Alumni S - Y
Brooklyn Samm ’17 (Accounting)
This Indiana State University alumna is an accountant turned entrepreneur who owns Blue Water Rafting, a company that takes locals and tourists on whale watching and snorkeling tours in the beautiful island of Hawaii. Her work in accounting combined with her love for adventure has taken this Sycamore to work and live all over the world, including New Zealand and Australia.
Brooklyn says that “I recently bought Blue Water Rafting, the company I worked for, in February of 2023. The company has been around since 1985. I am now the Chief Executive Officer of this company and own 100% of the shares. I oversee everything inside the company. The company offers whalewatching tours and snorkeling tours. I worked for almost a year getting my loan approved with the SBA. It has been my greatest accomplishment thus far.”
And as for Indiana state University and the Scott College of Business, she says “Indiana State University prepared me in many ways. I gained structure with myself. I gained professionalism from my professors. I was able to practice on my social skills with all of my colleagues. ISU helped me gain the knowledge I needed to follow my dreams. I always think back on a class I had in the Scott College of Business where we, as students, ran the café and did a presentation at the end. I was in charge of the accounting for the café. It was so fun to see all of my colleagues working together in a real-life scenario running a café.”
<< Meet Brooklyn Samm >>
Chris Sapp, '02 (Management Information Systems)
After graduating from Indiana State with a degree in management information systems in 2002, Sapp worked for Eli Lilly & Co., serving as a systems analyst and neuroscience sales representative. He moved to Stryker Instruments, working first as a sales representative for the neuro/spine/ENT division before becoming national sales training manager in February 2008.
As national sales training manager, he is responsible for providing continuing education and development to 260 sales representatives and 19 regional managers. He is currently facilitating product launches and sales training programs for Stryker affiliates in Europe and Australia.
While at Indiana State, Sapp was a presidential scholar, participated in Golden Key National Honor Society and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, served as a member of the University Faculty Athletic Committee, and was a recipient of the Hines Medal for graduating seniors with a 4.0 grade point average.
Nicholas Schafer '01
Large lines account analyst for Tobias Insurance Group, Inc. in Indianapolis, Schafer studied insurance and risk management and health and safety while at Indiana State. He has designations as a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and an Associate in Insurance Service (AIS). Prior to Tobias, he served as a commercial underwriter for Ohio Casualty Group. Schafer is a member of the Scott College of Business' inaugural Young Professionals Board and serves as a mentor to Scott College of Business students.
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Julie Schlosser '91
Julie Cunningham Schlosser is a Trust Officer for Old National Bank in Terre Haute. She has over 15 years of experience in the banking industry. She started at Old National as an Investment Assistant and has since worked in the Risk Management area as a Loan Review Officer and Underwriter for consumer loans. She serves also as the Treasurer for the Estate Planning Council of Illiana, Inc.
Jen Petersen Schultz, ’98
Jen's accomplishments are many, and include the Indiana State GOLD (Graduate of the Last Decade) Award, the National Business Education Association Award of Merit and the North Central Business Education Association Distinguished Service Award as Emerging Professional of the Year.
Schulz has also remained an active alumna, serving as a presenter for the Business Education Clinic and working with Networks Financial Institute's K-12 Financial Literacy Task Force in 2003 and as an inaugural member of the Scott College Young Professionals Board when it began in 2008.
She has also served as president of the Indiana Business Education Association from 2002-04. In 2014, she was named Teacher of the Year at Ben Davis, where she has been a teacher in the business department since 2002. In 2015 she was named Outstanding Secondary Level Business Teacher of the Year.
A small town kid from Terre Haute, Greg Scott knew he would follow in the footsteps of his mother, aunts, uncles and siblings and become a Sycamore one day. What he hadn’t expected was all of the opportunities an Indiana State University education would present to him. Scott worked his way through college as an employee at an accounting firm, where he discovered a job opening for accountants at PriceWaterhouseCoopers and through his hat into the ring. The risk paid off for Scott, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, who worked for the company’s Paris office before moving to San Francisco to provide tax savvy for the wine industry. Scott’s story is one of hard work, staying curious and never accepting the status quo.
