Steven Chen, a Mihaylo College marketing professor, provides a look at the marketing behind America's annual sports holiday, the Super Bowl.

Steven Chen, associate professor of marketing at Cal State Fullerton’s College of Business and Economics

As CSUF Associate Professor of Marketing Steven Chen watched Disney movies and engaged with princess culture as the father of two young children, he came to notice that many of the animated movies produced by The Walt Disney Company included feminist messaging.

Desiring to learn more about the evolution of such messaging over time, Chen undertook a study of 30 Disney and Pixar animated films produced between 1989 and 2018 that included a female lead or co-lead.

The result: A 2020 study, “Feminism in Youth Media: A Study of Disney-Pixar Animation,” published in Business Horizons journal.

While female leadership in youth animation is limited, Chen and his team discovered that Disney-Pixar had the best record of representation, with 34% of films produced in the past 30 years having a female lead or co-lead. Films by Sony Pictures Animation and the Illumination studio had the lowest rate of representation and never included such women characters.

“A lot of the competitors not only had male lead characters, but their female characters were still the traditional ‘maidens in distress,’” Chen says. “Disney is a little more progressive, but surprisingly, its feminist messaging has not evolved since 1989’s ‘The Little Mermaid.’”

In today’s culture, gender representation is strongly called for in youth media companies. Still, Chen believes that since many large companies are risk-averse, change comes slowly.

Disney’s advantage: historical female lead characters in productions such as Snow White and Cinderella, which set a precedent and make it easier for the company to incorporate more gender diversity.

Read more about Chen’s research and conclusions in this CSUF News article. Or read more of our articles on marketing education and research at CSUF.

Amanda Thatcher

Amanda Thatcher ’10

Cal State Fullerton business alumni are making an impact throughout the professional world, including in the legal field. In January 2021, CSUF finance grad Amanda Thatcher ’10 became a partner in the business transactions practice group at Lewis Roca, an Am Law 200 law firm serving clients globally in complex litigation, intellectual property, business transactions, gaming, government relations, labor and employment, and regulatory counseling.

Lewis Roca is the firm that litigated Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court case giving rise to “Miranda Rights” that had a significant impact on law enforcement around the world.

Thatcher represents clients in business and personal planning matters; she was recognized as a Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Star for business/corporate law in 2020 and named by The Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch” for tax law in 2021.

The University of New Mexico J.D. grad discusses her career, CSUF experience and inspiration for her fellow Titans – especially women – in this interview with CSUF Business News. Read More

Gamze Cetin, a Turkish German who attended CSUF as an international student, in Dusseldorf

Gamze Cetin, a Turkish German, in Dusseldorf

While a student at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in her native Germany, Gamze Cetin spent a year abroad at Cal State Fullerton’s business college in 2016-2017, gaining firsthand knowledge of the U.S. business culture. She was among the nearly 1,000 international students, representing every inhabited continent, who gained a business education at the College of Business and Economics each year in pre-COVID times

Today, Cetin works in risk and reputation and data management services for Deloitte Deutschland in Düsseldorf. And though a graduate of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, she maintains strong ties to CSUF, recognizing the importance of her Fullerton experience in her preparation to compete in today’s global business environment.

“I always wanted to study abroad, especially in the U.S. One day, I decided to just do it and live the dream I always had. An amazing adventure began with enrolling at CSUF,” recalls Cetin. “I took a lot of seminars and classes that were acknowledged at my college in Germany. I completed a part of my studies at Cal State Fullerton, which was incredibly precious.” Read More

Senior finance student Isaac Alferos’ journey began his freshman year through the Male Success Initiative at CSUF when he read Between the World and Me, a novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The book ignited Alferos’ passion for reading for the purpose of experiencing the liberating words that authors publish about the difficulties of racial injustice.

With the tumultuous summer of 2020 and the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and others, Alferos found the book’s words supported his path to discovery.

“My anti-racism journey was coming to accept the reality that racism cannot confront: I have every right to exist as the fullness of who I am. In fact, I have a responsibility to do so. A responsibility to myself, my community, my ancestry,” says Alferos.

Through his year of self-healing, he has also served as the executive director of the Black + Brown healing project in addition to his own healing-based writing and research.

Read more about Alferos’ journey and watch his video here:


Kylie Tonie, a CSUF undergrad student part of the 2021 SBI Competitions.

Kylie Tonie, an undergraduate CSUF business student part of the 2021 SBI Competitions.

Cal State Fullerton business undergraduates and MBA students again took top spots at the National Small Business Institute Consulting Project of the Year Competition in 2021. The wins, announced on Feb. 26, were again presented virtually, demonstrating student versatility in providing real-world consulting for Southern California businesses.

The MBA students were awarded first place for the 14th time in the past 30 years. Their project was on behalf of Irvine-based Rate Highway, which offers automated rate position technology for the auto rental industry. Jack Mixner, a retired management lecturer, provided guidance for the graduate students.

