Voyage, Summer 2022 | CWU College of Business

Voyage is the annual publication of the CWU College of Business. Whose mission is to "create a positive, enduring impact on business and society by serving our diverse communities through collaborative education, contemporary research, and engaging partnerships."





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Feeding the Agribusiness Sector New program imparts valuable industry skills. The Value of Connection First-gen students look to mentors, community, family for inspiration. Faculty and Staff Blaze a Trail Mentors' unconventional paths help guide students. First-gen Alumni Forge Their Own Path Hard work and sacrifice inspire current and future Wildcats. Entrepreneurship From the Ground Up Program is a window into the real world of business. Innovation Institute Gets New Digs Business Foundry to serve as entrepreneurial hub.



IN ADDITION 3 Dean’s Message 20 Professional Development Gamified 22 The Team to Beat: Boeing Case Competition 24 Dual Careers. Dual Retirement. 26 Meet Our Newest Faculty: Noman Hossain 27 In Memoriam: Wolfgang Franz 28 Philanthropy ON THE COVER: CWU senior Sanjeet Singh is a first-generation college student and federal McNair Scholar. Singh partnered with Management Professor Erica Holley on a research project that surveyed how employees responded to their managers’ leadership styles over Zoom. They presented their study at the Western Academy of Management conference in Hawaii. Read more on page 6. AT LEFT: Wellington and the Mariner Moose reconnected in April during CWU Night at the Mariners. More than 1,000 CWU students, alumni, and families brought their Wildcat pride to T-Mobile Park to watch the Seattle Mariners beat the Kansas City Royals. PHOTOS BY DAVID DICK





CWU College of Business Voyage is an annual free publication. Issue date: June 2022. Address: Voyage magazine Central Washington University College of Business 400 E University Way Ellensburg WA 98926-7487 © 2022 Central Washington University. All rights reserved. Views expressed in Voyage do not necessarily reflect official policy of Central Washington University. EDITORS Jeffrey Stinson, PhD, Dean College of Business Coco Wu, PhD, Associate Dean College of Business Barb Arnott (’09), Department of Public Affairs CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ana Babalau, Della Gonzales (’19), Tara Roberts, Kathleen Singleton (’22), VOYAGE

Rune Torgersen (’18) GRAPHIC DESIGN Barb Goll PHOTOGRAPHY

David Dick (’97), Department of Public Affairs stock, and others as credited.

Central Washington University is an EEO/AA/Title IX Institution. Alternative format: . COMMENTS: jeffrey.stinson@ UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION AT: or Office of Alumni Relations 400 E University Way Ellensburg WA 98926-7508 Email: Call: 509-963-2160 or 1-877-846-2287

TELEPHONE: 509-963-2930

The Central Washington University College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Only five percent of business schools globally earn the coveted, quality-assurance designation. The continuing accreditation validates the work of the College of Business to link students with current and emerging trends and practices.

Dean’s Message

Greetings Wildcats! We are proud to share the 2022 edition of Voyage with you. This year, we highlight the many accomplishments and successes of our first-generation and neo- traditional students, alumni, faculty, and staff. We are proud of all our students, and we know that our first-generation and neo-traditional students face additional challenges and barriers to their success; challenges and barriers that CB is uniquely suited to help students overcome. One exemplar of the CB experience is the story of this year’s Boeing Northwest Case Competition winners, team No Chain, No Gain. The team was comprised of traditional, first-generation, and neo-traditional students based online and at different CWU centers across the state. They had not met before the competition and met face-to-face for the first time after it concluded. The team leveraged its different life experiences to produce a presentation to Boeing executives that bested competitors from the University of Washington, Western Washington University, and Portland State University. The victory made CWU the winningest institution in the competition’s history. What are the key ingredients to this success? Dedicated faculty, staff, and alumni committed to our students. In these pages, we celebrate the retirements of Dr. Bob Carbaugh, professor of economics, and Shirley Hood, senior secretary of the Economics Department, who had long, successful careers teaching and serving students. We highlight the critical contributions of alumni like Julie Back, who sets the standard for giving back by supporting and mentoring new generations of students. And, we applaud the trails being blazed by recent first- generation and neo-traditional alumni like Julie Penwell, Courtney Klingbeil, and Luiz Hernandez Talavera, whose stories inspire current students to achieve their goals and dreams. There is something special here in the College of Business, and we are proud and privileged to get to work with these students every day. I hope their stories inspire you as much as they do us. Go ’Cats! Jeff

Jeffrey Stinson

Jeffrey Stinson, PhD Dean, College of Business

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS MISSION We launch students toward a better future by engaging them in industry-relevant, student-centered programs driven by strong partnerships between students, faculty, staff, and business professionals.


