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Achieving their goals: Chambers College graduates follow their passions to influence the future of business

Achieving their goals: Chambers College graduates follow their passions to influence the future of business

On Saturday, May 13, more than 700 business students will become a part of our Chambers College alumni family and embark on their next journey.

Chambers College 2021 December Commencement

Our Chambers College 2023 class – composed of 575 undergraduate students, and 155 masters and PhD students – will join together in the WVU Coliseum to hear inspiring words from West Virginia University’s President E. Gordon Gee, as well as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed.

Today’s graduates are not only equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed, but they have also adopted our University’s values of service, curiosity, respect, accountability and appreciation, into their daily lives.

“Our Chambers College graduates are ready to rise as the next generation of business leaders and innovators with the turn of their tassels,” said Josh Hall, Milan Puskar Dean. “They truly embody the Mountaineer spirit – they are curious and engaged global citizens who are prepared to solve the problems of tomorrow.”

After opening the doors to Reynolds Hall in 2022, it was evident that our students, as well as our faculty and staff, gained a new-found energy. 

Students were interacting and learning in innovative ways that allowed them to grow both personally and professionally.

From serving undergraduate students as a Chambers College Ambassador or Peer Mentor, and one-on-one tutoring for key business courses in the Becker Academic Engagement Success Center (AeSC), to leading a student organization with peers and winning competitions, this year’s graduates are ready and eager to take that next step.  

For some, that next step involves starting their full-time careers at Big Four firms like Ernst & Young (EY), KPMG and Deloitte, and other well-known companies such as HersheyPepsiCo, Evoqua Water Technologies, Republic Services, Noblis, Boston Consulting Group, and Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon.

Nathan Baker, accounting and finance graduate

Figuring out what you want to do and then actually going for it takes courage.

Nathan Baker, a Fairmont, West Virginia native, is a non-traditional student graduating with a dual-degree in accounting and finance.

“I chose to major in accounting and finance because I knew I wanted to work in the business field,” said Baker. “West Virginia has always been my home, but I am lucky enough to have been able to explore the world around me. As a result, over the years I have made many friends along the way, and when you’re 8,000 miles from home wearing your flying WV and someone who went to WVU yells, “Let’s go” to you, you really begin to understand just how far a WVU alumnus can go.

“Once I learned about the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) program at the Chambers College and the access to the tools it offers to have a successful career in finance, the question of “where I would re-enroll” became “when am I going to re-enroll into WVU. Our alumni have helped build an incredible program that I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of. Thanks to them, and the dedication from the faculty, I feel that I am more prepared than ever to enter the finance world and be competitive.

However, obtaining his degree is just the beginning for Baker.

“I knew that at some point I wanted a degree, I never thought that it would actually happen,” he said. “Everyone always says that it's difficult to go back as a non-traditional student and now I understand why. It can feel daunting, and while I generally enjoy taking risks, sometimes it’s easy to convince yourself that there are reasons why you can’t make it happen.

“My past is what got me here and while goals might seem out of reach because of whatever reason you’ve convinced yourself that day. I genuinely believe that anything is possible if you chase it long enough and having a degree makes that dream a much easier reality to paint for a small-town kid from West Virginia.”

Baker has accepted a job at Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA, as a Derivatives Analyst.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the thing that I will miss most is the people,” he said. “There's something about Mountaineers that are just different than most anyone I have met along the way to this point. We’re resilient, we’re fun loving, and more than anything Mountaineers are one of the kindest groups of people I have ever come across.”

Deanna Crumm, marketing and organizational leadership graduate   

Our motto holds true: Mountaineers go first.

For Deanna Crumm, she was one of the founding officers for WVU’s first-ever Women in Business (WiB) student organization.

In fact, WiB received the Outstanding Online Presence Award back-to-back years for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.

When she was not serving as the organization’s vice president, she was winning awards of her own and helping other undergraduate business students find their passions.

“I have been exposed to experiential learning opportunities and client projects, school and work support from the Center for Career Development (CCD), and unique perspectives through student organizations and extracurricular activities,” she said. I have been a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and through this organization, I competed and placed in my first case competition,” said Crumm. “As a business student, I also served as a Chambers College Ambassador, a resident assistant for the CLIMB, LLC, and a student worker for the organizational leadership department.”

Growing up in Wheeling, West Virginia, she admits that choosing her major did not come naturally for her, but she knew she wanted to study at WVU.  

