Stories and Articles
Fowler College of Business
Finance – Class of 2019
San Diego State finance major William Carpenter knows exactly what he wants to do when he graduates in May of 2019. After completing two internships with biotech companies Abbott Vascular and Illumina, Inc., Carpenter’s career objectives became crystal clear, “my ultimate professional goal is to move into an executive level role with a large healthcare company,” he said.
A native of Temecula, Calif., Carpenter started researching undergraduate business programs as a high school student and pushed SDSU to the top of his application list after several local employers gave the Fowler College of Business high marks. As an added bonus, his father is an SDSU graduate. “Our frequent family trips to San Diego instilled an affinity for SDSU,” recalled Carpenter.
Carpenter didn’t always know exactly what he wanted to do. When he first entered SDSU, he planned to pursue a career as an investment banker specializing in mergers and acquisitions. As he progressed through his college courses, he began to develop an interest in corporate finance and analysis. His internships with Abbott and Illumina helped cement his passion for the field and steered his career goals toward the biotech industry. “One of my proudest accomplishments was just being able to contribute to both Abbott and Illumina’s missions, effectively driving human health and working to save lives,” he said.
Carpenter doesn’t plan to end his education when he earns his bachelor’s degree next year, “after developing my career for three to five years, I plan to pursue my MBA with a specialization in finance,” he said. What’s most important to him is using his degree and skillset to make a difference, “I hope to be with a company that is truly making a difference for humanity and solving some of our generation’s most pressing problems.”
Marketing – Class of 2019
Bryce Fountaine originally came to SDSU because he found the Fowler College of Business to be a good educational and cultural fit, but what he didn’t know was that SDSU ranked #5 in the nation among academic institutions for sending students to study abroad. Fountaine, now a senior marketing major, soon took advantage of the opportunity to study overseas, an experience that opened his mind up in more ways than he ever would have dreamed possible.
After learning about the vast study abroad resources available through the Fowler College of Business, Fountaine chose to study for a semester at the KEDGE Business School in Marseille. While in France, Fountaine immersed himself in the local culture which allowed him to gain a better understanding of their way of life.
“At first I thought that French students took their education much less seriously than American students,” he noted. “However, after immersing myself in the culture, I realized that the differences stretched beyond the classroom. French society accepts that not everything has to be done in a hurry and not everything should be rushed.”
His travels weren’t just limited to France: when he wasn’t attending class, Fountaine visited eight countries and 15 cities. “My study aboard experience in Europe was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I would recommend to anybody regardless of circumstances,” said Fountaine. “The world is bigger than technology and the internet makes it appear, and you really have to go out there and experience it for yourself.”
His time spent in Europe as a student and tourist enhanced Fountaine’s enjoyment of travel so much that it’s carried over into his chosen career path. “Once I graduate from SDSU in May, 2019, I plan to continue my current contractor position in direct sales with Vivint,” he said. “For the past two summers, they’ve flown me into the Dallas/Fort Worth area where I sell smart security systems. I plan to continue to enjoy this challenging, high-paying work that allows me to travel as well.”
Accounting – Class of 2020
It was his participation in water polo and swimming that taught Emmanuel Gambino the discipline and drive he needed to succeed at sports throughout high school and community college. He’s now applying the same discipline and drive to his classwork at SDSU and his position at the Lavin Entrepreneur Center to successfully prepare him for career in accounting and entrepreneurship after college.
Growing up in Tijuana, Mexico, Gambino’s family moved to the Chula Vista, Calif. when he was 12-years-old. Before he moved to the U.S., he’d had no experience with water sports. But after given the opportunity to participate on the swimming and water polo teams during high school, and later, at community college, he made the most of his new competitive skills and the life lessons that came with them as his education progressed.
After graduating from Chula Vista High School, he chose to attend nearby Southwestern College for two years in order to prepare him to attend SDSU. He chose to come to SDSU “because of the business school and the proximity to home.”
