Cal State Fullerton business student Rachel Griffin

Rachel Griffin, the first place winner at the Impact Sales Competition

Students involved in Cal State Fullerton’s Sales Leadership Center, which provides sales-related education and networking for Titans of any major, took first and third place at the 3rd Annual Impact Collegiate Sales Competition in Chicago on Sept. 20. The event, which gave students from seven universities the opportunity to perfect their sales pitch skills while competing for scholarships, involved more than 90 participants.

It was the first time that Cal State Fullerton has participated in the event.

“I am excited to see that our students performed so well in their first attendance to this collegiate competition,” says Brad Anderson, director of the Sales Leadership Center. “To have three of the top eight contestants and two of the top three is an amazing reward for the students’ hard work.”

Rachel Griffin ’20, student president of the Sales Leadership Center and a Mihaylo College student assistant, netted gold, with a $2,000 scholarship, while Jacob Miknuk ’20, a Mihaylo College ISDS and marketing double major and big data analytics specialist for Irvine-based Alteryx, earned the number three spot and a $750 scholarship.

Other Cal State Fullerton contestants included Octavio Lobato ’20 (economics), Casey Powell ’20 (marketing) and Ezequiel Pena-Pena ’20 (management).

Cal State Fullerton student Jacob Miknuk

Third-place winner Jacob Miknuk

The student delegation was accompanied by Anderson and Assistant Professor of Marketing Joshua Dorsey.

Impact Networking, a Lake Forest, Illinois-based business process optimization firm, first hosted a sales competition in 2017. The seven universities competing in 2019 were the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Northern Illinois University, Ball University, Winona State University and Cal State Fullerton.

For More on Sales Leadership

The Sales Leadership Center provides resources and events for students interested in pursuing sales careers or gaining valuable experience in selling, presentation skills and building student confidence. More than 30 sponsor companies, including Impact Networking, participate in activities including workshops, seminars, career fairs, sales competitions, and social events. Students may earn a sales minor or a certificate of professional sales through academic and participation in such events.

For more information, visit the center online. Or read more of our articles about Cal State Fullerton’s sales education initiatives.

Sara Hashemzadeh ’18, a Cal State Fullerton grad and event coordinator for North Hollywood-based Russell Harris Event Group.

Sara Hashemzadeh ’18

If you were one of the more than seven million viewers of this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards, you were watching the culmination of pre-planning and support by hundreds of workers and professionals, including Cal State Fullerton’s own Sara Hashemzadeh ’18 (entertainment and hospitality management), who serves as event coordinator for North Hollywood-based Russell Harris Event Group.

In a little more than a year since joining the firm, Hashemzadeh has put support for major televised events such as the Emmys and Teen Choice Awards, as well as corporate functions, under her belt as she embarks on a career in event planning.

Hashemzadeh gave us an inside look at her job, where she sees herself going forward and her advice for her fellow Titans.

What do you do as event coordinator at Russell Harris Event Group?

In my first year, right after graduating college, I’ve had the privilege of working on a vast number of large-scale events, such as the Teen Choice Awards, The Emmys, The LA Screenings, The Passage Premiere, and multiple Fortune 500 corporate events. There are a variety of responsibilities that I hold as an event coordinator at Russell Harris Event Group. In the pre-production phase, I am focused on creating intriguing proposals, designing layouts, sourcing items, attaining pricing, inspecting venues, conducting research, and tracking costs and profit margins. Read More

Hadi Mansour, a Cal State Fullerton graduate now teaching economics and business at Abu Dhabi International School

Hadi Mansour

Hadi Mansour traveled to the United States at the age of 16, where he pursued an undergraduate education in accounting and finance at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics from 2004 to 2009. Mansour uses the business acumen he gained at CSUF to benefit the next generation of young people living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he is a business studies and economics teacher at the Abu Dhabi International School, teaching at the secondary level.

Familiar with diversity through his studies at Cal State Fullerton, Mansour is equipped to teach students from more than 70 nations who attend the school of more than 4,000 students in the heart of the UAE’s wealthiest emirate. The school specializes in educating the children of expatriates from around the world who live in the region due to business or government roles.

