Rosemarie Gilbert and William Nguyen, both of San Bernardino, have been selected as the 2021-22 Outstanding Students of the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration at Cal State San Bernardino.
Both graduates will be recognized at the Jack H. Brown College live spring Commencement ceremony at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 21, at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, where about 605 students are expected to walk.
Gilbert, who is originally from Montréal in Québec, Canada, is a first-generation college student and the Outstanding Graduate Student. She will graduate with her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MSEI).
“I chose to enroll in the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation because I wanted to explore the field of business and because entrepreneurship runs in my family,” said Gilbert, whose parents built a successful business in 1997 that is still serving the community to this day.
Gilbert’s goal is to be an entrepreneur/freelancer offering consulting services in communication, and a professor and researcher in the field of organizational communication.
“I have a strong desire to make a difference,” she said. “I also want to bring something new to the market in the field of communication, and this is why entrepreneurship was calling to me.”
During her time at CSUSB, Gilbert served as the controller on the Santos Manuel Student Union (SMSU) Board of Directors.
“Being able to serve CSUSB students and be a student leader gave me the confidence that I can lead with passion and that I can make a difference,” she said. “Serving on the board inspired me to continue being a leader in any way that I can.”
She was also one of five finalists of the Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition organized by JHBC’s School of Entrepreneurship. She ranked fourth place in the competition where she had to pitch her business idea to a panel of judges at Garner Holt Productions, Inc., and to a crowd of entrepreneurs and guests during the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards.
“I went outside of my comfort zone,” she said, “and embarked in a totally unique experience.”
Gilbert credits her two CSUSB mentors, Maggie Boyraz, associate professor of management, and Stephen Abbott, full-time lecturer in the School of Entrepreneurship, for a lot of her success.
“Before working with Professor Boyraz, I did not have much research experience, but I had an interest in learning more about doing research,” Gilbert said. “Through her mentorship, I am now already more knowledgeable in doing research. We are currently working on research projects together.”
Gilbert says Abbott really helped her before and during her journey as an entrepreneurship student.
“Professor Abbott truly helped me throughout my journey at CSUSB and was able to mentor me in my projects,” she said. “He also mentored me while I was participating in the Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition that took place in November 2021. I could not have gotten a spot as a finalist without his tremendous help.”
Aside from Boyraz’s and Abbott’s mentorship, Gilbert says her mother is the one who truly inspired her throughout her journey, noting that she always made sure that she had everything she needed to succeed academically and personally.
“She was a strong woman and I aspire to be as amazing as she was,” Gilbert said. “She truly made a positive impact on everyone she met, and I want to be able to do the same throughout my life.”
Upon graduation, Gilbert looks forward to working in the field of communication or business for about a year before she applies for Ph.D. programs that focus on organizational communication.
“CSUSB helped me in defining my future by giving me the opportunity to be surrounded by inspiring leaders, faculty and staff members,” she said. “I have had the chance to meet wonderful and amazing people through the Jack H. Brown College, the Santos Manuel Student Union, and the Associated Students, Incorporated (ASI). These people changed my perspective on being a leader, making a difference, and inspiring positive change. I am now ready to work hard in the future to make a difference.”
Outstanding Undergraduate Student William Nguyen chose business administration with a focus in accounting because he had an interest in mathematics and finance.
“These interests alongside being influenced by my family accountant led me to choose accounting,” said Nguyen, who hopes to become a CPA or become a government accountant.
He credits his parents for helping him get to where he is today.
“My parents were a big inspiration for my success,” he said. “My father taught me the power of hard work and dedication to what I believed in while my mother taught me the way that the world worked and how to function in society.”
Nguyen also thanks his professors for mentoring him throughout his academic journey.
“The professors and teachers that I took classes for also shaped the way I developed as their teachings and advice gave me a better understanding of the world around me, letting me use their knowledge to grow myself and the people around me,” he said.
During his time at CSUSB, he joined various academic and cultural clubs, such as Beta Alpha Psi, the Accounting Association, and Lubos Paso, which he says helped him develop himself and his academic skills and were a big part in his high performance in class.
The accomplishment that he is most proud of is receiving the Rising Star award in his first year of being an orientation leader. He said when he first entered college, he was unsure if he would fit in as he described himself as introverted and quiet.
“I joined orientation because I was free over the summer, and I wanted to be involved in the school somehow,” he explained. “Over the course of the summer, I made a lot of friends and was starting to get out of my shell. At the end when banquet was hosted, I received the Rising Star award for being the most outstanding new leader in the team. This showed me just how much I evolved and developed over just a summer, something that would help me make more friends and relationships over the course of my college experience.”
Once he graduates, Nguyen’s next goal is to get a job, calling it his “highest priority” in order for him to become financially stable before moving on to any other project.
“Once I get a job in my profession, I will start studying for the CPA exam,” he said. “Afterward, I would go back to community college in order to obtain the required credits for the CPA license.”
Nguyen credits CSUSB for helping him become more confident and preparing him for his future career in accounting.
“CSUSB helped me define my future because of the many opportunities that were provided to me in the college,” he said. “The accounting classes that I took were very influential to my mindset I had for my major and made the then-uncertain me become more willing to continue on with the accounting major.”