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G. Brint Ryan College of Business.

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Sarah Walkinshaw ('20)

Achieving financial independence is a primary motivator for most college students. You spend years investing your time, money, mind and soul into a degree to prepare you for a career that will yield a positive return on that investment.

For Sarah Walkinshaw, financial independence isn’t just a personal goal — it represents making it through a time in her life she never wants to go through again.

When Sarah originally transferred to UNT in 2006, she planned to major in media arts so she could go into a career in television production.

While she was earning her core credits, Sarah oscillated between service industry jobs like bartending or waiting tables and finding work in office jobs through a temp agency, which eventually landed her a tax season gig with TD Ameritrade.

“I really enjoyed the subject matter and found it interesting,” says Sarah. “I picked it up fairly quickly and at the end of tax season, I was offered a full-time spot. Part of the contingency for that was that I would need to study for and earn my Series 7 General Securities License and then my Series 63 pretty quickly.”

She earned the required industry certifications while working at TD Ameritrade and eventually transferred to a different company where she could focus more on client education. But when the market crashed in 2008, Sarah found herself unemployed and had to put her degree on hold.

Sarah also found herself in an emotionally abusive and controlling relationship and she was embarrassed about it. She wondered how this could have happened; she wasn’t the type to be in an abusive relationship. Soon, she began to sock money away as she planned to break free of the relationship.

“I started to hide money away,” says Sarah. “If I made $80 that day, I would say that I only made $60 and hide the other $20 away. I did that for several months and it finally came to a head about five or six months later. I ended up not going home from work one Friday night and sent a text message that I was spending the weekend with a girlfriend and don’t call me. I went home after that weekend, packed up what I could fit in my car and told him to take care of the dog because I wasn’t coming back.”

For the next several years, Sarah continued to bounce between working in the service industry and office jobs before she wound up back in financial services. During that time, she also met her future husband, whom she married in October of 2017 and — with her life in a much more stable place — Sarah decided it was time to finally finish earning her degree.

She knew she also wanted to earn her Certified Financial Planner™ certification, and discovered that UNT’s G. Brint Ryan College of Business offered degree plans that were approved by the CFP board.




Elizabeth Hambrick  ('20)

Accounting and Real Estate major Elizabeth Hambrick is one of ten children. Her parents, Brent and Colette, are missionaries who moved their family to Honduras when Elizabeth was just three months old. Her father founded MedMissions, an organization that provides free health care. When Elizabeth and her family returned to the United States eight years later, they had no money to their name. Coming back to the U.S. was a complete culture shock for Elizabeth. Although she was born in the United States, her home was Honduras. She had grown accustomed to a different lifestyle and it took her some time to acclimate to the culture in Texas.

It was not long before the family returned to their mission work, this time in Guatemala and Cuba. It was there that Elizabeth realized her passion for helping others, but also came to understand the amount of money necessary to support it.

She devised a plan to major in real estate—a career which would allow her to earn enough income to support missions. She wanted to attend a high-quality university, but didn’t want to be bogged down with student loans.

When she returned from Cuba, Elizabeth secured a full-time job at a restaurant where she saved and invested her earnings. She eventually secured a scholarship that would cover a full ride at UNT. She began her first semester at UNT as a full-time student in Fall 2017, also working 30 hours a week to support herself. It wasn’t an easy task for her.

“God saw me through. He provided me with the strength, knowledge and community that I needed to succeed,” says Elizabeth.

In 2019, she left her job to begin a summer internship in real estate and then studied abroad in Scotland during Fall 2019. Little did she know, her world would completely shift when the pandemic hit. When Elizabeth’s classes were moved to virtual learning, she took the opportunity to spend more time with her family. Her grandmother, who owned and managed a small rental home, was having difficulty with the current tenants; they were not paying rent. Elizabeth offered to help her grandma with managing the property.

“By March the tenants had vacated the property and I began to renovate it. Every day, I would wake up at 7 a.m., work on the house for eight hours and then study until midnight. My dad and siblings helped whenever possible, but it was a big job.”

In the midst of the pandemic, she wasn’t sure what she would do. After two months, Elizabeth had new tenants moving in, her first taste in house renovations and she was hooked. Since there were no job prospects, she decided to buy a house and flip it. Having saved money throughout college, she was able to make a 50% down payment on her next house. She secured a loan and began renovations before her 21st birthday. The process took far longer than she had anticipated. If Elizabeth didn’t know how to do something, she would watch a YouTube video or call a friend.