S ome CWU students who come from farming families are eager to return with college studies to help their hometowns. Some are drawn to the job opportunities in the ever-growing agricultural sector. Oth- ers want to influence how food makes it from farms to plates, run their own restaurant, or use their technology and data management skills to improve the agribusiness system. Whatever their interest or major, stu - dents can now enhance their studies through the College of Business’ new agribusiness program, the first of its kind in the state. The Food and Agri- business Management and Marketing minor launched in Fall 2021, with more tracks coming soon. The new program helps working profes - sionals and others who want to expand their skills without attending college full- time, too—each minor also will be avail - able as a non-degree certificate, which can be completed hybrid or online. These “stackable” minors/certifi - cates are designed to meet industry and student needs, said Dr. Claudia Dumitrescu, an associate professor of marketing who is leading the program. Faculty and administrators began gathering input from more than 20 businesses and organizations in 2018. “These agribusiness organizations have met with Central administrators to tell us, ‘There are several agribusi - ness knowledge and skills needs that could be addressed in higher educa-

tion. Is there any way you could fill these gaps?’” Dumitrescu said. “In parallel with those meetings, we had some focus groups with students at Central, and students responded positively to this.” Flexible Options for a Complex Field Dumitrescu emphasized that the agribusiness sector isn’t limited to farming. It includes inputs like seeds and fertilizers, production, processing, distribution, marketing, and more, plus supporting sectors such as govern- ment and education. To help students prepare for a wide range of possibilities in this complex field, the Food and Agribusiness Management and Marketing minor/ certificate is flexible. Students take three required courses in marketing, management, and economics and policy, then select from a diverse list of interdisciplinary electives. An undergraduate student interested in food and beverage marketing might choose courses in marketing promotion management and wine marketing, for example. A farmer pursuing a certificate might take classes in farming entrepre - neurship and sustainable business. “This is one strength of our program, that it is so interdisciplinary-focused,” Dumitrescu said. “We tried

agribusiness workforce needs.”

Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

As the agribusiness program grows, it will include additional opportunities for students to work directly with peo - ple in the industry through coursework and extracurricular activities. Dumitrescu is building industry part - nership into her curriculum from the beginning. She taught the first AGB 361 Food and Agribusiness Marketing class, which paired her students with Raymond, Washington-based Wild Man Brewing Company, which is co-owned by her brother-in-law, Cristian Dumitrescu. The students analyzed Wild Man’s marketing strategy, identified oppor - tunities, and developed a plan for improvement. “One of the things we couldn’t quite put the finger on ourselves was our ‘why,’” Cristian Dumitrescu said. “We know we want to make really good products and have fun doing it, but the students were able to verbalize that, and that became our mission statement.” Following the students’ recommen- dations, the brewery owners start - ed posting more on social media, responding to customer reviews, and reshaping their website. Cristian Dumitrescu said he still returns to the report for ideas.

to look at what we are currently offering and how that would be relevant to the


Feeding the Agribus New program imparts valuable skills for food


Agriculture Feeds the Washington Economy Number of farms in Washington: 35,500 Revenue from Washington food processing Wages from these jobs: $21.59 billion

Commercial crops grown in Washington: 300+ Top 10 commodities: apples, milk,

industry: $20.1 billion Value of food and ag exports: $6.7 billion

Economic output from these jobs: $71.27 billion

Jobs related to food and agriculture: 480,500+

potatoes, wheat, cattle, hops, hay, cherries, grapes, onions

Value of Washington crops and livestock: $10.6 billion



Such collaborations allow students to apply the concepts they learn in the classroom to solve an agribusiness prob- lem and, at the same time, build a stand- out resume, Claudia Dumitrescu said. Expanding to Applied Technology The agribusiness program’s flexible, real-world focus will continue with the next minor/certificate, Applied Tech - nology, which will first be offered in Fall 2022. Courses will include topics in agribusiness technology, data-driven problem solving, data visualization, analytics, logistics, and more. Dan Maycock—data engineering prin - cipal and one of the co-founders

of Loftus Labs and a College of Busi- ness Leadership Board member—is among the industry leaders helping shape this track. He grew up in Prosser, studied at Washington State University, and moved to Seattle to work in tech before deciding to return home and use his skills to support agriculture. He said Central’s agribusiness program can draw data-focused students who might otherwise work in urban areas, as well as expand the digital skills of students who know they want careers in agriculture. “We’re facing crises in our environment and culture, and rural communities are

getting hit like never before,” Maycock said. “We need to be more aware of what’s happening with food as a soci- ety and build technologies and solu- tions to change the course of where farming is headed.” He hopes to see Central bridge Wash - ington’s technology and agriculture sectors and serve as a model for rural universities everywhere. He encouraged other alumni to get involved with the program, no matter their field. “It can be life-changing for students, and it could be world-changing for everyone else,” he said.

iness Sector and agriculture industries


VALUE OF CONN First-generation and neo-traditional students look to mentors, community, and family for inspiration THE

For Sanjeet Singh, it was a professor who supported his research. For Jaeda Nelson, it was a roommate who invited her to a club. For Alejandra Cruz-Martinez, it was a community of student leaders who set an example. These first-generation students came to CWU with different interests, challenges, and hopes, but each stayed for the same reason: connection with people who cared. The Fall 2021 enrollment census showed 45% of CWU’s first-year students and 51% of transfer students were first-generation, meaning their parents do not have a bachelor’s degree. This affects their access to advice and experience to help them navigate the complexities of college. They’re not alone in their need for support. Higher education researchers Stephen Handel and Eileen Stempel group first-generation students with students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, student-parents, low-income students, and older students into a new category, “neo-traditional”— so called because they’re now the norm, making up 76% of American college students.