“This level of diversity allows teachers to take a more global perspective, using many countries and cultures as reference points,” says Mansour. “Although it is my job to educate and inform, I am constantly amazed at how much I learn from my students.”

Mansour has found that teaching business enables him to delve deeper into the historic roots of some of the differences in beliefs, values and norms of the varied cultures his students come from. Read More

Chris Salomone, Cal State Fullerton alumnus and former staff member, at work in his workshop on a woodcrafting project.

Chris Salomone ’06 embarks on a woodworking project that will be broadcast on YouTube. The former Cal State Fullerton staff member has made a full-time living off of a YouTube-based woodworking business.

While serving as marketing director for Cal State Fullerton’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, alumnus Chris Salomone ’06 (business economics) launched Foureyes Furniture, a YouTube-based woodworking business that quickly grew. Last year, the 38-year-old quit his full-time job to focus squarely on his YouTube channel, which, at more than 437,000 subscribers, was rapidly becoming a lucrative income source and fulfilling venture in its own right.

Even as a student in the 2000s, Salomone (pronounced Sala-moan-ee) had skill as a craftsman, prompting him to take coursework in art as well as business. During his more than a decade of employment at Cal State Fullerton, woodworking was his side gig. But today, creating videos about how to make high-end furniture has become a bigger part of his business than making and selling the creations themselves.

“It started off as making custom furniture as a side hustle, but after four years, I hit the limit of what I could do and felt like I wasn’t enjoying it as much anymore because I was building the same things over and over,” says Salomone. “So I wanted to build more things on YouTube and make videos about it. I finished up the orders I had agreed to and tried my hand at making videos. I published my first video in March 2016. I was thinking that not many people would watch it, but that if I did a good job, it would eventually catch on, and it caught on quite a bit sooner than I had expected it to. By January 2017, I did my first brand deals, having sponsored content and sponsored videos on the channel.” Read More

Mike Groff, the retired CEO of Toyota Financial Services and the namesake of the Mike Groff Scholarship.

Mike Groff

As a management student in Cal State Fullerton’s business college, Mike Groff struggled financially and faced first-generational challenges. In the decades after his graduation, Groff served 35 years with the world’s largest automaker, including as president and CEO of Toyota Financial Services. But he never forgot the needs of college students from underprivileged backgrounds.

Upon his retirement from Toyota in 2018, Toyota introduced the Mike Groff Community Impact Scholarship. With the support of his longtime employer, $25,000 is awarded to deserving undergrad students from underprivileged demographic backgrounds who are headed to grad school and are involved with philanthropic endeavors, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs or Toyota’s many nonprofit endeavors. Groff is a national trustee of the Boys & Girls Club of America and is currently serving on the Dean’s Advisory Board of Mihaylo College.

Thanks to the Mike Groff Scholarship, a Titan Alumna Looks Forward to a Career Helping Others

In 2019, Cal State Fullerton human services alumna Monica Gutierrez ’18 was the inaugural recipient of the Groff Scholarship. She rose above academic challenges as a transfer student from Fullerton College to make it to the dean’s list and serve as the branch director for the Boys & Girls Club of Fullerton throughout her undergraduate career.

Monica Gutierrez, a Cal State Fullerton grad now working on a master's degree at Azusa Pacific University

Monica Gutierrez

Gutierrez is currently pursuing a graduate degree in college counseling and student development at Azusa Pacific University, the largest and oldest evangelical Christian higher education institution on the West Coast. She is looking forward to supporting today’s diverse student populations in discovering their passions and interests through higher education.

“My passion lies in education and empowering students to be the best version of themselves,” says Gutierrez. “I aspire to work in higher ed as a counselor and advocate for students in marginalized groups. I am mostly passionate about supporting first-gen students, transfer students and women. My goal is to ultimately work in a community college setting to be a mentor for those who need encouragement and validation the most. I am extremely appreciative of the Boys & Girls Club and Toyota for their support of my life and career journey.”

