Approximately 200 gathered on April 22 to celebrate the academic and leadership achievements of students in the Walker college of Business at Appalachian State University.
The group consisted of family, friends and professors of 23 undergraduate and five graduate students who were named ‘App State Best’ for the 2021-22 academic year.
After two years of the annual celebration being held virtually, the event was held in person in the Blue Ridge Ballroom of the Plemmons Student Union.
“I am so happy that we are able to be together in person, and I’m excited to recognize the outstanding academic achievements of our students,” said Dr. Sandra Vannoy, dean of the Walker College.
Dr. Mark Ginn, App State’s vice provost for undergraduate education, also brought greetings, and the event was emceed by Drs. Tracy Reed and Lakshmi Iyer, associate deans for undergraduate programs and administration and graduate programs and research, respectively.
The award presentation was divided into two groups: outstanding students by major and outstanding students by organization. The event also provided a forum to announce one student as top overall.
Outstanding students by major
Faculty in each of the college’s ten majors selected one student as the ‘Outstanding Student’ in that program of study. These students possess high academic credentials, strong interpersonal skills, and personal character.
Outstanding Undergraduate in Accounting: Sloan Reid
Sloan Reid is the outstanding undergraduate student in Accounting. Reid is an Accounting and Finance & Banking double major from Thomasville, NC. Reid is a Walker Fellow and has served as Executive Vice President of Beta Alpha Psi. She is also a musician and worship leader, played Club Volleyball and served as president of App State Cru. Reid aims to earn a Master of Science in Accounting from Appalachian, and become a CPA and work in public accounting.
Outstanding Undergraduate in Computer Information Systems: Jacob Whitaker
Jacob Whitaker, the outstanding undergraduate student in Computer Information Systems (CIS), He is a CIS major from Siloam, NC, and a member of AppITP. Whitaker plans to work in information technology risk assurance or consulting.
Outstanding Undergraduate in Economics: Kirsten Seeley
Kirsten Seeley is the outstanding undergraduate student in Economics. Seeley is an Economics major and a Criminal Justice minor from Richmond, VA. She is a member of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) and the women’s Soccer team. Seeley will study abroad in India before continuing her accelerated MBA with a concentration in economics at App State.
Outstanding Undergraduate in Finance and Banking: Caroline Alba
Caroline Alba is the outstanding undergraduate student in Finance & Banking. She is a Finance & Banking major and Spanish and Music double minor From Charlotte, NC. Alba is president of the Bowden Investment Group, a former Director of Peer Advising Watauga Residential College, and a member of Walker College of Business Honors, Kappa Delta Sorority, Presbyterian-Episcopalian Campus Ministry and App State Club Swim. After graduation she plans to work for Campbell's Soup Company in Camden, NJ.
Outstanding Undergraduate in Hospitality & Tourism Management: Rachel McIrvine
Rachel McIrvine is the outstanding undergraduate student in Hospitality & Tourism Management. McIrvine is a Hospitality and Tourism Management and a Spanish Language, Literatures & Cultures double major from Raleigh, NC. She serves as vice president of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Student Association and aims to pursue a career in the catering and event planning industry, with hopes of owning her own sustainability-focused and locally-sourced restaurant and brewery.
Outstanding Undergraduate in International Business: Chris Zaman
Christian Zaman is the outstanding undergraduate student in International Business. Zaman is an International Business and Supply Chain Management double major and Japanese Minor from Raleigh, NC. He has been a member of the Appalachian Supply Chain Club, a mentor in the International Business Student Association and president of iPals. Zaman aims to travel the world and enter a supply chain rotational program to continue learning, while working and someday to manage the logistics for a global firm.
Outstanding Undergraduate in Management: Hudson Walker
Hudson Walker is the outstanding undergraduate student in Management. Walker is a Management and Finance & Banking double major and a Supply Chain Management minor from Charlotte, NC.
Outstanding Undergraduate in Marketing (Digital Marketing): Kaylee Combs
Kaylee Combs is the outstanding undergraduate student in Marketing and the top student by organization from the Walker Fellows. Combs is a Digital Marketing major and Spanish Minor from Charlotte, NC. She has served as vice president of App State’s chapter of the American Marketing Association and as PR desk member of The Appalachian. Combs is also past Operations Director of the Walker Fellows and a member of its operating committee.
