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.

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.

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.

Senior CIS Major Earns Full-time Job After Internship

Senior Computer Information Systems major Aubrie Sinclair is set to earn her BBA in December, but even with all her hard work, she did not expect to secure a full-time job months before graduation.

After her summer Database Tester internship at Acxiom was extended into fall, Aubrie was surprised in mid-September with a full-time offer to join the company. She has accepted a position to be a Delivery Support Analyst after graduation.

Learn more about Aubrie’s success in her path to career development from her own words:

Why did you choose to major in business?

I chose to major in business on a whim, but I think what’s more important is why I stayed. I stayed majoring in business because of the amazing individuals I met when I changed my major; I stayed because my advisor in the COB encourages me and pushes me to be my very best, and right alongside him, my professors do the same. Majoring in business can be tough, but I wouldn’t want to struggle and succeed in any other major. The College of Business has given me endless opportunities to learn and grow in an environment that allows me to be surrounded by fellow peers and professors who have the same drive and passion as I have. Being a business major has made my time at UCA worthwhile.

Why did you choose this internship?

I chose this internship as a Database Tester at Acxiom because I saw it as an opportunity for growth with a company that I could see myself working for one day. The internship aligned with skills I had prior knowledge of, but it also grabbed my attention because it required me to expand my knowledge and pick up new skills along the way.

What did you learn at this internship?

At this internship, I learned a variety of skills. I learned very quickly that problem-solving and communication were going to be key in this career. Being a Database Tester required me to think outside of the box daily and pushed me to practice concise communication with both my co-workers and the client. I worked with SQL Database every day, and I enjoyed that I was exposed to hands-on experience with software that I have been taught at UCA.

How do you think this internship will be beneficial in your career?

Internships can be beneficial to students’ careers in many ways. It can show you what you do or don’t want out of a future job and help you grow in your skills. This internship allowed me to exercise the skills I already have and obtain new ones, and it allowed me to network with people who have experience in my future career field. I know this internship helped me me to grow as a student and a future businesswoman in technology. Ultimately, it helped me earn a full-time position with the company.

How do you plan to use your degree?

I have always planned to use my degree in Computer Information Systems and Analytics to work for a technology company that is focused on innovation and creativity. My eventual goal is to go into Business/Data Analytics, and I plan to pursue my master’s degree in Applied Data Analytics.

What advice do you have for students who may (or may not) be considering an internship?

My advice for anyone who is considering applying for or accepting an internship is – just go for it! I never thought I would land such an amazing internship, but I applied anyway and got an interview. The worst-case scenario might be that you get real-life experience filling out applications and interviewing for a company. Don’t let big companies and competitive interviews scare you off; believe in yourself, what you are capable of, and bring that to your interview because that’s what companies want to see.

Dr. Mike Ellis Explains: How does data analytics affect you?

Do you use spell check or autocomplete when you write? Have you ever gotten a recommendation for a TV show, movie, or product that turned out to be just what you wanted?

These helpful tools are made possible by analyzing past data to predict what should come next. It makes sense that if you enjoyed action movies in the past, you will probably like one tonight, right?

Generally, we refer to data analysis to support better decision-making as “data analytics.” That can involve better decisions on what comes next when you’re writing, which movie you might like to watch tonight, or many other decisions you make regularly. When we consider how data analytics works within the business world, we mean that data is used to discover ways to improve a business. Data analytics can assist in business decisions such as how best to order inventory, set prices, or identify our best customers.

One way to think of data analytics is as a range of options.

On one end, we have data science, the most technical branch of analytics. It typically requires advanced training in statistics and computer science, often in the form of a doctoral degree, and focuses on the theory and tools of analytics. At the other end, we have business people who want to make better decisions. They need some knowledge of analytical tools and techniques, but the business context is more important. It isn’t the tool but how it is used that really matters to this person. This end of the range is “applied data analytics.”

What gets the most attention in the media? Since October 2012, when the Harvard Business Review called “data scientist” the sexiest job of the 21st century, data science has been getting all the ink. But that overlooks an important issue: only a small fraction of companies have the resources they can dedicate to a proper data science effort.

Most small- to medium-sized companies (and a lot of big ones, too) need to find ways to get value from data inside accounting, finance, marketing, logistics, and other operational departments. The solution lies at the applied end of the data analytics range.

A knowledgeable analyst can discover hidden insights in data in many ways. Some are as simple as organizing and visualizing data. For example, say an air conditioning manufacturer is having problems with units arriving in one part of the country with cracked tubing. When looking at the shipping data for the damaged units, the manufacturer discovers that poor road conditions are causing huge jolts to the trucks carrying them, which leads to the cracks. With this discovery, the air conditioning manufacturer is able to upgrade the suspension systems used on those routes, and the expensive problem can be solved.

Because applied data analytics tools are a common solution to business problems, a career in data analysis is a wise choice.

At the UCA College of Business, we have undergraduate and graduate programs that teach the concepts and skills to prepare students to use applied data analytics. Students at the undergraduate level can get the same solid business foundation as our other programs while learning about analytical tools and techniques. Our technical certificate serves as a standalone credential for anyone who wants a foundation in data analytics to boost their career. The graduate-level programs are hands-on programs intended for working professionals and others who want to expand their skill set or are looking for a career change. The Graduate Certificate in Data Analytics is an introduction to applied data analytics that can be completed alone or as part of the MAcc or MBA program. Our Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics takes the student deeper into analytics while keeping one foot firmly planted in the business world.

Building complex statistical models from scratch might be interesting, but it doesn’t provide value for most companies. If you are more interested in solving business puzzles than in creating fancy models, check out our programs. Or, if you are running a company with a huge amount of data and aren’t sure how to get value from it, keep your eyes open for one of our graduates!


About the Author

Mike Ellis

Dr. Michael Ellis is an Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA) at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) College of Business, where he has served since August 2014. He earned a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Kansas; he also holds an MS in Management Information Systems from the University of Houston and an MS in Finance from Texas A&M University. Ellis teaches both undergraduate and graduate students and has numerous published scholarly works.