Danny Chung of Rancho Cucamonga and Liliana Orellana Ojeda of Desert Hot Springs have been named the Outstanding Graduate Student and the Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration.
Both students will receive their degrees at the college’s virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 22, as face-to-face ceremonies have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chung, who will graduate with MBAs in supply chain and logistics, and in cybersecurity, said his career goals include becoming a chief executive officer for a Fortune 500 company and a successful business owner.
He chose his first concentration because the Inland Empire is the “Mecca” for supply chain and logistics and has a very high potential for growth. “The flow of goods from point A to point B can get rather complex. I find this highly intriguing and it has continually piqued my interest.” He chose cybersecurity because it is a very high demand industry and can be found in almost every industry today. Cybersecurity can “open many doors for me and allow me to be versatile and fluid.”
He said his interest has led him to collaborate with several professors in the supply chain discipline in researching blockchain technologies and its applications. “One area of those applications that I really enjoyed was the ability to track and trace the movement of goods using a system based in cryptography,” Chung said. “It really is the convergence of my two MBA concentrations.” Chung added that he has presented at two academic conferences on blockchain technology and he and his co-authors have papers in review.
Chung credits professors Francisca Beer (accounting & finance), Kimberly Collins (public administration), Frank Lin (information & decision sciences) and lecturer Matthew Winters (information & decision sciences), as mentors who each “played an integral role in shaping my holistic growth throughout my professional and academic journey. They have all sincerely made my time at CSUSB that much more special and worth remembering.”
He also credits his family and family friend Michael D. Baughn. “Without their support and encouragement, my accomplishments would not have been possible.”
He said he faced hardships as a first-generation graduate student from a foreign country.
“There are no shortage of challenges and hardships. Everything from financial, to cultural challenges, to bouts of the xenophobia coming out of the woodwork, I continue to face an uphill battle on a daily basis,” Chung said. “Such struggles are only understood by those who have felt it and lived through it. However, I am hopeful because the JHBC Office of Academic Equity (OAE) has been and continues to be a beacon for diversity and inclusion and for minority students like myself to thrive in a safe and supportive environment.”
But he credits the university for helping him to persevere.
“CSUSB has not only defined my future, but it has defined who I am. With that, I am duly equipped and prepared to face the cold world as a CSUSB MBA graduate,” he said.
Liliana Ojeda said she chose business administration with a concentration in finance because she felt business is a diversified industry that she could do many things with.
Ojeda said since coming to the United States at age 18, she has been observing different patterns in her generation. “One of them is the majority is not very conscious about financial education, (savings, building your credit, etc.) and another one is that with technology growing alongside us, more young people are trying to invest in the stock market, which I consider game changing in the industry that can lead to positive outcomes with some part of relative education.”
She plans to do more research in both areas and ultimately create a better integrated platform or app for future generations to manage their finances better.
Academically, she plans on getting a master’s degree and doing a Chartered Financial Analyst program and ultimately work in a finance-related job.
She also hopes to get married next year, and within the next five years, travel to at least three countries she has never visited and buy a second house. In addition she and her fiancé would like to invest and expand their business, which they created during the pandemic after they both lost their jobs.
“But specially I want to be a good example for my daughter and be able to support her to be the best version of herself,” Ojeda said.
She said she has been inspired by many people including her oldest cousin, who is like a sister to her. Ojeda said her cousin grew up without her parents, and despite many difficulties, she graduated from college, while working, being a mom and wife at the same time. “She keeps growing and now she is the head of administration for one of the most important newspapers in El Salvador. But the most important thing is that she has the kindest heart and she is such a wonderful person.”
Another inspiration is her uncle who, for economic reasons, could not finish college. “He starting selling shoes, but little by little he grew in that company and now he is brand manager of one of the most important shoe companies in Central America,” Ojeda said.
Ojeda has endured many hardships in going to college, including being a full-time student and working full-time, all while being a mother to her daughter who barely started walking a few months before she started CSUSB.
But the worst part was when the pandemic hit.
“It was hard to focus on school with all the anxiety and uncertainty. My fiancé and I both lost our jobs. After that my mom and my dad got sick. My mom was over a month in the hospital and unfortunately she did not survive,” Ojeda said. “Since then, sometimes it has been hard even to get out of bed, but I just keep trying to make her feel proud, because I know she is watching me and I also have a mini human being that depends on me, and I want her to feel proud of me too, so I try to do my best even if sometimes I don’t really want to.”
She credits CSUSB for helping her succeed.
“I think of CSUSB as an opportunity, as a trampoline that is making me jump higher,” Ojeda said. “Transferring to CSUSB has given me the opportunity to grow not only in knowledge, but as a person. I feel better prepared. I am still scared, but I am grateful for the opportunities.”