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Taking Flight – October 2019

Message from the Dean

I want to take a moment in this newsletter to give a shout out to two groups of people, sometimes overlooked in the daily operation and overall value proposition of the Parker College, specifically, our administration and staff. We devote most of our attention to our students and faculty, and rightly so. Our faculty members represent our intellectual talent and distinctiveness; they teach the classes, conduct meaningful research and create the scholarly community that defines our University. At the same time, our students provide our raison d’être; they come here to study, to learn and to build the foundation from which to launch productive and positive lives. Naturally, these groups warrant the bulk of our attention.

But the staff and administration play key roles, too. In many ways, they are the daily face of the College. Our departmental and programmatic administrative assistants, our advisors and student services professionals, our various program directors, our academic department chairs and associate deans, as well as those in non-academic roles, like our development and alumni relations staff, our marketing and media staff, and the staff in our dean’s office; these people are at work every day, doing the stuff that virtually no one notices but that everyone would miss were it to go away. They answer the phones, respond to questions, plan events, maintain records, chart initiatives and manage resources. Virtually all the activities you’ll read about in this newsletter, including the newsletter itself, require planning, execution and many hours on-site by our staff and administration. The many and various things they do enrich the lives of our students and enable the work of our faculty, and I am especially grateful for that and for them.

I have been thinking about all of this recently as I have been spending considerable time away from the office. My wife is battling late-stage cancer and supporting her as she struggles has become my single, highest priority. Yet, the life of the College goes on; it was here before we arrived, and it will continue long after we have all left. And, our many students and prospective students, faculty and future faculty, alumni, corporate partners, board members, donors and friends will continue to depend on us to do our best and to build the Parker brand every day. While I am grateful to work at Georgia Southern and with such great faculty and students, I am especially grateful now, in this season, for such an outstanding group of administrators and staff. And so, I offer a hearty shout out and a tip of the hat to the staff and administrators of the Parker College.

Alumni Spotlight—Nathan Ashcroft

Nathan Ashcroft (ACCT, 2017; MAcc, 2018) works in the auditing department of Hancock & Askew’s Savannah office. In this role, he has expanded into consulting to work with companies and the individuals behind them by helping them plan for the future, ensuring they properly present their financial statements, and working through different aspects of mergers. Whether the client’s business is publicly-traded or privately-held, each client has a story to tell. Nathan has learned about how families have risked everything to start their companies as well as how one CFO struggled through multiple jobs before finally achieving success. It is meeting new people and listening to their stories that is the best part of his job.

While at Georgia Southern, Nathan was very active in the Southern Investment Association (SIA). He is especially proud of being able to contribute to the transformation of SIA from an extracurricular group into an established non-profit entity through which members can receive class credit and will soon manage a live portfolio of stocks. In addition, Nathan says he enjoyed his accounting classes. These classes helped him to develop the skills necessary to acquire the position he wanted after graduation. Nathan credits his Parker College of Business professors with helping to sculpt the way he thinks and teaching him to question the events around him. He found it was easy to stay engaged in his classes knowing that he would be able to eventually use what he was learning in the accounting program at work, granting him a competitive edge in the workforce.

Nathan states that he was taught from an early age to work hard for what he wanted. For Nathan, this involved beginning to work in late high school and through college. He also applied for and earned scholarships. Every year, Nathan would envision a day in which he would be able to create his own scholarship in order to help others as he had been helped. Nathan is extremely proud, and simultaneously humbled, that this year, he was able to establish a scholarship to be presented to a member of SIA.

In the future, Nathan plans on expanding his real estate portfolio in Statesboro. He wants to increase the options of affordable student housing while increasing the standard of living across Statesboro and Bulloch County. He realizes this will take a while, and, in the meantime, he wishes to persevere to avoid slipping into complacency. Nathan believes it is easy to say one wishes to “grow,” but, without necessary growing pains, no growth will occur. In this vein, Nathan likes to remember a quote from his mom, “Work harder today, so you don’t have to tomorrow.”

Weather permitting, Nathan likes to spend his spare time playing golf. He admits he is not very good, but he loves experiencing the nature of different golf courses. Nathan also enjoys cooking out with friends and reading good books while outdoors.

