Did you know that in 2021 business was the #1 minor at ACU? Many ACU students find that their degree is enhanced with a minor in business, giving them even more professional avenues to explore. Senior Allie Nichols, an Advertising and Public Relations major from Abilene, Texas, is one of those students who was able to meld her major and minor in an internship last summer. Allie interned at Imaginuity, a digital marketing agency based in Dallas and shared how her experience at ACU and in COBA aided her in her time with the company.
Allie’s position at Imaginuity was as a client partnership intern. She explains, “I would sit in on all client meetings, build decks for the clients, etc. I got to do client partnerships work, social media work, and even creative work.” She was able to see first-hand what the day to day operations of a marketing agency looked like. Allie also attained knowledge in how to communicate with co-workers, clients, and her audiences as well as learning how to work with teams at the company.
“I have grown in confidence in my ability to work and gained real work experience,” Allie shared. This experience at Imaginuity has proved very beneficial as it led to a future job and she continued to work for the agency remotely throughout the fall semester.
Allie’s internship enriched her learning environment, both on campus and at the agency. She advises students looking for marketing internships to take an internship where you can learn multiple parts of an agency or facility. “I love that I got a taste of three different aspects in my agency because they wanted me to learn it all to see what I like.”
Even though Allie is not majoring in business, she felt that the COBA professors have shown her the same kind of care and value that business majors receive. She has appreciated the ways her professors have included and poured into her, whether it be through hand-written cards or simply showing interest in her well-being. She has also enjoyed getting exposure to the business side of marketing in addition to what she has learned through her major, the blend of which has given her a broader foundation for her future career.
COBA seeks to help our majors and minors alike gain internship opportunities that provide them with experience for their future careers, whether at home or far away. Interested in receiving more information about our internship program? Email COBA’s professional development manager, Steph Brown, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever heard the saying “getting a view from 50,000 feet?” Isabella Maradiaga, senior marketing and graphic design major from Tegucigalpa, Honduras quite literally did just that. Last summer, Isabella completed an internship as a Junior Design Intern with Chicago based independent global brand consultant and creative agency, 50,000feet. As their website describes, 50,000feet “develops integrated experiences for the world’s most respected brands.”
Maradiaga was able to spend part of her internship at the agency in Chicago while also working remotely. She worked alongside disciplinary teams to develop and support client brands as well as assisting designers and creative directors on a daily basis using software like Adobe Creative Suite, Figma, and MailChimp. Additionally, she contributed in client and agency initiatives through strategic exploration and design assets.
In this role, Maradiaga was able to see how her double major could be integrated into her future work saying, “Pursuing a dual degree in college has been a challenging process. Through this internship, I was able to see how strategic business concepts merge with the creative practice of graphic design. My position as Junior Design Intern was an opportunity to narrow the career path I’m choosing post-graduation. Most importantly, I experienced a work environment that I can only aspire to have in the future. Designers, developers, writers, and all team members collaborate for a shared vision. The people at 50,000feet inspired and motivated me, and I am beyond thankful for the experience they provided.”
Some of the greatest lessons that Isabella learned during her internship were centered on creativity in the business world. “Creativity looks diﬀerent for everyone. I honestly believe that we have mistakenly identiﬁed creatives as the people who pursue careers in art and design alone. There is creativity in design. There is creativity in strategy. There is creativity in business.”
Internships often give students experience and insight that they can take into their future careers. Isabella was no exception. “This internship exposed me to the agency environment that I desire to be in after graduation. I learned more than I could have imagined during the three months of this internship. Now, I can say with conﬁdence that I plan to pursue a career in brand consulting/management.”
A great internship helps students grow and mature as they are stretched beyond what they have learned in the classroom. Isabella’s experience tested her in new ways. “Learning requires an abundance of humility. The College of Business has done an outstanding job at providing opportunities and courses that prepare students for their careers. However, putting all four years of education into practice is challenging. Starting any kind of job means developing new skills, adapting to an environment, understanding company culture, and many other learning opportunities. Approaching new seasons with humility is vital to our personal and professional growth. Most importantly, it is with this same humility that we should approach others as they begin their careers.”
Maradiaga has some advice for students as they look for their own internships. “Don’t be limited by the job postings you see online. Just because you don’t see something, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I contacted numerous agencies that were not actively hiring for internships and heard back from most of them. Whether they have open positions or not, you are already making yourself available. Do your research, ﬁnd companies you love, and pursue them intentionally.”