The College of Business aims to address this wide range of needs with programs and opportunities rooted in a stu- dent-centered, caring community of faculty, staff, alumni, and peers. “We’re an institution and we’re a college that is about op- portunities and about access for students,” Dean Jeffrey Stinson said. “While that’s not exclusive to first-gen - eration students, we’re a place where first-generation students can come and succeed.” The Value of a Mentor Though senior Sanjeet Singh is a first-generation student, he came to college knowing research could be a valuable part of his experience. In 2020, Singh was accepted into the federal Mc- Nair Scholars Program, which funds research and scholarship for first-generation and underrepre - sented students to prepare them to pursue a doctorate. “I wanted to have a research problem that actually existed in the real world,” said Singh, a double-major in human resources management and psychology from Vancouver. He found the perfect project with Erica Holley, an associate professor of management at CWU-Lynnwood. The two worked on a survey of how employees responded to their managers’ leadership styles over Zoom, and Singh discovered an interest in workplace culture.

Sanjeet Singh (’22)




A NNA CAIRNS has been an academic advisor at CWU for five years and for the College of Business since January. Her experience gives her insight into the lives of the students she serves and the ways the college can support them. Why do you enjoy being an advisor? I was a non-traditional student, a single parent, low-income, and a woman of color, identifying as part of the LGBTQIA community. I have had several barriers similar to the stu- dents I have and now serve. Through my own story, I was able to see the value of education and how it can change

“I’ve learned through research that these things matter,” he said. “I didn’t know them before, but I learned through Dr. Holley, which is one of the reasons we worked so well together. She has so much knowledge in this field, and I technically didn’t have any, but I was ready to learn.” Holley also fit as Singh’s mentor because she’d been in his shoes. She was a McNair scholar, too. Holley was thrilled to provide Singh with opportuni - ties not only to conduct research, but also to share it. In March, they presented their study at the Western Academy of Management conference in Hawaii. Such experiences can transform first-generation students who may not realize the academic and career options ahead of them. “ A lot of it is up to faculty and staff saying, ‘This is a really cool opportunity, and I believe in your capability to do this,’” Holley said. The College of Business is primed to offer students positive connections with mentors. The college’s small classes and full-time faculty allow students to get to know faculty and staff members. Central’s passionate alumni help, too. With the pan - demic bringing about increased use of virtual meeting tools, the college launched Beyond Business Tuesday Night talks, where alumni and students talk about life. CWU Business Mentoring connects students with alum- ni mentors in their field. “We have alumni who are extremely committed to pro- viding the current generation of students with the same or better opportunities as they had when they went to school,” Stinson said. “It’s this remarkable network that gets created.” Julie Back (’92), a principal and advisor at the wealth management firm Wealthspire Advisors, is a CB Leader - ship Board member and a Business Mentoring mentor. Reflecting on her background, she wanted to support the college’s mission of retaining students. “As a first generation, non-traditional student, I didn’t have a lot of guidance as I navigated my college career,” Back said. “I’m hoping that by being a mentor I can share my experience as a student and as a professional to hopefully make the path a little easier for students. And, over the years in my professional work, I’ve come to realize how important mentors can be.”

a person’s trajectory in life. I take pride in serving the students here at Central and in the College of Business. How does the College of Business work to support first-generation and non- traditional students? The College of Business takes a holistic approach in how we work

with them. Once students declare their major in the college, they are connected with their academic advisor and put into a Canvas course that provides them with important deadlines, resources on campus and in the community, and information about how to connect with their advisor. The college has many clubs that students can be a part of, employment opportunities to gain additional skills for their future careers, faculty mentorship, CB-specific scholarships, emergency funding, assistance with graduation planning, and a career counselor to assist with cover letters, resumes, internships, and career opportunities. What valuable perspectives do these students bring to college? Their rich life experiences, their emotional intelligence, and their grit. Many of the students I have worked with have amazed me with the determination they have to finish their degree, to give back to their families and their communities. I admire their desire to have a better life, not only for them - selves, but those who will come after them. These students give other students the opportunity to see multiple per- spectives and to have a greater understanding of peoples’ backgrounds and experiences that differ from their own.