Parker Talks Series to Feature Former CEO of LexisNexis

Andrew Prozes, former CEO of risk solutions company LexisNexis, will discuss how one’s identity is increasingly important in the world of finance and technology during the second event in the Parker Talks series hosted by the Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern University.

Prozes will present “Identity in the Fintech World” on Tuesday, November 5, at 6 p.m. at the Charles H. Morris Center at Trustees’ Garden in Savannah. His lecture will dive into the importance of identity in today’s high-tech financial environment and what can be done in the face of security challenges like fraud, identity theft and personal data breaches. He will also talk about what will define a person’s identity in the future. This event is free and open to the public.

As CEO of LexisNexis, Prozes grew the company from $1.7B in 2000 to more than $4B in 2010. The company employed approximately 17,000 people across two business units—LexisNexis Legal and LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

Prozes serves on the boards of Scribestar, Transunion, Neoway, FIIZY, Payfone, nanoPay, MintChip and Synaptive, and he chairs numerous compensation committees. Previously, Prozes served on the board of directors of Reed Elsevier, a $45B market cap information company from 2000 until December 2010. 

Born in Germany to Estonian parents who fled Russian occupation, Prozes grew up in Canada and earned a Bachelor of Mathematics in computer science from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from York University.

PwC Network COO Presents Fries Lecture

On Monday, September 30, the Parker College of Business hosted its first Parker Talks event through the 19th annual Norman Fries Distinguished Lectureship Series. The College welcomed Carol Sawdye, COO of PwC Network, to campus. During her day on campus, Sawdye ate lunch with the Parker Business Scholars, followed by a campus tour. Prior to the lecture, Sawdye enjoyed a reception with members of the Parker executive team and Parker Business Scholars.

During her Parker Talks presentation, Sawdye discussed, “Flourishing in a Digital World.” She started by explaining the importance of investing in digital technology skills, saying “technology is a game changer.” Through various means, technology allows humans to remain mobile while improving quality of life. Sawdye stressed the importance of teaching digital skills for the work force of tomorrow. She then went on to list eight technologies that PwC considers key: augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D printing, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, drones and the Internet of Things. She further explained the imperativeness of life-long learning and how we, as a society, should control our collective use of technology. In concluding her talk, Sawdye offered five final thoughts:

  • Dig deep to define the life you want.
  • Be realistic about whether the work that interests you is sufficiently in demand and pays enough for you to live the life you want to be independent.
  • Make sure that you attain the skills to make yourself attractive to employers.
  • Recognize that, regardless of what you do, you need to attain the skills of digital acumen and resilience.
  • Choose carefully whom you go to work for.

Fourth Annual Professional Development Day

The Parker College of Business hosted its annual Professional Development Day (PDD) on Tuesday, October 1. Through approximately 75 sessions, students sharpened their networking skills, along with other soft skills, with employers looking to recruit new talent.

PDD allows the Parker College of Business to carry out its mission of producing career-ready professionals. By offering a day of conference-like sessions the day before the Eagle Expo Career Fair, Parker business students are better prepared to talk with recruiters. The sessions are presented by Parker College corporate business partners, friends of the College and Parker College alumni. This year, the College served approximately 2,000 students throughout the day.

The Parker College of Business is dedicated to equipping our students with the knowledge, critical thinking skills, relevant tools and experiential learning opportunities needed for professional success. The College will hold its PDD on the Armstrong campus on Tuesday, March31, 2020. For more information or to become involved in Professional Development Day, please contact Danielle Smith, director of experiential learning and student engagement, at or 912-478-6047. To view the 2019 PDD schedule, visit Please save the date, Tuesday, October 6, 2020, for the fifth annual PDD.

Parker Business Scholars Learn Teamwork Through Challenge

On Friday, October 4, the Parker Business Scholars took to the low ropes challenge through Southern Adventures on campus. Through the process of completing three team challenges, the group of 13 students learned teamwork and how to ask for help. By participating, the students got to know each other better and learned to trust each other more. The leadership skills of each student, including strengths and weaknesses, appeared in each of the challenges.

