Bryan Ruef of 10-8 Systems pitches to a judge at the 2019 Titan Fast Pitch competition at Cal State FullertonHundreds of Cal State Fullerton and other Orange County students, alumni, donors, supporters, and family members took time during the weekend before Halloween to gather at the Titan Student Union on Oct. 26 for the annual Titan Fast Pitch competition.

The event, presented by the Cal State Fullerton Center for Entrepreneurship and sponsored by MUFG Union Bank, gives university, college, high school and intermediate school students planning to start their own businesses the opportunity to perfect the art of fast pitches of as little as 60 seconds before Orange County business leaders acting as impartial judges.

“We started Titan Fast Pitch to challenge students to effectively communicate ideas in a limited period of time — a critical skill that entrepreneurs must develop,” explains Travis Lindsay, management lecturer and manager of the Center for Entrepreneurship and the CSUF Startup Incubator​. “Students learn how to communicate their ideas to key stakeholders, such as investors, business partners and customers.”

The event involves the aspiring entrepreneurs participating in multiple rounds of pitches before judges, including a bullpen round requiring as many 60-second pitches as possible in an hour, and the lightening round, involving pitches to both the judges and broader audience.

Among the top finishers, who received scholarships of up to $1,500, was CSUF computer science student Bryan Ruef and his brother Kevin for their 10-8 Systems startup, an affordable cloud-based computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system used by emergency response agencies around the world, which netted second place.

A mixed race woman in grayscale is superimposed against a background of numbers, illustrating a high-tech theme

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

From worries about election interference to protecting health-care information and financial data, U.S. organizations and institutions of all kinds are recognizing the strategic importance of cybersecurity, and employment is growing as a result.

According to a national estimate, there are more than 313,000 job openings in the cybersecurity field, with only 715,000 workers already employed in the field. California ranks second in the nation with 37,000 job openings (behind national security-heavy Washington, D.C.). Projections of more than 1 million jobs in the field in the near future appear to be a reality soon.

Virtually all industries are seeing new cybersecurity positions, according to Cal State Fullerton Associate Professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) Sinjini Mitra, a biometrics and cybersecurity expert. Perhaps surprisingly, education is a notable growth field. Read More

Laura Romine poses outside of PIMCO headquarters in Newport Beach, California, in November 2019.

Laura Romine stands outside PIMCO’s Newport Beach headquarters. Photo credit Jay Patrick.

For more than two years, Laura Romine, a 2017 finance grad from Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, has served as product strategy associate in the product strategy group for Newport Beach’s PIMCO global investment management firm.

In this role, the young professional supports the credit team, covering corporate credit strategies across the rating spectrum and capital structure. It is rewarding, but challenging.

“I like the opportunity to work on various projects and enjoy the fast-paced environment here. I’ve found I’m happier when I’m busy,” says Romine of her position. “Regarding challenges, one of my day-to-day responsibilities that was difficult at first is writing market commentary. As financial markets tend to be nuanced, analyzing drivers of market moves requires critical thinking skills and a deep understanding of the underlying context. I enjoy putting all the puzzle pieces together, but it can be challenging at times.” Read More

Hafez Karimi, Cal State Fullerton M.A. in economics grad

Hafez Karimi

The study of economics is more than graphs and equations. It is among the majors demanding the highest pay and can make a difference in the lives of the less privileged around the world.

Cal State Fullerton M.A. in economics student Hafez Karimi ’20 is among the Titans who have found meaning in the economics field. The vice president of the CSUF Economics Association is also a speaker for Up to Us, a millennial-focused advocacy and awareness group centered on the U.S. national debt and other economic issues, and provides mentoring for Orange County homeless at H.I.S. House in Placentia.

“Economics is useful in almost any field you go into, from the private sector to public sector,” says Karimi. “The major helps you think critically and mathematically, and helps with writing well. It has aided me in every aspect of my life, from working in homeless shelters teaching market research to helping felons start their own businesses and putting presentations together on fiscal and monetary policy in the United States.” Read More

Joshua Dorsey, assistant professor of marketing at Cal State Fullerton

Joshua Dorsey

In the aftermath of 9/11, U.S. officials set up standards for secure identification needed for boarding airplanes or accessing federal facilities such as military bases. After being delayed numerous times over the past two decades, the federally compliant licenses, known as Real ID, will become mandatory to fly in the United States beginning on Oct. 1, 2020.

