11
- Pitched Perfect: Oct. 9, 3 to 5 p.m.
- Academy Sports + Outdoors – Company of the Day: Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Reckitt Benckiser Professional Outperformance Challenge: Oct. 24
- Are You Ready? Pop-Up Shop: Every Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- CBIZ – Company of the Day: Nov. 7, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Inceed – Company of the Day: Nov. 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Are You Ready? Pop-Up Shop: Every Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more details, visit walton.uark.edu/career/, email CareerServices@Walton.uark.edu or sign into Handshake at uark.joinhandshake.com to see the complete list and newly added events. You can also register to attend at uark.joinhandshake.com.
The Sam M. Walton College of Business is hosting its annual Walton College Block Party on Wednesday, August 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Linda Sue Shollmier Plaza to welcome students to campus. Free food will be served.
“I look forward to meeting our students at the Block Party every year,” said Dean Matthew A. Waller. “Students should join us between classes to grab lunch, meet faculty and staff and learn about the Walton resources and opportunities.”
Students will enjoy free drinks, hot dogs, pizza, chips and queso, along with music and informational booths set up in the plaza. Organizations and clubs available to Walton students will participate in the event.
The block party is made possible through the generosity of Con Quesos, Juice Palm, drink sponsor Pepsi Beverages Company and grilling sponsor First Security Bank.
Thea Winston, a senior accounting major from Forrest City, Arkansas, is a thinker and a planner. She gathers pertinent information, dwells on it, creates a plan and then executes it. Information gathering is what led her to the Sam M. Walton College of Business and has kept her on track ever since.
When Winston was in high school in eastern Arkansas, she began to critique her likes and dislikes to plan for her future. She hated blood and gore, so medicine was a definite no. She liked numbers and logic, which led her to work after school at certified public accountant Sharon Wilson’s office in Forrest City.
While there, Winston performed administrative duties – answered the phone, made copies, filed materials – and was able to tackle the occasional accounting task and observe her boss at work. She learned what an accountant does and saw first hand that the work suited her. She realized she could become a CPA.
Her task became: Find a college that fit.
Over two summers, Winston attended two week-long residential programs at Walton College – Technology Awareness Program and Business Leadership Academy – where she met faculty and staff, lived on campus, befriended other campers and applied for scholarships.
After that, her mind was made up. Walton College was her choice and accounting was her major.
Winston’s summer camp programs eased her transition into college. She had made friends at both programs and reconnected with them in her freshmen year. She also met Barbara Lofton, the director of Walton’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
“Dr. Lofton is always willing to help,” Winston said. “She always checked up on me. She gives you tough love and is always there.”
Winston’s Honors adviser for the past four years is Jason Adams, the associate director of Walton’s Honors Program, who was always there for Winston as well. She cites Susan Anders, the assistant director of Global Engagement, as another Walton staff member who was equally friendly and supportive.
“She always made time to answer my questions,” Winston said.
With the support of these Walton College staff, it is no surprise that Winston was an active participant in the Honors Program and Study Abroad and scholarship opportunities.
During her high school summer camp programs, Winston applied for and became a Boyer Fellow. The fellowship is earmarked for business students from Arkansas who have earned a 32 ACT or 1450 SAT college admission exams, along with a 3.75 grade point average and pays for her tuition, fees, books, room and board and other academic expenses.
Winston has also received the Arkansas Academic Challenge and Arkansas Governor’s Distinguished Scholarships, as well as scholarships from Tyson and Conoco Phillips. Talking to Walton faculty and staff helped her find scholarships.
“They’ve helped out so much,” Winston said. “I see a lot of students struggle and I know that worrying impacts their studies. It (scholarships) allowed me to focus on what I was doing academically.”
The scholarships also had an impact on her parents who have two kids in college. Winston’s brother, Avery, is an engineering student at the University of Arkansas.
Walton World View
In addition to studying accounting and general business, Winston expanded her working business knowledge through an internship for two summers at Ernst & Young in Atlanta. She also participated in Walton’s study abroad program to learn about Vietnamese culture and business practices.
In 2015, the summer before sophomore year, Winston traveled to Vietnam for a month with five other Walton students. For two weeks, she worked on a community development project building individual greenhouse systems to power and heat resident housing. Working with other business and agriculture students from the University of Arkansas, Thea learned from Vietnamese students who served as mentors and translators.
The travelers stayed on a Vietnamese university campus for two weeks. They slept on mats lying directly on a twin-size bed frame – Winston bought a second mat to create a softer bed. The food also was a change for the Arkansas native. Breakfast was often meat with rice, along with coffee with sweetened condensed milk ladled on top. One of her favorite meals was a beef dish with a sauce. She avoided the fish dishes if the eyes and head were intact.
“The first year we went, none of us had much of an idea of what we would be doing or how successful the program would ultimately be,” said Stephen Kopp, associate professor for the Department of Marketing. “Whether she realizes it, Thea was instrumental in the initial and continuing impact of this program. This was a brand-new program, and I was still working on the details. Her consistent question was, ‘My mom wants to know how is this relevant to my major?’ This compelled me, and still does, to make sure that the students understand the relevance of our work in Vietnam. I think she did not and does not realize the impact of her mom’s question has had on every aspect of the Vietnam program.”
In spring 2017, Winston attended the University of Sussex in South England in the University of Arkansas’ exchange program. She took four classes there – international business, ethics, race and ethnicity, and leadership – with students from Russia, Switzerland, the Middle East and England. The experience taught her about multi-national enterprises, racial issues in other countries and group dynamics with diverse members.
During her time in England, she learned many people there knew American politics, but most Americans were not in tune with world politics. She now sees the importance of being aware of global issues including political ones. She keeps up with her fellow students from her travels via social media.
