Posts Tagged Community Outreach

Huntsman AIS Chapter Named Best in World

This was originally released to the press Feb. 2, 2012. It was also posted January 2012 by The Huntsman Post.

USU Student Club Recognized as Best by Global Organization
Information Systems Club Recognized

A new student club at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University has been recognized by a global organization as its Best New Student Chapter in 2011.

In the fall of 2010, students at Utah State University founded a student chapter of the Association for Information Systems (AIS), a global professional organization for research, teaching, practice and study of information systems.

Kathy Chudoba, an associate professor in the management information systems department, accepted the award for the best new chapter on behalf of the USU AIS chapter at the International Conference on Information Systems held in Shanghai, China, in December 2011.

Clayton Fielding is a senior in the MIS department and the USU AIS president. He said the chapter submitted a report in the spring of 2011 of its activities for its first academic year, detailing the results of its plans to help students gain knowledge, get connected and get employed. Among other events, the USU AIS chapter has a special Partners In Business session with speakers brought in to talk to MIS students, Fielding said.  That was one reason the chapter was selected for the award.

Tmitri Owens, program director for the global AIS organization, said nine other new student chapters competed with the USU chapter, and the groups were judged on their performance in the areas of fundraising, membership, communication and careers in information systems.

The organization is for all USU undergraduate or graduate students interested in technology, Fielding said. The USU chapter has MIS students, as well as computer science and computer engineering majors. Fielding said their vision is to know about the next best technology and be a resource for students who are trying to stay up-to-date with the newest tools. The chapter meets every Thursday throughout the semester, and chapter membership is $10 each academic year.

He said the chapter has also branched out to other student organizations, such as the Society for Human Resource Management and the Huntsman School’s Business Council.

The Huntsman School of Business emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurial thinking, and Fielding said that many of the club’s activities, such as teaching students how to build their own business websites, have been centered on encouraging entrepreneurs.

Aside from assisting USU students, Fielding said his group is also helping the Brigham Young University chapter plan the global 2012 Leadership Conference and Student Competition, which will be held April 26-28 in Provo. Those interested in the conference may visit www.ais2012.com for more details.

Those interested in the USU chapter may visit its website at www.huntsman.usu.edu/ais for more information.

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Students Expected to Raise Nearly $200,000 for Entreprenuers in Developing Countries

This article was originally posted November 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Students Put Skills Into Practice by Raising Money for Worthy Causes

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

It may be hard to see, at first, how a shotgun-shooting contest could help an entrepreneur in Peru. And most probably wouldn’t think that dropping a professor into a cold dunk tank in front of the George S. Eccles Business Building might help someone in Africa start a new business.

Dave Herrmann is only dry for a split second after someone scores a hit on the dunk tank.

It is easier, however, for students at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business to make that connection, especially those in marketing classes taught by David Herrmann and Ron Welker.

Students in management 3110 spend each semester executing service projects; many of them with a goal to raise money for the Small Enterprise Education and Development program, or SEED. Other teams chose to work on other projects for other non-profits or a worthy cause of their choice.

All of the teams are under the same obligation to demonstrate they have learned something in class. Mr. Hermann, executive-in-residence in the Huntsman School’s management department, said the assignment is designed to help develop leadership, and harness the power of teamwork as the students plan, organize, execute, and report on their projects. To give them a goal, he said the revenue from their projects could be used to help fund the SEED program, which started in 2007.

This semester, he said he expects the total amount of money raised by Huntsman students for the SEED program will be between $180,000 and $190,000.

The SEED program, Mr. Herrmann said, is designed to give students hands-on learning as students mentor and teach aspiring entrepreneurs in developing economies, adding that some graduate and undergraduate students spend a semester doing internships as “permanent players” in Ghana, Peru, or Uganda.

At least two student interns are on-location year-round, teaching local entrepreneurs about basic business principles, he said. Study abroad students then come for a week and help filter through business plans written up by those who have completed the course taught by the Huntsman student interns.

Dave Herrmann plunges into the cold waters of a dunk tank knowing it was for a good cause. The dunk tank was part of one of the many fund-raisers his students conducted to raise money for would-be entrepreneurs in developing countries.

The money raised by students at the Huntsman School, which Mr. Herrmann said is kept separate from university funds, will then be loaned to qualifying entrepreneurs as micro- or small-enterprise loans. Of the sixteen business plans submitted in Peru last summer, he said half were approved and given loans.

“We don’t want to set anyone up for failure,” he said. “If it’s not going to work, we don’t fund it.”

Once the loans are given out, Mr. Herrmann said student interns check up with the entrepreneurs on a weekly basis and continue to mentor them, teaching them such things as how to make monthly financial statements.