Outstanding Undergraduate in Risk Management and Insurance: Madison Browne
Madison Browne is the outstanding undergraduate student in Risk Management & Insurance. Browne is a Risk Management & Insurance and Finance & Banking double major and a Criminal Justice Minor from Winston-Salem, NC. She has been a researcher in AppRISE, is a member of the Walker College Honors program, captain of the RIMS Challenge Team, a member of the Women in Financial Services Initiative and Women's Ultimate Frisbee. Browne plans to work for Goldman Sachs in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Outstanding Undergraduate in Supply Chain Management: layla Koroleva
Layla Koroleva is the outstanding undergraduate student in Supply Chain Management. Koroleva is a Supply Chain Management and CIS double major and a Business Analytics minor from Hickory, NC. She is active in Beans 2 Brew, is a Project Coordinator for Research and Analytics, and is a member of Appalachian Supply Chain Club and Beta Gamma Sigma. Koroleva will begin the Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics accelerated admission program and aims to work as a supply chain analyst for an aerospace or a transportation company.
Outstanding Graduate, Master of Science in Accounting: Shelby Horton
Shelby Horton is the outstanding graduate student in App State’s Master of Science in Accounting program. Horton is from Colfax, NC and plans to work as a Tax Associate for PwC in their Greensboro office.
Outstanding Graduate, Master of Science in Business Administration: Katherine Uva
Katherine Uva is the outstanding graduate student in App State’s Master of Business Administration program. Uva is earning a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Business Analytics and a Masters of Science in Applied Data Analytics with a concentration in Supply Chain Management. Uva, from Ridgefield, Connecticut, is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, co-captain of the Analytics Team and a club leader for Executive Impact Club. She was faculty advisor assistant to the Recreation Management Association and a member of: the National Recreation and Parks Association, the American Camp Association, and the Outdoor Industry Association. Uva aims to work for an outdoor-affiliated organization utilizing forecasting and data analytics to deepen an understanding of roles as recreation providers in local and state economies.
Outstanding Graduate - Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics: Gopika Malik
Gopika Malik is the outstanding graduate student in the Master of Science in Applied Data Analytics program. Malik is from Morrisville, NC and is co-Captain of the App State Analytics Team and an officer for the Executive Impact Club. Malik is a full time Senior System Engineer at Infosys in Raleigh, NC and plans to pursue her career in the energy and sustainability sector as a data scientist and architect.
Outstanding student by organization
The second group of honorees are selected for exemplary leadership and service to student organizations affiliated with the Walker College of Business.
American Marketing Association: Allison Eller
Allison Eller, from Concord NC, is the American Marketing Association top student. Eller is a Digital Marketing major and a Human Resource Management minor. She is president of the American Marketing Association and president of Rotaract. After graduation, Eller plans to serve as an event marketing specialist with Techtronic Industries.
Appalachian Supply Chain Club: Will Britt
William Britt is the Appalachian Supply Chain Club top student. Britt is a Supply Chain Management major from Asheboro, NC, who served as president of Appalachian Supply Chain Club. He plans to serve as a transportation specialist for Crowley Maritime.
Association of Information Technology Professionals: Tyler Parris, Meghan Skinner
The largest student organization in the college – the Association of Information Technology Professionals (App ITP) – named two top students: Tyler Parris, who has served as president of App ITP, and Meghan Skinner is past president for App ITP.
Beta Alpha Psi: Melia Tinnin
Melia Tinnin is the Beta Alpha Psi top student. Tinnin is an accounting major from Winston Salem, NC. She has been an active member of Beta Alpha Psi, serving as president last year, and a tax intern for Pwc. Tinnin plans to pursue her Master of Accounting degree at App State and sit for the CPA exam.
Executive Impact Club: Brandon Bush
Brandon Bush, from Apex, NC, is the Executive Impact Club top student. Bush is earning his MBA with a concentration in Business Analytics and has served as president of the Executive Impact Club.