“I chose WVU because of the extensive variety of opportunities and resources available to students, said Crumm. “Within the Chambers College, I was still unsure which path was right for me so I started with a major in management. Then I switched to marketing because I enjoyed the creative side of business. With a passion for helping others, I added organizational leadership. Knowing that there would be high competition for jobs, I also added a business data analytics minor to further differentiate myself and add to my skill set. Today, I know my aspirations are to make a positive difference in my community, relationships, workplace and the world.”

After graduation, she will move to Massachusetts, where she has accepted a full-time job with Evoqua Water Technologies.

Steven Chettleburgh, entrepreneurship and innovation graduate 

On the other hand, Steven Chettleburgh knew entrepreneurship and innovation was the major for him ever since he ran a yard sale business in middle school.

Being from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Chettleburgh said he loved the outdoor opportunities that surround the University, and could not get over how friendly and welcoming WVU and its people.

With each changing season, his love for entrepreneurship stayed true.

His freshman year he got involved in the WVU Entrepreneurship Club and, most recently, has served as its president. This spring, he accepted the award for the “Outstanding Student Organization Leader” for the club. 

Chettleburgh says he has learned how to pitch business ideas and properly network, and he dreams of opening his own business one day.

Until then, he has accepted a full-time job with Hershey in Maine.

While not the most common, there are students who make their college decision based off of not knowing anything – or anyone – about it.

Dylan Istre, finance graduate  

Military student originally from Maryland, Dylan Istre, said he didn’t know anyone at WVU and was excited to start a new chapter of his life in an unfamiliar place.

“Being in the military has provided me a very personal and applicable experience in things like leadership and management,” said Istre. “The military also helped mature me, which I believe was beneficial in academic and professional success while in undergrad. 

“I chose to major in finance because I was very interested in investments and learning a discipline that could contribute to creating wealth, as well as use those skills to make big contributions to a company.”

While pursuing a degree in finance and being a Chambers College Peer Mentor, he also used his connections within our CCD to meet an alumnus, and make a life-long friend and mentor. 

“This networking opportunity was phenomenal and truly right up my lane,” he said. “During the weeklong visit, I met with my mentor many times and we capped off the week at a WVU football tailgate. Putting time and effort into building this relationship with him was very important and allowed us to get to know each other well. Building this relationship also allowed me to secure a full time job.” 

Thanks to the skills he has learned and the connections he has made, Istre has accepted a full-time job with CAE in Tampa, Florida.

Carl Behm, marketing graduate

Maryland native and marketing senior, Carl Behm, attended a WVU vs. Pitt basketball game, fell in love with our University’s pride and never looked back.

After living in the CLIMB, LLC his freshman year, he has gone on to serve as a Chambers College Peer Mentor and the Vice President of the WVU Boxing Club.

“Having the opportunity to learn in Reynolds Hall is something you can’t take for granted,” said Behm. “The learning environment that the building and faculty have created is refreshing. It truly made me excited to go into class and learn every day.”

Behm said he would recommend WVU to anyone thinking about majoring in business. 

“By choosing the Chambers College, you will be set up with plenty of networking opportunities throughout your academic career,” he said. “Outside of all of the academic knowledge I’ve gained about the digital marketing industry, I think the biggest skill I have gained has been time management. My professors stressed the importance of this skill my freshman year and I am forever thankful. Plus, having faculty members that I know I can count on to be there for me has made a huge difference. You can’t go wrong by choosing to be in the business school, no matter what your degree of choice is.”

Behm is graduating with a degree in marketing and is currently interning for Pink Dog Digital agency.

However, aside from the career route, several May graduates have decided to continue their education within the Chambers College and pursue a master’s degree.

Lillian Bischof, finance and chemical engineering graduate

Recently honored as one of eight recipients to receive the Order of Augusta – the most prestigious WVU student award – Bischof has split her college career into two categories: finance and chemical engineering (of WVU Statler College).

Being from the northern panhandle of the state, she chose WVU because the faculty and staff.

“They go above and beyond to cater to each and every student. During one of my visits to campus, faculty welcomed me to their labs to view their research, to their offices to discuss opportunities, and to their classrooms to watch the learning in action on campus,” said Bischof.
“They make the university feel like a family in that they support you and truly look forward to your success.”

Throughout her college career, Bischof co-founded the Women in Business (WiB) student organization, and has been a member of the Honors College, Career Readiness Program, the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF), and Global Business Brigades (where she traveled to Panama on a 10-day study abroad trip).

Biscof agrees that finishing her undergraduate degree at Reynolds Hall made her experience that much sweeter. 