However, as many as three quarters of Americans, including many in California, have procrastinated, still lacking the necessary identification less than one year from the mandate (you don’t need Real ID if you have a passport or military ID, and you can stick with your regular driver’s license if you’ll only be taking land transportation).

How can these procrastinators be reached with a necessary sense of urgency?

Joshua Dorsey, assistant professor of marketing at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, told the Los Angeles Times that communicating the positives of having Real ID – such as being able to see new places or travel to see family and friends – are better talking points than the more punitive mandatory deadline.

“People do want to travel and want to go places. I can tether the Real ID to something positive that allows me to continue to have a growth experience, I can continue to grow and see other places,” he says.

Dorsey also half-jokingly suggests “sadvertising,” approaches that pull on the heart strings of the audience, such as what philanthropic organizations fighting animal cruelty or world hunger use.

Read more about Dorsey’s suggestions and what you’ll need to have to fly in 2020 and beyond in this CSUF News article. Or read more of our articles about Mihaylo College’s marketing faculty and their research.

Gang Peng, Mihaylo College ISDS Associate Professor

ISDS Associate Professor Gang Peng. Photo from CSUF News

Noting that U.S. health care is both the most expensive in the world and still inefficient and unreliable, Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College Associate Professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) Gang Peng recognizes the imperative of finding cost-effective solutions through health care information technology (HIT).

“HIT has the potential to significantly reduce medical errors and streamline clinical processes, thereby containing health care costs, and ultimately improving the overall quality, safety and efficiency of American health care,” he says.

Presenting his research methodology and findings to the Titan community at a talk at the Pollak Library on Oct. 28, Peng focused on acute care providers or hospitals as part of a network of other similar institutions and that the interplay between these actors has much to do with technology adoption – or the lack thereof.

“Since the HITECH Act of 2009, passed by the Obama Administration, there have been big incentives for the adoption of HIT, especially electronic medical records,” explained Peng. “However, it might be surprising that more connection with other doctors actually translates to less likely use of e-health systems.”

He consulted the HIMSS database, a commonly consulted analytical source for HIT-related topics.

While there are more than 100 types of HIT, Peng’s investigation focused on clinical data repository (CDR), a real-time database that brings together data from a range of clinical sources to present a unified view of a given patient. CDR is one of eight electronic medical record applications, and it is the foundation of HIT.

“Hospitals are increasingly working together – through integrated health care delivery systems (IHDS). Kaiser Permanente is the extreme example of this, but even formerly individual hospitals are coming together to some extent,” said Peng. “This is why it is important to have a holistic view of these organizational networks and recognize technology adoption as essentially a process of knowledge transfer.”

Peng’s findings also show that larger and more urban hospitals are more likely to adopt new technologies, as compared to their rural counterparts. While improving care for the majority of patients living in urban settings, Peng believes this urban-rural dichotomy is unfortunate, since the greater geographical distances often involved in care in rural settings might make HIT even more impactful in those settings, though a lack of support and financial hindrances are limitations there.

Looking to the future, Peng believes that certain HIT will eventually plateau, but that there is still significant ground to gain in digitizing care, with many layers yet to be adopted by most institutions. The potential for growth is even larger when considering that while Europe and Australia are relatively advanced as compared with the U.S., most of the rest of the world lags far behind.

For More on ISDS

The Mihaylo College ISDS department is ranked 70th globally among similar entities for faculty publications in industry journals, according to AIS Rankings. Faculty members such as Ofir Turel are world leaders in examining the current state and the future of the information systems field and its practical implications.

Seeking a future in information systems? Mihaylo College offers undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in such in-demand fields as data analytics, decision sciences and information technology. For more information, visit the Mihaylo College ISDS department website.

Read more articles about Information Systems and Decisions Sciences.

Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of finance and real estate expert Jia Xie

Jia Xie, assistant professor of finance

As millennials now make up the largest generational cohort in the United States, their impact on the real estate market could be immense. But according to a recent survey, more than four in five millennials – young adults between 20 and 40 years of age – anticipate greater difficulty in buying compared to their parents and grandparents. Only 48% desire to own a home, and high costs and lack of personal financial acumen are major roadblocks.

