The official newsletter of the UNT
G. Brint Ryan College of Business.

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Beth Klein ('87)

Denton artists Beth Klein ('87) and Roxane Clark ('95), business and education alums who opened Denton's Sleeping Lizzards gift store in 1992, have seen the college town transform over the years.

Their original clients were mostly mothers and older generations. But the advent of TikTok has brought in college students who want to buy crystals and other hot items trending on social media.

Klein, a jewelry designer and silversmith, and Clark, who makes handcrafted soaps, have not only helped the Denton economy by employing various people in their eclectic shop and selling their wares in many of the local festivals -- they've also promoted the work of other Denton artisans and other independently owned Denton businesses.

And Dentonites have helped them too. When their store flooded 14 years ago, local businesses sent clean-up crews and food.

During the two-month lockdown at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, customers bought gift certificates -- some as much as $500 -- and purchased items online.

"Denton has a deep-rooted core of people who value individuality, arts, creativity and local business," Klein says. "Denton is growing so fast, you would think that this ideal might disappear, but that has not been the case."

Published by UNT North Texan, Spring 2022



Susan Nurre ('81)

Dating back to the early 1900s, eight female members of the Nurre family, along with extended family, have attended UNT.

Jerre Nurre's aunt, Lucile Umphress, attended the university when it was known as North Texas State Normal College. A 1923 Yucca yearbook lists her as a member of both the Cottage Cousins and Scribes clubs. Later, Jerre, her daughters -- Sara, Susan and Becky -- and granddaughter Kate all enrolled at the university.

There was never any pressure to become an Eagle, Kate says. One by one though, they found their calling at UNT.

Kate's mom Sara ('79, '83 M.Ed.) and aunt Susan ('81) enrolled at North Texas State University in the fall of 1977 as accounting majors. Sara, the oldest of her family, later switched to education in preparation for teaching in the K-12 classroom. Susan stuck with accounting all the way through, even persevering through a few computer classes she thought might not go in her favor.

"We were learning COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language) and how to use the old punch cards," Susan says. "My roommate and I were taking this class, and we thought we were going to fail. We talked to the instructor, and he told us to, 'hang in there, the lightbulb will come on.' Luckily, it did, and I ended up enjoying it. At my first job with Arthur Andersen, I worked with COBOL and later taught it to new hires at the firm."

Published by UNT North Texan, Spring 2022



Toyota’s slogan “Let’s go places,” has taken on a whole new meaning for students at the G. Brint Ryan College of Business.

For two years in a row, Toyota has partnered with UNT MBA Cohort students to give them real-world experiences unique to the multi-billion-dollar company, and this year, they have taken their relationship with UNT one step further.

Toyota has now become an official partner of the G. Brint Ryan College of Business, joining ten other companies on record.

Enlisting in the college’s Corporate Partnership Program as a Gold-level partner, the company will now be perfectly situated to expand on the opportunities they bring to students through increased campus engagement and recruitment efforts.

To learn more about the Corporate Partnership Program, visit:


University of North Texas wins the Intermodal Case Study Competition

A three-member undergraduate team from the University of North Texas won the 2022 Intermodal Association of North America’s Academic Challenge, hosted by the University of North Florida.

The annual competition was held Friday, April 1, in Jacksonville, Florida. Judges for the competition were Rob Cannizzaro, Virginia International Terminals; Rob Giradot, CSX Transportation; Ryan Houfek, DCLI; and Tim Humbert, C.H. Robinson.

Participants on the UNT G. Brint Ryan College of Business team were Yoseph Almetnawy, Jairus Cherry and Jorden Herrington. This year’s case study focused on a fictitious medium-size, intermodal motor carrier’s decision to acquire chassis through purchase or lease given the current freight market conditions.

IANA scholarship schools represented in the Challenge were California State University Maritime Academy, Georgia Southern University, SUNY Maritime and the Universities of Maryland, North Florida, North Texas and Wisconsin at Superior. Auburn University and the University of Arkansas also participated.

Suman Niranjan, Ph.D., assistant professor for Logistics at UNT and the winning team’s advisor shared, “I believe it’s a tremendous opportunity for all the students that participate in the IANA case competition. Being in person at the IANA competition helps the students and mentors to network with champions in the intermodal industry, thus giving them a new sense of respect for the industry along with motivating students to pursue a career in intermodal."