Isabella takes a “first day at work” pic
Isabella felt well prepared for her internship as she became involved with COBA’s professional development program and did her part to grow and develop herself by becoming involved on campus. “The professional development opportunities at ACU are endless. This place provides experiences that most people don’t get until they are out of school. Besides the academic excellence that is provided in the College of Business, I’ve beneﬁted from many roles at ACU that have shaped my work ethic. During my time at ACU, I’ve served as Vice-President for the International Students Association, President of the American Marketing Association, Marketing Director for the Student Government Association, Design Director for Ko Jo Kai, President of Wildcat Ventures, and student ambassador for the College of Business Administration. All of these experiences have been crucial to my growth as a Christian professional.”
Inspired by “the standard of excellence that we communally pursue” at ACU, Isabella says that the glory belongs to God. “The Lord truly deserves all the glory for every opportunity, experience, and achievement in life. He’s been gracious at placing me in the right place, at the right time.”
Current and prospective students can learn more about the professional development program in the College of Business by contacting Steph Brown at email@example.com.
Destanie Crist, senior financial management major from Valley Center, CA, hit the ground running when she stepped foot on the campus of ACU. She quickly became involved on campus and is active in leadership roles for multiple student organizations and currently serves as the fund manager for STAR (Student Trading and Research). This past summer, Destanie interned for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in Irvine, CA where she was able to learn about a variety of roles at the organization. “During my internship, I was trained in four rotations under the Commercial Real Estate Bank division. Each week I would hear from a variety of executives and senior managers about their line of business whether it was Treasury Services or Commercial Term Lending. After my training, I was given a specific case study where I had to take everything that I learned and apply it to a presentation, loan decision, and underwriting process. At the end of that week, I had to present the final decision that I made alone or with a team to a group of senior executives. The final two weeks were immersion weeks where I conducted real loans and sat with sales teams. I also had many networking opportunities where I learned from people both inside and outside of the commercial bank and made some really sweet friends.”
The internship experience was valuable for many reasons. Destanie said, “The people I met, connections I made, and friends developed over this summer were by far my favorite part. JPMC and specifically the Irvine office has some of the most incredibly hardworking and driven people I have ever met. The immersion weeks where we worked with real clients and finally got to put all that training to the test was truly fulfilling. I pitched an idea to improve one of the processes in the bank with a few other interns and spent most of my internship working on that idea with a senior executive who I respect and greatly appreciate to bring this project to life!”
With so many great experiences to choose from, we asked Destanie what the greatest lesson she had learned was. “Be yourself, always work hard even when nobody expects you to, and talk to everyone and anyone you can regardless of their title because you can learn from them.” Destanie made it a goal to always put these principles into action. She went the extra mile to help herself stand out from the crowd and encourages future interns to do the same. “Whether it was showing up to work 20 minutes early to make sure all the technology was working for the day, staying late to help with community service projects, organizing meetings with my peers to complete case studies, and setting up Zooms to learn more about different parts of the bank and its people. I was blessed to be able to work closely with analysts and executives who taught me their ways and asked for my feedback or ideas for improvement. It was a huge eye-opener and it allowed me to see how much JPMC cares about each employee and values their ideas or improvement suggestions.”
Internships provide students with opportunities to not only learn about potential future careers but also to reflect on how to improve their skills at graduation. “This experience has shaped a lot of my mentality and approach to jobs or tasks in the future. It opened my eyes to the fact that people who are in more senior roles than you truly care about you and see the potential we hold as the younger generation for the advancement of the future. It also pushed me to understand the greater importance of work-life balance and the emphasis people must place on it to maintain their best selves. I would also say it taught me to not be afraid of speaking up and sharing ideas I have that could potentially help better a process or the firm as a whole. It is a strong foundation that has allowed me to learn a variety of skills and meet incredible people that I can turn to if I ever need help or a suggestion.”
Internships offer students a great foundation for their future careers through exploration, experience, and connections as well as stretching them both personally and professionally. “A lot of growth happened during my internship. I would say professionally I feel more prepared to graduate. Learning the fundamentals in school is crucial; however, after working in this internship over the summer, I would argue to say having experience by working a summer job or internship in the profession you are interested in allows you to see the purpose and gift of college to a greater extent. My faith was challenged and encouraged. I was able to share God and love with others around me in a respectful and caring way while also being encouraged by others in the workplace who know the Lord. Overall, I think the most growth happened in myself and developing who I am as Destanie both inside and outside of the office.”
Destanie was offered a full-time position as a Commercial Real Estate Analyst at JPMC and will be working for the company after graduation. She feels that her time at ACU prepared her for this internship and career through her experience as a leader in various clubs, class presentations, and intentionally getting to know each person in the process. Destanie encourages any student who is thinking about participating in an internship to “first and foremost remember who God is. Remember that regardless of your background, financial status, GPA, or college you are attending God can and will do great things through you. You must trust Him by taking that leap of faith or chance and putting your best foot forward. I applied to a variety of firms both big and small. God is the one who opens the doors and shuts them. He blessed me with this internship and a full-time offer. I put in the work of filling out resumes and cover letters and researching companies that fit the mission I wanted to be a part of. He was the one to open the door and help me through the intensive process to this job!”