UNT Alumni Association Scholarship donors

When Ivy Knight, accounting major, sat down at last fall’s UNT Alumni Scholarship Recipient Dinner, she was not expecting an alumnus to teach her how to set up a LinkedIn profile — but that’s just the sort of thing that happens when you are part of the UNT Alumni Scholarship Program.

The program’s primary purpose is to award scholarship money to deserving students, but the people behind it are also on a mission to provide extended resources that help students develop valuable skills.

“We’re working hard to grow this program and are not satisfied with traditional, transactional scholarships,” says Emily Klement (’92, ’94 M.Ed., ’12 Ed.D.), chair of the UNT Alumni Association Board of Directors. “We want to make our recipients feel like they have won the jackpot as we set them up for success.”

The youngest of five children, Knight is grateful to the donors who helped make her UNT education — something this daughter of a UNT alumna started dreaming about in middle school — a possibility. Beyond that, she appreciates the program’s emphasis on guiding recipients through the college experience.

“I’ve been given so many chances to grow and learn,” Knight says. “And now I have a whole network of UNT alumni who are willing to mentor me and will be eager to help me find career opportunities once I graduate.”

Recipients of the program’s eight — soon to be eleven — scholarships attend networking events and make connections with alumni who share their interests. And as long as students remain eligible, they can continue receiving the scholarship year after year until they graduate.

That recipients discover the importance of philanthropy is a nice bonus.

“We want our scholarship students to understand that there’s a lot more to giving than just dollars,” says David Wolf, vice president for University Advancement. “And we hope donors see that, in this program, a little goes a long way in helping our students find lifelong success.”

The UNT Alumni Association Scholarship Program is steadily expanding thanks to endowments from chapters, individuals and partners like Jostens. As the scholarship program continues to grow, donors will be able to choose more targeted areas to support, connect with recipients and see first-hand the difference they’re making.

“Receiving this scholarship has given me a deeper sense of pride and belonging at UNT, because I see how much former students have been impacted by the school — how much they love it and how they’re still involved,” scholarship recipient Ivy Knight says. “It makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger.”

An investment in UNT students is an investment in the future of the UNT Alumni Association. Visit to give today.



MBA candidate publishes case for equal pay

As a nonprofit attorney, earning her JD from the University of Michigan, Sarah Pack is not your typical MBA student. While in the classroom, Pack studies sport entertainment management, but in her “off” time, she works as a practicing attorney with aspirations of pursuing a career in sports operations or marketing.
“This program has been so great at opening doors and expanding my network, so I hope to find a position through one of those connections that will allow me to use the experience and insights I gained from my MBA and my analytical thinking from my legal background,” said Pack.
Pack has already begun combining those interests by earning herself a spot in the Northeastern University Law Review—a rare accomplishment for a master’s candidate.
Dr. Bob Heere, director of sport entertainment management, recognized Pack’s unconventional background and offered her a chance to substitute the legal issues course typically required of students for a chance to participate in an independent study project. Jumping at the opportunity, Pack chose to research the highly publicized legal battle of equal pay for the US national women’s soccer team.
“I wanted to write about the topic because I am a passionate follower of women's soccer and the lawsuit was heavily in the news around the time Dr. Heere and I were discussing what my independent study project should look like,” explained Pack.
Arguing that US Soccer, as a nonprofit, should adopt an equal pay standard for the women’s national team “as a matter of policy to further its tax-exempt purposes,” Pack’s study closely analyzed legal arguments made against the federation.
On the evening her paper was due, however, the district court ruled against equal pay, causing Pack to make an unanticipated pivot.


UNT BBA in Business Analytics ranks top in the nation

UNT has earned a spot among the top 25 bachelor’s degrees in Business Analytics, according to Qualifying traditional, on-campus programs from accredited schools were ranked by alumni salary, job-market reputation and tuition cost. The G. Brint Ryan College of Business stood out from its competitors due to its scholarship availability and its focus on teaching students technical skills that are directly applicable to the job market.

Bachelors Degree Center notes that those earning a bachelor's degree in business or data analytics have a median salary of $63,120, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, making it a top choice among undergraduates.


Dr. Valarie Bell works on mega Twitter supercomputing project

Since the summer, Dr. Valarie Bell and her team have been preparing the resources and tools to undertake a major research project utilizing UNT’s Talon 3 supercomputing cluster. Use of the cluster is absolutely essential since they are examining what she believes to be the largest ever social media dataset ever under scientific study—over half a billion Tweets.

