Posted by: amiller | March 2, 2015

Student Investment Fund surpasses $1 million

The Student Investment Fund at the University of Alaska Fairbanks recently surpassed a total of $1 million.

The fund was established at the School of Management in 1991 by $100,000 of unrestricted gifts from private donations provided for student investment purposes. The growth of the initial investment to over $1 million demonstrates the success of this program since its inception. Over the years, the fund has provided $65,500 in scholarships 46 students. In recent years, robust earnings provided more money for need-based scholarships, allowing four annual awards of $2,500 each.

Students enrolled in the Student Investment Fund course gain real-world experience implementing investment selection and stock valuation principles, gaining practical knowledge and experience that reach far beyond typical coursework. Ultimately, the student fund managers acquire a deeper and more complex understanding of the concepts taught throughout their undergraduate and graduate finance studies.

“The student managers are fully responsible for the day-to-day management of the portfolio, thus gaining hands-on money management experience,” said fund faculty advisor Phil Younker. “The process helps them develop their financial intuition and provides an arena for practical application of investment decisions.”

Several donors support the fund and the technology needed to stay ahead of the indexed markets. With gifts from McKinley Capital Management, Northrim Bank and Alaska General Contractors, the students are armed with tools such as two Bloomberg terminals and specialized financial databases. These resources give students a competitive edge over their peers at other universities and better prepare them for professional success.

Posted by: amiller | February 19, 2015

Interning at UAF’s Fittest Winner Competition

Photo-Kayli Stanfill

Kayli Stanfill

Kayli Stanfill is graduating in May 2015 with a degree in business administration and a concentration in finance. She currently works as an accountant for S & S Accounting and Consulting, and plans on pursuing a master’s degree and eventually a doctorate.

Choosing a Business Administration degree
My mother has always been a paragon in the local community and the nonprofit world. She even ventured as far as to start her own small accounting firm, all the while working a full time job and supporting her family. This imbued in me a want to be successful and vital in my community. When I decided to attend UAF, I wanted a degree that would help me to gain profitable skills and enable me to provide service to people. That’s when I found School of Management, and applied to the Business Administration degree program. I have always been extremely artistic and creative, but I also wanted a skill set that could land me a good paying job right out of school, or grant me the ability to start my own business.

FWC-info boardChoosing the UAF Fittest Winner Competition
When I discovered there was an internship open that could encompass the skills that I had learned in my college and professional life, I jumped at it. The Fittest Winner Competition (FWC), as it came to be known, became my full responsibility to facilitate and further develop. The internship was amazing, because I was given creative freedom to construct the ideal program for UAF faculty and staff. The program was designed to motivate individuals and teams to get fit and exercise.

I was responsible for maintaining budgets, running meetings, creating marketing materials, hosting and planning events, and giving professional presentations. It felt amazing to be a part of enriching the lives of others – while building an assortment of business know-how.

First-hand learning
The amount of professional information and skills I gained is multitudinous. I learned so much in such a small amount of time. I feel I can now apply for any number of jobs in the professional business world. I have gained a copious amount of management, communications, operations, finance, data entry, and administration skills.

Advice for students
Take advantage of opportunities! Some positions also pay well, and all positions offer an array of necessary skills to advance as an individual and businessperson.

Best thing about interning at UAF Fittest Winner Competition
Some of the best things about my internships were my co-workers, the supportive and appreciative management, the consistent helpful advice, and the feeling I got when a WFC participant would thank me for the work I had been doing because it enriched their life.

Read more about internships here.

FWC-info table


Posted by: amiller | February 12, 2015

Roast and Boast keeps it local

Team RNB 2014

Dean Herrmann, instructor Tammy Tragis-McCook and SOM students Ana Rodriquez, Travis Cortez, Jordan Ferland and Alex Springer working at the event.

Northrim Bank and a SOM student team hosted a crowd of more than 200 for the 3rd annual Roast and Boast in November. Conducted as a marketing class project, the event allows the students to learn how to plan and manage a cross-promotional event, while supporting local businesses by featuring Fairbanks’ favorite coffee roasters.

