Contributed by Lily Pezzullo-Frank, Coordinator of External Programs & Communications for the Cameron School of Business.
Each semester, the faculty of the Cameron School of Business recommend to the Dean a student for consideration as recipient of the E. M. West Award based on academic excellence, school involvement, and student leadership. It is the highest award given to a top graduate within the Cameron School of Business at UNCW each year.
This award is named for a beloved faculty member, Dr. Elonza McKinley (Mac) West. Dr. West was hired to Chair the first Department of Business and Economics in the mid 1960s. He and his wife, Gerry, had retired to Wilmington after selling his Western Auto Store after his earlier retirement from Sears Roebuck & Company after many years as a store manager and division manager. He was instrumental in the formation of the Department, developing curriculum and recruiting faculty. During that time, he was responsible for teaching Business Law and Business Policy and continued to teach those courses after he retired from Department Chairmanship in 1972. In the latter 1980s, he and Gerry retired to Williamsburg before passing on.
Dr. West earned his Bachelor of Science Degree at Virginia Tech and his MBA and Ph.D. at Duke University after serving as an Army officer during World War II.
The E. M. West award was developed upon his retirement from the Department Chairmanship at UNCW in honor of his long service and his dedication to education as a leading member of the UNCW faculty. Dr. West was a respected member of the business school faculty. He was known as a caring individual, who provided invaluable insights.
This year, two outstanding graduates, Logan Massengill and Chandler Kushinsky, will share the award, a first in the history of the distinction. Both Massengill and Kushinsky have been highly involved in the school during their time at UNCW, participating in on-campus jobs, multiple internships, research, nation-wide competitions, and the Cameron Executive Network.
Chandler Kushinsky is a business administration major with dual concentrations in economics and finance, and a first-generation college student who funded his own way through school to graduate debt-free this May. During his time at UNCW, he became a Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader for the University Learning Center. Kushinsky was an SI Leader for 3 economics courses and achieved the Certified Master Peer Tutor level of his position with the University Learning Center. He has been a mentee in the Cameron Executive Network since the fall of 2021. Chandler finished a departmental economics honors thesis under the guidance of Dr. Adam Jones on the topic of how Federal Reserve Policy impacts urban and rural real estate prices differently throughout the country. In 2021, he competed with the Fed Challenge Team, a collegiate competition where students analyze the current state of the economy, suggest a monetary policy recommendation, and answer a series of questions for a judging panel if selected as finalists. The 2021 Fed Challenge team performed its best to date at UNCW, placing within the top 18 colleges in the country. Chandler also spent time in the Seahawk Investments Portfolio management class, and along with his classmates, helped manage the fund that was recently valued at $2.5 million. He worked 5 internships and 2-3 jobs during his time in college all while maintaining his spot on the Dean’s List every semester. He will be working as an Underwriter for Live Oak Bank following graduation.
Massengill is a business administration major, with double concentrations in international business and marketing professional selling with two minors in Spanish and leadership studies. She also holds the titles of President of the Women’s Volleyball team, CSB Peer Advisor, and UNCW tour guide. During her freshman year, she founded Circle K International; sophomore year she co-founded “Swipes for Seahawks,” a meal donation program; and her junior year she founded the International Business Student Association. She’s completed internships at Red Hat, Human Capital Solutions, and Lenovo. Massengill was studying abroad in Spain when the COVID-19 pandemic began; she was forced to leave the country and contracted the virus on her way home, making her one of the first COVID-19 positive cases in North Carolina. Two years later, she studied abroad again in Prague as a project manager for the Prague Consulting Project, presenting a market entry strategy to Budweiser Budvar. Her Lenovo internship led to her accepting a full-time position following her graduation in May 2022.
Both Kushinsky and Massengill were finally able to participate in their first in-person Business Week this year after the pandemic disrupted those plans two years in a row. Massengill attended Business Week her freshman year, but 2022 felt like the “first REAL Business Week.” “I wanted to hear success stories,” she said, “it was inspiring to hear how entrepreneurs have made successes for themselves.” She also presented two sessions with her Cameron Executive Network Mentor, George DeLisle. Kushinsky added, “I also presented as a guest speaker under Live Oak Bank. We didn’t know it while the logistics were being planned, but I was slated to introduce the lead speaker, who just happened to interview me for a job at Live Oak the day before. He offered me a full-time job that morning.”
When asked about their key take-aways during their time here, Kushinsky said, “two things: one, be persistent in everything you do. I learned, a “no” now isn’t a “no” forever. Two, you get what you put in. Applying yourself and saying yes to things helps you to make things happen and come true.”
Massengill added, “I love the quote by Mark Cuban: ‘it doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full, as long as you’re the one pouring into it’... I squeezed every opportunity I could out of my time here, including two study abroad opportunities.” Kushinsky supported this sentiment, saying, “It’s true. You get out of these programs and opportunities what you put into them.”
This led the conversation to turn towards an introvert vs. extrovert question. When asked if their personality type influenced their successes here, Kushinsky said, “I was far from an extrovert when I started here.” But now, through his training as a Supplemental Instruction leader, he gained confidence in public speaking and leading a room. His time with his mentor also helped him feel comfortable in interview settings, a key piece he attributes to landing the job at Live Oak bank. Massengill, on the other hand, said, “oh, I’m very extroverted – I love building people up.”
When congratulated on their success and endless efforts over the last four years, both humbly agreed that the faculty, staff, and mentors at UNCW played a large role in their stories, jointly adding, “Everyone at UNCW is here because they want to support you – in every aspect of your life.”
Interested in continuing your education? The Cameron School of Business offers seven graduate programs and four 4+1 programs, which earns graduates both a Bachelor’s degree and credits towards a Master’s degree. See more information about degrees and certifications at https://csb.uncw.edu/grad/index.html.
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