The undergraduate team placed second with their project on behalf of Acumen Group, a Signal Hill-based distribution consulting agency. Adjunct Management Professor Travis Lindsay, manager of the Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF Startup Incubator, provided mentoring and direction for this project.

“These two student projects utilized a learning process called experiential learning, which is a fancy term for learning by doing,” says John Bradley Jackson, director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship. “For example, we have all learned to walk and talk, not by being shown or told, but by practicing and refining our technique. The same learning process applies to student consulting. The students were challenged to engage with a real business, analyze the situation, make recommendations, and implement a solution all with in a 15-week semester. The students’ learning is extraordinary while our business clients get an incredible value.”

The CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship supports undergraduate- and graduate-level academic programs in entrepreneurship, as well as practical guidance for Orange County startups, whether founded by Titans or others in the community. They also offer consulting to area businesses with the expertise of CSUF students and faculty.

Read more of our articles on entrepreneurship and management.

student looking at open laptop screen on campusIn addition to earning a degree, there is an entrepreneurial portion of the Cal State Fullerton student population that makes starting a business part of their undergrad experience. If being your own boss is one of your goals, Just Business offers tips for starting a business during college:

Get Realistic About Your Finances

Money is a significant factor in starting and scaling a business, but it should not be a limitation. If you have even a small sum to spare, it could be enough to get you started, and you can always reach out to investors later on when you begin to scale. Try to self-fund whenever possible to minimize debt.


With classes, extracurriculars and work, it can be difficult to find a spare few minutes during the day. Instead of watching Netflix or scrolling through social media, dedicate that time to your business: Even 15 minutes can make a difference. It is important to put your education first, so focusing on maintaining rather than growing the business can give more flexibility in your schedule. Your business should be something you are passionate about, so working on it does not seem like a chore but rather an enjoyable project.

Combine Your School Life and Business

Courses may be applicable to tasks in your business. For example, a marketing course assignment on Canva could turn into a post on your business Instagram. This also allows for feedback from professors to make the best possible products for your project in the future. Financial courses may help to get your finances straight and understand the funding aspect of your business.

Ask for Help

You may think you can do everything yourself, but it gets more complicated as the business evolves. Understanding when to bring in help and where to turn when you start having questions is important to growth. Everyone has a different skillset, and a team of diverse individuals can make a big difference.

Travis Lindsay, Cal State Fullerton adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, suggests finding people you have worked with in the past, getting a freelancer for specific needs or searching for others with similar passions. To find a team, “you need to just get started making connections and be open about what you are working on,” Lindsay says. “You don’t need to explain every last bit of information about your idea when you first meet someone, but you have to get that process started.”

Be Realistic

Deadlines that are too tight or goals that are way too ambitious with time constraints are destined to fail. Continuing to understand your limitations and setting realistic goals are more beneficial in the long run, especially as a student. You still have your classes to pass and other commitments to attend to, so give yourself flexibility.

Know Your Worth

No matter your age or experience, if you have results to back up your skillset, you have more value. When pricing your services or product, it is important to keep those elements in mind as you may be undervaluing them, which could lead to profit loss. Be confident in what you bring to the table and the success will follow.

Take Advantage of School Resources

The Center for Entrepreneurship offers many resources for students. During the center’s Titan Fast Pitch competition, students pitch their business idea to a panel of judges to get feedback and real-world pitch experience. Students also have access to entrepreneurial mentors who can offer valuable insight.

CSUF’s Startup Incubator offers students “six months of one-on-one coaching by one of our experienced mentors, one of our student consulting projects to help them develop a go-to-market strategy, and advisement from CSUF Startup Incubator staff,” says Lindsay.

For college students, the added stresses of other commitments make creating a startup difficult, but not impossible. To be successful as an entrepreneur, says Lindsay, you should also “be the person in the room who has the most curiosity.”

For more information about the Center for Entrepreneurship, click here.

The team at Modern Wealth Design, Irvine, California.

Team members Adam Carr ’10, left; Nicole Lujan ’16, center; and Hannah Sullivan ’19 at Titan-owned-and-operated Modern Wealth Design in Irvine.

Cal State Fullerton finance grads are at the forefront of the Orange County financial sector providing wealth management and planning advice to residents in every stage of the lifecycle, from career entry to retirement.

Modern Wealth Design (on Instagram at @modernwealthdesign) an Irvine-based financial planning firm, was established by two Titan grads. For more on the startup and its impact, and how you can get started in financial planning as a life skill or career path, we turn to Nicole Lujan ’16 (finance), founding partner and financial planner:

In a nutshell, what is the story of Modern Wealth Design?

I always knew I wanted to have my own business, help people and work with numbers. By taking numerous business courses at CSUF, the financial planning track made me realize that being a financial planner was my dream career. I started working closely with fellow finance alumnus Adam Carr ’10 (founding partner and financial planner) back in 2015, and we created our own financial planning practice, Modern Wealth Design. Since then, we have hired several staff members and added a junior financial planner, also a Titan finance grad, Hannah Sullivan ’19. Every day is different, and it never feels like work! Read More

Genesis Osuna ’20 and her support dog, Monito

Genesis Osuna ’20 and her support dog, Monito

Genesis Osuna ’20 (communication and media studies) often felt hopeless as a child and young person growing up in foster homes. School was her refuge, and she would remind herself that better times were ahead.

