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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.

UCA Ranked #3 Best Online MBA in International Business Management

The University of Central Arkansas College of Business was recently ranked the #3 best online MBA in the nation for International Business Management. This online MBA allows students to earn the degree anywhere in the world even while working full-time. The program has also been ranked among the most affordable. Find out more about the UCA MBA program.

See the ranking from Best Value Schools  [Read more…]

UCA Supply Chain Program Ranked #77 for Best Affordable Supply Chain Management Degree

The Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management has been ranked the #77 Best Affordable Supply Chain Management Degree by University HQ.

Well-trained supply chain managers solve organizations’ most impactful challenges: purchasing, manufacturing, storing, and transporting product. UCA’s Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) program prepares students to tackle global supply chain challenges with a focus on the U.S. trucking industry. Our curriculum emphasizes trucking operations, safety, and regulatory compliance.  Graduates are prepared for management positions in trucking but also learn to optimize product flow and storage, collaborate with suppliers and customers, and meet delivery expectations through innovative solutions.

For more information about our LSCM BBA, visit

Firms on Campus Conducting Interviews September 16 to October 6

These firms will be on UCA’s campus this fall for interviews. Visit to set up or update your profile and then apply for these jobs.

Firm Job Type Application By Interview Date (If selected)
HCJ CPAs and Advisors Full-time & Internship September 10 September 16
Erwin and Company Full-time & Internship September 15 September 20
Walmart Full-time & Internship September 15 September 21
Hogan Taylor Full-time & Internship September 16 September 23
BKD CPAs and Advisors Full-time & Internship September 22 September 28
Landmark CPAs Full-time & Internship September 23 September 30
Bell & Co. Full-time September 29 October 6

Terri Hayes-Winstead Memorial Scholarship Awarded to Senior Business IRM Student Richard Casto

Richard Casto Receives Terri Hayes-Winstead Memorial Scholarship

Theresa Hayes, Dylan Dugger, Staci Shearon (PIA), Richard Casto (recipient), Cynthia Burleson (UCA) Hana McCown, Tammi Van Cleave

Conversation centered on hopes for the future on Tuesday, August 17, 2021, as UCA senior Richard Casto was awarded the Terri Hayes-Winstead Memorial Scholarship. Terri’s sister, Tammi Van Cleave, and Tammi’s employer, Scottish American of Arkansas, team up each year to award the scholarship to a College of Business student in the Insurance and Risk Management (IRM) program who demonstrates potential for the industry and financial need to fund continued education. [Read more…]

Advice from Alumni: Nato Silue

With the start of fall semester, our College of Business (COB) alumni are sending their best advice. Recent alumna Tchetahan Natogoma (Nato) Silue, COB class of 2020, believes that the supportive environment fostered by the faculty and advisors is something students should embrace.

“Don’t be scared to approach your professors. They are there for you and want you to succeed,” said Silue. “Everyone was supportive which boosted my learning experience.”

Silue graduated from the UCA College of Business in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and a minor in Computer Science. Why students should take note of her prudent advice? One might say Silue was successful student with her accomplishments and awards including: [Read more…]

COB Advisory Board Member Karen Shaw Named a 2021 CFO of the Year Finalist by Arkansas Business

Karen ShawArkansas Business has announced the 2021 CFO of the Year finalists, and College of Business Advisory Board member Karen Shaw was named a Bank CFO Finalist.

Shaw serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Citizens Bank and is responsible for the financial management of the bank. She has over 25 years of banking experience and oversees the Bank’s Investment and Asset Liability Committee, Policy Committee, and development of financial planning and budgets to guide the Bank’s future business growth.

Among other public service activities, Shaw is a member of the board of directors of the University of Central Arkansas College of Business Advisory Board. She is also a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration Degree with the Highest Honors in Accounting.

Presented by Hogan Taylor, the 2021 CFO of the Year Awards will be broadcast live from the DoubleTree Little Rock on November 3. Finalists and winners in each category will be honored at the event, and their profiles will be published in a special supplement of Arkansas Business on Oct. 18. Nomination forms were submitted to an independent panel of judges who met in July to determine finalists and winners.

UCA Expands Computer Information Systems & Analytics Degree Options to Address Changing Business Environment

The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) is offering new degree and certificate options through its Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA) department, expanding opportunities for CISA students and current business professionals to gain top in-demand business and technical skills.

Beginning this fall three new Applied Data Analytics programs will be available: a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science, and a technical certificate. These new programs follow the successful addition of both an undergraduate minor and a graduate-level technical certificate in data analytics two years ago.

“I chose to get this graduate certificate because I believe data analytics is the future. As technology is evolving, businesses are using analytics to make informed decisions, solve problems, help reduce risks, and increase return on their investments,” said Joyti Lal who is working to earn a Master of Business Administration concurrent with a Data Analytics graduate certificate.

The Department of Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA), located within the UCA College of Business, combines highly desired technical skills with sound business principles. The department’s name was changed in July 2021 from “Management Information Systems” to better reflect what the department now offers. [Read more…]

Tom J. Smith Memorial Scholarship Established for UCA College of Business Students

The family of Tom J. Smith has established a memorial scholarship in his honor at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), his alma mater, to support students pursuing undergraduate degrees in the College of Business. The inaugural award will be given to support a student for the fall 2021 semester.

Tom J. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UCA in 1971 through hard work and diligence, working multiple jobs to fund his education, and was the first in his family to earn a college degree. Higher education made a significant difference in his life, opening doors to many opportunities and eventually propelling him to the position of Administrator of Accounting for the State of Arkansas through the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA). [Read more…]

UCA Beta Alpha Psi Joins Other State Chapters for Annual Conference

UCA Beta Alpha Psi joined 3 other state chapters this week to attend a virtual conference together and make some valuable connections.

While students might usually attend the conference in person, pandemic restrictions pushed the conference to a virtual setting. Instead the Arkansas chapters gathered as a smaller group, so they wouldn’t miss out on the annual learning opportunity and important industry connections.

Many thanks to Dr. Connie McKnight, Dr. Stephanie Watson, and Professor Ashley Phillips for their hard work to give our students learning experiences like this.

UCA’s Theta Lambda chapter traveled to the event hosted in Northwest Arkansas for a full schedule of events:

– Lunch with Landmark CPAs
– Virtual BAP Conference and snacks with Arkansas Society of CPAs
– Dinner with BKD, LLP
– Breakfast with Bell and Company PA
– Community service (bookmarks and backpacks) with Frost PLLC/Facta and Walmart
– Lunch with EY
– Virtual BAP Conference and snacks with ASCPA

See more photos from the Arkansas BAP conference.

Insurance & Risk Management Instructor Cynthia Burleson Explains Pet Insurance in AICP Podcast

Cynthia Burleson

Cynthia Burleson, UCA Instructor and Director for the Center for Insurance & Risk Management, joined host Katie Grunett and industry peer Bill Horan on an Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP) podcast discussing pet insurance, one of the fastest growing segments of the insurance industry.

Pop Quiz: Which was the first beloved Hollywood canine to get pet insurance? If you guessed Lassie, you are correct!

Listeners may be surprised to learn that pet insurance is considered property and casualty insurance rather than health insurance. Listen to the podcast to learn why this insurance gets the property classification along with many more surprising facts to help you consider pet insurance for your own pets.