News

COB Alumna establishes first scholarship for female students in finance

Jennifer Westpfahl

Jennifer Westpfahl

UCA Day of Giving on March 8 resulted in a historical outcome for the university as a whole, raising $434,526 for dozens of departments and initiatives across campus, but it was also an important day for the College of Business. On this day, the Jennifer J. Westpfahl Women in Finance Scholarship was established as the very first scholarship with the goal to support women pursuing a career in the finance industry was established.

UCA Alum Jennifer Westpfahl ’99 established the scholarship to advocate on the behalf of female finance students. “I want this to be a gift that inspires others to give back but also makes an immediate impact on students,” Westpfahl stated.

Upon completing her finance degree at the UCA College of Business, Westpfahl embarked on a path to achieving her dream of working on Wall Street.

“There were not many opportunities for women to work in the financial services industry when I began my career. That has changed considerably, but there is still work to be done,” said Westpfahl.

Westpfahl did achieve her dream of working on Wall Street as she was recently promoted to Executive Director, Head of Field Services at Morgan Stanley. This came after her role as Head of FAA Talent Management where she was responsible for recruiting and developing the next generation of advisors in the financial services industry. In that role, she encouraged those who have not traditionally considered a career in finance in the past, specifically females, to do so.

“I want to bring to the forefront the importance of chasing your dreams and hard work. I hope this provides young women who want to work in the financial industry the opportunity to continue their coursework and pursue their dreams,” said Westpfahl. “Additionally, I am aiming to inspire other alumni to give back and support the College of Business and its students. UCA made a significant impact on my life, both personally and professionally, and I am grateful to have the capability to give back now. I challenge other UCA alumni to think about doing the same thing.”

The Jennifer J. Westpfahl Women in Finance Scholarship will be available for awarding beginning in Fall 2019. The scholarship will be awarded to students who are female and have a declared major of finance in the College of Business. The recipient shall be at least in junior-level standing and have a 3.0 cumulative GPA. The scholarship will be housed with the UCA Foundation, Inc.

College of Business students tour US Bank location

US Bank Tour

Students on tour at US Bank

Last month, students studying economics, finance, accounting, and banking took a trip to the US Bank location in North Little Rock. On a tour guided by Arkansas and Missouri Region President for US Bank and UCA alum, Mike Richardson, students were exposed to all sides of banking including commercial lending, underwriting, and retail. Students met directors and managers of local US Bank locations and were able to ask questions and get an up-close look at all of the different career paths that are available in the field of banking.

Phi Beta Lambda students compete at PBL State Competition

Emily Ketchum (l) and Ciara Devine (r)

This past weekend, Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) students competed against college/university students state-wide in business-related events at the PBL Spring Leadership Conference.  They took their competitions very seriously this year and did very well! Several of them will be eligible to compete at the PBL National Leadership Conference this summer.

Russell Holley:  1st place – Impromptu Speaking and 1st place – Public Speaking
Jordan Rivera:   1st place – Management Concepts
Emily Ketchum:  2nd place – Job Interview and 2nd place – Client Service
Logan Walsh:      2nd place – Computer Applications
Tyler Gum:          2nd place – Contemporary Sports Issues and 3rd place – Sports Management & Marketing
Abbie Weaver:     3rd place – Marketing Concepts
Kennedy Neely & Megan Tustison (Team Event):  3rd place – Business Ethics
Chloe Nelson:         5th place – Entrepreneurship Concepts
Derek Johnson:      5th place – Personal Finance
Ciara Devine — 2nd place in Retail Management and 4th place in Sports Management Marketing

BIT Club Meeting 4-10-18

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its last meeting of the school year on Tuesday, April 10th.  The event, which will be held in the College of Business Auditorium (Rooms 107/208) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.), is open to all majors on campus.  Tucker Adams, an Agile Business Analyst on an Application Development team for Dillard’s Inc., will be the featured speaker.  He served in the United States Marine Corps from 2008-2012 achieving the rank of Sergeant before pursuing an MBA in Information Management from UCA.  His bachelor’s degree is from the COB as well. Tucker has demonstrated experience in Retail, Technology, and Manufacturing industries, working in a variety of functions such as Accounting, Operations, Sales, and Information Technology.  We will also conduct Officer Elections for next year, as well as discuss our upcoming field trip to the Dillard’s Data Center and Headquarters in Little Rock on Thursday, April 12th.  Refreshments will be served (PIZZA!) and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

UCA College of Business has three scholarships established on historic Day of Giving

The 2018 Day of Giving was a day of goals being reached and records being broken. The $50,000 institution-wide goal was achieved with over $434,000, a Day of Giving record, being raised last Thursday, March 8th. Of that amount, over $100,000 was given to College of Business funds, with three new scholarships being established.

Jennifer Westpfahl made a gift to establish the Women in Finance Scholarship fund. This scholarship will go to women who are majoring in Finance and want to pursue a career in the financial industry. This is the first scholarship established to support women who are pursuing a career in this field.