Finance Student Association: Chris Mitchell
Christopher Mitchell is the Finance Student Association top student. He is a Finance and Banking major from Durham, NC and has served as president of the Finance Student Association. Mitchell will begin his career at Key Risk in Highpoint.
Pruett Award for Outstanding RMI Graduate / Gamma Iota Sigma: Harlee Hawthorne
Harlee Hawthorne is the Gamma Iota Sigma/Pruett Award for Outstanding RMI (Risk Management and Insurance) top student. Hawthorne is a Risk Management & Insurance and Finance & Banking double major from Charlotte, NC. She served as president of Gamma Iota Sigma Rho Chapter and plans to work as an underwriter associate for RPS in Denver, CO.
Hospitality and Tourism Management Student Association (HTMSA): Samantha Hedrick
Samantha Hedrick is the Hospitality and Tourism Management Student Association top student. Hedrick is a Hospitality and Tourism Management major earning a minor in Leadership Studies. From Randleman, NC, Hedrick has most recently served as the president and past secretary of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Student Association. She is also a Transfer Student Mentor, a member of Women of Walker and part of the Tau Sigma Honors Society. Hedrick plans to pursue her master's degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Central Florida and work at the Walt Disney World Resort, where she's previously completed the Disney College Program.
Institute of Management Accountants Student Chapter: Brendon Johnson
Brendon Johnson is the Institute of Management Accountants top student. Johnson is an Accounting major with a minor in Computer Information Systems from Wallace, NC. He serves as president of the App State chapter of IMA and has been a member of the Walker College of Business Honors Cohort, Beta Alpha Psi, App ITP, the Student Government Association and the Supply Chain Club. He plans to continue his education in App State’s Master’s of Accounting program and pursue his CPA license.
International Business Student Association (IBSA): Vicky Chen
Vicky Chen is the International Business Student Association top student. Chen is an International Business and Supply Chain Management double major from Raleigh, NC. She is president of the International Business Student Association, Vice President of the Chinese Culture Club and a member of the Hiking Club.
National Association for Business Economics (NABE): Roxy Day
Roxy Day is the National Association for Business Economics top student. Day is an Economics major and Computer Information Systems minor from Virginia Beach, VA. She serves as NABE vice president and past president. She is a member and past treasurer of Chi Omega and also played Division 1 Field Hockey for App State. Day hopes to work in data analysis, sales, or financial advising.
Future Business Leaders of America – Collegiate / Phi Beta Lambda: William Vonderhaar
William Vonderhaar is the Phi Beta Lambda top student. Vonderhaar is an Accounting major from Clayton, NC who has served as president of Phi Beta Lambda.
Pi Sigma Epsilon: Alonnah Murphy
Alonnah Murphy is the Pi Sigma Epsilon top student. Murphy is a Marketing major with a concentration in Digital Marketing and a Theatre Arts minor from Kannapolis, NC. She is vice president of professional development for Pi Sigma Epsilon, and she recently obtained her real estate license. Murphy is in App State’s accelerated MBA program.
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM): Jacob Ledford
Jacob Ledford is the Society for Human Resource Management top student. Ledford is a Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology and Human Resource Management student who is also earning a Graduate Certification in Business Analytics. From Hickory, NC, Ledford is vice president of finance the Society for Human Resource Management and sub-project lead for the HR Science-Safety Team. He will work for The Boeing Company as an HR Generalist after graduation.
Top Overall Student
The last award announced at the event is the top student overall, who is selected from the 10 outstanding students by major.
“Choosing the top student overall award for the Walker College is always a difficult choice since all of the students being recognized have accomplished amazing things in their careers at Appalachian,” said Dr. Reed. “While all students recognized consistently excel and contribute in ways that truly stand out, one is an exceptional, confident, motivating and inspirational leader.”
Carolina Alba is the 2022 Top Overall Student awardee. According to the faculty, Alba has stood out above others for having maintained an impressive GPA while also taking on leadership roles in extracurricular clubs and being involved in a wide variety of organizations in a variety of roles.
Alba is the 44th Appalachian student to be named to the list of top students since 1984 online, business.appstate.edu/top-students.
About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at https://business.appstate.edu.