During his first semester at SDSU in the fall of 2017, Gambino took on a 10-hour per week volunteer position with SDSU’s Idea Lab where students serve to resolve challenges and obstacles for local businesses. He took on a second position as an accounting specialist at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center during his second semester. The experiences in both positions will help Gambino prepare for the possibility of starting his own business as well as expose him to some real-world organizational accounting experience.
That accounting experience will come in handy, since Gambino was recently accepted into SDSU’s BMACC program, which means he will pursue both his BS and MS degrees in accounting. He expects to graduate in May 2020, after which he has his future tightly mapped out. “After I earn my Master’s degree in financial reporting, I plan to get my CPA license and work for an accounting firm for three-to-five years,” he said. “My job at an accounting firm will allow me to explore the financial processes for different industries and eventually, I hope to become a controller within an organization. At some point in my accounting career, I may find a problem worth solving, and maybe I’ll start a business around it.”
Management – Class of 2019
The oil-rich region of Kirkuk, Iraq was never an easy place to grow up, but life became even more difficult for Iraqi citizens in the years leading up to the U.S.-led invasion in March of 2003.
In 2002, Noor Naama and her family made the decision to leave Iraq. “After September 11, 2001, we kept hearing that a war would start,” she said. “My parents had endured hard times in previous conflicts, so we decided to leave.”
The family left most of their possessions behind to flee to neighboring Syria where they thought they would be safe.
They were wrong.
When Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad took power after the death of his father in 2000, there was relative calm in the region. But tensions began to take hold several years later when Syrian officials were blamed for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, and when Assad publically declared his support for Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
As the pressure in Syria grew, Naama and her family were granted asylum in the U.S. They arrived on U.S. soil in 2009 and not a moment too soon. In the months that followed, building political tensions in Syria led to a government crackdown on free speech and the detention of its citizens, eventually causing widespread violence and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) throughout the region.
While Naama and her family were physically safer, they found themselves unsure about how to make a life in an environment that was a world away than anything they’d ever known. “When I first arrived in the U.S., I felt like a little child who had to accept the reality of this new and very different place,” she recalled. “I had to become the adult that my family could depend on.”
The English skills she learned during her schooling in Iraq and Syria helped Naama earn a dental assistant certification shortly after her arrival to America. In 2013, she landed a position in the office of H.H. Hermes in La Mesa and was eventually promoted to the role of lead dental assistant.
Although the role of dental assistant paid the bills, she was craving bigger responsibilities and increased pay, so she enrolled at SDSU with the goal of working in the field of accounting.
As a product of a life shaped by change, Naama was not afraid to switch majors during her senior year. “During one of my management classes, I found my passion for the field of human resources,” she said. “I thought a career in human resources would allow me to grow as a professional. I would not be doing the same thing over and over, but each day would bring something new.”
To reach her self-imposed target of graduating with the class of 2019, Naama must successfully complete eight classes next semester. Given her full-time job, she fully realizes this is a lofty goal, but she is determined to walk across the stage with her peers in May.
Though her life is pretty busy right now, Naama feels grateful for everything that has happened since she arrived in the U.S. “I am so proud that I was able to face the sadness of leaving a childhood that I didn’t get to enjoy enough and come to a new country that I have grown to love. I call San Diego home,” she said. “As an Iraqi-American student, I’m so proud to mix both cultures and that the knowledge and experience that goes with it has allowed me to adapt to any work or cultural environment.”
Accounting – Class of 2019
When it came time for Richard Price to choose which college he wanted to attend, he didn’t go far from home. Price, a San Diego native and first-generation college student was raised in the City Heights area, just three miles from the SDSU campus.
“I chose SDSU because I knew it would provide the full college experience and it was relatively close to home,” he said.
Price, who is slated to earn his BSBA/MS in accounting (BMACC program) with honors in the spring of 2019, chose to pursue a degree in accounting because of his interest in the financial operations of a business. “I have always been fascinated with how business and money works, so I knew I wanted to take part in the business world,” he said. “I was drawn into the field of accounting because of the outstanding career prospects and because it would offer me the opportunity to learn how money flows through a business.”