One of those people is Alejandra Cruz-Martinez, a business ma - jor from Vancouver, who connected with Nelson through PUSH and her role as ASCWU director of student life and facilities. Cruz-Martinez also had a difficult start at CWU, with the death of family members compounding the stress of being away from home and adjusting to college classes. When she was struggling, she found her greatest support came from the student leaders she met through ASCWU, campus groups like Movimiento Estudiantil Chinana/o de Aztlan (MEChA) and her academic advisor in the College of Business, Anna Cortes. Surrounded by this community, Cruz-Martinez realized she belonged and could succeed in college. “I came to college without really imagining myself graduating,” she said. “Seeing all these students take on these leadership roles and becoming a voice for the student population, or becoming a role model or a leader for the Latinx community and other marginal- ized communities, really stood out to me.” The College of Business works to provide students with a multitude of opportunities to get connected with communi- ties like the ones that helped Nelson and Cruz-Martinez. Clubs associated with majors, as well as groups such as Women in Business and the Association of Latin Profes - sionals for America , unite students around shared needs and interests. Even coursework helps build community: the Management 200 class connects students, many of whom are first-generation, with peer mentors.

The Value of Community The first year of college was lonely for Jaeda Nelson. She had a close-knit community at home in Kent that embraced her as a multiracial woman of color. But she found a reason to stay at CWU through the people she met. “I really liked Central because it was more of an intimate learning space,” said Nelson, a business major with a specialization in leadership and management. “I’m someone that really likes to connect with the people around me.” In Nelson’s sophomore year, her roommate invited her to a meeting of Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH), a stu - dent group that focuses on food security. Nelson found a friendly and dedicated group—and she stayed, applying to be an officer. Now a senior and PUSH president, Nelson led PUSH in rais - ing $60,000 to open CWU’s first free food and supply pantry for students. She also works at the Diversity and Equity Center, where she developed THRIVE, CWU’s first affinity program for women of color. Though she’s “wired to be independent,” she’s discovered the importance of community through the support she’s received from professors, advisors, and peers. “It’s meant the world, because I’ve never had anyone to go to, because I don’t have anyone I know that’s graduated college or been to a university,” Nelson said. “I’ve been able to find people who actually want to sit with me in things that I’m struggling with, or sit with me in frustration, or sit with me when I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so excited.’”

The Value of Caring for Others

While finding people who care about them at CWU is vital for many first-generation and neo-traditional students, they’re also motivated by the people they care about back at home. Students often tell Stinson they’re making an investment in their family’s future. The current generation of students is particularly focused on giving back, he said. “I think for our first-gen and our neo-traditional students, it’s just amplified,” Stinson said. “They want to be role models. They want to go back to their high school and talk to the students about how you can go to college and you can achieve and succeed.” This can lead to a chain reaction. According to a 2021 Pew Research study, adults with parents who went to college are more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree themselves.

For Jaeda Nelson, the potential to inspire her family led her to college and keeps her going. “More than anything, I just wanted to be able to start that legacy for my family,” she said. “To have them also experience with me what college looks like. For my nephews and my little cousins to think like, ‘Oh my gosh, my big cousin Jaeda is doing this thing no one’s done yet. What is that going to turn into?’”

Jaeda Nelson (’22)


While finding people who care about them at CWU is vital for many first-generation and neo-traditional students, they’re also motivated by the people they care about back at home. Students often tell Stinson they’re making an investment in their family’s future. The current generation of students is particularly focused on giving back, he said. “I think for our first-gen and our neo-traditional students, it’s just amplified,” Stinson said. “They want to be role models. They want to go back to their high school and talk to the stu - dents about how you can go to college and you can achieve and succeed.” This can lead to a chain reaction. According to a 2021 Pew Research study, adults with parents who went to college are more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree themselves. For Jaeda Nelson, the potential to inspire her family led her to college and keeps her going. “More than anything, I just wanted to be able to start that legacy for my family,” she said. “To have them also experience with me what college looks like. For my nephews and my little cousins to think like, ‘Oh my gosh, my big cousin Jaeda is doing this thing no one’s done yet. What is that going to turn into?’” 60% women 18% Black or African American 25% Hispanic or Latinx

Alejandra Cruz-Martinez (’22)

More than half of American college students are first-generation.

30% have dependents

28% age 30 or older

5% veterans




in this field, which is all your stuff you’re interested in, if you get a PhD,” he said. While completing his doctorate at Nebraska, he began lecturing at Central in 2008.

On Being Non-Traditional: “Non-traditional students and students from low-asset backgrounds are in a very difficult situation because they’re the diplomats between two worlds. … You’re kind of caught between opposing cultures and you don’t want to not be accepted, and so you’re always balancing this line between two worlds that ignore the fact that the other one exists—on top of trying to pay for it.” On Higher Education: “The most fascinating people are people who are coming from somewhere else and trying to get somewhere else, and I think that’s really what higher ed - ucation is—not about certifications, but bringing somebody where they want to go.” Dr. Fabio Ambrosio Associate professor, Department of Accounting CWU-Des Moines Center

