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College of Business and Economics News

Interdisciplinary Collaboration Exhibited at Hult Prize Pitch Event

The Hult Prize @ Boise State student pitch competition was held Nov. 10 at Trailhead Boise. There were 28 student contestants from 21 different fields of study making up 8 teams (see the “Teams List”). In an exciting display of interdisciplinary collaboration, the teams competed for the automatic Boise State bid to participate in the Hult Prize semi-final round in Dubai, Shanghai, London, San Francisco or Boston in March 2017.

This year, teams have been asked to create sustainable, scalable, fast-growing social enterprises that restore the rights and dignity of 10 million involuntary migrants forced into motion due to economic pressures, environmental conditions and conflict. Teams pitched their ideas to solve the Hult Prize 2017 Challenge.

Boise State Hult Prize qualifying round winning team and judges

Team Cultivate at left and judges at right.

The Hult Prize @ Boise State winner was Team Cultivate and their ideas for P.O.T.T. (Portable One Time Toilet). The product is a double layered bag — inner layer breaks down waste, outer layer contains seeds — that produces food from waste within six weeks.

Judges of Hult Prize @ Boise State were Carolyn Holly, vice president of marketing, communication, and public relations at Saint Alphonsus; Harry Northrop, student at One Stone; Faisal Shah, co-founder of Trailhead Boise; Patrick Wangoi, founder of Heart of Compassion Group; Marwan Swedan, physician and former combat medic for the United States Army; Haley Hennessey, Boise State Career Track MBA Graduate and two-time Hult Prize regional competitor.

Connor Sheldon, MBA candidate and the Hult Prize @ Boise State campus director  organized the event. Sheldon recruited teams, researched the topic, enlisted judges, secured catering and the location, and is now working with the advancing team. She is encouraged to see students act as change agents in the world.

Sponsor of Hult Prize @ Boise State include: Blue Sky Institute, Boise State University, Small Business Development Center-Idaho and Trailhead Boise.

Teams List

Bold type denotes College of Business and Economics students.

A Story to be Told

  • Ashleigh Anderson (human resources management, Career Track MBA)
  • Jessica Bottelberghe (mechanical engineering, Career Track MBA)
  • Steven Gabrielsen (accounting, Career Track MBA)
  • Ethan Lopez (economics, Career Track MBA)


  • Andrew Dambi (international business, supply chain management)
  • Colin Moeser (political science, international relations)
  • Jessica Franco (political science: international relations)


  • Daniel Ryan (international business)
  • Sarah Romero (marketing)
  • Tyler Clapier (engineering)

One Big Heart Institute

  • Freddy Nyakulinda (social work)
  • Zainab Kamel, (general studies)
  • YuWen Chen, (ESL, M.Ed.)
  • Ryan Personette (linguistics)

Patchwork Hope

  • Bradley Tinker (criminology, Career Track MBA)
  • Nandini Ghosh (bio-technology, Career Track MBA)
  • Sarah Koch (fine arts, Career Track MBA)
  • Sydney Axtell (applied economics, Career Track MBA)

Project Recover

  • Austin Legg (psychology, Career Track MBA)
  • Alexandria Allen (psychology, Career Track MBA)
  • Cody Huckvale (exercise physiology, Career Track MBA)
  • Becky Davis (journalism, Career Track MBA)


  • Hannah Joy Coad (biochemistry, Career Track MBA)
  • Amalka Jayasundera (psychology, sociology/anthropology, Career Track MBA)
  • Sean Patton (mechanical engineering, Career Track MBA)
  • Eldar Sakebaev (international business, Career Track MBA)

Team Cultivate

  • Steve Silva (applied science)
  • Janice Witherspoon (communication and political science, public law and political philosophy)
  • Brandon Sams (mathematics)
  • Luke Yeates (communications, journalism and media studies emphasis)

Samia Islam, Economics Professor, Featured in Wallet-Hub Study on DUI Enforcement

image Samia IslamSamia Islam, Department of Economics, was featured in a WalletHub study about the strictest and most lenient states when it comes to driving under the influence. Read the full article here.



Nancy Napier’s Article in Idaho Statesman Outlines Key Factors in successful Retirement

Nancy Napier, Center for Creativity, COBE, studio portraitHere’s to the next chapter, no matter what stage you’re in! Read Nancy Napier’s latest article, “How to Avoid Leaping off a Retirement Cliff.”

COBE to Co-host Second Summit on Diversity and Inclusion as a Business Driver

The College of Business and Economics (COBE) is cohosting its second summit on diversity and inclusion as a business driver from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on November 17.

