UCA College of Business Names 2020-2021 Outstanding Students

On April 8, 2021, the UCA College of Business held its annual Student Honors Banquet to celebrate the academic achievements of the College’s students and recognize the outstanding students for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Outstanding students are those who take advantage of educational opportunities and show exemplary academic performance through internships, professional development and experiential education, volunteerism, and participation in clubs and activities.

The following students were awarded an outstanding status, chosen from over 1600 undergraduate and graduate students:


Elsa Mattson was named the overall Outstanding Student for the College of Business because of her many academic achievements.

A triple major with a 3.95 GPA, Elsa earned a BBA in Economics with International Trade Concentration, a BBA in Management Information Systems with a Business Analysis Concentration, and a BA in Chinese. Elsa also earned a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).

As a Research Fellow for the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics (ACRE) for two years, she published a refereed journal article about occupational licensing requirements and its effect on workers during the Great Recession; published an Op-ed about Pennsylvania’s licensing requirements, which was noticed by their Governor’s office; and presented her studies at the International Academy of Business Disciplines conference. She also earned a Mainframe Apprenticeship at Ensono in summer 2020.

She served as President of Team Global at UCA and was selected to represent the College at recruiting and accreditation events during her senior year.

Elsa will begin a Master of Science in Business Analytics at William & Mary on a merit-based scholarship starting in the fall.


Devin Gilbert completed his BBA in Accounting at UCA and did two internships. He is currently a Graduate Assistant and tutors students in our “Principles of Accounting” and “Intermediate Accounting” courses. Devin has proven to be cool under pressure.

After graduation with his Master of Accountancy (MAcc), Devin is going to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers, the largest accounting firm in the world.


Claire DeBusk just completed her BBA and is starting the UCA Master of Accountancy program this summer. While she was an undergraduate, she did five internships, served as an officer of Beta Alpha Psi, placed second with her team for Best Practices in Investing in Yourself, and was involved in service opportunities in Conway and overseas.


A triple major with a 3.95 GPA, Elsa Mattson earned a BBA in Economics with International Trade Concentration, a BBA in Management Information Systems with a Business Analysis Concentration, and a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese. Elsa also earned a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). She served as President of Team Global at UCA and a Research Fellow for ACRE, earned a Mainframe Apprenticeship at Ensono in summer 2020, and was selected to represent the College at recruiting and accreditation events during her senior year. Elsa will begin a Master of Science in Business Analytics at William & Mary on a merit-based scholarship starting in the fall.


Daryl achieved a 4.0 GPA, majoring in Finance with a minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. While at UCA, he co-authored a paper with Dr. Chen and presented it at the 2021 International Academy of Business Disciplines conference; worked as a Life Peer Coach for Housing and Residence Life; and volunteered for several organizations and events, including the Big Event, Team Global and others. Daryl would like to pursue an MBA in Finance and earn a Data Analytics Graduate Certificate or a Masters of Science in Business Analytics, after which he may then work toward a Doctorate.  He wants to eventually work as a financial analyst at the African Bank of Development.


Bethany is a first-generation student completing a BBA in Insurance and Risk Management with expected graduation in December 2021. She is the Vice President of Gamma Iota Sigma and currently an intern at State Farm while maintaining a 3.82 GPA. She plans to begin her career in the insurance industry after graduation.


Ashley Phipps is a non-traditional student who completed her BBA in General Business completely online while raising two boys under the age of five. She graduated in May 2021 with a 3.36 GPA. She plans to begin a career in banking.


In May 2021, Kayla Dean completed her BBA in Management Information Systems with a Programmer/Analyst Concentration. She finished with a 3.94 GPA and earned a Mainframe internship at Ensono in summer 2020. Kayla also was active in volunteer work serving in the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program from fall 2018 to spring 2019, as a UCA Peer Coach from fall 2018 until graduation, and as an AmeriCorps BearsServe Member at the UCA Food pantry from fall 2020 to spring 2021.


Rohan Saxena graduated with a 3.49 GPA in May 2021, earning a BS in Information Systems with a Computer Science minor. He stayed busy during his UCA undergraduate career by studying abroad at The Hague University, earning an internship at Granules Pharmaceuticals, serving as Housing & Food Services Committee Chairman for the UCA Student Government Association, and working at UCA International Engagement and the Department of Biology. Rohan has accepted a job as Tableau Administrator at Lucid Motors, a Silicon Valley luxury electric car company.