Josh Simerman '03
A Gongaware Scholar alumnus and magna cum laude graduate, Simerman is with Willis in Phoenix, Arizona. After graduation, he joined Willis as an employee benefits placement specialist, then later worked as a senior client services specialist, servicing clients such as the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2010, he took over as the local office's Director of Placement, managing the placement team and local carrier relationships. He was then promoted in 2012 to the Willis North American National Human Capital Placement Practice, focusing on identifying, developing and communicating new tools as well as enhancing existing capabilities with the practice.
Nick Spencer, '16
Spencer also got a big boost on his career path while at Indiana State. Although he recently received his degree in business management, Spencer is already a top performer for Sigstr. He started working for the company in August 2016 as a business development representative.
“Sigstr is a SAAS (Software as a Service) company based out of Indianapolis,” Spencer said. “Our main focus is unlocking employee Email Signatures as an owned marketing and content distribution channel. Indiana State is a Sigstr customer.”
Spencer’s job is to present high quality opportunities to the sales team. “I mainly prospect organizations and reach out through email marketing campaigns.”
While at Indiana State, Spencer was active in the Kappa Alpha Order, was vice president of the Interfraternity Council and was sales ambassador for Scott College of Business. Among the professors who greatly influenced him, Spencer said, are “Dr. David Fleming, one of best professors out there; Dr. Evan Kubicek, because he opened my eyes to tech startups; and Bo Mantooth, an incredible leader and role model.”
<< Full Story (February 1, 2017 - Internet Archive) >>
Marsha Stone, '89
Marsha, who hails from Clayton and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana State, has been employed with the Indianapolis Airport Authority for 20 years.
Her association with the airport began even earlier, though. After beginning her career as a CPA at George S. Olive & Co., now BKD, the airport became her first client and the one month every year she spent handling the business’ audit became her favorite time of year.
When a position opened up at the airport in 2004, Stone jumped at the opportunity and has since served as the airport’s auditor director, assistant finance director and finance director before being named CFO in 2009.
<< Full Story (February 1, 2015 - Internet Archive) >>
Nick Sturgeon ’03 (Management Information Systems)
Starting with the information technology contract work, the Indiana State Police and now as director of information security for Indiana University Health, he was able to bridge his management information systems major with a technology background and enter the cybersecurity field as it was beginning to take off.
Sturgeon left Indiana after graduation and headed west until he decided to return to the state. Upon his return, his work included a contract position with the State of Indiana’s Office of Information Technology. In early 2006 he decided to pursue his interest in law enforcement by applying for the Indiana State Police’s 67th Recruit Academy. In 2009, Sturgeon sought a sergeant position working in IT with the Indiana State Police.
In 2017, Sturgeon began serving as director of security operations center for Pondurance, which sells security services to companies, and a year later he started as a cyber-consultant with Ernst and Young, working with Fortune 500 companies domestic and international helping to advise, consult and access their security.
<< Full Story >>
Mari A. Swayne, '95, GR '98
“I was a technology teacher for many years, so the “T” in STEM is something I’ve been involved with for many years including serving as the director the Business & Information Technology Career Academy for Pike High School,” Swayne said. “The Career Center was the vision of our superintendent. I was appointed to work on developing the programs and visiting other centers in preparation of ours opening. We launched the program in August of 2015, and I was appointed as the director.”
Greek life is an important part of the university community, Swayne said. “I’m happy to hear that many of the chapters are working their way back on campus,” she said. “I look forward to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority returning in the very near future. It definitely made a large impact on who I am today.”
While at Indiana State, Swayne also was a resident assistant and later a graduate assistant hall director. “That afforded me the opportunity to get involved in higher education administration,” she said.
It was at Indiana State that Swayne first became acquainted with the man who would later become her husband, Romel A. Swayne. “We met at ISU many years ago and got re-acquainted during a homecoming weekend,” she said. “We went on a date the Wednesday after homecoming and have been together ever since — almost 10 years.”
Both husband and wife are two-time degree alumni of Indiana State. Mari Swayne earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business education and her Master of Science degree in student affairs and higher education. Romel Swayne graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a Master of Science degree in human resources. The couple lives in Indianapolis.