At the University of Arkansas, several classes and professors were especially thought provoking for Thea. Katie Terrell, an instructor for the Department of Accounting, taught Accounting Technology, where Winston learned about data analysis and the coding needed for accounting systems. It gave her insight into a different aspect of her major.
“She (Katie Terrell) enjoyed her job; it made me enjoy her class,” Winston said.
The Honors Economics Colloquium class taught by Amy Farmer, a professor in the Department of Economics, tackled life decisions, which involved economic thinking and decision making.
“Thea took my Honors colloquium course, which is a discussion-based economics class requiring a lot of critical thinking about any number of issues, some of which are controversial,” Farmer said. “Thea was an active participant in that class, adding a lot of insight and perspectives that added to the class. She showed a great deal of maturity and ability to think critically, which impressed me quite a bit. I look forward to seeing what happens in Thea’s future.”
After Winston graduates in May with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, she will attend Vanderbilt University to earn a master’s degree in accounting. Once she graduates from Vanderbilt, she hopes to work at a public accounting firm in consulting, auditing or tax accounting for several years and then reevaluate her professional goals and direction.
No doubt, her skills at researching an issue, creating a plan and executing the plan will aid her on her journey to Nashville and beyond.
Beginning in fall 2018, the McMillon Innovation Studio will be forming innovation design teams that will focus on prototyping new models of delivery, services, products and policies in the areas of (1) health and well-being, (2) supply chain and (3) seamless commerce. We will be hiring student project leaders for each of these teams, who will have the opportunity to travel, create and innovate for real impact, gain job experience, earn potential credit hours, and receive potential funding to support innovation prototypes. All majors are welcome to apply.
The McMillon Innovation Studio seeks to shape the future of commerce by inspiring students to be catalysts of innovation.
For more information regarding student job opportunities, visit:
- McMillon Innovation Studio – Program Director
- McMillon Innovation Studio – Marketing Intern
- McMillon Innovation Studio – Project Lead, Supply Chain
- McMillon Innovation Studio – Project Lead, Health & Wellness
- McMillon Innovation Studio – Graduate Assistant
Students with creative, innovative ideas in health and well-being, supply chain or seamless commerce are welcome to join a design team being in fall 2018. Contact Rachel Sullivant at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Freshman year is life changing. Everything – from laundry and dorm rooms to classes and free time – is new and different. Teens are expected to navigate through classes and campus, manage their time and thrive on their own.
To help students’ transition to this new lifestyle, Carole Shook, an instructor for the Department of Supply Chain Management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, created a team project to encourage freshmen to get to know each other, discover resources on campus and strengthen personal development skills.
Within her fall 2017 Freshman Business Connections class, Shook assigned a team project to create a video overview of the McMillon Innovation Studio on campus and then present their findings in class. The studio, a gift from Walmart chief executive officer and Walton graduate Doug McMillon and his wife Shelley, tests new technologies and is designed to impact the future of retail. The project, designed by McMillon Innovation Studio director Clint Johnson and Shook, required teamwork, time management, exploration of Walton College resources and networking with classmates.
Freshman Business Connections, often referred to as FBC, is taught to first-year business students to acclimate them to campus, understand what resources are available to them, introduce them to other freshman and help them be successful at the Walton College. It introduces them to David W. Mullins Library for research, academic integrity and ethics, the Business Communications Lab for writing assistance, the Credit Counseling of Arkansas for personal finance management, Walton Career Services for job readiness and the degree opportunities at Walton. The class also helps students’ transition from high school to college by nurturing personal development skills such as time management, stress management, financial planning, health and wellness, diversity and team building.
“I would say team management was the greatest skill I improved at,” said Jay Lovaas, a freshman from Canton, Ga. “I had to effectively communicate with my team members, help with any questions they may have had, and rely on them to check my work as I checked theirs.”
After selecting teams, the freshmen interviewed staff and students at the studio and created outlines for videos and presentations. Each student was responsible for a portion of the project and collaborated with the team on deliverables.
Team members Ryan Hardwick, Alexis Humm, Cydney Feinstone, Elijah Kaplan and interviewer Noah Tidmore recorded video, captured still photography, created graphics and wrote interview questions. In their video below, freshman Noah Tidmore interviews Kayla Bruskas, a senior accounting student and student manager for the McMillon Innovation Studio.
Team members for this video include Ryan Hardwick, Alexis Humm, Cydney Feinstone, Elijah Kaplan and interviewer Noah Tidmore.
“This project was created to show that freshmen students can do amazing things,” Shook said. “These were great students who worked hard and with enthusiasm.”
Throughout the project, students learned about the opportunities at the McMillon Studio, got to know their team members and explored campus. Simply put, the project helped freshmen get connected to their new life on campus.
“It was just a fun class,” Lovaas said. “It gets you in the flow of going to class during your first semester. In my opinion, the greatest thing about FBC is meeting people.”
The American Marketing Association chapter at the University of Arkansas took third place for best educational value at the 40th Annual AMA International Collegiate Conference.
Twelve members of the campus chapter attended the meeting in April in New Orleans, Louisiana, with more than 1,900 attendees from other schools. At the conference, students participated in competitions, keynote speaker events and a career fair.
The U of A chapter also received an award for Outstanding Membership, Communication and Professional Development.
U of A students who attended were chapter presidents Lindsey Simpson and Hunter Wilson and Andrew Bickford, Phoebe Frazier, Lauren Guilette, Justice Macy, Victoria Maness, Meagan Miller, Ben Martin, Nicklaus Porter, Harper Ramsey and Ally Watson.