UCA College of Business Announces Outstanding Students of 2023-2024 Academic Year

At its annual Outstanding Student Awards Banquet, the UCA College of Business recently announced and celebrated the Outstanding Students selected for the 2023-2024 academic year. The awards given celebrate students who stood out this year in our academic programs and registered student organizations. The following selected students were selected because they have optimized their education by combining exemplary academic performance with internships, volunteerism, professional development, experiential education, and participation in clubs and other important experiences.

Outstanding Students of the Year


General Business
Miranda Ivy

“I feel like business fits me because I have lots of interest in many different areas that this major helps to fulfill. After graduation, I intend to explore options in the career field and gain experience for future endeavors.”

Miranda pictured with Dr. Watson who presented the award

Fully Online Undergraduate
Samantha Ashley

“As a non-traditional student, I have experience in a few different fields of business. At any given profession I have had, I always excelled in my computer skills. When I decided to go back to college to pursue my Bachelor’s degree, I chose a major in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in Business Analysis to hone my existing skills and become an expert in a field that entails tasks that I enjoy. After graduation, I am hoping to be able to secure a remote position as a Data Analyst.”

Sam pictured with Dr. Casey who presented the award

Carson Griffin

Carson chose to major in accounting with a minor in financial services. He says, “I chose accounting because of the career opportunities available and the flexibility that it provides. I love working with numbers and the world of business, so accounting is where I fit it. After graduation, I will pursuing a MAcc here at UCA. After that, I plan to work in public accounting at FORVIS.”

Carson pictured with Dr. Watson who presented the award

Computer Information Systems
Grant McKnight

“I have always loved working with computers, starting first with playing video games, then creating documents, and now writing codes in languages such as SQL. I chose to major in Computer Information Systems because of this interest, the opportunity to get a great job, and to have a career that I know I will enjoy. I am looking for an internship or full-time position in Arkansas.”

Grant pictured with Dr. Downey who presented the award

Computer Information Systems – Business Analysis
Aiden Mendolia

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Information Systems
Hayden Weaver

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Natalie Quisenberry

“I chose economics because of its omnipresence in the business world. I found myself applying economic principles in almost all of my lower division business core classes, which was very intriguing to me. This ultimately led to the changing of my major and I have enjoyed it ever since. After graduating, I hope to obtain a position in business strategy while simultaneously pursuing a masters degree. After some time in the corporate world, I would like to pursue my PhD and return to higher education as a professor.”

Natalie pictured with Dr. Hodges who presented the award

Linda Galeano Midence

Linda chose to major in finance and minor in data analytics. She says she chose it because there is more math involved in this subject. She also hopes to get a job in the United States after graduation, but if not, she envisions herself back in Honduras working at a bank.

Linda pictured with Dr. Snyder who presented the award

Insurance & Risk Management
Sophia Fulgham

“I am a third generation insurance agent so I’ve grown up around the industry. I feel like I’ve gotten a front row seat to seeing the good insurance can do. My dad always says with insurance you’re selling people a piece of paper and a promise that you’ll be there for them when they need you most. I feel really excited to go into an industry where I can help people in this way. After graduation, I have been accepted into the MBA program here at UCA and will start taking classes toward my MBA this summer as I study abroad in Amsterdam! I am open to pursuing any job within the industry after I graduate this May. I hope that I will eventually be able to come back and help my dad run his independent agency, Integrity Insurance.”

Sophia pictured with Dr. Yao who presented the award

Abbie Flake

“I am very math-brained but also love to be creative. Marketing was the perfect choice where I could do both! I am fascinated by the world of business and can express my creativity while also being analytical as a marketing major. I hope to attend graduate school at the University of Arkansas in the full-time Walton MBA Program.”

Abbie pictured with Dr. Garner who presented the award

Bresner Austin

“I run a small business on the side, and I’ve always had some interest in the way that these businesses run that I work for. It’s also a great backup plan for the firefighting career I’m going to pursue; especially because with that schedule I could continue to run my business among other things. Knowledge of the economy and how many things operate in a country like America is valuable to me. After graduation, I plan to enter the Little Rock Firefighting Rookie School program.”

Bresner pictured with Dr. Chen who presented the award

Human Resource Management
Abby McMillin

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Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Connor Tuttle

“I believed this major would give me the best overall learning experience for what it takes to run a business. I saw that it included courses from all departments in the College of Business and that is what stood out most. I wanted to leave college feeling as though I had experience in multiple different areas of business. In addition, I felt as though this major would encourage me to take a leap of faith and start my own venture. After I graduate, I intend to pursue a full-time job at my current workplace, The Studio Downtown. I also am looking at other employment options within the marketing department of companies like Howler Brothers, Turtlebox Audio, Yeti, or other outdoor lifestyle brands.”