The summit is a collaboration between COBE, Wells Fargo, the City of Boise, the Boise Valley Economic Partnership (BVEP) and the University of Idaho-Boise. It will be held in the newly-opened Friends and Alumni Center across from Albertsons Stadium on the Boise State campus. Parking in the lot directly south of the building is free for attendees.

The full agenda and registration information for the Diversity and Inclusion Summit can be found on the COBE website. The summit is free and open to all members of the Treasure Valley and campus communities.

Register to attend at

image Boise State's Diversity Summit 11-4-2015

Diversity Summit 2015

This year’s focus is on attracting and retaining top talent in the Treasure Valley and includes keynote addresses by Alejandro Hernandez, senior vice president for Wells Fargo, on business responsibility for human rights, and Camille Eddy, a Boise State senior engineering student and expert on the intersection of cultural bias and artificial intelligence.

“The City of Boise strives to be a welcoming place for all, whether it is a Boise state student who has just arrived on campus or our newest citizens who emigrate because of instability somewhere else in the world,” said Mayor David Bieter. “We support our business community in their effort to ensure this culture of inclusion extends to the workplace as well.”

The summit also includes panels on leveraging the talents in diverse refugee communities and how to create an inclusive workplace. In the afternoon, there will be hands-on workshops to teach participants how to create inclusive meetings and how to encourage employees to share their diverse experiences.

“We have prioritized workplace inclusion at Wells Fargo and support the widening of this conversation to other leading companies across the Treasure Valley,” said Idaho Regional President Don Melendez. “This summit is one way that is happening.”

The summit is organized by the Responsible Business Initiative (RBI), a COBE effort co-funded by RBI’s founding partner Wells Fargo. The mission of RBI is to catalyze leaders across business, education and society who aspire to solve the world’s wicked problems. RBI collaborates with business students, faculty and external stakeholders on three core areas, including diversity and inclusion, social and environmental impact and health and wellbeing.

Eliot Smith Created Textbook in ITM Series with Pearson

Eliot Smith,  lecturer in the Department of Information Technology and Supply Chain Management, worked with Pearson to create a new textbook for the ITM Series. The single textbook will cover a chapter of working in Windows and the first four chapters of Word, Excel, and Access. From there, it will point students to the eTextbook that is included with their access to MyITLab.

Nancy Napier’s Statesman Article “What Trees Teach About Supporting Each Other”

Autumn Blaze maple treeTrees communicate  with each other through sounds, chemical transmittal through the air and through fungi networks underground and electrical signals. They support each other within the cluster. Strong ones provide nutrients to weaker ones.

Read Napier’s tree article here.

Professor Emeritus Michael Bixby Honored as a Leader in Law

Michael Bixby emeritus professor Boise StateProfessor Emeritus Michael Bixby is being honored as a Leader in Law by the Idaho Business Review. According to the selection criteria, honorees are “dedicated and skilled, have a strong work ethic and show tenacity. Experience counts, excellence is expected and compassion is essential.” Honorees are individuals whose leadership in the legal profession and in the community has had a positive impact on Idaho. Michael Bixby fits the bill.

Bixby has been part of the College of Business and Economics at Boise State for 35 years. He was a full-time professor in the Department of Management from 1981 to 2012, teaching classes dealing with legal and regulatory issues, including intellectual property, employment law, workplace safety and business ethics. Since his retirement, he has taught a law course in the Boise State Online MBA program for the last four years, and he has also continued to teach a few sessions of the Executive MBA course each year.

Before becoming a faculty member at Boise State, Bixby practiced law as an attorney for 11 years in Michigan. His undergraduate and law degrees are from the University of Michigan. He and his wife also served in the U.S. Peace Corps from 1968-70.

Bixby has had 18 articles published in academic and professional journals and has presented over 60 academic papers at conferences. He has authored and co-authored 2 textbooks, currently in use by many business schools. The first one, The Legal Environment of Business (he is the lead author) is now in its 6th edition (2014) and is published by Pearson Publications. In 2013 he co-authored the revised 6th edition of International Business Law, published by Prentice Hall. Bixby is an active member of the National Academy of Legal Studies in Business, and has served as president of the Northwest Regional division of this organization. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and was for 15 years a member of the Governing Council of the Corporate and Business Law Section of the State Bar of Idaho.

In 2006 Professor Bixby was chosen as the winner of the Foundation Scholars Award for Teaching, the highest honor accorded to a faculty member at Boise State. He was the first College of Business faculty member to win the award. He has also been twice recognized as the Faculty Member of the Year in the College of Business by the ASBSU student organization, and was the winner of the Teaching Award in the Management Department in 2008. In 2012, Bixby was given the Distinguished Career Achievement Award by the national Academy of Legal Studies in Business, an award given only every few years by the organization.

Congratulations to Michael Bixby — the College of Business and Economics has been lucky to have you.