Drew and Lauren Gainor made a gift to establish the Drew Marshall Gainor Scholarship fund. This fund is in honor and remembrance of Drew Marshall Gainor and will be awarded to minority Hispanic students who are studying Economics, Finance, Insurance & Risk Management, or Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Bruce Oakley Inc. made a gift to establish the Bruce Oakley Excellence in Logistics Scholarship fund. This scholarship will go students who are studying Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

To learn more about giving and involvement opportunities in the College of Business please contact Director of Development for the UCA College of Business JD Gray at jdgray@uca.edu or 501-580-4045.

BIT Club Meeting – 3/13/18

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its third meeting on Tuesday, March 13th.  It will be co-hosted by Phi Beta Lambda.  The event, which will be held in the College of Business (Room 118) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.), is open to all majors on campus.  Ben Youngblood and Brent Saunders, Network Engineers for Edafio Technology Partners, will be the featured speakers.  Ben and Brent are both recent graduates of UCA and we are delighted to welcome them back to campus.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

BIT Club Meeting – 2/27/18

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its second meeting on Tuesday, February 27th. The event, which will be held in the College of Business Auditorium (Rooms 107/208) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.), is open to all majors on campus.  Christian Orton, Technology Business Consultant for FIS Global Solutions (https://www.fisglobal.com/) will be our featured speaker.  Christian is a 2014 graduate of the College of Business and received his MBA in 2016 from UCA as well.  FIS provides financial software, world-class services and global business solutions. Through organic growth and strategic acquisition, FIS has evolved into a leading global provider of technology for the financial services industry.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

BIT Club Meeting — 1/30/2018

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its Spring Welcome Meeting and Kick-Off on Tuesday, January 30th.  The event, which will be held in the College of Business Auditorium (Rooms 107/208) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.), is open to all majors on campus.  Paul Russell, Rich Beem, and Ross Gray (all are UCA graduates) will be our featured speakers.  Paul is Manager of Implementations & Project Services at Euronet Software Services in Little Rock, while Rich and Ross are both Technical Analysts at the global company.  Euronet is recognized as a leading provider of software that powers electronic payment and transaction delivery systems around the world.  Their solutions have reliably served the worldwide cards, payments and financial services markets for more than 40 years. Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

James Allen Graduates with Honors in MIS

James Allen MIS Honors Graduate

James Allen graduated with Honors in Management Information Systems in the Fall 2017 UCA graduation ceremony. Graduating with Honors in MIS requires a faculty invitation, a cumulative GPA of 3.25, and completion of a significant project or research endeavor. James was a key member of two significant software development projects, both under the guidance of Dr. Jeff Hill. The first was the Arkansas Model UN project that automated all processes related to this UCA History Department endeavor, which was completed in Spring 2017. For this project, James was the primary Java developer, integrating an extensive database with quality forms and reports. The second project, completed in Fall 2017, was the design and development of Report Engagement and Participation (REAP), a web-based, interactive system which tracks and stores student extra-curricular work in their field, such as internships, volunteer hours, meetings, etc. This system allows students, faculty, and administration to gather useful and critical information regarding student successes. James performed two key roles in this project: he was the leader of the project management team, which oversaw the entire project, from requirements gathering to implementation. For this, he assimilated the work of the web design and development teams. In addition, he was one of two developers (coders) in the project (using PHP), which integrated the entire system.

James graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in December 2017. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems, with a minor in Computer Science, with a GPA of 3.88. He arrived in Arkansas a high school dropout with only a brown paper bag containing all of his belongings. His hard work and determination allowed him to graduate from Vilonia High School in 2002 with a 3.95 GPA. He met his future wife, Laura, in 2003 and was married the following year while on leave from deployment during Operation Iraqi Freedom II campaign. James served 13 years in the US Army before attending UCA. James was recognized as the Outstanding Information Systems graduate in the College of Business for 2017. Previously he was placed on the UCA Presidential Scholar list four times and Dean’s List once. He enjoys spending time with family, reading various technical documents of interest, and considers himself a continuous learner.

Jessica Slay Graduates with Honors in MIS

Jessica Slay MIS Honors Graduate

Jessica Slay graduated with Honors in Management Information Systems in the Fall 2017 UCA graduation ceremony. Graduating with Honors in MIS requires faculty invitation, a cumulative GPA of 3.25, and completion of a significant project or research endeavor. Jessica completed her research project in November 2017, under the supervision of Dr. Mike Ellis and with another student, Geet Tanna. With Dr. Ellis, they team-authored a study on the design and implementation of data analytics programs in post-secondary settings, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. The study is entitled “Business Analytics Program Requirements: Analyses and Recommendations”; it will be submitted to both a conference this spring and to a peer-reviewed journal. Their work is already reaping benefits to the MIS Department, as it is using the findings to implement two new data analytics programs, one at the undergraduate level and one a graduate certificate. This work will be impactful for years to come.

Jessica Slay is from Harrison, Arkansas, and is a 2017 graduate from the University of Central Arkansas. She earned two degrees (double major) in Management Information Systems (Business Analysis Concentration) and in Management, with an emphasis in Supply Chain. She graduated with Honors in MIS (3.64 cumulative GPA). She held a summer internship in the Transportation department of the country’s number one LTL trucking company, FedEx Freight. In addition, she served as President for the business student organization, Phi Beta Lambda. Going forward she plans to utilize these accomplishments to pursue a career in data analytics.