First-generation and non-traditional students in the College of Business aren’t on their journey alone—several faculty and staff members have walked in their shoes. These three mentors’ unconventional paths help them guide students with compassion and understanding. Dr. Bill Provaznik Associate professor, Department of Management Director, Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship versity of Nebraska–Lincoln. After several years as a non-tra - ditional student, he earned a bachelor’s in mathematics. Path to Professor: Provaznik continued his atypical path, working as a bricklayer, an analyst at the South Korean con - sulate, and a ceramics importer. He taught himself Russian and volunteered to translate for Bosnian refugees. Finance caught his attention while he was a stockbroker and product developer at TD Ameritrade, and he finished an MBA while leading a manufacturing company. He didn’t plan to contin - ue his education further, but a professor convinced him. “She said, ‘You could read all day long and teach a little bit and study the things that are fascinating, and you can teach College Experience: Provaznik struggled to afford college, starting and stopping his undergraduate education at the Uni-

College Experience: Ambrosio left his home in southern Italy at 16, working in hotels around Europe while finishing high school. When a mentor offered to pay his college application fee, he went for

it—though he’d never used a computer before. He received a scholarship to Brigham Young University. Ambrosio was an excellent student in Europe but struggled to translate his skills to classes taught in English. “English was a foreign language. It was really hard to learn things in a foreign language, and it left me with a sense of frustration,” he said.



He changed majors often, land - ing on German literature, then attended law school at Seattle University. Path to Professor: Ambrosio took a job

at a Swiss investment firm, where he became interested in how taxes are embedded across business activities. He earned an LLM degree in taxation and became a senior tax analyst for the Internal Revenue Service, but remained intrigued by the “many odd complexities about our tax system” and decided to enter academia to pursue research. He joined the Central faculty in 2017 and continued delving into the details of tax law while earning a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2021. On Being First-Generation: “Being first-generation, you could be at a disadvantage but also at an advantage. The disadvantage is that no one has walked the path before you, and therefore you don’t have a paved road or some - body to coach you on where the jobs and opportunities are. But the enormous advantage is that you can make it what - ever you want. At some point, whether you are first-genera - tion or not, there will be opportunities. And it’s just a matter of jumping on them.” Advice for Students: “You don’t have to fit into a mold, because you might actually be better than the mold.”

so she applied. She found a home in the Lan - guage and Literature Building, connected with mentors, studied abroad in Greece, and earned a degree in philosophy in 2006. Path to Working in Higher Ed: Darting spent the summer after graduation in Alaska, thinking about how she wanted to contribute to the world, and she realized she wanted to help college students. She returned to Central as a staff member in 2007, working in the Registrar’s office before transitioning to academic advising. She advised students at the CWU centers in Lynnwood and Des Moines, then came back to Ellensburg, eventually becoming the director of the College of Business Career, Advising, and Tutoring Center. As direc - tor, she manages college admissions, enrollment, advising, scholarships, and more. On Being First-Generation: “I did love college, but because I was first in the family, I didn’t know how to do college. … I was so first-generation I didn’t actually understand what it meant. All of the types of services that existed for first-gen - eration students, I didn’t even know those existed.” On Supporting Students: “I love their excitement, how ev - erything is possible for them, even things that they may not realize are possible. I love sharing with them what opportu- nities there are, helping them to think about their educational options in a different way.”

Amber Darting (’06) Director, College of Business

College Experience: Growing up in rural Washington near Cle Elum, the clearest pictures of college Darting had were from the movies and from field trips to Central, where many of her teachers had attended. Central became her definition of a university,


first-gen alumni forge t

F irst-generation students in the College of Business don’t need to look far to see what they could achieve. The examples are just a few years past commencement. Young alumni are building their careers in interesting, influ - ential roles—and their experiences on campus show current students how they can follow the same path. Inspired By Family Luis Hernandez Talavera (’21) keeps two photos of himself side by side. In one, he’s a teenager in jeans and a wide-

people see your success now, but they don’t see the strug - gle that you had to go through in order to get to where you are at this day,” Hernandez Talavera said. His parents’ hard work and sacrifice inspired him to become the first person in his family to graduate from high school and go on to college. At CWU, he found the success his family pushed him toward. Hernandez Talavera met mentors who helped him feel confi - dent in college, like Dr. Toni Sipic, an associate professor of economics, and Dr. Thomas Tenerelli, an associate professor of finance and statistics. “He saw the potential that I didn’t know I had,” Hernandez Talavera said. He also built fast bonds with other students, joining the Association of Latin Professionals for America (ALPFA) and eventually becoming the organization’s president. Connec- tions he made through ALPFA helped Hernandez Talavera earn an internship at Boeing. “I think during my time [at CWU] we helped about 20 first-generation and non-traditional students land internships at Fortune 100 companies,” he said. At Boeing, he worked with the supply chain strategy prod - uct development team. He also founded CWU Networking Sessions, which brought together interns and Central alumni at the company. Hernandez Talavera graduated in 2021 with a double-ma - jor in finance and managerial economics and a minor in business analytics. Boeing hired him to return to the team he’d interned with. In February 2022, he joined a rotational program that allows him to experience working in multiple areas of the company. Every step along the way, his parents have supported him. At commencement, they were surprised to hear Hernandez Talavera receive a shout-out from Dean Jeffrey Stinson. “They’re not very emotional people like that, and they started crying,” Hernandez Talavera said. “Out of the thousands of students, their little boy was one of the special ones.”

brimmed hat, picking pears in the orchards near his home in Naches. In the second, he’s standing in another orchard, wearing a but- ton-up shirt and a baseball cap with the logo of his employer: Boeing. Hernandez Tala - vera grew up in an agricultural community where college didn’t seem like an option for many people.