Maygen Martinez, senior management student, recalled, “The ability to look at a problem and recognize that you can’t solve it on your own really puts into perspective the importance of your team.” She continued, “This challenge helped me realize not only how important trust was in my cohort but also the power of asking for help through it. I would not have been able to accomplish what I did without the support and guidance from my team members.”

Masters of Applied Economics Most Affordable Online Program

Georgia Southern University has the most affordable online Master’s in Economics for 2019 according to SR Education Group. 

The Master of Science in Applied Economics (MSAE) in the Parker College of Business is a fully online graduate program that offers working professionals the opportunity to advance their career with the skills needed to perform analyses of financial markets, government regulation, international trade, health care and economic development, among other industries. 

Through the program, students learn to evaluate business decisions and policy programs while gaining skills to explain the progression of various events and their impact on the economy in a business or policy context. In addition to the MSAE, Georgia Southern University offers a graduate certificate in applied economics.

“We are very proud to be able to offer a high-quality program at an affordable price,” states Amanda King, Ph.D., professor of economics and MSAE coordinator. “Students who complete our program have a marketable, analytical skill set that allows them to make business decisions in a diverse and changing data-driven world.” 

SR Education Group compiled a list of the most affordable MSAE programs in the nation, and Georgia Southern’s MSAE program ranked No. 1 with an annual tuition of $5,370. 

To be considered for this ranking, schools needed to be regionally accredited and offer at least one fully online degree in economics. 

To learn more about SR Education Group and the full list of rankings, visit

Georgia Southern Student Team Achieves First Place at National IANA Expo Competition

A team of undergraduate logistics students from the Parker College of Business won the Intermodal Association of North America’s (IANA) ninth Intermodal EXPO Academic Challenge in Long Beach, California. This win, the University’s first in this annual national competition, follows back-to-back wins at IANA-UNF competitions as Georgia Southern University students continue to outperform other IANA scholar schools in the past few years. 

Three Parker College of Business student leaders with varied backgrounds and interests, John Eubanks and Parker Business Scholars David Vaughn and Santiago Suarez, outscored the competition with their response to a business case study that focused on analyzing volume trends from both intermodal and over-the-road perspectives. Georgia Southern was one of seven IANA scholarship schools that competed. 

“It was an absolute honor being able to represent Georgia Southern University and the Parker College of Business at the IANA competition,” said Suarez. “I am very grateful that I was given this opportunity that allowed me to develop professional skills like teamwork, public speaking, research and data analysis. Overall, this has been the most beneficial, educational and challenging experience I have had in college. Getting first place is a reflection of the excellent job the [Logistics &] Supply Chain Management Department and the Parker College are making at preparing students for success.”

The competition supports class instruction designed to educate logistics and intermodal transportation students, thereby attracting them to the industry upon graduation.

“I found the IANA Competition to be an indelible experience that gave me valuable opportunities to better my research, teamwork, presentation and networking skills,” said Vaughn. “I know that all of the skills and relationships this competition helped me develop will prove essential in my remaining semesters in college as well as the entirety of my professional career. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and will always remember the Parker College faculty who helped make it possible.”

Marc Scott, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics and supply chain management and director of the Southern Center for Logistics and Intermodal Transportation, believes hands-on learning opportunities such as competitions like this give students an advantage over their peers.

“I think that this competition drives value in three ways,” stated Scott. “It connects students with the industry, which makes them enthusiastic; the case study itself encourages critical thinking; and it shows to the students there’s a lot of opportunity in this industry.”

Since IANA began the Scholarship Program, it has awarded more than $2.8 million to support students in university programs focused on freight and intermodal transportation. These funds support tuition, student research projects on intermodal issues and curriculum development.

Community Bankers Welcomed to Campus for 13th Annual Symposium

On Tuesday, October 22, the Parker College of Business and Georgia Bankers Association hosted the annual Southeast Georgia Community Bank Symposium at the Performing Arts Center on the Statesboro campus.

The Symposium welcomed approximately 80 CEOs, CFOs, bank directors, senior lenders and retail bank managers from throughout the Southeast Georgia region. The event featured leading speakers who focused on important issues facing the banking industry today, such as an update on asset quality for Georgia banks, issues in the Georgia agricultural economy and an economic outlook focused on key economic data from southeast Georgia. In addition to these topics, a panel of current Georgia Southern finance students shared their thoughts and preferences on financial services with the attendees about adjusting to Generation Z and what they, as consumers, want and expect from banks. 