Connor pictured with Dr. Suter who presented the award

Logistics & Supply Chain Management
Elizabeth “Liz” Ennis

“Inventory analysis is something that just makes sense to me. I worked at a local grocery store in high school and the idea of supply and demand at a larger scale piqued my interest. After studying abroad in Austria this past summer, my drive for international inventory and shipping has only been solidified. After I graduate, I plan to work on my Master’s in Supply Chain Management while working in a company within my degree path.”

Liz pictured with Dr. Voss who presented the award

Master of Accountancy
Jacqueline Berntsen

“I knew I wanted to be a business major because many of my family members had their own businesses. When I took principles of accounting, I really liked the class. I interviewed a family member that was a CPA at about the same time and found the interview really interesting. So I picked it and stuck with it. After graduation, I intend to start working at HCJ CPA’s & Advisors and start studying for the CPA exam.”

Jacqueline pictured with Dr. Oxner who presented the award

Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics
Julian Haessner

Julian says he chose applied data analytics because of research opportunities, to develop of analytical skills, and to prepare for doctoral studies.

Julian pictured with Dr. Ellis who presented the award

Master of Business Administration
Joao Rodrigues

“I pursued a major in Applied Data Analytics because it complements my MBA, equipping me with advanced analytical skills to leverage data in strategic decision-making and enhance my expertise in the business field. After I graduate, I will be working as a Financial Analyst in a commercial real estate firm in Central Arkansas.”

Joao pictured with Dr. McMurtrey who presented the award

College of Business Overall Outstanding Student
Carson Griffin

Carson pictured with Dean Hargis who presented the award


Mahayla Edwards

Mahayla says, “I would love to own my own business and run it from the ground up! I may move to NWA open a store front for my boutique then move to Dallas a few years later and open another store and a coffee shop!”

Mahayla pictured with Dr. Moseley who presented the award

Accounting Club
Izzy Saettele

Izzy is very active at UCA and was convinced to choose her major in accounting because her supplemental instructor inspired her to choose it. She says after graduation, “I plan to stay at UCA for my MAcc and sit for the CPA exam. I want to go into public accounting, specifically in tax and stay somewhere in the central Arkansas area.”

Izzy pictured with Dr. Phillips who presented the award

Beta Alpha Psi
Carson Griffin

Carson pictured with Dr. Phillips who presented the award

Bears for Advancing Supply Chain & Operations Management (BASCOM)
Claire Coon

“My initial attraction to the business world was and still is the direct, real world applications of the field. From my first two classes in business, microeconomics and the global environment of business, I was able to take things out of class and straight away use them to better understand everyday events in my life. Starting in January 2024 after my graduation in December, I began working full time as a real estate agent for Homeward Realty here in Conway. This new year I look forward to serving Conway and the greater Central Arkansas region as a real estate agent by applying skills and knowledge I’ve acquired during my time at the UCA College of Business (COB).”

Claire pictured with Dr. Voss who presented the award

Gamma Iota Sigma
Cole Vangsnes

Cole says he chose Insurance and Risk Management because it is a “very interesting career field with people that make it ten times better.”

Cole pictured with Prof. Hudson who presented the award

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Collegiate
Kaddie Bailey & Malie Phimmachack

Malie: “I choose this major because I wanted to be able to help people. My interest in business-related activities began in High School, so I wanted to be able to pursue it in the future. Additionally, I enjoyed being able to assist others when they needed it, so I decided to major in management so that I could learn all the ins and outs of a business. After graduation I intend to go for my masters and start working.”

Kaddie chose to focus on Accounting and Religious Studies. She says, “I chose both of them because I love helping people. Accounting can be used in so many ways for the betterment of others like being a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant to helping corporations run their everyday operations. I get to work with those around me for the betterment of others. Religious studies helps me get to know the world more and allows me to help others across the street, across the states, and across the world. I get to be a light in communities full of darkness. After graduation, I intend to do a two year Journeymen program through the North American Missions Board and possibly short-term missionary work before coming back to earn my Master’s Degree in Accounting and possibly sit for the CPA exam. Life is an open book so I may end up doing something completely different, but this is what I think I am going to do.”

Kaddie and Malie pictured with Dr. Suter who presented the award

COB Student Ambassador
Abbie Flake

Abbie pictured with Dean Hargis who presented the award