Luis Hernandez Talavera

When he was little, his parents couldn’t afford child care, so they took him to the orchards and made him a fort in an apple bin. “That’s the story I always bring up, because


heir own path Three grads share

“We were mentoring, we were working together, we had this kind of grit,” she said. “Having that experience was really, really meaningful to me.” She also found her own incredible mentors at Central. Her management instructor, Dr. Bill Provaznik, encouraged her ambitious spirit while reminding her to prioritize taking care of herself, too. Penwell was the first student to struggles and successes behind their careers BY TARA ROBERTS

A Passion for Personal Finance Julie Penwell (’19) fell in love with personal finance when she learned about the compound interest formula in a high school class. She realized a career in personal finance would fit her in - terest in business and allow her to help others. Determined to start her studies, she enrolled in Cascadia Community College through the Running Start program at her school in Kenmore, Washington. She graduated high school with an associate’s degree in hand, but the effort left her without much time to enjoy being a stu - dent. At CWU’s Wildcat Welcome Day, she found a fresh spark. “I was really excited about all the opportunities, and so pas - sionate about this whole idea of ‘I’m in college, I get to do all these things,’” she said. As a first-generation student, Penwell didn’t know much about college options, but her focus on her future career led her to CWU’s personal financial planning program. She was part of the first group to enroll in the program, which qualifies students to sit for the Certified Financial Planner examina - tion—the only curriculum of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. “We were so motivated. We went through these classes together, we went to conferences, we studied together,” she said. “We still talk about that program. We all understood how impactful that program was and what it meant to be the first class in it.” Penwell dove into the college experience, double-majoring in financial planning and forecasting economics, and minoring in accounting. She was founding president of the Financial Planning Club and president of the Women in Business Club. She enrolled in Management 200, a class that brings together students and peer mentors to learn essential business skills. Within her first year, Penwell served

participate in CWU Business Mento- ring , which connected her with Julie Back (‘92), a principal and advisor at the wealth management firm Private Ocean (now Wealthspire Advisors). The two talked monthly about college and preparing for a career. When Penwell asked Back for ad - vice on finding an internship, Back arranged an interview at her firm. Back said she was impressed by Penwell’s communication skills and teamwork.

“She never lost an opportunity to try to learn something,” Back said. “She never lost an opportunity to help somebody out if someone needed some extra help on something.” After her internship, Penwell was hired full-time. She is now a senior advisor associate at Wealthspire Advisors. “I’m helping people every day,” she said. “Every single day,

Julie Penwell and Julie Back

I’m talking to folks that are really benefiting from what we’re doing and the knowledge that we’re giving them.”

as a student mentor, a research assistant, and director of mentor development, leading the student mentors in weekly discussions of leadership and life.




Worth the Work

After finishing his associate’s at Yakima Valley College, he enrolled at Central—and got to work. Ramos’ professors introduced him to so many interesting topics, he completed three majors—marketing, supply chain manage - ment, and economics specializing in forecast - ing—and a minor in business analytics. He was vice president of the CWU Market - ing Association and led the group on a trip to New Orleans for the American Marketing Association conference. With his friend Alvaro “Gonzo” Gonzales, he co-founded ALFPA. “I was definitely just dipping my hands in any - thing I could get involved with,” Ramos said. Despite never having heard of Boeing before college, Ramos participated in the company’s case competition and secured an internship in summer 2019. He worked part-time for Boeing throughout his senior year, moving to a full-time position after graduation. When he decided it was time to move on he landed at Microsoft where he’s now a business program manager, doing creative, strategic, data-focused projects he loves. Looking back at the work it took to get there, he knows it’s been worthwhile. “I feel like a lot of first-gens can relate to this, where it’s hard to explain to your parents what you’re doing, in the process,” Ramos said. “But once my mom saw the results, and I’m like, ‘Hey, look, I didn’t get one degree, I got three of them, and this is why I stayed up late so many nights and this is why I was always like stressed,’ she was very proud.”

Christian Ramos (’20)

keeps a piece of yellow notebook paper with a list of


classes written on it. He’s hung onto it since his first year at

CWU, when Dr. Terry Wil - son —Ramos’ first college mentor—helped him plan his schedule. “I have many pieces of paper that people gave me, where

they helped me,” Ramos said. “I understand it’s their job, but, at least in my experience, I always felt that they went above and beyond to ensure that I had what I needed to be successful.” Ramos was raised by a single mother in the Yakima Valley. No one in his family had gone to college, but a friend encouraged him to check out a College Success Foundation (CSF) program at their high school. “I hadn’t figured out what my next steps were, and no one had really asked me up to that point,” he said. Ramos enjoyed CSF, which took students on college tours, connected them with mentors, and helped them understand what college required. He wasn’t ready for a university, so he tiptoed into community college, unsure what he wanted to study. Finally, the instruc - tor of his career planning class suggested he try business.


