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OWLIE Awards Recognize Exceptional Service to Jindal School

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The fourth annual OWLIE Awards swooped down on the Davidson Auditorium on April 17 to recognize students, faculty, staff and alumni for their exceptional service to the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Finalists, who had been selected form 805 nominations by JSOM community members via an internet ballot, walked a red carpet to enter the auditorium. To complete the Oscars-style theme of the event, dancers, musicians and singers entertained an audience of more than 300 in between the awards presentations. Dr. Hasan Pirkul, Caruth Chair and dean of the Jindal School, presented the awards to the winners.

The ceremony’s name is an acronym that stands for “Outstanding, Worthy Leaders, Involved Exceptionally.” The event is produced by the Dean’s Council, a group of undergraduate and graduate students that advises Pirkul on student affairs. Dr. Monica Powell, senior associate dean, advises the OWLIE Awards planners each year.

2018 OWLIE Winners

JSOM Future CEO (Undergraduate)

This award recognizes an undergraduate student who demonstrates the capacity to lead others. This student displays a strong commitment to their own individual growth and the growth of others. This individual demonstrates the drive, determination, and mindset of a CEO.

Rebecca Tjahja (senior, finance)

During an internship with AT&T, Tjahja spearheaded a reorganization plan for a global department, which was later implemented.

JSOM Future CEO (Graduate)

This award recognizes a graduate student who demonstrates the capacity to lead others. This student displays a strong commitment to their own individual growth and the growth of others. This individual demonstrates the drive, determination, and mindset of a CEO.

Abigail and Elizabeth Gallagher (master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship)

The Gallaghers are twin sisters who co-founded Sorella Inc., a boutique media agency that provides specialty photography consulting on marketing strategies for small businesses.

Jindal Student Master Mentor (Undergraduate)

This award recognizes an undergraduate who has demonstrated excellence in mentoring, encouraging, and promoting the educational, professional, and personal development of other students.

Claudia Kwee (senior, marketing)

Kwee displays brilliance in mentoring Delta Sigma Pi students with academic and professional development.

Jindal Student Master Mentor (Graduate)

This award recognizes a graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in mentoring, encouraging, and promoting the educational, professional, and personal development of other students.

Cesar Garcia (master’s in accounting)

Garcia supports other students by organizing study groups and mentoring undergraduate students working to fast track into the graduate program.

Jindal Selfless Heart (Undergraduate)

This award recognizes an undergraduate student who has won hearts with their selfless acts of service to others and/or their community.

David Gutierrez (junior, accounting)

Gutierrez is co-founder of the Camp Kesem chapter at UT Dallas. The organization raises money to send children whose parents have been affected by cancer to a weeklong camp, free of charge.

Jindal Selfless Heart (Graduate)

This award recognizes a graduate student in JSOM who has won hearts with their selfless acts of service to others and/or their community.

Tianyi Chang (master’s in accounting)

Chang faithfully serves current and incoming students to help them feel comfortable and well acclimated.

Vishal Keswani (master’s in information technology and management)

In his role as president of the UT Dallas Indian Students Association, Vishal has led with compassion for students, a collaborative approach with other campus groups, and strong academic abilities.

Jindal Faculty Idol of the Year (Undergraduate)

This award is presented to a faculty member for excellence in teaching, advising, mentoring, and/or supporting undergraduate students.

Debra Richardson (senior lecturer, director of the Risk Management and Insurance Concentration)

From developing the Risk Management and Insurance program, to chartering a Gamma Iota Sigma chapter, she is steadfast in her commitment to her students.

Jindal Faculty Idol of the Year (Masters or Graduate)

This award is presented to a JSOM faculty member for excellence in teaching, advising, mentoring, and/or supporting masters or graduate students.

Carolyn Reichert (graduate) (clinical associate professor in finance; director, MS Finance program)

Reichert doesn’t just teach, she educates, and it’s clear that she is passionate about her discipline and her students.