Chelsey Funk, a senior studying economics, said her time with SEED in Abomosu, Ghana, was the most rewarding experience of her college career. Along with the other Huntsman students, she said they were able to help 31 individuals start or expand small businesses.

As the businesses grow, the loans increase as well, Mr. Hermann said, adding that he is taking MBA students to Africa in November to analyze a potential medium enterprise loan for a cocoa processing plant.

The SEED program provides students with opportunities in all four of the Huntsman School’s areas of emphasis as student work in a foreign culture, analyze business plans, and mentor local entrepreneurs. Melody Jensen said her three months in Africa helped “drive home” the importance of having an entrepreneurial spirit.

“In the eastern region there aren’t a lot of options for employment,” she said, “so people have to make things happen on their own. I definitely gained a greater understanding of what it takes to start and sustain a business.”

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Huntsman Professor shares $600,000 grant, stresses out computer characters

This article was originally posted November 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Three Utah State University Colleges Share $600,000 Grant

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

Dozens of computer characters are about to become very stressed out thanks to the research of a professor at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

The characters will be reacting to emergency situations such as explosions and fires as researchers try to find out ways to better help disabled people during emergency situations and building evacuations.

Yong Seog Kim, an associate professor in the management information systems (MIS) department at the Huntsman School, is one of four principal lead researchers from three Utah State University colleges and three university research centers which have been awarded a $600,000 grant to conduct the study.

USU’s colleges of agriculture and engineering, as well as the Center for Persons with Disabilities, Center for Self-Organizing and Intelligent Systems, and the Utah Transportation Center are also involved in the project.

Dr. Kim is developing the software used to program the agents or individuals in the computer simulations. The agents will be able to respond to emergency situations based on information gathered from real simulations and human behavior, which he said are anything but straightforward.

“It’s not just simple evacuation of people without disability,” Dr. Kim said. “We would like to see how people without disabilities would react to the people with disabilities. So we are looking at the psychological impact.”

John D. Johnson, department head of MIS at the Huntsman School, said Dr. Kim is an integral part of the simulation portion of the research.

“He develops software that can mimic human characteristics and demonstrate what people would do in a real emergency,” Dr. Johnson said. “Computer agents in a simulation can react to an emergency just as real people would, giving researchers vital information they need in order to draw informed conclusions and make valid recommendations.”

Agent-based simulation has been Dr. Kim’s research specialty since his MIS Ph.D. program at the University of Iowa in 2001, and he said one challenge is predicting human behavior when programming the agents.

Another worry is the sheer amount of experiments, Dr. Kim said, due to all the architectural and human variables.

“Since we need to have very complete data, we are looking at many different experiments,” he said. “When you look at all the different combinations, we found out we need about 100 experiments.”

Dr. Kim said he is very excited for this opportunity and ties this project into the Huntsman School’s “analytical rigor” pillar of education. Graduate students will help extract information from the raw data, analyze it, and build the models, Dr. Kim said, adding that the first phase of the project, which is primarily data collection, is planned to conclude in 2013.

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USU students expect win over BYU

This was originally released to the press Sept. 14, 2011. It was also posted September 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

USU Business Students Invite Community To Watch USU-BYU Game In Logan
Business Week at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business to feature speakers, a golf tourney, relay race and football party

Students from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business are hoping that football history will repeat itself Friday, Sept. 30, at the Nelson Fieldhouse at Utah State University.

The students, organizers of Business Week, are inviting everyone to come to the Fieldhouse at 6 p.m. to watch the USU vs. BYU football game and they are promising “food, fun and football” and hoping for a USU victory. The festivities will be the last event of the Huntsman School’s annual Business Week that starts on Sept. 23.

Eric Schulz, the co-director of strategic marketing at the Huntsman School of Business, said this year’s Business Week activities are designed to engage the students and help them interact and network with alumni and business professionals.

“The whole week will be fun and exciting for all the students, alumni, faculty and friends who choose to get involved,” said Schulz. “And we’re planning on wrapping up the week’s events with a repeat of last year’s big win over BYU.”

Business Week 2011 kicks off Friday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m., with the Huntsman School Charity Golf Tournament at the Logan River Golf Course, giving students and alumni the opportunity to network on the course or at lunch, plus the chance to win prizes.

The Last Dash Relay takes place Tuesday, Sept. 27, with a start time of 5:30 p.m. Proceeds from the Business Week golf tournament and race will go to fund cancer research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Online registration is now open for both events.