Central Washington University COLLEGE OF BUSINESS LAUNCHES TWO NEW AGRIBUSINESS CERTIFICATES • Food and Agribusiness Management and Marketing • Applied Agribusiness Technology

Grow your knowledge in food and agriculture by earning an Agribusiness Certificate from CWU’s College of Business. Geared toward the growing needs of Washington’s food and agriculture industry, the certificates are a collaborative effort between the College of Business and leaders in the agribusiness sector. Agribusiness Certificates: • Enrollment opens August 2022 • Classes begin Fall 2022 • Designed for working professionals and current students • Flexible learning options: hybrid or 100% online • Can be completed in 6 months

Only institution in Washington offering agribusiness certificates through a college of business.

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NOT TEXTBOOK entrepreneurship from the ground up BY KATHLEEN SINGLETON

F or the students of Central Washington University’s entre- preneurship major, the program is more than just a college degree; it’s a window into the world of business. Part of the College of Business, the entrepreneurship pro - gram was expanded from the existing minor to a full major in 2021, helping the program reach more students. The program focuses on teaching students to create their own businesses, guiding them through the process, from thinking of an idea to starting the business. “The environment is super inclusive,” said Jordyn Fassett, a double major in business administration and entrepreneur- ship. “It’s really fun, really hands on.” “We go over legalities and mistakes you can make,” continued Fassett. “We also spend a lot of time knocking out a lot of the misconceptions about our business plans, making sure we’re set up for success.” After graduation, Fassett intends to pursue the business she’s developed at CWU, organizing vacation rentals along the Pa - cific Northwest coast. Dr. Bill Provaznik, management professor, explained that the program is focused on skills students will be able to use after college. “What we did is we made an entrepreneurship program from the ground up instead of a textbook one,” Provaznik said. The foundation of the program is based on mentorship from senior students, faculty, and individuals outside of the univer - sity. The emphasis on community and mentorship starts when students are just entering the program, with a class called MGT 200: Tactical Skills for Professionals. Students are men - tored by other students, fostering a community of support. This support lasts through their classes and beyond. “I think I’m going to have friends for life from this,” said Shane Fitzpatrick, student mentor in MGT 200 and student direc - tor of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I4IE). Fitzpatrick now majors in accounting and finance, but his time in the program taught him invaluable skills.

“The biggest takeaway for me was all the people that I’ve met,” Fitzpatrick said. “The class helps make you feel like an inte - gral part of the College of Business because of our shared challenges.” The entrepreneurship major is what’s known as a “small plan” major, meaning that students are required to take it with an additional major or minor. That additional program can be from either inside or outside of the College of Business. This design helps students merge their existing passions and ideas with their hopes of starting a business. Provaznik explained it as a chance for students to bring their knowledge from other fields to the program. “We have music entrepreneurs, we have engineering entre - preneurs, we have beer entrepreneurs,” Provaznik said. “The whole idea is you are creating value because you have exper- tise in what you’re doing.” Jaelen Williams—a double major in exercise science and en - trepreneurship, as well as a director of mentor development in MGT 200—emphasized the sense of community they’ve formed across disciplines. “I have made so many connections in the classes I’ve tak - en with people I never thought I would come across, people that are in the arts program or fashion,” Williams said. “Every single person that’s in the program wants to help the person next to them.” Moving through the program, students learn skills such as management and product design before completing a cap- stone project with a mentor. That project can be anything the student is interested in and is designed to lead to post-col- lege opportunities. The program emphasizes building practical, transferrable skills. If students choose not to pursue their business idea after college, those skills are appealing to many companies who are looking for individuals who are both knowledgeable and know how to take risks.