Zhiang “John” Lin, PhD (masters) (professor, Organizations, Strategy and International Management)

His students describe Dr. Lin as an inspiring, engaging instructor who goes out of his way to help students understand course material.

Student of the Year (Undergraduate)

This award is presented to a current undergraduate student who contributes to the growth of the JSOM brand. This individual is a strong representative of the school in their academic, community, and/or corporate pursuits.

Carlos Rodriguez Cruz Y Cel (senior, global business)

He launched an international nonproliferation education program for 15 college students across three countries.

Student of the Year (Graduate)

Three students received this award, which is presented to a current masters or graduate student who contributes to the growth of the JSOM brand. This individual is a strong representative of the school in their academic, community, and/or corporate pursuits.

David Joy (graduate) (master’s in business analytics)

He is an active member of the Business Analytics Student Council, helped organize and executive the Business Analytics Talent Show, and created a video about JSOM to attract talented students.

Mina Ameri (masters) (PhD, management science)

Ameri has papers under review in top marketing journals, and has received multiple job offers from top research universities.

Blair Flicker (masters) (PhD, management science)

Flicker conducted high quality research that has led to very promising papers that have been submitted to top Operations Management journals.

JSOM Student Organization Leader (undergraduate)

This award recognizes an undergraduate student leader of a registered JSOM organization who has demonstrated a high level of leadership ability through character, work ethic, and involvement.

Cong-Viet Huynh (senior, finance)

Huynh tirelessly leads students on industry sponsored trips and was asked to be a featured student for JSOM recruiting because of his successful internship at Wells Fargo Insurance. 

JSOM Student Organization Leader (graduate)

This award recognizes a graduate student leader of a registered JSOM organization who has demonstrated a high level of leadership ability through character, work ethic, and involvement.

Aditya Gupta (master’s in information technology and management)

As president of ENACTUS, Gupta has a passion to work for others and make a difference in society. 

JSOM Undergraduate Student Organization of the Year

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

Healthcare Management Association

The HMA is a dynamic organization for students pursuing a career in healthcare management. They have 117 total members and 50+ students attend each meeting or event. They offer socials, networking events, skills workshops like mock interview days and site visits in their industry. Members have competed in case competitions such as ACHE, and given back to their community through the Susan G. Komen Walk and volunteering at the North Texas Food Bank.

JSOM Graduate Student Organization of the Year

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

Infinity Lions Club

During the past year more than 2000 service hours and more than $2,800 was donated to the umbrella Lions Club International organization and New Camp Horizon for Diabetic Kids. 

JSOM Amazing Alum

This award is presented to JSOM alum who has distinguished herself/himself through excellence in supporting JSOM students

Heidi Rasmussen (BS'92)

After starting her own venture, freshbenies, with her husband, Rasmussen established the freshbenies Scholarship for Entrepreneurship to help future business owners gain the skills necessary to be successful.

JSOM Outstanding Staff Member

This award is presented to a JSOM staff member who has distinguished herself/himself through excellence in supporting JSOM students, faculty, and important constituents.

Gaurav Shekhar (Program Manager, MS information technology and management Program)

As program manager of MS ITM Program, Shekhar provides service and counseling and his support helps students become fully successful.

Super Owlie, Undergraduate

Arish Pardiwalla

Super Owlie, Graduate

Niraj Upare and Ninette Moody


Jimmie Markham

Jimmie Markham brings a widely-ranging life and professional experience to his job as a communications manager at JSOM.  As an infantryman in the U.S. Army, he learned to “improvise, adapt and overcome” and that “no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.”  He’s been dealing with the unexpected ever since and, in doing so, has become a skilled and dedicated communications/marketing/customer-service and sales-support professional with nearly 20 years of experience using improvisational, critical-thinking, technical and people skills to advance the interests of external and internal clients. A BA in Art & Performance (creative writing emphasis) from UT Dallas helped polish his natural predilection and passion for the written word. Read more articles

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