We’d like to thank our sponsors, Steve H. Powell & Company and South Auction & Realty.

For more information on the annual Southeast Georgia Community Bank Symposium, please contact Don Cox at  

AT&T B2B National Sales Competition

During the weekend of October 12 and 13, six sales students made the trip to Dallas, Texas, for the AT&T National Sales Competition. The competition required students to analyze a case study of a company that could find value in a variety of AT&T Business Solutions. With all expenses paid by AT&T, our students showed AT&T sales professionals that they are ready for careers in sales. Participants were offered summer internships and permanent sales positions with AT&T.

“Having the opportunity to compete in the AT&T National Sales Competition was an incredible experience that I recommend to any student looking to pursue a career in sales,” stated Jay Reeves, junior dual major in marketing and supply chain management. “The sales classes at the Parker College of Business have provided me with a functional foundation of not only how to make the sale but also the etiquette of how to network in a professional environment. This competition brought forth an opportunity to take the material taught in the classrooms at Georgia Southern and apply it to a real-world business scenario. I thoroughly enjoyed competing and look forward to the opportunity to compete again next year.”

Accounting Students Awarded NABA Scholarships

Two Parker College of Business accounting students have been awarded 2019 National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) National Scholarships. NABA recognizes students for their hard work and determination and encourages the students to continue their education. During the 2019 NABA National Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, NV, Alyssa Morgan, senior accounting student and president of the college’s NABA student chapter, was presented the EY NABA National Scholarship in the amount of $10,000, and James Cochran, MAcc student and NABA student chapter board member, received the Jaynitsa Paul Scholarship for $2,000.

“I am honored to have received the 2019 NABA National EY Scholarship amounting to $10,000! It is a testament to what you can achieve if you believe in yourself and in your capabilities to make a difference,” states Morgan.

The conference committee selected 10 out of the 450 conference attendees from more than 50 colleges and universities to receive scholarships.

Congratulations, Alyssa and James!

Finance Association Hosts Finance Professionals Who Discuss Personal Branding & Networking

The Finance Association’s Guest Speaker Series kicked off for the 2019–2020 academic year on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. Stephanie Eikenberry and Lauren Hollis of Fidelity Brokerage Services visited campus and spoke with a number of classes during the day before their evening presentation to the Finance Association. Eikenberry, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a degree in finance and real estate, has worked for Fidelity for 12 years. She is the branch manager of the Hilton Head, SC, retail office. She holds a variety of professional licenses and is a CFP® (Certified Financial Planner). Hollis is a 2012 Georgia Southern alumna with an undergraduate degree in nutrition and dietetics and joined Fidelity about two years ago. Hollis is a financial representative in the Hilton Head office and holds the Series 7 and 66 licenses.

The focus of the discussion for the evening was branding and networking. Eikenberry and Hollis reviewed four critical elements every student should be able to convey quickly and succinctly during interviews and other networking opportunities. The four items were (1) who you are; (2) what you do; (3) how you do it; and (4) why do you do it. They believe that if you can communicate these key factors you are effectively depicting your true and authentic self. If you are true to yourself, then you will be a much happier and better employee. In addition, Eikenberry and Hollis explained the importance of “core beliefs.” These are individual beliefs by which you live your life (e.g., integrity, being proactive, working hard, being ethical, treating people well, being authentic, etc.). These should be communicated both indirectly and through examples. All of these items come together to reflect each person’s individual brand.

Next, the discussion turned to networking and its importance in obtaining jobs. Eikenberry and Hollis both noted LinkedIn, but BNI Chapters, the Meet Up app, and campus and community events were also mentioned as great resources for networking. They wrapped up the evening with some student Q&A. One question, directed to Hollis, was in regards to transitioning from one career field into a completely new field. Hollis admitted that it was scary and uncomfortable, but that anything is achievable with hard work. Eikenberry stated that the hardest part of her job was telling interviewees “no” with respect to employment.

