In Brief

Student’s Project A Finalist In Industry Competition

This fall, Aruna Venkataraman, a Project and Supply Chain Management senior, attended SAP’s annual TechEd Conference in Las Vegas as part of an Applied Research Lab team with four students from Penn State University Park. The TechEd conference is SAP’s largest annual industry conference, which focuses on strategy, product direction, and best practices.

Venkataraman’s team participated in the SAP Innojam competition in which groups had thirty-six hours to conceive and build a real, working solution to a given challenge using SAP technologies. They were challenged to develop an application supporting sustainability.

“We created a facility and planning application called GEN-E-US that helps users book the right room for appropriate energy management,” Venkataraman said. “It would suggest which room to book based on the numbers of people attending the event, the technology needed, and other variables. The ultimate objective was to save energy and space.”

GEN-E-US was selected as a finalist in the Innojam, advancing the team to the Demojam where they presented and demonstrated their solution on stage in front of industry leaders.

Alumnus Exemplifies Ambition, Altruism

In her senior year, with forty résumes in hand, Linda Walton ’10 walked into the career fair at Penn State University Park. She had a twenty-second elevator speech prepared, but her three Black School of Business majors—International Business, Marketing, and Management Information Systems—did all the talking.

“The first table we stopped at was IBM,” Walton said. “I handed the woman my résume and she circled my majors and my SAP certificate and asked me to come back later that day for an interview. I didn’t even get to give her my speech!”

Walton was, of course, more than the sum of her majors. Her experiences as a leader, volunteer, and student food service supervisor, spoke volumes about her drive, determination, and dedication to success.

Some of that she credits to the work ethic she developed at Penn State Behrend.

“I’m glad that my professors were strict and didn’t accept any excuses,” she said. “There are no exceptions in the real world, and Behrend prepared me for that.”

IBM was quick to offer Walton a position, which she accepted. Today, she works in Washington, D.C., for IBM Global Services as a Senior Federal Consultant for Enterprise Applications.

“I work with the Food and Drug Administration helping set budgetary controls using Oracle software,” she said.

Walton enjoys her job and working for IBM, though technology is a field she did not see herself working in before attending Penn State Behrend. “When I started at Behrend, I had the mindset that I wanted to improve the areas I was weak in; that’s how I ended up in MIS,” she said, “so it’s ironic that I work in that field.” Since leaving Behrend, Walton has earned an MBA and is now working on a Master of Arts degree in global security studies with intelligence from Johns Hopkins University. She has traveled the country and is fluent in Japanese and American Sign Language. She said she dreams of using her skills and knowledge to help with humanitarian efforts in Third-World countries. 

Noce Honored By Boys And Girls Club

Dr. Kathleen Noce, senior lecturer in management information systems, was recently honored by the Boys and Girls Club of Erie with the Woman and Youth Award for more than two decades of service to the organization. The award is the highest honor the club bestows on volunteers. Noce has been a board member and volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club for more than twenty years. In addition, she has helped the club with many of its technology needs through Partnership Erie, an outreach center of the Black School of Business, which she founded in 2001 to provide free web design, web marketing, and content management services to nonprofit organizations. The majority of the work is done by students in MIS387 Website Design and Administration who are learning to design and manage websites. It’s a win-win: nonprofits benefit from the web expertise they receive and students benefit from the handson experience working with real clients. Noce, who has been giving back to others since her youth, volunteers at several other organizations in the Erie area, too. But she has a special affinity for the Boys and Girls Club. “Caring and kindness really can make a difference,” she said. “I know that when I see the impact the Boys and Girls Club of Erie has on area youth. If I can help them, my life is richer, and I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose for being here.”

Students Win “Investment Olympics” 

A student investment team from the Black School of Business reached the regional finals of the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute’s Research Challenge in Chicago earlier this year, topping teams from nearly 1,000 other schools! The team—Drew Barko, Samantha Chiprean, Eric Frei, Ricky Grullon, and Kelsey Schupp—spent more than 130 hours preparing a detailed financial report and oneyear stock valuation for the initial competition, which was held in Pittsburgh in March. They won the regional title. In Chicago, they then won an initial round that cut the number of teams from 106 to just twenty-one. “The performance of our team is a testimony to the high caliber of our students and the instruction they receive from our faculty members,” said Dr. Greg Filbeck, team mentor and interim director of the school.