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Dividend The official online magazine of the Carson College of Business

August 2020 – New Hires

Blythe Howell is the new office assistant in the Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Idaho in 2014. Before coming to WSU, she worked as an office assistant for a pediatric occupational therapy clinic in her hometown of Boise. She took a job in 2016 at WSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, where she continues to work part-time as the manager of the wheat and small grains website. In her free time, Howell enjoys knitting sweaters, photography, reading, and taking road trips around the Pacific Northwest with her husband.

Dipra Jha is an associate professor and the new assistant director of the School of Hospitality Business Management. Before coming to WSU, he was an associate professor of practice and the director of global engagement for the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. During his tenure there, Jha conceptualized and helped build a 154-room, Four Diamond teaching and research hotel on the Nebraska Innovation Campus. He was previously an assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management at North Dakota State University.

Sheena Kerr is the new office administrator for the Carson Center for Student Success. While new to WSU and higher education, she says “I have always been a Coug fan!” Kerr previously spent more than 20 years in the early education field and is eager to use her operational management experience in her new role at the Carson Center. She was born and raised on the Palouse and enjoys spending time at her family’s farm outside of Colton. She and her husband have three daughters and enjoy camping and spending time with family and friends.

Lisa Wood is the administrative assistant for the Department of Marketing and International Business. Practically a Pullman local at this point, she moved here in 2001 to study zoology and psychology at WSU and has stayed ever since. After graduating with a bachelor of science degree in zoology in 2006, she worked as an office manager at a local dental practice. Outside of work, Wood enjoys spending time with her son, playing outdoors, and teaching yoga.

Coming in December, more profiles on new faculty hired in 2020.

March 2020 – New Hires

Erin Abbott (’18 Soc. Sci.) is the online MBA admissions coordinator in the Office of Graduate and Online Programs. She previously worked as an administrative assistant in the WSU Access Center. In her free time, Abbott enjoys watching football and spending time with her dogs, friends, and family.
Amber Butcherite is the assistant to the dean’s office. She has previously worked for the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and Facilities Services. Born and raised in Pullman, Butcherite is a third-generation WSU employee. She has three children with her husband, Chef de Cuisine Jason Butcherite, who also works for the Carson College of Business. She loves spending her time with family, friends, and her golden retriever, Penny. She also enjoys working out, strength training, and being spoiled with a home cooked meal by her husband.
Andrew Gepford is an academic advisor in the Carson Center for Student Success. He previously worked as an athletic trainer for WSU for eight years. Before coming to WSU, he was an athletic trainer at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, for three years. He earned his master’s degree from Morehead State University in health and wellness promotion and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho in athletic training.
Bob Harrington (’96 MBA, ’01 Ph.D. Strat. Mgmt.) is the new director for the School of Hospitality Business Management. He also will assume the Ivar B. Haglund Chair in Hospitality Business Management.
Lindsey Hobbs is the new student engagement and scholarship coordinator for the Carson Center for Student Success. She graduated from Boise State in 2018 with a bachelor’s in science degree in psychology. Previously, Hobbs worked at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and Boise State University advising, coordinating schedules, and working in student enhancement and community outreach.
Bradley Leach has joined the Office of Technology as a video producer. A native of Moscow, Idaho, he attended the University of Idaho before pursuing his bachelor’s degree in film studies at the American University of Paris. While living in France, Leach worked in the fashion and digital media industry for various magazines, bloggers, and personalities including Culture Keeper, Crash, JUAN Studios from Colombia, Mira Mikati, and Sandqvist Bags. In 2018, he returned to the United States where he worked in freelance videography and served as a media consultant for his family’s business before joining the Carson College. When not busy with his passion for videography, Leach enjoys creating music, directing short films, conducting creative photo shoots, and writing screenplays.
Aimee Tejeda Lunn is the new industry connection coordinator for the Carson Center for Student Success. She grew up on the East Coast, where she received her master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has extensive experience in youth development, nonprofit programming, and event coordination. In her free time, Tejeda Lunn enjoys singing, teaching Zumba, and working on creative projects.
Laurie Marcum (’19 Psych.) is the credentials evaluator for the Office of Graduate and Online Programs. She is a first-generation college graduate. Marcum lives in Pullman with her husband and three children. A Pacific Northwest native, she enjoys spending her free time hiking, snowshoeing, and kayaking.
Nancy Swanger has been named the founding director of the Granger Cobb Institute for Senior Living.