Logan Tribble is working toward his BBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. He is not only a great student in the classroom but also an active participant in the activities of our partner, The Conductor, and the activities of the “Central Arkansas Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.”


Jack Bornhoft, the Outstanding Logistics & Supply Chain Management student, has a 3.83 GPA, is the student representative on the board of the Arkansas Trucking Association, and completed an internship with Insight Logistics Management.


Lucas Southard has 3.84 GPA as he works toward a BBA in Management with a concentration in Human Resources Management.


This year we have two winners for the BBA in Marketing. Both Laura Lane and Emma McKnight are outstanding students in the classroom earning GPAs of better than 3.8, and both have demonstrated tremendous potential to achieve success in their chosen field of marketing.


Brandon Scott Phipps is the Outstanding Student of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. Phipps received his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from UCA and has excelled in the MBA program. In addition to being a veteran, Brandon is launching a new Homewell Health Services franchise in Conway with the help of College of Business Professor Dr. Jeff Standridge.  Phipps was also recently named a member of the new class for the Conway Area Leadership Institute.


The UCA College of Business includes:

The goal of the UCA College of Business is to provide a hands-on, experience driven, education that prepares graduates to take on global issues. Through our diverse programs of study and distinguished faculty and staff, we take creative, engaged students and give them the tools to succeed when they earn their degrees. Our students travel the world, start their own innovative businesses, and join established businesses across the country.  Whatever their next step, our students are ready to make a positive impact.

Learn more about our programs of study and distinguished faculty and staff.

Delwin Portillo Shares Recent Study Abroad Experience

Related: Education Abroad Opportunities – Upcoming Deadlines

My semester abroad visiting The Hague, Netherlands was easily the most enriching semester of my undergrad. I learned so much about being a leader, diversity, self confidence, personal growth, and of course I learned a lot about business and marketing!

I was able to take a Purposeful Marketing course which had many different components to it. There was a leadership component, in which I learned different leadership skills and how to flesh out and improve these skills. There was a Project Management component where I learned how to use SCRUM Methodology in order to complete a project. And then the Marketing Component in which I worked with a real life charity in brainstorming a new marketing strategy for their upcoming projects.

Over the course of the semester I was able to travel to multiple countries and experience a variety of cultures. I was able to meet many people that I am now able to call mentors and friends. It is an experience that I will never take for granted, and I feel has given me a renewed appreciation for education and traveling. Thank you UCA for this fantastic opportunity.

  • Delwin Portillo | Senior | marketing major

Lego Inclusive Leadership Challenge. | Jan 31

Tue Jan 31 • 4pm or 6pm • COB 206

Join us for this fun and engaging hour. The challenge centers on teamwork and leadership. You are building a Lego model and developing essential skills. Space in each challenge is limited. Just bring yourself!

To Join us on Jan 31 either 4pm or 6pm: email swatson@uca.edu

If you are interested but Jan 31 is a bad date for you, email swatson@uca.edu to get first shot at future dates.

Insurance Professor Dr. Yao Expertise Featured on WalletHub

Assistant Professor Dr. Yao of Insurance & Risk Management contributed his expertise to Wallethub recently on the topic of how much care insurance people need.

Yao addresses why states have different insurance requirements, whether drivers should purchase more than the minimum requirement, and other types drivers can consider.

If you want to read his advice, check out the full article today.

Education Abroad Opportunities – Upcoming Deadlines

UCA Office of Education Abroad and National Student Exchange
Torreyson Library 109
(501) 450-3646

The Office of Education Abroad offers opportunities for study abroad all around the world. Whether you are interested in going abroad for a few weeks or a few months, we can help you find the best fit for you. There are scholarship and financial aid opportunities available for all of our programs.

Check out our webpage for more information, or make an appointment with one of our advisors to learn more.

Upcoming deadlines:

  • Summer Programs (Faculty-Led or Language Immersion) – February 3, 2023
  • Semester Exchange Programs (Fall 2023 Semester) – March 15, 2023

COB Ambassadors Offer Advice and Support to Classmates as Spring Classes Begin

As spring semester begins, student leaders in the College of Business are offering support, encouragement, experience, and advice to their classmates. Check out their tips to succeed, goals they have, and classes they’ve enjoyed.

Izzy Saetelle | Sophomore | Marketing
“I think the most important part of starting a new semester is developing a routine for studying and completing your coursework. This will look different for everyone, so it is important to know what situations you work best in.”