Fidelity claims more than 30 million individual customers with 28.5 million brokerage accounts and about $7.4 trillion in total customer assets. Fidelity employs more than 40,000 people at their headquarters in Boston, MA, and in various regional offices throughout the U.S. and Canada. Fidelity provides retirement solutions for more than 23,000 employers and is the top 401(K) administrator in the U.S. Founded in 1946, Fidelity continues to be a privately-held, family-run business, currently led by the third generation of the founding family. For more information about Fidelity, visit, and for career/internship information, visit

Georgia Southern Investment Group Makes 20 Percent Profit on the Stock Market

From The George-Anne
by Davon Johnson
October 4, 2019

A GS group called Profit Yields Through Hustle (P.Y.T.H) has made a 20 percent profit financing and trading on the stock market in the last year.

“We didn’t want to limit ourselves to just what the school could provide us,” Paul Medard, senior finance major, said. “We want to expand and grow because we have a community that can communicate our ideas on how we can elevate this organization.”

P.Y.T.H. began trading with $200, utilizing the Robinhood app, a free smartphone app that allows individuals to invest in publicly traded companies with having to pay a broker commission.

The group has seen a 20 percent profit since the organization started and their goal is to have over $1,000 in their account by the end of spring.

Coe Magruder, senior finance major, said that all the group required from members was new trading experience, and that all P.Y.T.H. wants is for its account to stay above 0. 

“People with new trading experience is all we can ask, and to not have our account zeroed out from bad decisions,” Magruder said. “We have actually stayed with the market and beat it a little bit.”

The group welcomes all individuals who want to be a collaborator and have different ideas, but they also have the option to use their own money to publicly trade.

“You can learn so much about so many different industries that your knowledge base is almost infinite,” Magruder said.

The group also plans to do community service and visit retirement homes to help families around the area in the future. The group is also looking into doing open houses once a month to get new members in the door and see if the activities is a good fit for prospective members.

“We want a monthly social so everybody can invite who they want so we can get to know each other and build that idea of community,” Paul said.

New members were present at Monday’s meeting, so they got a chance to say how they felt about the organization and what it can do for them in the future.

“I feel like being young with the right attitude, it’s great to jump into something like this,” John Eubanks, senior supply chain management major said.

P.Y.T.H. meets every Monday on 133 Herschel Drive at 8:30 p.m.

Davon Johnson, The George-Anne News Reporter,

Faculty/Staff News

Hyunju Shin, Ph.D., and Lindsay Larson, Ph.D., associate professors of marketing, along with Bella Bunosso, undergraduate marketing student, presented “The Influence of Chatbot Humor on Customer Evaluations of Services” at the Society for Marketing Advances conference in New Orleans. Bunosso is the first author on this paper and is leading the project.

On Friday, October 4, the Parker College of Business held the first Parker Research Seminar of the academic year with Arda Yenipazarli, Ph.D., associate professor of operations management, who presented, “Life-Cycle Approach to Environmental Innovation: Cost Structure, Advertising and Competition,” followed by Duong “Katie” Pham, Ph.D., assistant professor of finance, who presented, “How Does Economic Policy Uncertainty Affect CEO Turnover?”

In addition, Pham was featured on WalletHub in an article about credit cards for people with no credit. To view the article, visit

Jackie Eastman, Ph.D., professor of marketing, along with co-authors, Hyunju Shin, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, and Kristen Ruhland, lecturer of marketing, had their manuscript, “The Picture of Luxury: A Comprehensive Examination of College Student Consumers’ Relationship with Luxury Brands,” accepted by Psychology & Marketing. Congrats!

Michael Toma, Ph.D., professor of economics, participated in the Joint Budget Hearings on September 27 in Atlanta for the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, where he provided insight on coastal Georgia and the impact that it has on the state’s economy.

Arda Yenipazarli, Ph.D., associate professor of operations management, and his co-authors, had their article, “Life-Cycle Approach to Environmental Innovation: Cost Structure, Advertising and Competition” published in Decision Sciences Journal.

Errol Stewart, Ph.D., and Tim Cairney, Ph.D., associate professors of accounting, had their article, “Audit Report Lag and Client Industry Homogeneity,” published in Managerial Auditing Journal. Congrats, Errol and Tim!

Last updated: 1/17/2023