“I am proud to be a double alumnus (double Sycamore) of Indiana State University. Working in a high school affords me the opportunity to brag about ISU and encourage students to attend,” Swayne said. “I hope to return to begin my doctoral degree in the future — triple Sycamore. Go Sycamores!”
<< Read full story (January 31, 2016 - Internet Archive) >>
Jeff Taylor, '75 Accounting
A native of Anderson, Indiana, Jeff graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in accounting. He worked 12 years in public accounting for Arthur Andersen & Co. in Indianapolis and Minneapolis. Taylor then joined National Computer Systems Inc. (NCS) in Eden Prairie, Minn., where he was CFO until the company was acquired by London-based Pearson plc in 2000. Taylor was responsible for government and investor relations for Pearson in the U.S. until he retired in 2013.
Jeff joined the ISU Foundation Board in 2012 and the ISU Board of Trustees two years later. He and his wife, Penny, a 1976 graduate of Indiana State, have three adult daughters living around the country.
"I was that typical Indiana first-generation college student, fortunate enough to have parents, who while not well-off, made college a priority," Taylor said. "ISU provided me a solid education, in and out of the classroom, which built a foundation for a successful career and family life. I am delighted to serve on the ISU Board of Trustees to lend my talents and efforts to ISU's continued success. I sincerely want others to realize the life-changing outcomes of an ISU degree experience."
Jeff was appointed chair of the Indiana State University Board of Trustees in July 2019.
Indiana State’s governing body welcomes new trustees, leadership (July 19, 2019)
Gift from Scott College alumni funds Max E. Douglas Student Advising Suite (October 5, 2010)
ETHICS: The primary building block of business (March 27, 2006)
Team Ugly are Brian Miller, Adam Paulson and Kevin Wool.
Miller, Wool and Paulson have created headlines and laughs by starting Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, which sells vintage - and humorous - holiday apparel. Last fall, they also released a book, "The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book," which hit bookstores across the country. They've done a variety of interviews and media appearances, including on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "The CBS Morning Show" and "Fox and Friends."
Brian Miller, Kevin Wool and Adam Paulson
Paulson graduated from ISU in 2005 with a double major in finance and marketing, and is a senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch and Co. From 2005 to 2009, he served as a member of an advisory team that managed more than $350 million in assets with more than 500 clients. Since 2008, he has been a member of the Young Professionals Board in the Scott College of Business at ISU. The trio were awarded the Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award in 2012.
Four alumni receive GOLD awards (January 30, 2012)
Festive Wear: ISU grads give holiday sweaters new life
Ugly Christmas Sweater Book Signing (Photo Gallery, December 2011)
Fitzhugh Traylor, '20
A graduate of Indiana State Normal School in 1920, Fitzhugh Traylor received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1957 when they were first introduced. His devotion to the insurance profession and his service to his community contributed to his selection for this award. At the time he received the DAA he was president of the American Society of Charted Life Underwriters.
After leaving ISNS, Fitzhugh taught in a high school but in 1922, when not teaching, Fitzhugh started writing life insurance policies for the Equitable Life Insurance Society. In 1928, he was advanced to assistant manage and a year later was field instructor. In 1931, Fitzhugh was made manager of their Boston office. While in Boston he served as president of the Life Underwriters Association and in 1942 was made president of the Life Managers' Association. In 1943, Fitzhugh returned to Indiana as manager of all Equitable's Indiana agencies. Fitzhugh was also president of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (1956 - 57) and in 1959 was the recipient of the Jack Peckinpaugh Associate of the Year Award from the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
Ronald L. Vaughn, '68, '70 (MBA)
Dr. Ronald L. Vaughn earned his bachelors in 1968 and his masters in 1970. He was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997. Vaughn earned distinction in the fields of marketing and higher education. When he received the award, he was president of the University of Tampa.
Ronald paid his way through bachelor and master's degree programs at Indiana State by working jobs including painting on weekends, selling Sarah Coventry jewelry, working at an A& W restaurant, being a lifeguard/swimming instructor in the summers, and working at Indiana State as a graduate assistant and research assistant for the Bureau of Business Research. He was initiated into Delta Sigma Pi's Delta Tau Chapter in 1967. After Indiana State, Ronald became a doctoral student at the University of Georgia.
