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2020 OWLIE Winners Receive Their Trophies COVID-19 Style

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The Sixth Annual OWLIEs Awards Ceremony was a virtual success, proof of the Naveen Jindal School of Management’s spirit of innovation during COVID-19. The online event, hosted by students Charles (Charlie) Hooper and Gautam Sharma was replete with cameo appearances by JSOM Dean Hasan Pirkul and UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson, and all the customary fanfare.

Following the ceremony, winners made appointments to come to campus to collect their trophies in person. Social distancing was the order of the day as Project Manager Norma Rodriguez photographed Senior Associate Dean Monica Powell presenting each winner with a statuette of Wise, the JSOM mascot.

Photos below show all the winners; those who came to campus are pictured with their trophies. Also interspersed here are some comments viewers shared during the online watch party. (For more detail, read the OWLIEs award post on JSOM Perspectives.)


Jindal Selfless Service

This award recognizes an undergraduate or graduate student or community leader in JSOM who has won hearts through selfless acts of service to others and/or the community.


Bella Ngo, junior, information technology and systems

The OWLIEs were fantastic.

— Fally Kora

Jindal Student Mentor

This award recognizes an undergraduate and graduate student who have demonstrated excellence in mentoring by encouraging and promoting the educational, professional and personal development of JSOM students.


Undergraduate: Pratiksha Tonpe, senior, marketing

Graduate: Timothy Truong, MBA and MS in Accounting

The event was just awesome and loved it.

— Aditi Kulkarni

JSOM Student Most Likely to Be a C-Suite Executive

This award recognizes an undergraduate and graduate student who demonstrates the qualities of a C-suite executive, including drive, determination, mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.


Undergraduate: Karianna Barreto, senior, marketing

Graduate: Gottfreid Lutumba, MBA

The OWLIEs was an awesome production and congratulations to the winners.

— Honghang Wong

Jindal Amazing Alum

This award is presented to a JSOM alumnus who has shown excellence in supporting JSOM students.


Lisa M. Ong, MS in Management and Administrative Science’14

The music and red carpet gave the OWLIEs the feel of grandeur.

— Prema Kannan

Jindal Employer of the Year

Employers nominated for this award must have posted positions in the Jindal School, hired students for both internships and full-time positions, and helped to support the professional development of students.


Raytheon United Technologies

JSOM Student of the Year

This award is presented to undergraduate, graduate and PhD students considered outstanding examples of excellence in JSOM. They are exceptional students, confident leaders and actively engaged in the life of the school.


Undergraduate: Andrew Blodgett, senior, business administration and marketing

Graduate: Jessica Thompson, MBA

PhD: Mehdi Hosseinabadi Farahani, Management Science

We were proud to see two U.S. veterans awarded with OWLIEs.

— UT Dallas Military and Veteran Center

JSOM Faculty of the Year

This award is presented to a faculty member for excellence in teaching, advising, mentoring and/or supporting students. Award winners contribute to the enhancement of the learning experience for students in JSOM.


Undergraduate: Debra Richardson, senior lecturer, Finance and Managerial Economics, and director, Risk Management and Insurance Concentration

Graduate: Carolyn Reichert, clinical associate professor, Finance and Managerial Economics, and program director, MS in Finance

Congratulations to Dr. Carolyn Reichert for winning an OWLIE.

— EMBA Staff

PhD: Vijay Mookerjee, Charles and Nancy Davidson Chair in Information Systems, and coordinator, PhD in Management Systems, Information Systems Concentration

JSOM Outstanding Staff Member

The award is presented to a JSOM staff member for excellence in advising, assisting and supporting students. This staff member contributes to the enhancement of the overall experience for students in JSOM.


Corina Cantua, director, JSOM Academic Advising Office

What a fun and impressive production! Thanks for continuing to do this despite the circumstances. It's good to keep rituals going!

— Dr. John (McClain) Watson

JSOM Super Owl

This award recognizes active members of the Jindal School Dean’s Council who provide leadership and support for all the activities of the council. Both undergraduate and graduate members are honored. This year, Senior Associate Dean Monica Powell presented the Super Owl Awards in her videotaped appearance.


Undergraduate: Charles (Charlie) Hooper, senior, business administration

Undergraduate: Amanda Richards, senior, business administration

Graduate: Todd Baty, MBA

Graduate: Lindsay Ren, MS in Accounting and MS in Information Technology and Management

Graduate: Gautam Sharma, MBA and MS in Business Analytics

The OWLIEs was an outstanding presentation.

— Vaidy Sarma

JSOM Outstanding Leader: Student Organization

This award is presented to undergraduate and graduate students who lead a JSOM student organization, have provided exemplary leadership to the members of that organization and have had a positive impact on them.


Undergraduate: Sarah Romanko, junior, business administration

Graduate: Rupal Mehta, MBA

The OWLIEs was an awesome production.

— Ram Natarajan

JSOM Student Organization of the Year

This award recognizes the JSOM student organization that has made a significant contribution to the school and student body through service, programs and activities.


Undergraduate: Nova Ambassador Program

Accepting the award for the Nova Ambassador Program is Program Advisor Sarah Bengston, director of Undergraduate Recruitment

Graduate: Envision

Accepting the award for Envision is Program Advisor Gaurav Shekhar, program manager, MS in Information Technology and Management

Holly Rio

Holly Rio

Holly Rio is the events director on the External Affairs team at the Jindal School, responsible for planning a variety of development and corporate engagement events, including the JSOM signature annual Scholarship Breakfast fundraiser and the dean’s advisory council meetings. Prior to coming to Dallas, Rio lived in the Raleigh/Durham area, where she worked in fundraising at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in communications at UNC-TV.  Read more articles

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