The event was a fun experience for all, with music, food, plenty of hot beverages, and door prizes. In addition to the roasters boasting about their wares, SOM Dean Mark Herrmann highlighted the active engagement between SOM, Northrim, and the Fairbanks community, beyond the bank’s monetary contributions to the school.

Although the Roast and Boast offers great publicity for both Northrim and the roasters, the real benefit is for the students, as it offers a unique opportunity not available in the classroom. In addition to learning the basic concepts of marketing, these students gain experience conducting weekly business meetings, staying within budget, making marketing decisions, and working with the roasters and vendors. Potential employers covet these types of skills.

“I know my marketing and public relations skills have improved due to the experience,” said senior Business Administration student Travis Cortez. “Many who attended the event were overjoyed with the UAF student involvement. I could honestly feel the community’s pride in the event.”

In addition to being the “client” with real world requests and feedback, Northrim’s Marketing and Communications Director Jay Blury also acted as a mentor, leading the students through the entire process.   He encouraged them to capitalize on their creativity while still making sound business decisions.

“UAF School of Management is thankful to Northrim Bank for offering this unique opportunity to our students,” said Tammy Tragis-McCook, SOM’s Director of Development and Outreach. “Together we are preparing future leaders of Alaska.”

Story courtesy of Northrim Bank.

Posted by: amiller | February 5, 2015

Faculty Focus: Cory Borgeson retires from SOM

Cory Borgeson family

Cory Borgeson with his family

Cory Borgeson earned a B.A. in psychology from Oakland University and a Juris Doctorate from Drake University. He is currently President/CEO of Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA). He serves on the SOM Business Advisory Council and is a SOM instructor retiring from teaching after more than 30 years in the classroom.

What brought you to Alaska?
I came to Alaska to take a job with Alaska Pacific Trust company which was associated with the First National Bank of Fairbanks. I actually worked with Darlene Tragis. I really enjoyed the work handling corporate retirement plans and personal trusts.

What do you enjoy about Alaska?
I enjoy the people who call Alaska home. People in Alaska are adventurous, active (even when it is 20 below zero), and know how to work and play hard. Hunting and fishing are lost on me, but I do enjoy one or two trips each year to Valdez to catch rock fish, salmon, or halibut.

When and how did you start teaching at SOM?
A co-worker had promised to teach Financial Investment Strategies for Dr. Besoit and then took a different job. Dr. Besoit told my friend John Blackmon that he had to find his replacement and I agreed to do it. That was in September of 1983.

What classes have you taught over the years?
I started teaching the Intro to Business class (BA 151) for a few semesters until the business law class opened up. In 1998, I was given a half-time faculty position and began teaching two courses a semester while also practicing law with Borgeson and Burns.

Share an outstanding SOM memory after teaching for three decades?
I spent three weeks teaching with a group of SOM faculty in Yakutsk, Russia. It was a wonderful experience bringing different educational ideas to the recently opened up Russia. Yakutsk, which was considered the gateway to Siberia, was still building basic infrastructure.

Being a part of the initial accreditation with the AACSB was very exciting. I still remember Dean Mike Rice and Business Department head Peter Besoit having their picture taken on the top of Bunnell holding brooms – declaring it was a clean sweep because all three programs at the SOM were accredited.

What advice do you have for current students?
Students should be thinking five years or ten years ahead. It is important to set goals to be successful. As an assignment in my employment law class, I asked students to draft an employment agreement for their dream job. Although good writing is essential, I felt that asking students to articulate where they want to work, how much they want to make, and the types of responsibilities they want to take on was the most valuable part of the assignment.

What will you miss most about teaching?
Meeting new students. I taught the online courses for a while but it didn’t seem that fulfilling.