“The student teams demonstrated a great level of preparation and professionalism in their presentations” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. “We congratulate them all and look forward to their contributions as future leaders in the intermodal industry.”

Since the Scholarship Program's inception in 2007, IANA has awarded close to $4 million to support students in university programs focused on freight and intermodal transportation. These funds support tuition, student research projects on intermodal issues, and curriculum development.

Published by The Intermodal Association of America, April 2022

Social entrepreneurship challenge lends new meaning to "giving back"

Students are helping the local community of Oak Cliff Cultural Center (OCCC) through a classroom challenge posed by Professor Jeremy Short, G. Brint Ryan Chair in Entrepreneurship.

Each semester, Short challenges students to collectively raise $10,000 for local causes by employing their social entrepreurship skills learned in the classroom. For one group of students, however, they’re raising that bar even higher.

Endre Wagner, BUIS major and Hungarian native, developed a personal connection to the challenge when he decided to honor his late best friend and "brother" by giving back to the place he once called home, Oak Cliff.
"I wanted to strive to do something for the children of Oak Cliff in honor and reverence of my fallen brother for the city he loved. Coincidentally, groupmate Martin Czivikli recommended Oak Cliff Cultural Center... Even more coincidentally, Martin is the third Hungarian I'd ever met through my entire academic career in Texas," said Wagner.

Business Integrated Studies and Media Arts double-major Martin Czvikli thought the cultural connections fostered by OCCC would be a perfect fit for their campaign.

“I first found out about the Oak Cliff Cultural Center through volunteering for the Oak Cliff Film Festival, which OCCC helps sponsor,” explained Czvikli. “I thought it would be wonderful to help raise money for them, so they can continue putting on free events for the community of Oak Cliff to participate in.”

Despite Wagner taking a brief and sudden pause in campaign planning to tend to his father's passing, he was able to channel his grief into emotional strength and ultimately help his team achieve their goals of supporting the Oak Cliff Community.

The campaign began in mid-April, but Wagner, Czvikli and teammate Jesse Garcia exceeded their $500 goal within just two weeks of its kick-off.

"I learned a lot about adaptability, productively channeling cumulative grief and also reverence and respect for the people and spaces you are doing the work for," said Wagner.

Historically, teams have primarily used online fundraising platforms like GoFundMe to reach their goals, but Czvikli, Wagner and Garcia had other plans in mind.

On April 27, the team hosted an in-person fundraising event at OCCC, fully equipped with live music, food, drinks, and local art and vendors.

"In reaching out to vendors [for the event], whom I wanted to consist of South DFW hip hop streetwear brands and community organizations, I had to calibrate my message gracefully and meaningfully to get the backing of organizations in such a short notice," Wagner explained.

Their efforts paid off. The team raised nearly $1,500 as a direct result of their OCCC event, bringing their campaign total to nearly $2,000 with almost two weeks left in the challenge.

“Through this campaign I learned that it is important to have multiple different avenues when fundraising. We covered promotion on social media, and we were able to host an event that really boosted the donations and helped spread the word even more about our campaign,” said Czvikli.

"I remember telling my groupmates we were going to knock this out of the park, simply out of my passion for wanting to help my brother's cause, and I couldn't be happier... Channel a few people's motivations towards a few goals that are extremely aligned with their passions and pains and sit back and watch the ceilings of potential break and shatter, one after another," concluded Wagner.

The full list of class campaigns include:


MBA students and TimelyMD team up for student mental health

UNT’s full-time MBA has established a way to create winning solutions for both students and industry.

In a recent class project for TimelyMD, the leading virtual health and well-being solution for colleges and universities and fastest-growing company in the DFW area, students were challenged with introducing new ideas and business processes for the company to implement.

With a mission to improve the well-being of college students by making virtual medical and mental health care accessible anytime, anywhere, TimelyMD serves nearly one million students at 200 campuses across the country. Company executives, including Zac Fleming, 2017 UNT MBA graduate, understood the value of listening to the ideas that its target demographic could develop.

“Students need access to more care and to do that demands new, innovative solutions. The UNT MBA students brought fresh ideas, validated by student surveys & research, to help propel us forward.”

As an industry partner, TimelyMD benefited from the insightful research and presentations that the student groups developed, while students also gained the invaluable opportunity to bridge classroom learning with practical application.