Jose Castro | Senior | Business Administration
“My favorite class last semester was Entrepreneurial Finance with Dr. Standridge at 8:00am. That class built my discipline, and I enjoyed listening to a successful businessman teach a business class.”

Jamia Akbar | Junior | Computer Information Systems & Analytics
“A class I really liked this semester: Website Development. It introduced me to web framework, and I enjoyed learning more about html. I even got to create my own website!”



Amecia Ellis | Freshman | Marketing
“I’m very thankful for Dr. Moseley. She helped me figure out which major I want, as well as helped me gain friends throughout all the events and our meetings every Thursday. One thing I do know is that she is an amazing advisor, and if I ever need help with anything I know I could go to her.”


Claire Coon | Junior | Logistics & Supply Chain Management
“Dr. Joe McGarrity’s Intermediate Microeconomics was my favorite class last semester, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in applying economics outside the classroom.  The appeal of economics for me has always been how applicable it is to my everyday life, and Dr. McGarrity really emphasized this by extensively teaching on how the concept of Game Theory explains why people make certain decisions.  His teaching style paired with the class content kept me always kept me engaged; I’ve never been in a class where time passes so quickly. ” 

Tymera Marsh | Freshman | Marketing
“I am thankful for Professor Hurley for making my transition to high school algebra and college algebra easy.”

Reagan Reiter | Sophomore | Accounting

“My goal this year is to stay mentally and physically healthy – finding time to workout and take care of myself.”



Thanks to our awesome Ambassadors for sharing! Don’t forget about the many tools that UCA provides students to help you succeed.

 Your academic advisor is here to guide you, so be sure to contact them with any questions you have.
 Career Services offers many tools including free professional clothing from the WOW Closet and HandShake, an online tool that helps you find internships and jobs.
 If you’re struggling in a class, you can visit the UCA Tutoring Center or contact your professor for help.
 Read the full Student Support Guide for more resources.


Drs. Voss & Cangelosi Release Survey Showing Hair Testing Is More Effective in Detecting Hard Drug Use by USDOT Truck Drivers

UCA Management Professor Dr. Doug Voss and Marketing Professor Dr. Joe Cangelosi recently released their findings from a new survey entitled, “Comparing Hair V. Urine Test Effectiveness: Trucking Alliance 2021 Pre-Employment Data,” which examines the differences between hair and urine drug test results, using a sample of 172,632 pre-employment hair and urine drug screens that were administered in 2021.

See the report |  Read the News Release

The results showed that hair testing is a more effective method to detect the regular use of hard drugs and drug users than the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

The US Department of Transportation classifies truck driving as a safety-sensitive occupation. For this reason, federally regulated operators of commercial vehicles are required to pass a pre-employment drug test. Urine testing is the primary, federally accepted method. Trucking Alliance carriers supplement DOT urinalysis by requiring drivers to also pass a hair drug test. Hair testing is reliable and accurate due to its longer look-back period to identify regular drug use.

In 2021, 88,021 licensed truck drivers applied for jobs at seven Trucking Alliance member trucking companies. The USDOT required drivers to take both urinalysis and a hair drug test. Here were the results:

  • Four-thousand three-hundred sixty-two (4,362) applicants failed hair tests whereas four-hundred three (403) failed urine.
  • If participating carriers did not use hair testing, they likely would have hired three-thousand four-hundred four (3,959) drivers that failed hair tests. It is likely these individuals are now driving for another carrier, given hair testing results cannot be submitted to the drug and alcohol clearinghouse.
  • Hair testing delivered 11x (5.16%/0.46%) higher overall positivity rate, more frequently detected every drug class, and better detected hard drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines/methamphetamines, and opioids.

“Hair tests uncover 11 times more drug users than a urinalysis but the marked difference in positive cocaine, amphetamine/methamphetamine, and opioid tests is most troubling,” observes Dr. Doug Voss at the University of Central Arkansas, who conducted the survey. “These results underscore the inability of urinalysis alone to remove hard drug users from the truck driver population.”

Because USDOT’s Clearinghouse doesn’t accept hair test results, those four-thousand three-hundred sixty-two (4,362) drivers are likely still driving 80,000-pound tractor trailers for other companies, even though the Trucking Alliance companies disqualified them.

The news release announcing these results stated that “the Trucking Alliance has formally requested USDOT’s trucking agency – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – to include positive hair tests on the agency’s list of ‘actual knowledge’ of a truck driver’s drug use. If granted, these positive hair test results will be submitted to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and the names of those drivers will be known by other employers.” Read more about the pros and cons of this application.

