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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…]

UCA Center for Insurance & Risk Management Director Cynthia Burleson Contributes Expert Answers for CarInsurance.com

Cynthia L. Burleson

Cynthia Burleson, UCA Instructor and Director for the Center for Insurance & Risk Management, recently contributed her expertise for CarInsurance.com to answer the popular question, “Why is car insurance so expensive?” The article examines other auto insurance issues and references a study showing that the average auto insurance rate is up 22 percent from 2017. Author and industry expert Michelle Megna consulted with Burleson to explain why the trend of rising car insurance rates won’t end any time soon.

“There are two causes of upward trends in auto insurance rates: rising frequency and severity,” said Burleson. “It is my opinion that severity numbers may have dropped some during the pandemic but probably not significantly. However now severity numbers are increasing.”

Burleson goes on to explain both trends and how they impact the average citizen.

To see more of Burleson’s explanation, read the full article on CarInsurance.com.

COB Student Intern Earns AR BCBS Scholarship

UCA College of Business student, Daisy Martinez Carranza, is this year’s $5,000 academic scholarship winner for the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) 2021 Summer Internship Program. Carranza served as a Group Marketing and Member Engagement intern, and over the course of ten weeks, she gained real-world experience by working closely with their managers and teams, attending department meetings, participating in special projects, and sharing her questions and ideas.

Crediting knowledge gained in classes and valuable experience during her internship, Carranza said, “this is as much a win for me as it is for my advisors and mentors here at UCA.”

To earn the award, Carranza not only did exceptional work during her internship but also presented a final project to top BCBS executives. She was chosen as a finalist and then the winner of the $5000 scholarship for her senior year at UCA. Please join us in congratulating Daisy Martinez Carranza on this significant achievement.

Acxiom & UCA Present IT Careers Camp for High School Students

(Conway, AR) – The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) College of Business and Acxiom partnered last week for a four-day Information Technology (IT) Careers Camp to introduce high school students from all over Arkansas to technology-related careers. Nearly 30 students stayed on UCA’s campus, were mentored by industry experts, and participated in exercises in programming, cybersecurity, robotics, 3D modeling, and 3D laser printing.

“Students make connections with other students, instructors, and industry professionals that they can carry from high school to college and through to their professional careers,” said Susan Shaw, Camp Director and Lecturer for the UCA Department of Computer Information Systems and Analytics (CISA).

Shaw added that while on campus, the students experience campus life, learn about college programs that lead to careers in Information Technology, and complete hands-on activities.

Acxiom sponsored the UCA IT Careers Camp and offered mentorship opportunities throughout the camp to students. The Acxiom mentors helped students with activities and shared about how their education in business and technology led to the IT careers they have today.

“One of Acxiom’s core values is innovation,” said Jhade McConnell, Acxiom Solutions Architect and 2017 graduate from the UCA College of Business. “We come to this camp at UCA to show high school students the tools needed to navigate technology and pique their interest to be creative with these tools.” [Read more…]

Dr. Yao Featured in WalletHub “Ask the Expert” Series

Dr. Yao

Dr. Haibo (Stephen) Yao

Dr. Haibo (Stephen) Yao was recently featured as an expert contributor in articles by WalletHub. While the articles are geared toward college students, these are questions many people may have.

In his first article about the best credit cards for college students, he addresses what college students should look for when choosing a credit card, the biggest mistakes college students can make with credit cards, and best practices for students who use credit cards.

In this second article, he answers questions about zero percent (0%) credit cards, including why and how they are used.

Dr. Yao is an Assistant Professor of Insurance & Risk Management in the Department of Economics, Finance, Insurance & Risk Management for the UCA College of Business.

How Can You Stay Safe From a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware has dominated the news recently. Headline after headline reads:

Many of us may scroll past these news stories because we think ransomware attacks only affect large corporations, but cyber-attackers count on catching you unprepared.

According to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), “ransomware is an ever-evolving form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable. Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption.” 1

CISA continues to say that anyone with a computer or device connected to the internet or anyone with data stored on their computer, device, or network – including individuals, small businesses, large businesses, government agencies, and healthcare systems – all of these people or groups are at risk from a ransomware attack. 1

Since essentially everyone is at risk and very few of us have millions (or even hundreds) of dollars to pay to get ransomed information released, what can we do?

Dr. Geoffrey Hill, Department Chair of Computer Information Systems and Analytics in the UCA College of Business, has some simple advice: back up your data.

“There are many file synchronization services that are easily available to individuals or small businesses,” said Hill. The automatic synching feature makes it easy to use and guarantees that recent changes are automatically synched to the service’s cloud-based storage.” 2

Hill recognized that the synched files could include the ransomware’s encrypted files but also says that major services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive, provide file recovery and roll-back features that help you to restore individual files or even your entire file library when necessary. He cautions users to be careful when choosing a service because some of them are free while others are only available through tiered levels of paid protection plans. 2

If you don’t have one of these services, make yourself a note to try one, and if you are ever a victim of a ransomware attack, U.S. CISA recommends, “victims of ransomware should report it immediately to CISA at www.us-cert.gov/report, a local FBI Field Office, or Secret Service Field Office.” 1

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a cybersecurity professional, check out UCA’s Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity Management. With headlines like these, demand for individuals educated and trained in Computer Information Systems and Analytics will likely only increase.


Sources:

1 Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. (2021, July 7). Ransomware Guidance and Resources. Retrieved from www.cisa.gov/ransomware.

2 Hill, G. (2021, July 6). University of Central Arkansas College of Business. [Personal Interview].

Three UCA College of Business Alumni Named to Arkansas Business “20 in Their 20s” List

Arkansas Business has announced its 2021 class of “20 In Their 20s”, including three alumni from UCA’s College of Business. Ericka Gutierrez, Grace Rains, and Joyti Lal were named as rising business and community leaders.  [Read more…]

Career Networking Opportunity for UCA’s Rising Juniors and Seniors: September 14 & 15

Rising Juniors & Seniors, you don’t want to miss this opportunity to be the first students to meet recruiters and form career connections. This is a speed interview opportunity, and you will interview with six different companies in one hour. These companies are ready to offer entry-level positions to begin after graduation.

Before the interview day, you’ll also get a review of your resume and training about how to dress appropriately and deliver an impactful interview.

Spaces are limited, so sign up as soon as possible. Download the details and contact UCA CAREER SERVICES at 501-450-3134 or careerservices@uca.edu. [Read more…]

COB Advisory Board Member Featured in AY Magazine, Gives Advice to Women in Business

Donna Townsell, award-winning businesswoman and member of the College of Business Advisory Board, was recently featured in AY Magazine. In the interview Townsell gave advice that no aspiring woman in business should miss.

“Sometimes I’m the only female in the room. My approach has always been to listen and learn as much as possible. When the time is right, speak with confidence and add your voice to the conversation,” said Townsell.

After 28 years in business, Townsell has used this philosophy to attain senior leadership positions and gain many accolades, including the Women in Business Diamond Achievement Award.

Read more of Townsell’s “Woman Wednesday” feature in AY Magazine.