The data come from virtually every country with active Twitter users, and the Tweets are written in more than a dozen languages. The size and quality of the dataset will enable them to conduct at least several studies utilizing natural language processing, social media social network analysis, and spatial analysis integrating US Census units data from the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey.

Furthermore, the team will be testing a number of hypotheses across the duration of the project, including those concerning the nature, strength and power of hashtags’ influence, and the roles of culture, politics and trust in choosing whether or not to engage in self-sacrifice behaviors for the benefit of the larger community. Most importantly, they will identify evidence for multiple ‘social contagions’ that proliferate concurrent to pandemics like the current COVID-19 pandemic and investigate the connections between those social contagion epidemics and the spread, severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, they will examine the roles of various social and demographic variables in the spread of COVID-19, as well as the connections to spatial variables and concurrent social contagions. They expect their findings to have applications for: organizations of all types seeking ways to gain individuals’ compliance with organizational policies without having to resort to coercion; organizations and governments seeking to identify and effectively deal with competitive yet criminal, predatory business behavior; and organizations and governments seeking to develop constructive and effective messaging that successfully persuades individuals in their communities to agree to engage in collective but individual self-sacrifice behaviors for the good of the organization or for the greater good of the community.

Working alongside Dr. Bell is her research assistant Katia Guerra and faculty member Dr. Mahdi Ahmadi, assisting with the natural language processing operations in Python. Graduate students Ugochi Madumere, Ariana Arriago and undergraduate Michael Herring round out the research team. Special thanks also go out to Charles Peterson and Richard Herrington at North Texas Scientific Computing whom have been, and will continue to be, vital contributors to this project.



2019-2020 Annual Review

The G. Brint Ryan College of Business has officially released its 2019-2020 Annual Review magazine. Click here to catch up on what the college has been up to this past year. From celebrating its tenth year in aviation logistics, to student competition wins and rising in the ranks, the publication is full of note-worthy accomplishments to read about. 


UNT announces scholarship increases aimed at helping transfer students move forward with their education

Undergraduate students transferring to the University of North Texas for the first time from a community college or another university now will be considered for enhanced scholarship opportunities.

UNT’s Transfer Excellence Scholarships, a merit-based scholarship program, recognizes transfer students with a proven track record of academic success. UNT has increased the value of the scholarships, now ranging from $1,500 to $4,000 per year based on the student’s GPA. The awards will begin for the Spring 2021 term and be offered for spring and fall semesters.

UNT is the school of choice for many transfer students living in the North Texas region and across Texas. This fall, UNT welcomed more than 3,800 new undergraduate transfer students. UNT is the only Texas public university named to the Phi Theta Kappa Excellence in Community College Transfer Honor Roll for five consecutive years, and is a top three transfer destination in the state.

“Transfer students are valued members of our Mean Green Family, and UNT is committed to creating stronger pathways to a bachelor’s degree for transfer students and strives to make their transition as seamless, affordable and as successful as possible,” UNT President Neal Smatresk said. “Our Transfer Excellence Scholarships recognize transfer students’ perseverance and dedication to academic excellence. UNT is committed to helping our students achieve their dreams.”

Under the program, Transfer Excellence Scholarship recipients who have earned an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree from Collin College, Dallas College, North Central Texas College or Tarrant County College will be eligible for an additional one-time $500 bonus award.


Meet G. Brint Ryan Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship Dr. Jeremy Short

The UNT G. Brint Ryan College of Business announces a new episode of its Business Conversations podcast, featuring G. Brint Ryan Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship Dr. Jeremy Short. 

Short discusses his decision to join the college, his varied research interests and the inspiration behind his latest class challenge.

Tune in to hear what Short has to say and listen to other Business Conversations episodes for featured expert faculty and staff opinions on relevant news affecting today's business world.




The McNatt Emergency Fund was established in 2019 by Jim ('66) and Linda McNatt to provide Ryan College of Business students facing financial crisis with the necessary funding to keep them enrolled and progressing toward their degree. Awards as large as $3,000 are granted to students to alleviate the financial stress they may be facing. 


A $5,000 gift will support UNT's presidential initiative to provide financial support to students who have immediate and pressing needs related to the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Funds will fulfill short-term needs and help students achieve their long-term educational objectives.


The Dean’s Excellence Fund also provides immediate, essential support to our students. This fund serves as a vital resource to help our students and campus respond to opportunities and challenges as they occur. When you support the Dean’s Excellence Fund, you support the strategic vision of the college by allowing the Dean to have flexibility in directing the use of resources to the priorities of the college during this difficult time.




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