The Dean’s office hosts “Dogs with the Dean’s” at noon Tuesday, Sept. 27. Dean Douglas D. Anderson and associate deans Ken Snyder and Jef Doyle will be serving students and alumni hot dogs, chips and drinks on the patio outside the George S. Eccles Business Building.

The Dean’s Convocation, held in the George S. Eccles Business Building Wednesday, Sept. 28, will feature Dell Loy and Lynette Hansen, the owners of Wasatch Property Management.

Alumni interested in attending the Student/Alumni Networking Dinner the evening of Sept. 28 may contact Dave Patel.

For a complete schedule of the week’s events, please visit the Business Week page of the Huntsman School of Business.

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2,000+ Students Participate in Business Week

This article was originally posted October 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Business Week Raised Money and Gets Dean in Chef’s Hat
Students Raised $16,000 for Huntsman Cancer Institute

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

As Business Council members look back at Business Week, they say they are grateful for the many student volunteers who helped make the events successful.

Participants in the Last Dash Relay head off on their run. Business Week fundraisers generated $16,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Photo by: Paul Lewis Siddoway

Business Week, held every autumn, features events and service activities for students, alumni, and friends of the school aimed at giving them the opportunity to network and participate in fundraisers for a worthy cause. The events are sponsored by the Business Council, which is made up of 20 students selected by Utah State University’s business senator, who listen to their classmates and take leadership roles as they contribute to the School’s progress.

This year the Business Council, Sigma Chi Fraternity, and the Armenian Association raised money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute and presented a giant check for $16,000 to Jon M. Huntsman at the Annual Awards Banquet. Scot Marsden, the 2011-2012 Business Senator for the student government and Business Council president, said the money came from events such as the Huntsman Alumni Charity Golf Tournament and donations from sponsors such as ICON Health & Fitness and Cache Valley Electric.

“The tournament raised a significant amount of money for us,” he said, “and we raised a record-breaking amount of money through sponsorships this year.”

Reed Page, a sophomore in economics and international studies, as well as the senior vice president of the Business Council, said all the volunteers who helped out with any one of the 20 events surprised him most from Business Week.

“I was surprised by the volunteers, who weren’t a part of the Business Council or a part of Sigma Chi,” he said. “Just regular business students who came out of the woodwork to fill some needed spots.”

Kailey Larsen, a human resources senior and the service VP on the Business Council, said she was impressed by the number of passersby who took time on their way to class to help put together kits for patients at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and their families who come from out-of-town, each of which consisted of basic home-maintenance tools, first aid supplies and essential hygiene products.

“We had to end the service project early because there were so many people lined up to help, we ran out of things for them to do,” she said. “We had tons of students who wanted to help.”

Mr. Marsden said nearly 2,100 students planned, volunteered at or took part in the activities in Business Week 2011.

Dean Douglas Dean Anderson and Associate Dean Jeffrey Doyle serve hot dogs to Liz Arellano (left) and Sloan Bailey. Photo by: Steve Eaton

Along with the help provided by students, Mr. Reed said he was also pleasantly surprised by some of the events themselves, which he hopes will continue as Huntsman School and Business Week traditions. One such event was “Dog’s with the Deans.” Executive Dean Ken Snyder said the event, held for the first time this year, gave the deans an opportunity to interact with the students in a unique way.

“We always talk about our desire to serve our students,” he said, “but rarely do we get to do so in such a tangible way. We had great fun interacting as we cooked hot dogs and handed them out to hungry students.”

Mr. Reed said he was glad they hosted on-campus fundraising activities that got students and the community to participate, like the Last Dash Relay. Mr. Marsden said he hopes activities like the race and the golf tournament continue as a school tradition, with each year garnering more support from students, alumni, and friends of the Huntsman School.

The Business Council also invited all the Aggies who did not trek to Provo for the BYU game to gather at the Nelson Fieldhouse where they watched the contest on a big screen. Mr. Reed said he would like it to become a tradition which would bring students together for all away games.

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Honesty at the Last Dash Relay race

This article was originally posted Sept. 28, 2011 by the Huntsman School Blog.

A group of runners compete in the Last Dash Relay Race during Business Week

On Tuesday I went to the Last Dash Relay Race that the business school put on for Business Week. I thought about running in it, although I had to work late, so it’s probably a good thing I decided not to, because I didn’t get there until about 17 minutes into the race.

The course was set up along a 5K route, which people had to run twice. If they were on a relay team, they switched off at the halfway point. It turned out that not everybody ran it. There were some people on bikes and a couple were on roller blades.

I knew I got there about 17 minutes in, because that’s when the first guy hit the halfway point. Actually, he was the third guy to hit the halfway point. Two guys came in about 30 seconds before him. By the end of the race, he had passed both of them. When they were giving out the prizes for the top three finishers in each of the categories, at least one of the runners came forward and declined his prize because he had missed a section of the race.

