College of Business holds inaugural Best in Business Banquet

a group of eight people stand in front of COB backdrop holding awards

The College of Business celebrated its achievements from the 2023-24 school year with the inaugural Best in Business Banquet on Wednesday, April 3. Students, staff, faculty alumni and community members were recognized for their outstanding achievements.

After a welcome from COB Dean Rama Yelkur, Associate Dean for Accreditation Dewaynna Horn, PhD and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Pushkala Raman, PhD presented the awards. 

Outstanding Undergraduate Student

Criteria: The selection of the Outstanding Undergraduate Student was decided on by members of the College of Business Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. The committee took into consideration GPA, involvement in the College of Business, participation in student organizations, employment, and other volunteer/service activities.

profile picture of Ciara Easterling

Ciara Easterling
Ciara has served as treasurer and president of the American Marketing Association (AMA) student chapter. She was part of the chapter’s case competition team that advanced to the finals at the AMA International Collegiate Conference for two consecutive years. She worked as a marketing intern with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

Outstanding Graduate Student

The selection of the Outstanding Graduate Student was decided on by members of the College of Business Graduate Curriculum Committee. The committee took into consideration GPA, involvement in the College of Business, participation in student organizations, employment, and other volunteer/service activities. 

profile picture of Theodora Sam-Brew

Theodora Sam-Brew
Theodora is pursuing an MBA with an emphasis on Women in Leadership. She is the current president of the National Association of Black Accountants and is a member of the Dean's Student Advisory Board. Theodora currently works full-time for the COB as the senior secretary. She earned her bachelor’s degree from TWU in food and nutrition in business and industry with a minor in marketing. She was a residence director, overseeing the gender-inclusive community, a pioneering initiative of the TWU Housing Department. 


Excellence in Teaching Award

The selection for the Excellence in Teaching Awards is done by students in the College of Business through a survey conducted by the Community Engagement Committee of the College of Business Dean’s Student Advisory Board. The purpose of this award is to recognize and encourage excellence in the classroom. 

profile picture of Sumanjali Shrestha

Sumanjali Shrestha, Visiting Instructor – Accounting
Sumanjali has taught accounting at TWU for the last six years. She started her professional career at a Big Four accounting firm before moving to a Fortune 100 oil and gas company. She is a TWU alumnus with a BBA and an MBA in Accounting.

A student shared “Ms. Shrestha's passion for accounting shines in every lecture. Her excitement for the class spills over and makes us all want to be our best. Lectures are fast-paced (as she has to be to get all the instruction in during class) so she ensures that she tapes the lectures so students can slow it down and learn as needed. She goes out of her way to help students prepare for interviews and events like "Meet the Firms." I do not doubt that I'm not the only one impressed with her.”


profile picture of Pranathy Enamela

Pranathy Enamela, Adjunct Faculty
Pranathy is a data engineer for the University of North Texas System. She earned her PhD in data science from the University of North Texas.

A student shared “Dr. Enamela went above and beyond to ensure I felt valued, included, and had a sense of belonging despite accommodations requiring additional assistance that exceeded the normal process. Her leadership motivated and inspired me to excel in and out of the classroom.” 


Outstanding Publication Award

This award recognizes and encourages excellence in research by a College of Business faculty member. The recipient is a faculty member who exhibits excellence in academic research, scholarship, and mastery of subject matter that is impactful and exemplifies the characteristics of a scholar.  An ongoing record of research and scholarly productivity, a recent publication of particularly high quality, recent receipt of significant research funding, or other meritorious achievements consistent with the mission of the College is of particular interest. 

profile picture of Fernanda Muniz

Fernanda Muniz, Assistant Professor - Marketing
Fernanda joined the College of Business at TWU as an assistant professor of marketing in Fall 2022. Muniz’s research interests include branding, marketing & technology including AI, corporate social responsibility, and cross-cultural and global marketing. She has published in the Journal of Product & Brand Management, Journal of Brand Management, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Young Consumers, and proceedings of the AMA Summer, AMA Winter, and the Society for Marketing Advances conferences. She was one of three authors to co-publish "Are they humans or are they robots? The effect of virtual influencer disclosure on brand trust" in the Journal of Consumer Behaviour. Muniz is currently studying the impact of AI influencers on the social media engagement and purchase intentions of consumers.

Distinguished Alumnus

This award recognizes an alum who has attained prominence in their profession, or through their accomplishments within their industries, communities, or through public service.

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Dr. Glorimar Medina, Executive Vice President and Head Administrator for Ben Taub Hospital
Dr. Medina is responsible for overseeing the healthcare quality and patient experience for approximately 75,000 emergency room patients, 17,000 inpatient admissions, 7,400 observation patients, 11,000 surgeries, 3,000 deliveries, and 24,000 virtual visits, annually. During her tenure at BTH, she has achieved notable accomplishments, such as overseeing the renovation of the Emergency Center, an impressive 10% reduction in employee turnover, and elevating patient experience scores to surpass the 90th percentile according to Hospital Consumer Assessment for Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAPS). Dr. Medina is a practicing anesthesiologist and has been board-certified since 2008. She earned her MBA from TWU College of Business in 2019. 

Outstanding Leader in Health Care

This award highlights a person’s impact on the healthcare sector and the broader community. It recognizes an outstanding leader in healthcare who helps promote best practices and innovation within the industry. 

profile picture of Glorimar Medina

Jeff Reecer - President, Texas Health Presbyterian
Jeff has served several communities as an executive in healthcare organizations for 36 years with the last 23 being at Texas Health. He worked 11 years as chief operating officer and the last 12 years as president. Texas Health Denton is the largest non-profit in Denton County with  1,100 employees and 539 physicians on staff. Jeff is passionate about his team and the understanding that their role is essential and contributes to a healing environment in which they achieve reliable outcomes.

Outstanding Entrepreneur

This award was created to recognize the hard work, dedication, and innovation required to be an entrepreneur.

profile picture of Indu Sanka

Indu Sanka - CEO and owner of Red Elephant
Red Elephant is a design and architectural signage manufacturing and installation company that caters to diverse commercial facilities. Under Indu's guidance, Red Elephant has grown tenfold in the last six years, gaining recognition as an INC 5000 listed company two years in a row and most recently as a Dallas 100 company. She has received awards from the Women's Business Council and made the Dallas Business Journal 40 under 40 list in 2022. She received the Outstanding Young Alumni award by SMU Cox School of Business.

Outstanding Woman Owned Business

This award recognizes the achievements of a woman-owned business. 

profile picture of Merrilee Kick

Merrilee Kick, CEO of BuzzBallz/Southern Champion LLC
Merrilee founded the company as part of her MBA thesis (capstone) project at TWU in 2009, and according to Neilsen it is ranked as one of the top RTD Cocktail Brands in America. The family-operated company sells products in all 50 states, and 27 countries, and is home to over 1000 employees. Merrilee received the Dallas Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO Award, EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Top Women in Grocery Award, and WPO/Chase Bank’s “50 Fastest” Woman Owned Companies in the United States. She is also a winner of the Texas Woman’s University Most Distinguished Alumni Award.

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Page last updated 11:12 AM, April 26, 2024