Groff recognizes that the scholarship is an example of the impact companies and organizations can make on the lives of young people while working together. “I think this shows the power of support and mentoring from organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and the role corporations like Toyota can play in helping talented and hardworking students such as Monica pursue their passions.”

Funding Your Future

Are you a Cal State Fullerton student seeking financial support for your studies? Discover the options available to students of all disciplines from the Office of Financial Aid.

Andre Rishi, graduate career advisor, at Mihaylo College of Business and Economics

Cal State Fullerton’s business graduate students are seeking the next advancement in their careers or a new career direction. Supporting them in their efforts is Andre Rishi, the graduate career advisor at Mihaylo Career Services, who brings nearly 12 years of higher education vocational advising history to support the graduate students of Cal State Fullerton’s business college.

Want more career support but have trouble finding time? Andre’s got you covered, even if you have a full-time job.

Available for half-hour career advising appointments Monday through Friday until 7 p.m., which can be scheduled online through AppointmentQuest, you’ll have the opportunity to get your résumé and cover letter reviewed, mastermind your vertical move or career transition, get tips on the latest social media practices that win for today’s job seekers, and plan your best strategy for the rest – and best – of your working life.

Andre, a New York University fine arts grad with a background in acting, knows how you can put your best foot forward whether you are looking to make a move in the company you currently work at or are looking to break into a different industry.

An avid international traveler, Andre knows about the world, which equips him to advise students in today’s globalized age.

“I love to travel whenever possible and my favorite destinations so far are Costa Rica, Abu Dhabi, Malaysia and Indonesia,” he says.

Also be sure to sign up for the monthly graduate career newsletter, which provides tips for landing interviews as well as an updated list of featured jobs. Let Andre know you’ve applied to these jobs, so he can advocate on your behalf, as Mihaylo Career Services has built a relationship with each of the featured employers.

Check out our video with Andre about what he can do for you.

For more on how Andre can help you, reach out to him at or 657-278-7997. Or visit Mihaylo Career Services online or at SGMH 1401 for more ways to get your career tuned up, including workshops and events covering a wide range of industries.

One such upcoming event, exploring living and working in Canada, is designed for international graduate students and will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 5:30 p.m. in SGMH 3210. Register today!

A nighttime view of Disneyland in Anaheim, California

Photo from Pixabay

With more than 23,000 employees (known as cast members), Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort is the largest employer in Orange County, and that distinction does not include the tens of thousands who work in restaurants, hotels, resorts and other businesses heavily dependent on Disneyland’s presence.

To better understand their economic impact on Southern California, Disney officials turned to the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting, a think tank and research center within Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. With the help of a $75,000 grant from the resort, economists Anil Puri, Adrian Fleissig, Aaron Popp and a current Mihaylo College economics student, spent six months on the project.

Assessing direct, indirect and induced impacts on the seven-county region using an input-output model, the researchers determined that Disneyland Resort had a total economic impact of $8.5 billion in 2018, a rise of 50% since 2013, generating nearly 78,300 jobs.

The fiscal impact was also massive: It generated more than $500 million in state and local taxes during fiscal year 2018, powering local governments, especially Anaheim’s general fund.

“Findings show what an economic powerhouse Disneyland Resort is,” Puri summarizes. “It is the largest employer in Orange County, and its impact is felt beyond Anaheim. Not only does it draw tourists from around the world, it also adds to the local economy through its major construction and renovation projects. Disneyland Resort is a magnet and catalyst for additional tourism and recreational activities and enterprises in the region.”

Learn about the Mihaylo College study and its implications in this CSUF News article. Or read more of our articles on the research conducted by the college’s economists.

A police officer uses 10-8 Systems at a traffic stop.If someone near you has a heart attack, you witness a crime or see a fire break out, your instinct is likely to call 911. But will the dispatcher know the exact location to respond efficiently?

The emergency response system in the U.S. and other countries, while a lifesaver to thousands in crisis situations, is outdated, often focusing on the address, rather than the exact location – as measured in a few feet – within a campus, building or area.

