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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

COB Program Pairs Students with Mentors

UALR’s College of Business has launched a new mentoring program that pairs the college’s top students with local business leaders and faculty advisers for discussions and networking.

UALR College of Business Ambassadors“We hope that this program is a precursor to a honors program for the College of Business,” Dean Jane Wayland said.

The program started this fall with 11 students nominated by professors in their disciplines and vetted by the dean and Dr. John Hall, associate dean for undergraduate studies. The students are paired with business leaders who serve on the college’s board of advisers and faculty members in their disciplines.

“The program started for the purpose of providing our top students with a faculty and board mentor within the student’s discipline,” Wayland said. “They are reading and discussing current books on leadership and ethics, allowing faculty and students to interact with board members.”

The first students selected for the program and their mentors are:

  • Raven Allen, a senior accounting major from Blytheville, is employed at Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Little Rock as a front desk clerk. Her mentors are Steve Nelson, vice president of controlling for Dillard’s Inc., and Gaurav Kumar, associate professor of accounting.
  • Araya Charles, an accounting senior originally from Kanchanaburi, Thailand, who will graduate in the spring and will begin studying for the CPA exam. Her mentors are Brent Whittington, chief operating officer for Windstream, and Cynthia Daily, associate professor of accounting.
  • Mike St. Clair, a junior from Scott, Ark., is majoring in small business and entrepreneurship with plans to go to graduate school or law school. His mentors are Jay Chesshir, chief executive officer of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, and John Hendon, management instructor.
  • William “Barry” Brown of Maumelle came to UALR with 30 years of work experience and two associate degrees from Pulaski Tech. He expects to graduate next fall with a degree in management information systems. His mentors are Jennifer Peper, vice president of Aristotle Interactive, and Richard Woolridge, assistant professor of management information systems.
  • Michelle McClintock, a native of the Philippines who grew up in Hawaii, holds an associate degree from Pulaski Tech and is majoring in international business and marketing. After graduation she wants to pursue a MBA and study for the Foreign Service Exam. Her mentors are Susan Blair, executive vice president of Bank of the Ozarks Inc., and Otmar Valera, assistant professor of management.
  • Robert Grasby of Little Rock, a self-employed efficiency consultant, is majoring in management and entrepreneurship. His mentors are Nick Brown, president and chief executive officer of Southwest Power Pool, and James Wilbanks, assistant professor of marketing.
  • Christian Gwatney, a native of Jacksonville, is majoring in economics, which provides her with a wide range of opportunities post-graduation in 2014. Her mentors are Scott Teague, regional commercial banking manager at U.S. Bank, and Mark Funk, associate professor of economics.
  • Eric Bowers of North Little Rock, is majoring in finance and financial systems. After graduation, he would like to get a job in the Little Rock area while also studying for the CFA exam. His mentors are Jason Mann, president and CEO of USAble Life, and Lars Powell, associate professor of finance and the Whitbeck Insurance Chair.
  • Ashley Bunch, a native of Little Rock, is majoring in international business after living abroad for seven years and studying at Oxford Brookes University and Oxford Tutorial College in England. Her mentors are Jeff Standridge, vice president of global operations for Acxiom Corp., and Karen Leonard, professor of management and chair of the Department of Management.
  • Michelle Pittman, goalkeeper for the UALR women’s soccer team, is majoring in marketing. Following graduation, she hopes to go to graduate school. Her mentors are John Lawlor, chairman and CEO of Vestcom, and Gary Geissler, professor of marketing.
  • Darius Toney of West Memphis is majoring in marketing and works at Whole Foods. After graduation, he plans plans to enter into the sales or brand management career fields. His mentors are John Fowler, executive vice president corporate lending of Summit Bank, and David Gilliam, assistant professor of marketing.