What would you like to tell us about your family?
My wife Diane and I have been married for 35 years. She retired as the CEO of the Interior Community Health Center at the end of 2014. We have four children. Our youngest, Nicole, graduated from Bennington College in December of 2014.  Our oldest is graduating from a nursing program in Michigan; Brad has three children (see picture of our grandchildren). Our son Bret (32) lives in New Orleans and works on TV shows and films. He has just finished a 7-month work effort on the FX Channel’s American Horror Story, working in the camera department. Gavin, who is 24, lives in Fairbanks and works for Alasconnect as a desktop computer technician. He is in the Computer Science program at UAF.

Any stories you’d like to share?
One semester, I had a student approach me saying she was having trouble with the class because she was going through a divorce. Two weeks later, I had a student comment that they were having trouble with the class because he was getting married.

I was lead counsel for a client in a trial where my client was accused of construction fraud and misrepresentation. The plaintiff was seeking over 25 million in damages. The trial lasted the entire month of May. The jury came back with a defense verdict and actually awarded my client 1.2 million dollars against the plaintiff. Waiting for a jury to make a decision is a nail-biting experience.

In June 2012, I accepted the CEO position at GVEA. I find the job very challenging. I came to realize that as a lawyer, I did not have to make decisions; I gave advice. Making decisions is tougher work.

Favorite place to vacation? Our home in Las Vegas
Book you are currently reading? “Change the Culture, Change the Game” by Roger Connors and Tom Smith. Real exciting, right?
Your last music download? “Sing” by Ed Sheeran
If I granted you one wish to change the world what would it be? I would swap guns for books

Posted by: amiller | January 29, 2015

UAF ranked in among top five emergency management programs


The 2014 listings recently released by the Emergency Management Degree Program Guide rank UAF’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Program as fifth in the U.S. for program quality and second in the U.S. for affordability.

The ranking defines affordability as a net tuition price of less than $23,000 a year, after factoring in financial aid and scholarships. The assessments also took into account factors such as freshmen retention rate, six-year graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, availability of student organizations and internship requirements.

The HSEM program has flourished in the last five years, undergoing improvements and expansion to address the needs of the industry and a diverse student population. New courses were developed and integrated into the program, while others were removed. The program ensures students have the opportunity to select course concentrations that are relevant to their employment needs. These changes resulted in concentrations in emergency management and homeland security. An additional concentration in fire administration is under development.

“The HSEM program is ideally situated in both quality and cost to support a student wanting to secure their future,” said program director Cam Carlson. “We offer robust courses supporting the educational needs of those who either work or will work within the HSEM profession, and we ensure what we provide is both relevant and interesting to meet the needs of our students.”

This recognition is significant for both UAF and the School of Management, as it demonstrates that a student can obtain a high-quality education at an affordable price. The HSEM program is committed to ensuring that UAF students are engaged beyond the classroom in preparing for a management career within the homeland security and emergency management field.

For more information about the HSEM program, visit the HSEM website.

AACSB-low_res_blueThe School of Management (SOM) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) has maintained its business and accounting accreditations by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Founded in 1916, AACSB International is the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees in business and accounting.

AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business and accounting education, and has been earned by less than five percent of the world’s business programs. The additional specialized accounting accreditation is extremely rare, and is held by just 181 business schools in the world (1.4%); UAF is the only school in Alaska to have achieved this specialized accounting accreditation.

The School of Management received news that its dual School and Accounting accreditations had been extended for another five years, after a fall 2014 visit to the school by four Business Deans and Accounting Program Directors from around the nation. In their follow-up report, the visiting review team noted: “SOM provides numerous opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning both in and out of the classroom.  Through activities such as company-based projects, community initiatives, and student organizations, students gain hands-on experience that helps bridge the transition from student to professional.”

As the highest level of recognition a business school can achieve, this continued validation of quality has paid off for UAF students, with the School of Management now reaching all-time high numbers of students and graduates. In less than a decade, SOM has seen a 60% increase in majors and a 150% increase in graduates. Upon graduation, SOM students will be recognized by potential employers as graduates from a top-quality business school, as validated by the AACSB International body, whose membership represents Deans from the most prestigious business schools in the world.