Nobody would have known. He could have just accepted his prize, but he didn’t.

It’s nice to see people being honest. It kind of restores my faith in humanity when most of what I see on the news gives evidence that you can’t trust most people. And just like running, it feels good and in the long run it’s better for you.

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Students free volunteers to serve the hungry

This article was originally posted August 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Huntsman students free volunteers to spend more time serving the hungry

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

Volunteers will have more time to serve the hungry in Tooele thanks to efforts of some Huntsman students who helped a food bank develop a data base to better track its donations.

Kathy Chudoba teaches an undergraduate capstone class in the Management Information Systems Department where teams of students were tasked with developing “soup to nuts” applications for businesses and organizations in the community. After working with their clients to identify their problems, the students designed, programmed, tested and implemented a new database system for each organization, she said.

Three years ago a food bank in Tooele, which had been funded by the Salt Lake Community Action Program, was integrated into the Tooele County system. Tooele County had not yet developed its own database, according to the food bank’s director Lori Sandoval.

“Since then, the volunteers have had to record who has been using the bank, how many pounds of food is being donated, how much money is coming in through donations and how that money was spent,” Ms. Sandoval said. “And they’ve been doing it all by hand.”

The food bank receives much of its financial aid through United Way and state, federal and private grants, she said. Filing a different report for each of those entities has proven time-consuming.

Ms. Sandoval said that volunteers, who could be helping people who come to the food bank, end up instead spending hours doing administrative work as they add up numbers on a calculator and fill out forms.

A team of students, including Cindy Gleed, who graduated in the spring of 2011, came together to create a system to help track those who use the food pantry, as well as the money and supplies that are donated.

“When you really get into the processes and defining exactly what it is you need to track and exactly how all the pieces need to go together, it becomes a whole lot bigger than what you really think it’s going to be,” Ms. Gleed said.

There were challenges as the students searched to find a server to host the new system, Ms. Gleed said, and the students had to focus on keeping sensitive information secure.

Facing increasing numbers of people who need help from the food pantry, Ms. Sandoval and her volunteers said they were grateful for the help the Huntsman students offered.

“With this new program, it’ll do all the calculations; we just have to enter them as the people come in,” Ms. Sandoval said. “It’s going to make life so much easier.”

Another program the students assisted was the America Reads initiative, which is aimed at helping school children read at their grade level. The program started in 1999 with five tutors at one school and has since grown to more than 100 tutors at 21 schools. Todd Milovich, the creator of America Reads and the program coordinator for Educational Outreach at Utah State University, said that as the program expanded, so did his database.

“It just kind of grew from easy to manage to really difficult to manage,” he said.

Zac Coleman, who graduated from the MIS Department in the spring of 2011, had been a tutor for the America Reads program and had come to work closely with Mr. Milovich. Even before Mr. Coleman began to work on the project in Dr. Chudoba’s class, he was uniquely prepared to understand the need the America Reads program had and how to resolve it.

“It turned into a bigger project than I think anybody thought it would,” Mr. Milovich said.

“The America Reads project was probably the most technically challenging out of all the projects,” Dr. Chudoba said, “but the students created a huge website for them.”

The America Reads program now has a database for the tutors to track their hours and pay history, and Mr. Milovich can send reports to the school districts, as well as individual schools.

“Depending on what they needed, it could have taken hours, and now it should just take seconds,” he said.

The America Reads program also has the ability to track individual people, Mr. Milovich said, so students do not get lost if their families move or the teachers or tutors change.

“We’ve always wanted to be able to pick out the talented students while they are young so we can keep them in the pipeline headed toward getting a higher education,” he said.

The MIS students also helped the Multicultural Center of Cache Valley at the Whittier Center in Logan by creating an application to collect and track information about those who use the services of the center.

“That application is up and running now, and they’re already using it,” Dr. Chudoba said.

But making reporting numbers easier and saving time was not all the Huntsman students were able to accomplish. The Huntsman students, working with America Reads, researched how and where they could house the server for the program they built, Mr. Milovich said.

“They not only built the database, but they handled the negotiations with the IT department and followed it through,” he said. “They went above and beyond, really. It wasn’t just the class project; they continued to help after the semester ended. They stuck with it until I had a product I can use.”

Ms. Gleed said that all the students were dedicated to the programs they were helping.

“It was an amazing experience; it was painful, but you can not duplicate the learning that came out of that whole project,” she said. “We were really focused on, and invested in, the food bank and what we could give them. In the end, it’s to benefit the client, and I hope we accomplished what we set out to do.”

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