December 2019 – New Hires

Mesut Cicek is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and International Business. He received his doctorate from Istanbul Bilgi University and was a visiting professor at Rutgers Business School before joining WSU. His research focuses on social media marketing, online product placement, and place authenticity and branding. Before his academic career, Cicek worked as a marketing manager and import manager in several private sector companies.
Chris Cooney is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship. He previously taught strategic communication at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at WSU. He has an executive master of business administration degree from the University of Idaho, where he also worked as the senior director of marketing and communication and the director of web communication. Cooney is a member of the Adobe Education Leader Program, a community of thought leaders in education who use Adobe tools to promote creativity and critical problem-solving.
Brittney Gamez is the new fiscal specialist 2 for the Dean’s Office. She grew up in Lewiston and graduated from Lewis-Clark State College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She previously worked in office management for Eastside Marketplace in Moscow, Idaho. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, cats and dogs, and doing crafts.
Tom Kokta is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and International Business. He is the former head of consumer insights at Microsoft, and he has started and run multiple small businesses. Kokta earned his Ph.D. at the University of Washington, a master’s degree in math at Syracuse University, a master of business administration at McMaster University, and a master of science degree in economics at Ulm University. He enjoys working at the intersection of marketing, data, and agile product development. Kokta is an avid photographer. His work has appeared in National Geographic Magazine and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Hana Johnson is an assistant professor in the Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from the University of Washington and a master’s in business administration from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has worked for Starbucks, Procter and Gamble, and Arthur Andersen.
Cynthia Johnston is an academic coordinator for WSU Vancouver. She previously worked for Portland State University in housing and residence life. After earning her master’s degree from Portland State in higher education administration and leadership, she worked at Seattle Pacific University in student employment and career development. She has a passion for helping students develop their strengths.
Jeff Joireman has been promoted to chair of the Department of Marketing and International Business.
Keri Jones Knight is a student engagement specialist at WSU Vancouver, supporting internship opportunities and department-sponsored events. She has a bachelor’s degree from Western Oregon University in deaf education and a master’s degree from Portland State University in educational leadership and policy with a focus on student affairs. She previously worked at Western Oregon University as the coordinator of clubs and organizations and at Aloha High School as a graduation mentor. Knight enjoys volunteering with youth in her community and training at her gym.
Garth Mader is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Management, Information Systems, and Entrepreneurship. He previously spent 13 years at Amazon and has also worked at Nordstorm. He is best known for his work building new, disruptive customer experiences and helping drive efficiency, scale, and profitability in startups. Mader has a bachelor of science degree in business and marketing from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in business administration from Seattle University.
Titus Nordquist is the college’s Ph.D. coordinator. He previously worked as the Online MBA coordinator for the Business Graduate and Online Programs office. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sport management from WSU. Nordquist is a Washington native who loves to golf and hunt.
Calen Ouellette is the college’s senior director of development. He has nearly 20 years of public relations and fundraising experience, serving in a senior leadership and development role at the University of Southern California for nearly 15 of those years. Ouellette earned his master of business administration degree from the University of Southern California and his bachelor’s degree from WSU in 2000. In his free time, Ouellette is an active outdoorsman in tow with his two dogs, Charlie and Dexter.
Avery Smith is a clinical assistant professor of management information systems at WSU Vancouver. He previously worked as an adjunct faculty member at WSU Vancouver teaching strategic management. Smith has worked in technology management roles at HP Inc. and Oregon Health and Science University. He received his doctorate from George Fox University. Smith’s research interests include strategic thinking and technology leadership.
Xinchang Wang is an assistant professor of operations management in the Department of Finance and Management Science. He previously worked for Mississippi State University. He has Ph.D.s from Georgia Institute of Technology and the National University of Singapore. Wang’s research focuses on pricing and revenue management with applications to queueing service systems, logistics, and supply chain management.
Rachel Worthy is an academic coordinator at WSU Vancouver. She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Western Washington University and a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Colorado State University. She previously worked at Bellingham Technical College as the youth re-engagement advisor, advising disengaged and at-risk youth as they pursued high school equivalency and post-secondary education.
Yixuan Xiao is an assistant professor in the Department of Finance and Management Science. She received her doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis and her undergraduate degree from Peking University. She was a faculty member at City University of Hong Kong before joining WSU. Her research focuses on operations management, supply risk management, interface of operations management and finance, and the pharmaceutical supply chain.
Keyang (Daniel) Yang is an assistant professor in the Department of Finance and Management Science. He received his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Iowa. His research focuses on corporate finance. He currently teaches financial institutions and intermediation.
Nolan Yaws-Gonzalez is the Business Growth MAP manager at WSU Vancouver. In his role, he partners with others to help business students apply what they have learned to real-world challenges. He previously led both Career Services and New Student Programs at WSU Vancouver. Yaws-Gonzalez is passionate about student success and experiential learning and loves being a member of the VanCoug family.