To learn more about the UAF School of Management visit Or to learn more about AACSB International accreditation, visit the accreditation section of the AACSB International Web site at:

About AACSB International
AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), founded in 1916, is an association of more than 716 educational institutions, businesses, and other organizations in 48 countries and territories. (For the most recent information visit, AACSB’s mission is to advance quality management education worldwide through accreditation, thought leadership, and value-added services. As the premier accreditation body for institutions offering undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate degrees in business and accounting, the association also conducts a wide array of conferences and seminar programs at locations throughout the world. AACSB’s global headquarters is located in Tampa, Florida, USA and its Asia Pacific headquarters is located in Singapore. For more information, please visit:

Posted by: amiller | January 16, 2015

Business Leader of the Year – Andy Warwick

The Business Leader of the Year award is given to a deserving recipient based on their leadership in the Fairbanks business community, business achievements, community service, and educational support. On April 17, 2015 the 39th Business Leader of the Year award will be given to Andy Warwick of Warwick and Schikora, CPAs.

Andy Warwick 2 2014-cropped 300Andy Warwick, a 1966 graduate of the UAF School of Management, has demonstrated leadership at both local and statewide levels in both public and private sector responsibilities. Andy has worked as a practicing CPA since 1978 and a short time later he and his business partner, Rick Schikora, established Warwick and Schikora, CPAs.

Despite being extremely busy running a business and raising a family, Andy found time to serve his community as well. Andy is a former State Legislator and State of Alaska Commissioner of Administration under Governor Jay Hammond. In addition, he served nine years on the Fairbanks School Board, two years on the State Board of Education, and six years as Chair of the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority.

Andy’s leadership skills were instrumental to the creation of Fairbanks Sewer and Water, a start-up company formed in 1995 to privatize the Fairbanks water and sewer utilities, and he remains the Chair of the Board of Directors. Andy has been a member of the Doyon Utilities LLC Management Committee since its inception in 2005.

Andy graduated from Lathrop High School in 1961. After a brief time at both Oregon State University and University of Oregon he returned to Fairbanks, where he completed his degree in accounting. He then went on to Naval Aviation Officer’s Training in Pensacola, Florida. After an accident in which he re-fractured his wrist, he was honorably discharged.

Andy is a life-long resident of Fairbanks. His grandparents arrived in September 1906 on a sternwheeler. His mother was born in Fairbanks in 1915. Andy was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1943. During the 1940s, Andy’s family mined gold at Livengood and made lifelong friendships with the Dodsons, Roberts, Hefflingers, Parkers, and Lindstroms who are still close to this day.

Andy’s family enjoys a tradition rich with UAF history. His mother Emma (Miller) graduated from UAF in 1938 with a bachelor’s degree in business and his daughter Sydney received her bachelor in business administration in 1999.

Andy’s three children: Sydney, Zach, and Jesse continued the family tradition of being born and raised in Fairbanks. In 1994, Sydney married Yuri Morgan, from another multi-generation Fairbanks family. Together they have two daughters named Rory and Massie.

Andy is an avid Skijorer. The year he turned 70, he represented the United States in the International Federation of Sleddog Sports 2013 World Championships. The combination of working with dogs, a competitive spirit and the enjoyment of the outdoors combine to make this one of his passions in life. For the summer months, Andy usually takes two extended motorcycle trips with his friends Jack Hébert, Dan Gavora, Oran Paul, Doug Bishop and George Wise.

A lover of animals, Andy and his lovely wife of 45 years, Judy, currently have seven dogs, the latest named Freddie, who like most of their four-legged family was rescued from the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter. Andy and Judy are advocates for the Fairbanks Animal Shelter Fund, in fact their dog Freddie is the Shelter Fund’s mascot.

Posted by: amiller | January 8, 2015

Peeking into the Future

The School of Management (SOM) was invited to participate in Lathrop High School’s Career Fair held in early December. Accounting faculty Amy Cooper and Charlie Sparks hosted the SOM table, along with current accounting and MBA students: Satya Partyka, Brendon Allen, and Kristen Rowland. It was a great experience for everyone, getting to meet local high school students and to talk about the programs and career opportunities that the UAF School of Management offers. The SOM table was one of the more frequently visited stations, perhaps due to the cool SOM swag and snacks.

