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John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics

Braving an Unclear Future

Young children can be unsteady on their feet, but 3-year-old Naheed Davis’ BS ’19 steps were alarming. Her mother noticed her hesitant walk one evening in Guatemala, where Naheed was born. “My mom says I would stop, feel around with my foot, then walk a bit, then stop, feel around with my foot, then walk a bit,” Naheed shared. “Worried, she decided I should go to an eye doctor.”

The diagnosis was retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic disorder that affects peripheral vision and makes it difficult to see at night. By age 5, Naheed’s central vision had become impaired — she would later learn she also had macular degeneration. She had to sit in the front row of all her classes to see the board, even with glasses. At 6, Naheed’s family emigrated from Guatemala. She started first grade a few weeks after arriving in the U.S. She soon realized she loved numbers. Naheed graduated from high school in 2003 and enrolled at WSU that fall. She was OK for a few semesters, but her eyesight worsened, and she started to fail classes. Microeconomics and business statistics were particularly difficult because graphs were hard to see. “I was too embarrassed to ask for help,” she admitted.

So she quit.

And she took a customer service job. It was unfulfilling, and she knew it wouldn’t help her provide for her family — she had two kids of her own — long term.

So Naheed re-enrolled at WSU. This time she sought help from the university’s Disability Services office, which provided her with screen readers and note takers.

Naheed excelled and got an internship at the Utah State Capitol, through Kristen Cox, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, who is blind. She helped Naheed gain confidence.

Naheed graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in April 2019. She is currently enrolled in WSU’s Master of Taxation program and has been offered a job in the Department of Defense. Naheed is also working with David Malone, chair of the School of Accounting & Taxation, on a project that explores the opportunities and challenges she and others who are visually impaired face in the world of accounting and finance. Her goal is to publish the research in an accounting education journal.

“Throughout my time at WSU, some things were more challenging than others,” Naheed said, “but I have had amazing support from faculty, staff and classmates who made it a lot easier.”

Economics Explains Behavior

Did you know that posting hospital prices doesn’t actually help consumers find better deals, or that individuals are more willing to save money to benefit others than they are to benefit themselves? 

Weber State economics faculty discovered these surprising stats recently through their innovative research work.

Assistant professor of economics Christopher Yencha and co-author Paula Fitzgerald, from West Virginia University, scrutinized more than 7 million consumer-hospital interactions nationwide to explain how the healthcare market differs from other free markets. Their conclusion: New federal requirements to post prices will not have the hoped-for results.

Professor of economics Therese Grijalva and assistant professor of economics Matt Gnagey confirmed with their research that individuals are more willing to scale back spending to protect and provide future resources for members of their households, specifically their spouses or partners, than they are to save for themselves. The 188 participants in the study demonstrated they were more interested in the future of their families than in their own well-being.

WSU Produces In-Demand Information Security Experts

Fifteen WSU management information systems (MIS) scholars are heading to Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, home to the nation’s No. 1 graduate school for information technology and management.* Nine will be starting their master’s degrees at Carnegie Mellon in the fall of 2019; six attended a cybersecurity fellowship at the university over the summer.

Recognizing the need for highly skilled cybersecurity and information systems professionals, WSU associate professor
of MIS Randy Boyle collaborated with industry leaders to develop an innovative formula of curriculum and instruction to meet industry demand, and prepare students for advanced degrees.

Boyle’s students have been successfully competing for placements in the CMU summer fellowship for several years. In 2019, he spearheaded a partnership where his students compete for limited spots in CMU’s master’s programs.

Randy Trzeciak, a director at CMU, has been impressed by WSU students. “Weber State students have unique skills that are indicators of success in a master’s program,” he said. “In addition to tech skills, they have solid business and critical-thinking skills.”

Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 28% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students Win for Cutting Costs, Not Quality

A team of WSU supply chain management students took second place in a two-day international case competition hosted by General Motors in October 2018. WSU competed against 24 teams from the top supply-chain programs in the world, including No. 1 ranked Michigan State University.* GM asked students to determine how to “cut costs in a top-selling automobile, without cutting quality, particularly with the seats.” Judges noted that WSU’s score was incredibly close to the first-place finisher, Western Michigan University. WSU team member Joseph VanWagoner said, “Being able to hold our own and excel made us realize how applicable our education is and how outstanding Weber State’s program is.”

*According to U.S. News & World Report


Average starting salary range of WSU’s supply chain management graduates


Job placement for WSU’s supply chain management graduates