The data was independently provided by J.B. Hunt Transport, Knight-Swift Transportation, Schneider, Maverick USA, KLLM/FFE Transportation Services, US Xpress, and Cargo Transporters. All 50 states+DC are represented in the sample.

UCA Foundation Scholarships | Apply by Jan 23

Foundation scholarships for academic year 2023-2024 are open, and applications must be complete by Jan 23. Apply for dozens of scholarships with just one application. Everyone is encouraged to apply. Not all scholarships are based on GPAs.

To apply: https://uca.edu/foundation/scholarships/

COB Students Awarded Scholarships from Participation in ACRE Reading Groups

Just before Thanksgiving, around 20 College of Business students were awarded scholarships from the Arkansas Center for Research in Economics for their weekly participation this semester in two reading group programs.

In “The Role of Government in a Free Society” group led by UCA Economics Professor, Dr. Collin Hodges, and Department Chair, Dr. Tom Snyder, ten participants read and discussed works by scholars such as Adam Smith, J.S. Mill, John Locke, and Karl Marx, as well as more contemporary works by Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, Robert Nozick, and John Rawls to examine what a variety of economists, political philosophers, and public policy experts have contributed to this topic. The group also traveled to Dallas in September to participate in a group summit with other universities that completed the same readings. Students were awarded $500 on November 14 for their participation this semester.

A second reading group also met this semester and awarded $500 scholarships to students who participated in the philosophy and law reading group called “Landmark Supreme Court Cases” led by Business Law Professor Dr. Anthony McMullen and Philosophy Professor Dr. Jacob Held. Over the course of ten weeks, students in this reading group studied major Supreme Court opinions covering topics such as economic freedom, federalism, equal protection, privacy, and intellectual property rights. Working through these decisions helped students understand the rule of law, Constitutionalism, and the role the judicial branch plays in our government.

All students were required to gain acceptance into the program and actively participate in the program throughout the semester.

For questions about reading groups and the application process continuing reading, or contact Suzanne Massey at smassey@uca.edu.

COB Accounting’s Annual Fear the Strike Event Raises $1K for Ronald McDonald House

On Monday, November 7, UCA Accounting held its annual networking and fundraiser event attended by 18 UCA accounting students, 4 faculty/staff, and 16 professionals.

Teams included firm representatives and students competed in a bowling tournament, and the highest average score won a donation to the charity of their choice. The Landmark team won, so the Ronald McDonald House will receive a check for $1,000.

Other great teams of the evening included Centennial Bank, Ernst & Young, Forvis, Frost, Garland & Greenwood, HCJ, and Hogan Taylor.

The annual event is a way for accounting students to engage with professionals of the industry in a fun and relaxed setting.

Accounting Students Make an Impact through the VITA Program

Every year, hundreds of thousands of dollars are unclaimed when citizens do not file tax returns. Many do not file because they believe they can’t afford to file their taxes, but the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program can help qualified tax payers file their returns for free. The program, allowed by the IRS, offers free tax help to people who make $57,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need help in preparing their own tax returns.

Macy Dillard

For students, VITA is a great opportunity to gain experience and give back to the local Conway community. Led by UCA Accounting Professor Ashley Phillips, the program is open to COB students who would like to volunteer or earn college credit in accounting. VITA volunteers receive training and can either prepare returns or do intake. Experienced CPAs then review each return.

“Taxes are stressful for many people, and by helping through the VITA program, I was able to alleviate a big part of that burden. During review meetings, I could see the gratitude and relief wash over my clients’ faces,” said accounting student Macy Dillard.

Last year, students volunteered approximately 420 hours to return more than $324,000 of taxpayer money to the community through the preparation of over 250 tax returns for low-income taxpayers in the region.

“I am so thankful for the big difference I got to make as just a student for both individuals, their families, and the local community as a whole. It is an amazing feeling to see firsthand how much you are helping someone. On top of that, I got great experience, developed my social skills, and gained volunteer hours,” Dillard added.

To receive college credit, students must register for the course that occurs in spring, complete at least 25 tax returns, complete a total of 80 hours (3 hours per week) at United Way. To find out more, contact Professor Ashley Phillips about how to register for the course in spring 2023.

If you need help preparing your tax return in early 2023, learn more about getting help from VITA in Central Arkansas.