Students who are interested in having an internship experience like this one or who would like help preparing for their job search can contact Steph Brown, COBA’s Professional Development Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COBA wants to give a warm welcome to Dr. Trent McNamara, Assistant Professor of Economics. This fall, McNamara will be teaching Principles of Microeconomics and Business Statistics. Trent was born in New Zealand, grew up in Ohio, and moved to Texas in 2007 shortly before starting high school. McNamara double majored in Economics and Pure Mathematics at the University of Texas, graduating in 2015. He then continued with his education, entering into a doctorate program at Texas A&M University where he earned his Ph.D. in Economics in May 2020. Dr. McNamara has been a lecturer for Texas A&M and has also worked in consulting. Trent has been married to his wife, Shelby, for 5 years and together they have a three-year-old son, Haydn.
McNamara said that he was drawn to teaching because it’s a way to contribute to making the world a better place. He shared “I was drawn to this line of work because I enjoy teaching and being able to give back to others. Having been so fortunate to pursue my education and recognizing everyone who helped me get to where I am, I am excited to be able to give back.” He was especially drawn to teach at ACU because of the unique environment, saying noting that the people, the culture, and the relationships that he has developed at ACU have been unique and a special thing to be a part of.
Trent enjoys pushing students beyond their comfort zones to help them grow. “I enjoy helping people push the boundaries of what they thought was possible. Oftentimes, we put a lot of unnecessary constraints or doubt on ourselves – being able to positively encourage people to try something new or to learn something challenging, and to be there for them throughout that process is incredibly rewarding.”
Outside of teaching, McNamara enjoys a variety of hobbies. He said, “I find myself engaged in a lot of things. For days at home, I love to run, read, or cook. I also began woodworking recently and have built all our son’s furniture. For days away from home, you can find us camping and hiking.”
Through this position with COBA, Dr. McNamara told us that his biggest goal is to help others. “If I can make a positive difference in someone’s life each day, I would call that a success.” We pray blessings on Trent and his family as they begin a new milestone. We’re excited to see the ways that Trent will make a positive impact on the lives of COBA students and colleagues. Help us give a warm welcome Dr. McNamara and his family to Abilene and ACU by introducing yourself if you see them on campus or in town. Welcome to ACU, McNamara family!
Matt and Brittany Deeg
COBA is excited to add Dr. Matt Deeg to the faculty this year as Assistant Professor of Management. Deeg will be teaching Organizational Behavior and Compensation & Benefits Management this semester and will teach leadership and other HR/Management-focused courses. Matt earned his B.A. in Social Sciences and Organizational Studies from the University of Oklahoma, M.Ed. in Adult/Higher Education Administration from the University of Oklahoma, and Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior & Human Resource Management from University of Kansas with a research emphasis in meaningful work and why people choose to support one another in times of stress. Deeg also worked in student development for 5 years, mentoring and providing leadership development to students and organizations.
Matt and his wife, Brittany, are originally from Duncan, Oklahoma and Toledo, Ohio respectively. “We met when we were both working on the student development side of university life (separate schools). She excels at thinking deeply about any number of topics (probably why we mesh well!) and making them accessible to almost any audience. Her patience and love for others inspires me constantly.” Matt would like to introduce his pets as well, “Panther (the special one whom I bottle-fed from 1 week), Tippy (his ornery brother), and their dog brother Chase (who inspired all of Paw Patrol).” We asked Dr. Deeg a few questions so we could get to know him a little better.
Deeg was drawn to the work of teaching as he’s always been inquisitive. “I’ve always been curious about how things work and why. Growing up, I was a voracious reader and curious kid who just wanted to know stuff. In my undergraduate studies, I explored a whole lot of different majors (engineering to geology to math, and then some). I finally found my groove in the social sciences, exploring what makes people ‘tick’. The drive to become a teacher came from the influence of several faculty members who demonstrated great curiosity in subjects and exceptional care for their students. I put the Ph.D. on hold for a little while to figure out exactly what I wanted to study, and it was in the intervening time that I realized how much I loved helping students explore and develop skills that they can use throughout their lives (at work and in their communities). About 4 years into my career, I realized how influential someone’s work can be to their whole life; from there, it was easy to make that choice to focus on OB/HRM. This work truly is an incredible gift; I get to wake up each day and continue to learn new things and share what I’ve learned and am learning with others!”