During his time at SDSU, Price has acquired a passion for teaching. He is currently instructing 100 ACCTG 201 students, in addition to volunteering with the Junior Achievement of San Diego County’s BizTown program for the past few summers. The BizTown program offers financial guidance to local 5th graders by teaching them how to manage their own personal finances and offering them basic entrepreneurial skills.
Price is looking forward to life after college. He has a job waiting for him at the San Diego office of PwC and plans to do a little travel before jumpstarting his career: “I plan to travel to at least five different countries first.”
Management – Class of 2019
Like many entrepreneurs, Kelly Snodgrass started her online clothing design company, Kelly Leanne Apparel, when she realized there was an open niche in the marketplace. But what makes Snodgrass unique is that she merged her clothing line with technology to make formalwear that is truly one-of-a kind.
Creating and designing unusual clothing and costumes had been a passion of Snodgrass since she was a child. “It wasn’t until I took an aptitude test in high school
that I realized I could make a career of it,” said Snodgrass, now a senior at SDSU. “I knew right away I wanted to run my own business instead of designing for someone else.”
It was Snodgrass’ unusual fashion sense that led her to want to establish her own business in 2017. “I’ve always valued combining my unique style and religious beliefs to create modest fashions,” she noted. “The trend has been skin, skin, skin. When I started, there were no companies specializing in stylish, modest women’s clothes either in stores or online.”
While Kelly Leanne Apparel offers casual wear and costumes, it’s their formalwear and bridal attire that sets the company apart. The Moonlit Lace collection incorporates fiber optic lighting and motion sensors into the design of two bridal gowns and one evening gown. “We currently have a patent pending for fiber optic lace,” said Snodgrass. “Focusing on specialty collections is fun since it doesn’t limit what we can do or how creative we can be.”
Kelly Leanne Apparel and school isn’t the only thing requiring Snodgrass’ focus. She also has a full-time position at SDSU as the assistant to three executives in SDSU’s Division of Business & Financial Affairs. As if a full-time job, her business and her studies don’t keep her busy enough, she still finds time to participate in food drives, social events and giving back by sewing blankets for disaster victims through her church.
Snodgrass may find herself with more free time soon. She is set to graduate cum laude from SDSU in August 2019 and, after an internship in France, she plans to expand her business and “spend more time rock climbing, hiking and being with my nieces, nephews and my cat.”
Accounting – Class of 2019
David Yanke has played a significant role in helping his fellow SDSU accounting students succeed both in classroom and in their careers.
Yanke is the lead graduate teaching assistant (GTA) for eight other GTAs in SDSU’s Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy. Yanke, who teaches 50 students in each of his three sections of ACCTG 201, has won rave reviews. “Imagine professor Indiana Jones, except instead of teaching archeology, you’re learning debits and credits,” marveled one student on Rate My Professors.
Yanke is not only an outstanding instructor, but he is also a great student having earned SDSU’s prestigious Presidential Scholarship award. The Presidential Scholars program is open by invitation only to a handful high achieving students who are eligible for up to $40,000 in funding over a four-year period. In addition, Yanke currently serves as a member of the Phi Kappa Phi national honors society and was the only freshman to earn an SDSU Business Achievement Award in 2016.
Yanke is no stranger to leadership roles. He previously served as the president of SDSU’s Student Accounting Society (SAS). During his tenure as president of SAS, his group partnered with the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) to host the annual Spring Leadership Connection event. This event helped SDSU students connect with professionals in the fields of accounting and finance for internship, mentoring and career opportunities. During the previous semester, David was involved in resume and interview coaching in addition to putting on the Meet the Firms event which connected juniors and seniors with recruiters from the Big Four and local accounting firms.
Though Yanke works diligently to help his fellow students land post-graduation jobs, he has secured a position for himself as an assurance associate at the San Diego office of PwC which he will occupy after he earns his BS/MS (BMACC program) in May of 2019.