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

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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.

Gerard Beenen, Cal State Fullerton Mihaylo College associate dean

Gerard Beenen

Within the national conversation on how to make college accessible and available in a world in which postsecondary education is increasingly a necessity, the growth of online learning is one of the most significant trends in preparing the next generation of leaders. According to the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, a third of all university students are taking at least one online course, while 15.4% are earning their degrees entirely online. Those numbers are based on fall 2017 data.

Gerard Beenen, professor of management and associate dean of community engagement and faculty and staff development at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, and Sinjini Mitra, associate professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences, compare online and face-to-face instruction in business and related disciplines in their new study, “A Comparative Study of Learning Styles and Motivational Factors in Traditional and Online Sections of a Business Course,” appearing in the journal INFORMS Transactions on Education

“There has been explosive growth in online and hybrid classes in higher education,” says Beenen. “We were curious to explore potential differences in what makes students successful in traditional face-to-face and online instructional approaches.”   Read More

Veronica Torres, director of operations at Warren Street Wealth Advisors and an alumna of Cal State Fullerton's Titan Capital Management program.

Veronica Torres ’16

Three years after graduating with a degree in finance and serving as a fixed income analyst for the Titan Capital Management (TCM) student-managed investment fund, Veronica Torres ’16 is now director of operations for Tustin-based registered investment advisor Warren Street Wealth Advisors LLC.

The alumna is also making an impact on the financial readiness of young women, at Cal State Fullerton and beyond, through Vee Makes Cents, an Instagram-based money education blog aimed at millennial and Generation Z female audiences.

Pursuing a Career in Financial Planning in Orange County

Since joining Warren Street Advisors, the firm in which TCM director Marcia Clark serves as senior research analyst, Torres has expanded her responsibilities, including handling the firm’s billing, payroll, human resources, business processes and customer relationship management. The role has been both rewarding and challenging.

“One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is taking on a lot of responsibility while still very young in my career,” says Torres. “There are some things that you just can’t learn in a textbook or a training manual; they take experience and practice to master. There have been times when I’ve come across struggles that a little more experience would have helped, but the great thing is that they all become learning lessons for me to get better in my role each and every day.” Read More

Mansi Kalra, Cal State Fullerton ASI vice president

Mansi Kalra

When international business junior Mansi Kalra ’21 arrived at Cal State Fullerton two years ago, she was very reserved and had no previous student government experience. Today, she serves as vice president of Associated Students Inc. (ASI), the official student government of the largest university in the Cal State system, actively advocating on behalf of the campus’ diverse student body to university and state officials.

Kalra encourages her fellow Titans of all temperaments and personalities to recognize their unique leadership potential.

“We tend to see leaders in a very specific way: effortlessly confident, cool under pressure and outgoing. I don’t really check any of those boxes, but that by no means makes me less of a leader,” she says. “If you don’t fit the standard definition of something, go redefine it for yourself. If something seems out of reach or uncomfortable, push yourself to embrace it, especially if it’s important.”

A passion to empower communities and advocate for underrepresented groups and a desire to effect positive change is what motivated Kalra to seek elected office, accepting a running-mate position in the ultimately victorious Aguilar/Kalra ticket in the spring 2019 election.

“It is far easier said than done to take a leap of faith and put yourself out there, but if you are truly passionate about something and believe that you can further a cause, the risk is worth it,” she says. Read More

Amy Vu, a Cal State Fullerton student and 2019 CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement

Amy Vu

Among the recipients of the 2019 CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, which honors a student from each of the 23-campus higher education system’s locations for superior performance and accomplishment in light of need, was Cal State Fullerton accounting senior Amy Vu ’20. The recognition is the highest annual recognition for student achievement awarded by the largest public higher education provider in the United States.

Vu received the honor, which includes a $6,000 scholarship, for a combination of near-perfect 3.99 GPA academic performance, community service through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program that provides tax preparation support for the region’s less fortunate, and her commitment coming from an immigrant and financially limited background to pursue a college education and career.

“It was truly an honor and a memorable moment that I will never forget,” says Vu. “I plan to use my scholarship for my master’s program, and I have a long-term educational goal of a doctorate in accounting and information systems. I want to be a professor who will teach with enthusiasm and passionate understanding to inspire students to learn more and achieve greatness.”

Certified public accountant (CPA) and certified information systems auditor roles are also among Vu’s career goals.

Putting Family First, a Young Immigrant from Vietnam Rises Higher

Arriving in California with her family from their native Vietnam, Vu postponed going to college and worked a full-time job to financially support her parents. In 2015, she enrolled in Santa Ana College, a community college serving central Orange County, where she studied business administration and earned a 4.00 GPA upon graduation in 2017.

“I did really well in all of my accounting classes at Santa Ana College, so when I transferred to Cal State Fullerton, I chose an accounting concentration,” she recalls. “After taking an information systems course, though, I found another passion in life and decided to add a second concentration.”

Vu shared her accounting skills with the community by serving as an IRS quality reviewer and assistant site coordinator for the VITA program during the 2017 and 2018 tax seasons, for which she earned the CSUF President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Vu’s Advice on Achievement

Vu knows her success can be replicated by many others.

“I believe anyone can achieve greatness by putting 200% into what they do,” she says. “What makes someone standout is their perseverance and determination in achieving their life goals. I hope my story can inspire everyone, regardless of their origins, to achieve their dreams with hard work and the tenacity to better themselves.”

For More on Accounting and Awards

For more information on accounting education programs at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, visit the Department of Accounting online. Or read more of our articles on accounting.

Are you a Cal State student and believe you should be considered for the Cal State Trustee’s Award? Apply online for consideration for next year’s awards.

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