While at the University of Georgia, Ronald and a partner created the American Recreational Equipment Co. (AMREC) providing travel trailer accessories like awnings, dining canopies, and drop-leaf tire carriers. The company took in about $250,000 in revenue during the two years. After graduating, Ronald became a business consultant in Peoria, Illinois, He later purchased Scotti Research, turning the company from $75,000 to a $1.5 million revenue. While doing that, Ronald worked in Bradley University's marketing program before joining the University of Tampa to start their Marketing Department. In 1989, Ronald became dean of their College of Business. In January 1995, he was named President of the university.
David Walters, '11 (Insurance and Risk Management)
David graduated from the college in 2011. While here he was a Gongaware Scholar, and a member of Gamma Iota Sigma, an insurance and risk management fraternity. He has served as a co-host of "Sycamore Experience," a segment of men's basketball coach Kevin McKenna's weekly television show.
In 2010, he was awarded the Richard G. Landini Outstanding Junior Award. Named for Indiana State's eighth president, who served from 1975 to 1992, the Landini Award recognizes juniors for their outstanding achievement, service to their class and for living up to the ideals and values of the university. The Landini Award is presented by Sycamore Ambassadors (formerly known as the ISU Student Alumni Association). In 2011, he earned the Rankin Memorial Distinguished Senior Award in recognition of his efforts to improve campus life. Named for the university's seventh president, who served from 1965-1975, the Rankin Awards recognize outstanding seniors who have demonstrated dedicated membership and leadership ability in campus organizations and in the community. Recipients must also have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale.
Davis started working for Gibson Insurance in 2016, and became Principal in July 2018. In 2015, David was named Insurance Business of America (IBA) Young Gun, and in March 2023, was named one of 40 recipients of the Business Insurance 2023 Break Out Award.
Four grads recognized with Rankin Awards (April 27, 2011)
Four receive Landini Outstanding Junior Award (May 10, 2010)
College of Business welcomes new Gongaware Scholars (September 27, 2007)
Steve Whitman '77
Whitman is a retired executive vice president of Exstream Software, LLC, ranked among the world's fastest growing technology companies and a leading provider of enterprise software that streamlines the creation and delivery of personalized documents and other communications materials. Exstream was purchased by Hewlett-Packard in 2008. At Exstream, Whitman was responsible for the company's distribution and channels internationally and for overseeing worldwide sales. With more than 25 years experience in software sales, Whitman has held senior management, sales management and product marketing positions with a variety of companies, including Xerox, Digital Equipment Corp., and First Data. Some of Exstream's major clients included Bank of America, Fidelity Investments and Xerox.
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Amadou Yattassaye '98 (Business Administration)
Amadou Yattassaye serves as the Plan President of the Missouri Commercial & Specialty Business Division (CSBD) for Anthem, Inc. As a member of the company leadership team, he is responsible for Anthem's commercial business, including: State-based Exchanges; Individual, Small Group and Large Group local business; Yattassaye and his team have Profit & Loss responsibility for Anthem BCBS Missouri and Health Link members.
Yattassaye is an industry leader with over 20 years of executive-level experience. Previously, he served as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Interim Plan President for the New York Commercial & Specialty Business Division (CSBD) for Anthem, Inc.
Prior to joining Anthem, Amadou spent over ten years in the auditing and consulting industry, including more than seven years at Ernst & Young LLP.
In 2011, Yattassaye joined Anthem as Chief Audit Executive and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer. In this board of directors facing capacity, Yattassaye was responsible for overseeing the planning, design and implementation of the annual Master Audit Plan, as well as the development and administration of Anthem's Ethics, Compliance and Privacy programs.
Yattassaye is active in the community including strong support for the United Way (de Tocqueville Society member), membership to the Regional Business Council and serves on the board of directors for various organizations.
Yattassaye was a speaker at the Fall 2020 Commencement.
2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients announced (October 1, 2019)