August 2019 – New Hires

Mia Gleason is the new communications manager for the Office of Graduate and Online Programs. As a first-generation college graduate, she earned both her bachelor’s in public relations with a triple-specialization in sports business, advertising, and nonprofit administration, and her master’s in athletic administration from Central Washington University. Prior to joining the Carson College’s marketing communications team, Gleason was the social media specialist at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
Lisa Hill is a new academic advisor in the Carson Center for Student Success. She earned both her bachelor’s and a master’s in adult, organizational learning, and leadership from the University of Idaho. Before joining WSU, she advised students at the University of Idaho for seven years, and prior to that, she served students in a variety of roles at North Idaho College.
Becky Kramer is a communication manager in the Office of Marketing, Communications, and Events. She is a Northwest native, who previously spent more than 25 years working for newspapers in Washington and Idaho. She was most recently a reporter for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, where she wrote about business, energy, and the environment. She enjoys hiking, swimming, entertaining, family time, and reading mysteries.
Kate Merrick (’19 Strat. Comm.) is a new program specialist at WSU Vancouver. She will work on marketing for the Business Growth Mentor & Analysis Program (MAP) and the Carson College at the Vancouver campus. She is a third-generation Coug and recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. While in Pullman, she worked at the WSU College of Education as a marketing and communications coordinator. Merrick is excited to continue working in the Coug family and to support upcoming students in their education.
Melissa Painter is the new administrative assistant in the Dean’s Office. She graduated from Lewis-Clark State College with a bachelor’s in business management. She is a first-generation college graduate. After graduation, she managed a Sherwin Williams paint store in the D.C. metro area before coming back to the Pacific Northwest. Most recently, she was the administrative assistant at WSU’s Cougar Health Services. She enjoys learning and experiencing new things, travel, and spending time with friends and family.
Kristen White is a new academic and student success advisor in the Carson Center for Student Success. She earned both her bachelor’s in psychology and her master’s in student affairs and higher education from the State University of New York Plattsburgh. While finishing graduate school, she worked as an academic advisor for undecided students and as an academic personal trainer for students on academic probation.
Tian Xu is a new post doctoral research associate in the Hoops Institute of Taxation Research & Policy. She attended Randolph-Macon College, where she double majored in mathematics and accounting and minored in economics. She received her master’s in actuarial science from Columbia University. Her research interests include financial reporting, accounting for income taxes, and taxes and corporate behavior.

March 2019 – New Hires

Jason Butcherite (’12 HBM) is the new chef de cuisine in the School of Hospitality Business Management. He most recently comes from the WSU dining services department where he served in various roles as sous chef and executive chef. In 2016, he earned certified executive chef and certified culinary administrator certifications through the American Culinary Federation. He earned a culinary arts degree from Clover Park Technical College in 2009. Butcherite is excited to return to the School of Hospitality Business Management and contribute to the evolution of the program and the industry’s future leaders.
Emily Dennis (17’ IBUS) is the new administrative assistant II in the Department of Marketing and International Business. She is a third generation Coug and is working to obtain her MBA through WSU’s Online MBA program. Prior to coming to WSU she worked for Paradise Creek Brewery, where she served as the marketing and event coordinator. Dennis excels in building customer relations and project management and is excited to be working in her new position alongside some of her previous professors.
Jaime Diaz is the new industry connections coordinator in the Carson Center for Student Success. Diaz holds an M.A. and an M.F.A. in electroacoustic music composition from the University of Sheffield and the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Previously, he worked at the Berklee College of Music as the accompanist coordinator in the voice department. He has experience as a grant writer, event coordinator, and freelance artist. Diaz looks forward to helping students make connections with professionals and preparing them for their future.
Dan Kennedy is a new academic advisor in the Carson Center for Student Success. He earned his bachelor of science in business from Pennsylvania State University and his master of business administration from Pennsylvania State University. Previously, he served as the coordinator of admissions and dual enrollment at Montgomery County Community College and a graduate assistant soccer coach for both men’s and women’s soccer programs at Penn State-Behrend.
Sam Kite is a new computer system administrator in the Office of Technology’s infrastructure unit. He has been working at WSU since 1990. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years before starting his career at WSU.
Whitney Thurgood is a new office assistant III in the Dean’s Office. She is a Coeur d’Alene native and moved to the Moscow/Pullman area in 2016 with her husband, Adam. Most recently, she worked as the office lead at the Heart Center in St Joseph Regional Medical Center.