“There were days that were dark, but I would take a deep breath and remind myself that tomorrow is much brighter,” she says.

Osuna found belonging, identity and opportunity at Cal State Fullerton, thanks to a scholarship through the Guardian Scholars program, which supports the education of current and former foster youth.

Today, Osuna is a proud Titan alumna and president of the Orange County chapter of California Youth Connection, a statewide organization that seeks to transform the California foster care system.

“Although college was hard in the beginning, I was welcomed. Guardian Scholars gave me a family I could relate to; I saw myself in a lot of my peers,” says Osuna. “The program was not just about getting a scholarship; there was history among my peers and the foster care system that no one else knew about.”

The Guardian Scholars Get a Boost During the Pandemic From the Donahues

Established in 1998, the Guardian Scholars program has the support of prominent Cal State Fullerton business alumni, including Pat Donahue ’78 (marketing), chairman and CEO of Costa Mesa-based Donahue Schriber Realty Group, and his wife, Paula.

“These kids didn’t bargain for a lot of what has happened to them so far. To see their persistence and drive is really inspiring,” says Donahue. “If we can help normalize their experience just a bit, we believe we can improve their graduation rate. I’m so proud of all of these Guardian Scholars.”

Recognizing the financial risks that COVID-19 posed to the program, the Donahues donated $10,000 to support the Guardian Scholars, boosting funding for emergency needs, such as food, transportation and shelter.

Donahue sees giving back to his alma mater and his community as both a duty and an accomplishment.

“I once heard that only successful companies can give back to their communities. I took that as a challenge and a responsibility, that if you have been fortunate in business, it was a duty to give back. I am very proud of our company’s outreach to the communities where we live and work,” he says.

Read more about the Guardian Scholars program in this CSUF News article.

Landy Waight stands in front of the Titan Radio sign

Landy Waight at Titan Radio

Cal State Fullerton is home to the nonprofit Titan Radio, a worldwide radio broadcast with a wide range of music, talk shows and podcasts representing the CSUF Titan experience. It also serves as a stepping stone into communications or entertainment industry careers for the many students who lend their talents to the radio station.

Landy Waight ’21 (entertainment and hospitality management), like many Titans, was unaware of Titan Radio during much of his undergraduate experience. He learned of the station through Angie Linzaga ’20 (marketing and broadcast journalism), a fellow Titan and friend who was interning at Waight’s workplace, The House of Blues in Anaheim. She was Titan Radio’s marketing and promotions director, the role that Waight now holds.

“She told me to stop by the station sometime to learn more. Soon after, she gave me a tour of the station, and I fell in love with the environment. Everyone I met was extremely kind and cool. There was also music playing in the station from the DJ who was live on air at the time,” Waight recalls. “I’m very passionate about music, so I thought that was awesome. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my time at CSUF being a part of the Titan Radio community.” Read More

student walks on titan promenade on csuf campus

Photo by Matt Gush

Since the start of 2020, we have become more dependent on email as a primary source of communication for work, school and extracurriculars. It is easy to let it get to hundreds (or even thousands) of messages in our inboxes, but what is the best way to keep track of them all and still prioritize the most important emails? There is no one-size fits all for email decluttering, but here are tips on how to get your inbox closer to zero:

Make a Plan

When you have more than a thousand emails in your inbox, it can be hard to know where to start. Everyone has different commitments that need to be sorted out, especially in your inbox. Drafting a quick plan to read/sort them will make it more manageable and lead to better results in maintaining your inbox for the future. An example would be to set a date by which all unread emails need to be read, such as a 10 to 15 days. Another option would be to begin sorting emails into folders to keep them organized.

Set Aside Time Daily for Email Reading and Responding

If you have important matters communicated solely through email, a multi-day delay is not appropriate if you are failing to read what is being sent. At the same time, it is distracting to get an email in the middle of a task. Set aside designated times for reading and responding to email throughout the day.

Determine What’s “Spam” and What’s “Important”

School, work and personal email inboxes are all subject to spam. Flag those emails that you no longer want to receive in your regular inbox.

Unsubscribe from Unnecessary Mailing Lists

Mailing lists promise you discount codes, perks, and everything else and often send daily emails for products you don’t even want to buy anymore. It is important to be selective about the mailing lists you subscribe to and know when to unsubscribe(such as after receiving a discount). If you are not getting any real value from those emails, click on the very bottom of the email where it says “unsubscribe” and select when to receive emails or unsubscribe completely. Some companies offer weekly versus daily messages, which is a good option if you still want to receive a few updates from a retailer.

Overall, emails are essential during virtual learning and working remotely as they streamline communication. Keeping them organized is extremely important to stay on top of deadlines.