SOM is already looking forward to participating in this event again next year. It was a personal event for Charlie Sparks, having grown up in Fairbanks. He attended Lathrop and this was the first time he’d been back in its hallways since graduating in 1977.

Lathrop Career Fair-2014

SOM Accounting faculty Amy Cooper and Charlie Sparks at the SOM info table

Posted by: amiller | December 19, 2014

Interning at Feniks & Company

Ryne Olson is graduating in December 2014 with a degree in accounting. She is the owner of Ryno Kennel and a 2012 Iditarod finisher. After graduation, she will continue working for Feniks & Company while studying for the CPA exam. 

Ryne Olson with one of her dogs.

Ryne Olson with her dog Cartel.

Choosing an Accounting Degree
Originally I was majoring in mathematics, but after taking a few higher-level math courses, I realized I enjoyed “practical math” and not theoretical math. Accounting is the perfect balance between mathematics and business theory with lots of real life applications. As a small business owner of Ryno Sled Dog Kennel, accounting seemed like a great major that would apply to my current situation as well as open new opportunities. Plus, the accounting program has the BEST professors.

Choosing Feniks & Company
Feniks & Company is a local accounting firm that gave me the chance to dive right in and experience a variety projects from tax prep to nonprofit returns to payroll to bookkeeping. It’s a small, close knit community of people that LOVE accounting. Not to mention, Friday is “Bring Your Dog to Work Day.”

First-Hand Learning
I’ve learned that being an accountant isn’t just crunching numbers. A great accountant is also a financial advisor, professional developer, tax planner, therapist, and life counselor. At Feniks & Company, the motto is “Accounting as a Healing Art,” and I’ve been provided a glimpse at how influential and helpful an accountant can be to each client.

Advice for Students
My advice to students looking for internships is to take advantage of every opportunity, even if your initial reaction is I have no idea how to do that. The benefit of a good internship isn’t the paycheck at the end, but the experience, knowledge, and connections. Don’t be afraid to fail. Just jump in and internalize everything you can.

Best Thing About Interning at Feniks & Company
The best aspects about my internship are the team atmosphere and the incredible opportunities. Feniks & Company has an extremely supportive work environment that is flexible and encourages each person to excel at both professional and personal goals. When I raced in the Quest 300 Sled Dog Race in February (a busy time at an accounting firm), the office came to the race start to cheer on my Ryno Team.

Melody Feniks and Ryne at the Quest 300 Start

Melody Feniks and Ryne at the Quest 300 Start

We are proud to announce Sheryl DeBoard, owner of the high-end clothing boutique In My Element, has given a $35,000 in-kind donation.

Sheryl opened In My Element in 2009, wanting to create an inspiring place to shop for fashionable and functional Women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories. She graduated from UAF in 1980 and skied competitively at UAF for four years.

“It’s a great opportunity to give back to my alma mater,” Sheryl said. “I wanted to give back to a school that’d given so much to me. Sharing is a big part of Fairbanks and UAF – I’m honored to be able to be a part of that.”

Watch what Sheryl has to say about giving back:

Sheryl was inspired to give to the UAF School of Management by her employee and UAF student, Taylor Eckert. Taylor will graduate from UAF in 2015 with a BA in history and a minor in marketing. She served as president of the School of Management student organization Students Offering Leadership Development for three years and has been actively involved at the School of Management through events such as Business Leader of the Year.

See what Taylor has to say about working at In My Element:

The clothes given to the School of Management will be provided to students for use in interviews, business events, and for practice dressing professionally. Students will earn clothes through extracurricular participation in workshops and events focusing on confidence building, interview preparation, and presenting a professionally polished image.

Hear the whole story from Sheryl and Taylor:


View photos of Sheryl DeBoard, Taylor Eckert, and In My Element on Flickr.

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