Deeg was drawn to teach at ACU because he felt like it was in alignment with his own priorities. “In OB (Organizational Behavior) we talk about person-organization fit, the match an individual feels between their values and the values of a specific place. I’ve worked at a wide range of universities, from large state schools to very small liberal arts institutions. I was always attracted to places where the students came first and their successes were celebrated. So, ACU was a natural fit in that regard. But, even more so, when I was going through the job search process, ACU stood out so strongly because the values that are talked about here (love for God, for others, and for impacting the world) are the same values that I hold. The way that faith is celebrated, prized, and woven throughout an exceptional academic experience is such a gift. There was such a good match, and I was instantly drawn to the opportunity to bring my whole self to work.”
Matt loves teaching and interacting with students. “My main life purpose is helping people thrive and positively impact others; as a professor, I get the opportunity to teach (and hopefully inspire) students to go out and make a difference in others’ lives. In my college career, I had an incredible mentor named Kevin who helped me grow in my relationship with God and as a student leader. He inspired me to lean into my work with college students, and I’m so grateful for a role that allows me to continue to pay forward the impact so many professors and mentors have had in my life. College is a time when you’re still learning and have a lot of freedom to make mistakes; being a participant in this ‘life lab’ with students as they figure out who they are, who they want to be, and how they want to serve the world feeds my spirit.”
Outside of teaching, you’ll most often find Matt in the kitchen or the workshop. “Brittany and I both enjoy cooking, especially cuisines we’re not super familiar with. We’ve been cooking our way through an Asian cookbook (using my outdoor wok burner ) and recently got a cookbook of recipes from 8 countries in east Africa that we’re excited to try. I really enjoy woodworking – building lamps, desks, and the occasional dog food bowl holder. To relax after work, I also enjoy playing classical music on the piano.”
Deeg is looking forward to making a positive impact in his new position. “I’m excited to help students as they prepare to do good work wherever their life takes them – building relationships with students in class and outside of it so they have resources to draw on as they move through life. I’m looking forward to working more closely with students to do research on stress and support; the research process is such an invigorating experience full of learning opportunities. And, I’m hoping to bring my own research (on support and meaningfulness in life) into classes, either through class sessions on these topics or through honors colloquia. Additionally, I’m hoping to build strong relationships with our local business leaders to find more opportunities for our students to get practical experience.”
We’re looking forward to the ways in which Dr. Deeg will positively impact COBA students and the COBA team. Be sure to introduce yourself to Matt and Brittany as you see them on campus and in our community as we welcome them to ACU.
In this new environment of learning, more and more professors are leaning into the online platform to teach their classes and interact with their students. One such professor is long-time COBA professor, Dr. Don Pope. Dr. Pope teaches undergrad and graduate classes, and within the past year, has transitioned to teaching his classes online. While it might seem intuitive to think online classes would lack much interaction, Pope has expressed that he is seeing “more engagement than ever.” That seemed surprising to us, so we sat down with him to understand how he encourages engagement in a virtual environment.
How have you noticed “more engagement than ever” while teaching your online classes?
Dr. Don Pope
Dr. Pope explains that while the engagement might look different than an in-person class, it is still strong. “The discussion questions in the Canvas online courses provide for a more structured environment for student responses and interactions.” He went on to say that because of the way the students can engage with each other, no student dominates the discussion as they might in a face-to-face environment. He shared that the online environment is also helpful in providing more detailed video explanations for solving problems and assignments, which is “especially helpful to students who struggle to absorb lectures or students who are sick or traveling for sports.”
Specifically, during COVID, how did you work to engage your students?
“When COVID first shut down our face-to-face class delivery in March 2020, I remember looking out my office window and seeing all those Redbud trees in bloom on the east side of our building, symbolic of God’s continued blessings. About that same time, my wife and I were sitting at home on a Sunday morning watching our church service using my computer, taking our own communion using crackers and grape juice. It occurred to me that my newly online students might need encouragement besides just instruction. So, I began sending out a Sunday devotional thought each week and I have continued that.” Dr. Pope has continued to send his Sunday devotional to his online classes since March of 2020.
How have you seen the Lord move through this transition to fully teaching online?
For Dr. Pope, the transition to teaching online was more than just a COVID response. About 5 years ago, he began to lose much of his speaking voice. Unable to regain the volume he needs to speak to an in-person class, he made the decision to teach online at this time. “I really, really enjoyed classroom teaching, so teaching online is something that I had to adjust to. But having said that, I have felt Spirit-led to engage my students more with the Sunday Bible verses and asking them how I can pray for them. My spiritual interactions with my students have been greater online than before in the classroom.”
Can students still stop by and see you in person?
“Yes. Some of my online classes are for Abilene residential students, and I would really like that. I still care about each student on a personal level.”
Dr. Pope’s ability to not only adjust to online teaching but go the extra mile in making this format even more personal for each student is indicative of the intentionality he has shown to all of his students throughout his teaching career. Inspiring, equipping, and connecting with our students is more than a mission statement for Pope. He is living this out daily in the lives of his students.