With median home listing prices of $289,000 nationally and $798,000 in Orange County according to Zillow, real estate purchases may not be within reach for today’s young people. But according to Jia Xie, assistant professor of finance at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, it doesn’t mean that homeownership isn’t a benefit to millennials.

“They need more education on mortgages and personal finance in general. They need to better understand the benefits and costs of being a homeowner, including the ability to build personal wealth by owning real estate,” said Xie in an Oct. 13 article published in The Dallas Morning News, one of America’s most widely circulated newspapers. Read More

Cal State Fullerton economist Mira Farka at the 2019 Economic Forecast Conference at the Hotel Irvine on Oct. 30, 2019.

Cal State Fullerton Economics Associate Professor Mira Farka, co-director of the Woods Center, discusses the outlook for the economy at the 2019 forecast. Photo by Matt Gush

At the 25th Annual Economic Forecast Conference on Oct. 30, Cal State Fullerton economists Anil Puri and Mira Farka examined the outlook for the global, U.S., and Orange County economies over the next two years. While they predict that the U.S. economy will avoid a recession over the next 12 to 18 months, they expect a slowdown in growth and emphasize a degree of high risk due to political instability.

In October 2019, the U.S. economy marked 124 consecutive months of economic growth since the Great Recession, the longest sustained economic expansion in the nation’s history. While unemployment rates remain low, recession fears have risen, both because of historical precedents of the length of expansions and the aggregation of a number of subtle but troubling signs.

“Recession fears reached a fever pitch in mid-August, when an escalation of the trade war between [the] U.S. and China, downbeat data from Europe and China, and an inversion of additional portions of the yield curve simultaneously combined for a dour outlook,” reported Woods Center Director and Provost Emeritus Anil Puri and Co-Director and Associate Professor of Economics Mira Farka.

“There is no denying that the chances of a recession are uncomfortably high, the highest since the end of the Great Recession. As it ages, the expansion becomes more vulnerable to all sorts of shocks – much like the aging process in humans, while a younger physique may be able to sustain numerous body-blows without succumbing (as this expansion has), doing so at an older age becomes inevitably harder.” Read More

By Tiffany Cordon ’23

You have three papers to write, four midterms to study for,  a part time job, Halloween is in two days, and you have no costume—yet! Here are five quick and easy costume ideas so you don’t feel left out of all the Halloween festivities.

Identity Thief

This one is pretty simple. All you need are blank nametags, a sharpie, names of your friends, and a t-shirt. First, write out all the names of the identities you are “stealing” on those nametags. Next, put all of those nametags on the t-shirt. That’s it. And the best thing about this costume is it’s a great conversation starter.

A person in a Halloween costume with many identities displayed in name tags

Photo from

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An African-American man teaching two young girls of color in a classroom in modern America. While ethnic and racial minorities comprise more than half of the nation’s public school students, and African-American and Latino males make up around 15% of the American population, the U.S. Department of Education reports that Hispanic and black men make up only 2% of the U.S. teaching workforce.

Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education is working to increase the number and reach of men of color in education at all levels through the Men of Color in Education initiative, relaunched in fall 2019. The program is open to students of all majors, including business, who foresee themselves in an educationally focused career path, including business students inspired to teach economics, finance or related topics.

Titans involved in the Men of Color in Education program have access to the resources of the College of Education, including a laptop rental, and a network of fellow peers interested in the teaching profession, along with career advising and individualized mentoring. Thursday café meetings and a retreat next summer will expand the sense of community.

Currently, 20 Hispanic and African-American men are part of the cohort-based program supported through a CSUF Graduation Initiative 2025 Innovation Grant, which funds programs seeking to foster inclusion and access to a Cal State education.

All Men of Color in Education students are enrolled in READ 360 – Literacy Education for Social Change, an upper-division course with a fieldwork component taught by CSUF grad George Herrera, principal of La Puente Elementary School, which primarily serves underprivileged students.

Jovanee Castrejon, a CSUF history student who is part of the program and experienced firsthand a lack of men of color in his personal educational journey, provides this reflection. “Male teachers of color play a crucial role in the development of a student’s life because they bring cultural representation into the classroom. I hope to be a male role model to inspire and touch the lives of students in a positive way.”

For more information, reach out to the Center for Careers in Teaching at 657-278-7130, visit the Men of Color in Education Initiative online, or read this CSUF News highlight.