“The major is primarily designed for non-business students,” said Dr. Jeffrey Stinson, Dean of the College of Business. “The pro - gram is unique in that it requires students to start a business. This is not a traditional academic program, it is a program where stu - dents will do what they are learning.” All CWU students are welcome to enroll in the major, which, Provaznik says, is one of program’s biggest successes. “We’ve been able to make entrepreneurship an opportunity for ev - ery student at CWU,” Provaznik says. “Most of our students don’t come from high asset backgrounds, so our model of entrepreneur - ship works with that. If you have an idea, there are a lot of inves - tors looking to fund good ideas. Being able to match everybody’s needs and abilities together is how we create in our community.” The sense of community is real, noted Williams, recalling her ex - perience in a marketing class with professor Rob Ogburn. “He asked everyone what their goal was at the beginning of the quarter,” Williams said. “I told him I wanted to open and manage my own gym. Throughout the whole quarter he referenced ev - ery student’s hopes and dreams. I don’t think I’ve ever really had professors that have paid that much attention and wanted to see their students succeed in the way that he does.” Fassett had similar experiences with her professors. “They’re not afraid to try new things and inspire you to do the same,” she said. “They’re flexible to every person’s idea and give everyone the chance to really explore what that means.” In fact, sometimes the most difficult part of the program is convey - ing their drive to people outside of it. “I think the biggest struggle I’ve had in the program has been outside of it, which is kind of funny,” Fassett said. “I know the work that I’ve been doing, and I know the support that I have here, and I know the resources I’ve been connected to, and I can see the way they all come together,” Fassett said. “The hardest part is trying to explain that to other people, to family and friends or people who want to know more. Sometimes you get met with a lot of doubt in this field, but every entrepreneur I’ve met has said they’ve been through the same thing. I’ve seen very successful people come out of this program so I’m optimistic that I’ll be able to do the same.” The program aims to continue empowering students and commu- nities by growing and launching locally owned businesses. The program is working with high schools across Central Washington to synchronize their STEM and career programs with CWU. High school students are invited to entrepreneurship workshops called Many Faces of Entrepreneurship (MFE) to help them learn about how to develop a product that people want and present it to a simulated board of investors interested in their product. Developing relevant products is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs today. Fitzpatrick, in his position with the I4IE, works to help students cultivate their business ideas and help existing entrepreneurs. He helps run the Many Faces of Entrepreneurship events, which aim to get high schools interested in entrepreneurship early. “Entrepreneurship is for everybody, no matter what your passion is,” Fassett said. “It will help prepare and move you forward in your professional career in whatever direction that you want to go.”

“I think Iʼm going to have friends for life from this.” SHANE FITZPATRICK



By Della Gonzales CWU’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I4IE) has a new home in downtown Ellensburg: The Foundry, at 421 N. Main Street. The move increases the exposure and impact of the decade-old institute. The I4IE was formed in 2011 with the support of the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, a Bellevue organization that supports new business programs managed by post-secondary educa- tional entities in Washington. I4IE was also supported by the Patricia Galloway and Kris Nielsen Foundation, which funds original research that seeks to create innovative products and services which integrate science and engineering with management concepts. “The mission of the I4IE is to empower communities and indi- viduals through increasing local enterprise ownership,” said Janie Zencak, assistant director of the I4IE. The Foundry location provides the community a familiar place to go for business guidance, whether they’re just start - ing a new business or looking to expand. Services include helping create start-up plans, interpretating rules and regula - tions, guiding how and where to obtain permits, and helping with social media and marketing strategies. The Foundry will also serve as a meeting space for community organizations that do not have a dedicated space.

“Ideally, the Foundry will serve as a catalyst for local busi - nesses to work together to help each other grow,” Zencak said. “Entrepreneurial expansion with the small-town feel that Ellensburg and the surrounding area is known for.” Zencak also looks forward to increased interactions with individuals from the City of Ellensburg, the Kittitas Coun - ty Commissioners, the Chamber of Commerce, and local non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, the I4IE is interested in working with event groups, including the Ellensburg Rodeo and Jazz in the Valley. As Ellensburg grows, the I4IE would like to provide existing businesses opportunities to learn best practices for main- taining and growing their clientele in an environment where larger businesses with modern marketing and technology could become competition. They want to provide local businesses tools to encourage customers to shop locally instead of relying on large corporations and online retailers for purchases. Local business owners are enthusiastic about these resources. While the geographical focus of the program is Ellensburg and the Central Washington region, the I4IE helps individu - als throughout the state—especially in areas experiencing economic stress. “Sometimes they find us, and sometimes we find them,” said Zencak, noting the program is always seeking opportunities to assist small business owners.


141E & EBURG FOUNDRY (2-PAGE SPREAD) -- bldg shot and Bret's sign art

ENTREPRENEURSHIP ON CAMPUS In addition to their new location downtown, the I4IE con - tinues to serve CWU faculty, staff and students on campus. The institute led to the development of an entrepreneurship minor and the new entrepreneurship major, both offered by the College of Business. At the time of this writing, there were 22 incoming majors and growth is expected to continue. The program partners with departments across campus whose students have an interest in starting their own busi- ness. Take, for example, the dance students who would like to open a dance studio after graduation. Faculty and men- tors from the I4IE and entrepreneurship program meet with the students to discuss what opening a dance studio entails and answer questions about their business plans. Many other non-business students can benefit from the expertise of the entrepreneurship program faculty, industry relationships, and mentors. A few examples include film studies; craft brewing; hospitality, tourism and event plan - ning; apparel, textiles and merchandising; engineering tech - nology; construction management; safety and health man- agement; risk management; aviation; and graphic design. Any major can benefit from the entrepreneurship program. The Foundry location was secured in late 2021 and a soft opening was held in February 2022. Preparations are un - derway for a grand opening later this year. Zencak said the I4IE is working to obtain federal funding to hire additional staff, including someone to operate the Foundry full-time. In the meantime, someone is available on a part-time basis for community members to begin utilizing the I4IE’s services. “Come in and tell us what you need,” Zencak said. “We’ll tell you what we can help you with, and guide you to the resources that will help you with everything else.” USINESS OUNDRY CWU ELLENSBURG FOUNDED 2021


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