“Our work experience enabled us to relate business theory and insights to a practical application with which we have been professionally connected since we watched and experienced the demands of a corporate workspace,” said Saarah Rahman, MBA candidate. “It provided us with the opportunity to build on the business programs in our curriculum that we are now studying and enabled us to put them into practice more immediately.”

From identifying scalable ways to drive engagement, to determining optimal pricing models for their target market, students tapped into skills learned in the classroom to apply solutions in the real world.

The insider perspectives that Zachary Morse, MBA candidate, gained from the project was what also made a difference for his industry experience.

“Throughout the process, we learned how complex running a start-up can be, and ultimately, how important it is to fully understand your target market and surrounding environment,” explained Morse.

Fort Worth-based TimelyMD is not the only industry interaction that UNT’s full-time MBA students received this semester. Other nationally (and internationally) recognized companies, such as Keystone, Toyota and Peterbilt all gave students the opportunity to serve in a consultant role as they navigated the modern challenges of today’s business world.

“The industry interaction that our students engage in throughout the entirety of the MBA program is truly what sets it apart,” said Cathy Westurn, lecturer for the G. Brint Ryan College of Business. “Our full-time Cohort MBA includes a rigorous curriculum, but at the end of the program, our students are set to succeed, in large part because of these immersive industry experiences.”


National Science Foundation awards Assistant Professor Laurie Giddens nearly $300,000 to research online illicit activities

The National Science Foundation has awarded Assistant Professor Laurie Giddens with a $298,284 grant to facilitate research efforts aimed at examining how technology is used to facilitate, detect and disrupt illicit activities online.

The grant, titled, “Enabling Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Using NLP to Identify Suspicious Transactions in Omnichannel Online C2C Marketplaces” will dive into illicit behaviors with the help of three of her collaborators: Dr. Pablo Rivas and Dr. Stacie Petter from Baylor University and Dr. Gisela Bichler from California State University in San Bernardino.

“This project is interesting for us because we are expanding what we know about sex trafficking to other illicit activities that occur online in consumer-to-consumer websites, which is the sale of stolen goods,” explained Giddens. “This project team was developed during another NSF grant I currently have where we built a multidisciplinary to team of academics and anti-trafficking professionals to examine the use of technology used in human trafficking supply networks.”

In addition to working with her fellow researchers, Giddens will also be joining forces with nonprofit intelligence organization DeliverFund and law enforcement experts, to identify human trafficking in escort ads and to help detect stolen auto parts online in consumer-to-consumer sites.

“We are examining which policies of online C2C marketplace platforms enable illicit trade to flourish and we will also use natural language processing (NLP) to identify sellers offering illegally trafficked goods or services on legitimate websites” said Giddens.

The research will begin this month and continue through April 30, 2024.

Annual ACE Camp offers high school students new ways to soar

High School students interested in exploring aviation and aerospace careers can now register for ACE Camp, an innovative summer camp offered by the University of North Texas G. Brint Ryan College of Business and Tarrant County College.

"The acronym ACE, introduced for promotional purposes by the FAA several years ago, stands for Aviation Career Education," explained Steve Joiner, camp organizer and principal lecturer in the college's Department of Logistics and Operations Management. "In line with that purpose, ACE Camp introduces high school students to the many great career opportunities in the aviation field, from the better known pilot, mechanic, and flight crew jobs, to schedulers, dispatchers, cargo and airport managers. All serve the logistics and supply chains here and around the world."

The camp is open to juniors, seniors and recent high school graduates, and will be hosted at the Erma C. Johnson Hadley Northwest Center of Excellence for Aviation, Transportation and Logistics in Fort Worth. It takes place June 13 to 17 (Monday to Friday). To register, visit:



Alumnus Wilson Jones (’85) and his wife, Jane, donated $5 million to the college earlier this year to create a new career center in the G. Brint Ryan College of Business. This generous gift will not only go towards the build out of a space that will serve to better prepare students for successful careers, but it will also fund the hiring of new staff and resources to support the college's growing student body. Working in conjunction with this gift, the Wilson Jones Endowment for Ryan College of Business Career Support Services will provide additional assistance to reach these goals and support services that promote career readiness.

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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University of North Texas
G. Brint Ryan College of Business

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