Cal State Fullerton computer science student Bryan Ruef, working with Mihaylo College’s Center for Entrepreneurship, has launched 10-8 Systems, an affordable cloud-based computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system for agencies of any size, whether law enforcement, private security, search and rescue, or emergency medical assistance, which helps ensure that first responders know the exact location of those they assist, through cell phone-based GPS technology, among other capabilities.

Already, Ruef’s brainchild has helped save hundreds of lives in the aftermath of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian, which devastated the northern Bahamas.

Ruef shares his motivation for developing 10-8 Systems and where he sees his innovation in the future. Read More

Panelists at the Harnessing Psychology, Tech and Innovation to Combat Distracted Driving event at Cal State Fullerton's Mihaylo College on Sept. 12, 2019.

Panelists discuss distracted driving and related solutions at the Harnessing Psychology, Tech and Innovation to Combat Distracted Driving symposium on Sept. 12, 2019.

With backup cameras, lane control warnings, reminders to fasten your seat belts and built-in systems to prevent drunk driving, roads in the developed world should be safer than ever before. But despite safer vehicles, traffic fatalities in the U.S. are increasing at an alarming rate, recording their biggest two-year increase in the past 50 years between 2014 and 2016. In 2017, more than 37,000 Americans died in motor vehicle crashes, including 3,600 in California.

While causes vary, the culprit behind the overall increase in auto accidents is largely distracted driving, a longstanding challenge that has grown dramatically more acute in recent years with the advent of increasingly sophisticated mobile technologies.

“In our poll, 77% [of drivers] admitted to making or taking calls while driving, and 30% had a near miss because of their own distraction. While they are driving, 20% of people we’ve polled in the Los Angeles region are shopping online. And if 20% are admitting to it, think about what the actual number is,” said Joan Woodward, president of the Travelers Institute, a public policy and thought leadership think tank established by insurance giant Travelers. “We also have pedestrian fatalities, with more than 6,000 being killed, with this toxic mix of drivers driving distracted and people walking across the street with their earbuds in.” Read More

A student utilizes the iTuffy chatbot on his smartphone.

A Cal State Fullerton student using iTuffy on his smartphone.

As the largest Cal State campus by enrollment, CSUF serves a massive community of students, faculty and staff, and it is committed to using all of the technology tools at its disposal to ensure facts and information are available on demand across the campus community.

The latest manifestation is the iTuffy App, a chatbot available on both the Apple and Google Play app stores, on your student/faculty/staff portal, and accessible through Amazon Alexa assistants set up across campus. Just ask your question and high-tech Tuffy will be at your service with an answer!

New to campus and need to know where a building is? Ask iTuffy, which will generate a map and audio information.

What time does the Student Recreation Center close on a Friday evening? iTuffy is up to the task.

Forgot your CWID, the number you need to exist in the system in Titan country? iTuffy will give it to you – but without announcing it by audio, to ensure your privacy.

Even the campus directory, upcoming events, and your personalized class and finals schedule aren’t beyond iTuffy’s IQ!

Future generations of Titans might turn to an omniscient iTuffy for everything. In fact, maybe iTuffy will be your kids’ professor if they go to CSUF! OK, we are getting ahead of ourselves here.

But for now, there are some things that are just beyond iTuffy’s abilities. Such as:

  • The answers to your test questions – iTuffy won’t help you cheat!
  • Where your friends are on campus at a given time – Tuffy is too committed to protecting your privacy to divulge that info!
  • Attending mandatory class sessions for you. iTuffy is an app, silly! It’s not a physical entity. You’re going to have to go to class yourself.
  • And iTuffy isn’t multilingual. We might need to wait some years before Mandarin iTuffy debuts. Rumor has it that Spanish will be the first second language iTuffy learns!

And if you need campus police, call 911, don’t ask iTuffy. Remember, elephants don’t move fast enough!

For more information on iTuffy, check out the video and resource page maintained by the Division of Information Technology.