“I am very appreciative of my experience within the Chambers College, and I am so blessed to have been able to grow personally and professionally through all of the opportunities that the college has provided to me,” she said. “I am incredibly grateful to all of the donors who supported the completion of Reynolds Hall. Reynolds Hall is a beautiful building full of exciting centers of experiential learning that truly makes me excited to go class to learn in such an innovative space with industry-leading technology. 

“After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in management consulting to create innovative solutions to future clients’ problems by combining my technical expertise and business acumen,” said Bischof. “I will be starting a full-time position with Boston Consulting Group in Pittsburgh in January 2024.

“In the meantime, I will be pursuing a master’s in business data analytics (BUDA) within the Chambers College.”

McKenna Gray, marketing graduate 

McKenna Gray, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is also staying at the Chambers College and enrolling into our master of science in human resource management (MSHRM) program.

“I’m very excited to put all of the skills I have learned from WVU into action and become the business woman I have always wanted to be,” said Gray. “It excites me that I will soon be independent and starting my career as a young professional.

Outside of being a business student, Gray was involved in the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi and held several leadership positions, including vice president for Chi Omega sorority.

“I am very lucky that I will get to enjoy the beautiful new building for another year, but I will definitely miss my fellow Mountaineers in my graduating class the most. I have formed such amazing bonds and relationships with people here that have truly made my experience what it was.”

With their education behind them, many of our Chambers College graduate students are ready to enter the workforce.

CJ Pedone, MBA graduate

New York native, CJ Pedone, will receive his MBA and move to Wilmington, North Carolina, to work at PepsiCo.

Pedone earned a bachelor’s degree in food science from Penn State University and decided to hone both his soft and hard skills at WVU.

“I chose the MBA program to sharpen my managerial and soft skills, expand my business knowledge, and build a strong business acumen,” said Pedone. “My most favorite thing about the program is the daily interaction and conversation not only with my classmates, but also with professors on topics inside and outside the classroom. Chambers College has a variety of experiential opportunities to utilize skills and apply knowledge learned in the classroom, such as consulting projects and immersing yourself in different cultures while studying abroad.”

Thomas Green, MBA graduate

Morgantown native and sports management alumnus, Thomas Green, will also be graduating with his MBA and joining Republic Services in Tampa, Florida.

“WVU is where my family has always gone and I love the land-grant mission of the University,” said Green. “The business acumen I gained in undergrad fueled my curiosity to further study business. I was also fortunate to receive a graduate assistantship within the Chambers College.

“The MBA practicum series afforded myself and my colleagues to regularly attend guest lectures from company executives. They provided tremendous insights to help us successfully navigate our careers. Our Center for Career Development also connected me with individuals who helped mentor me to properly integrate and connect with individuals in my future organization.”

Green’s connections allowed him to work with the Scouts of America Summit Bechtel Reserve.

“I had the privilege to provide consulting services to the Scouts of America Summit Bechtel Reserve involving market intelligence, marketing strategy and financial analysis to support their summer day adventure passes,” said Green. “The opportunity to work with a local asset to support the state of West Virginia's – my home state – economic growth was incredibly rewarding and humbling! It also served as an invaluable experience to support my future career in operations and management consulting.”

Lauren Moore, business data analytics graduate

Lauren Moore, economics alumna and West Virginia native, also agrees that experiential learning opportunities and projects with her peers made her experience in the business data analytics (BUDA) program unique. 

“I chose the BUDA program because it allowed me to incorporate my love for technology with my passion for helping others,” said Moore. “This program is unique in its ability to merge business, people, and data science in a way that’s useful within industry and prepares students for the real world. The program is designed to change with the market and adapt to emerging solutions driven by industry leaders. 

“My favorite thing about my program has been the opportunity to work on projects with my peers to push the boundaries of the material and create things that have never been done before. Utilizing the material in class and working with faculty, we have been able to adapt to new technologies and apply them in projects that help prepare us for the workforce.”

After graduating with her masters, Moore will be working with Noblis – a Data Driven WV partner.

“The resources, faculty, staff, and environment that WVU provides are like no other and cannot be matched,” she said. “It creates a family atmosphere with faculty and staff that will push you to be the best while encouraging you along the way. From diving into data to help inform WVU’s decision-makers with Data Driven WV to hiking a volcano in Guatemala on a study abroad trip, it would have never been possible without the Chambers College.”

SH 05/08/23

CONTACT: Shelby Hudnall 
Marketing Strategist
WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics, Strategic Communications 

Chambers College