Emerging Business Leader Awards


2014 Finalists

Graduate Division Finalists

akweiassabaAssaba Linda Akwei*

Assaba Linda Akwei is pursuing her MBA while working as a project manager at the environmental consulting firm, The Cadmus Group, Inc. Akwei has eight years of program management experience for the federal government, including the management of teams consisting of experts in a variety of fields. Her interests include sustainable development, education, developing economies, studying cultures, languages, organizing, museums, and science fiction movies.



bochenekgeorgeGeorge Bochenek

George Bochenek is a part-time MBA student while working as a development and implementation consultant with ESRI. He has over seven years of experience in the software industry. In his free time, Bochenek enjoys running, hiking, and snowboarding. He prides himself for having a strong work ethic and is looking forward to leveraging his MBA in future endeavors.




kingkateKatherine King

Kate King is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified part-time MBA student. She works full-time for consulting services firm ICF International supporting the Department of Transportation in systems analysis, business intelligence, and process improvement. King strives to combine a passion for public service with a talent for complex data analysis and business process improvement. She hopes to combine her skills in information technology and business intelligence with her passion for international development to support tangible, positive change in today's global environment.



sowddaynaDayna Sowd

Dayna Sowd is an MBA student pursuing a concentration in financial management. In her professional life, Sowd is a senior accountant at JLL, a global commercial real estate services company. She has worked in several lines of business at JLL, including commercial property management, before transitioning to finance in 2011. She is now the corporate accountant for the Mid-Atlantic and Philadelphia markets. Sowd holds a Virginia real estate salesperson license and a LEED Green Associate designation through the U.S. Green Building Council. She is also a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.



Undergraduate Division Finalists

gandhijasmineJasmine Gandhi

Jasmine Gandhi is a senior majoring in finance with a minor in legal studies. She is an active member multiple organizations on campus, including the Indian Student Association and Student Government Association. In addition, Gandhi is a member of multiple honor societies, including the Golden Key International Honour Society and Beta Gamma Sigma. In the summer of 2014, she worked at Clements Worldwide, an international insurance agency, as an operations specialist. Upon graduating, she hopes to continue her education and begin a career in finance.​



rehmanusamaUsama Rehman

Usama Rehman is a senior majoring in information systems and operations management. Rehman is an active member of several organizations, including The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Mason Information Systems and Operations Management (ISOM) Association, Student-Run Computing and Tech, Cyber Security Systems, and Active Minds. In the future, he hopes to use his foundation from Mason as a launch pad into a bright future.



russellkirstinKirstin Russell*

Kirstin Russell is a senior majoring in finance and minoring in both economics and Spanish. She is a teacher assistant for Professor Steve Pilloff's Finance 301 class. Russell is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society. Outside of her academic work, Russell is a student-athlete playing for Mason's women's lacrosse team and enjoys going on mission trips with her church—the most recent one being to Guatemala in August.



willitsdavidDavid Willits

David Willits is a senior pursuing a degree in finance. He is an officer in the Mason Investment Club and serves as the George Mason University Bloomberg campus ambassador. He has held several internships– most recently as an accounting intern at Novetta Solutions. Upon graduation, Willits hopes to pursue a career in valuation consulting and to continue working towards the CFA designation.




*Denotes winner.


Past Winners

Graduate Division

2013 - Seth Whetzel '14

2012 - Alka Papreja, MBA '13


Undergraduate Division

2013 - Javier Perez Navarette, BS Accounting & BS Finance '13

2012 - Tamena Aziz, BS Accounting & BS Finance '13


George Mason University School of Business

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 10 percent of all AACSB accredited business schools, the School of Business is one of only 25 percent of business schools accredited in both business and accounting by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.




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