Congratulations on completing another semester Lynx! College comes with a slew of challenges, and the CU Denver Business School prides itself on having students who step up to face these challenges. Business School students forge their own path through hard work and determination and find empowerment along the journey.

As the semester finishes, the Business School is honored to recognize the hard work of four graduates who received the title of “Outstanding Graduate” and three seniors who are honored for their work with the First Generation and Multicultural (FaM) program.

Outstanding Graduate Awardees

Hiba Hussain, ’24

BSBA, Information Systems
Hiba’s journey from childhood Lego enthusiast to accomplished graduate of CU Denver Business School exemplifies resilience and determination. Her passion for creativity and persistence, instilled at an early age, evolved into a guiding principle throughout her BSBA program experience. “Just like those Lego constructions, my journey through the BSBA program has been about piecing together diverse experiences to build a solid foundation for my future.”

Attracted to the BSBA program for its comprehensive education, Hiba deepened her understanding of business principles and societal impacts of technology. Her involvement in campus life, including leadership roles in Women in Business and Information Systems Student Association, showcased her commitment to inclusivity and networking.

Despite challenges, such as starting college during a pandemic and navigating personal hardships, Hiba persevered. Organizing successful campus events and maintaining focus amid demonstrated her resilience and determination.

Looking ahead to the 4+1 Information Systems Masters program, Hiba is eager to apply her education to a career in product development. Her journey symbolizes the power of determination, resilience, and support, serving as inspiration for others facing adversity.

As she prepares to graduate, Hiba reflects on the transformative impact of CU Denver Business School and looks forward to building a brighter, more innovative future.

Timothy “Chuck” Nicholls, ‘24

MBA/MS, International Business 

As former active-duty Air Force, Timothy “Chuck” Nicholls is familiar with the challenges that come with transitioning from duty to civilian life, and he credits the CU Denver Business School as instrumental in aiding his adjustment. While pursuing his two graduate degrees, he used his knowledge to pay it forward as a graduate assistant and veteran student coordinator for the CU Denver Institute for International Business and CIBERVets (Center for International Business Education and Research – Veterans). While in this role, Nicholls partnered with various companies to help fellow veterans find job opportunities, and created programs to help veteran students adapt to civilian and academic life.

Nicholls involvement wasn’t limited to CIBERVets. He also was a member of the student-led Rutt Bridge’s Venture fund, competed in the 2024 Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Case Competition, was VP of Communications for the International Business Student Network, and studied abroad in Cuba and Portugal. 

“From my involvement in all of these activities, and the support of the university, my professors, and my peers, I look back on these years with immense pride and excitement, ready to apply my education and invaluable experiences to my career and continue making a meaningful difference in the world. I look forward to my lifelong relationship with the University of Colorado Denver.”

Brian Meyer, ’24

MS Management and Organization

Brian Meyer’s journey to outstanding leadership began at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he joined NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in 2011. As a senior undergraduate Geophysics student, he as managed Trackline Geophysical data, showcasing his dedication to NOAA’s mission of protecting life and property. Recognizing the challenges posed by data influx, Brian pursued a Masters in Organizational Leadership at CU Denver.

During his studies, Brian evolved into a Values Based Leader, emphasizing communication and shared values to foster innovation within his team. He spearheaded initiatives such as building next-generation data pipelines and fostering collaboration across NOAA departments through the Science and Technology Synergy Committee.

Brian’s impact extended to the establishment of the NOAA AI Community of Practice, where he leveraged networking and marketing skills to grow a 1000+ person network dedicated to advancing Artificial Intelligence for NOAA’s mission.

Equipped with CU Denver’s leadership skills, Brian’s influence within NOAA continues to grow. As he reflects, “Being taught the latest and greatest in leadership skills and practices were immediately beneficial to myself, my teams, and NOAA as a whole.” His commitment to innovation and collaboration positions NOAA as a global leader in environmental sciences, reflecting his dedication to leading the organization into the future.

Oustanding Undergrad and FaM Community Impact Award

Rey Gallegos, ’24

BSBA, Marketing

Rey Gallegos, a resilient first-generation college student hailing from Brighton, CO, exemplifies passion and perseverance in her journey. Initially drawn to the world of beauty, Rey earned a cosmetology license before her innate drive for change led her back to higher education. Co-founding a podcast for fellow first-generation students at CU Denver showcased her commitment to empowering others.

Rey’s dedication to serving the community shines through her efforts in providing haircuts and basic hygiene services to those in need. Now, she’s on a mission to establish a non-profit organization aimed at offering further support to vulnerable communities.

Despite facing setbacks in her job search across marketing, non-profit, and cosmetic industries, Rey remains resolute, believing in the power of grit and positivity. She aspires to pursue a master’s degree in the future, fueled by her unwavering determination to make a difference.

In Rey’s own words, “Having grit and maintaining a positive attitude can open more doors than one might initially imagine.” With a heart set on creating a meaningful impact, Rey’s journey reflects her dedication to building a brighter future for herself and her community.

FaM Community Impact Award

Hanah Patiño, ‘24

BSBA, Management 

Hanah Patiño and her brother were raised by a single mother who stressed the importance of pursuing higher education. When Patiño was young, her mother returned to college while continuing to care for her children and work full-time. Patiño would follow in her mother’s footsteps, and with the support of her family, she moved to Colorado to attend the CU Denver Business School. 

As a second-gen Latina student, she knew she was stepping out of her comfort zone pursuing a degree in management. During her first semester, Patiño acclimatized to “being a small fish in a big pond”, and worked to navigate her new environment. She says this adjustment period was “significant for [her]  personal growth.” As her second semester rolled around, Patiño learned of the FaM program, and although she missed the application deadline, she was encouraged to join, and within FaM she found her campus community. “Joining the FaM Program greatly improved my experience, providing invaluable skills in emotional intelligence, networking, and career exploration.”

Her experience with FaM inspires her to build community in everything she does, and she credits the program for helping her gain confidence and “clarity in [her]  professional aspirations.” 

FaM Academic Excellence Award

Omayma Aouinat, ‘24

BSBA, Marketing 

As a first-generation student, Omayma Aouinat, ‘24, cites pursuing her degree as both a challenging and rewarding experience. Aouinat started college during the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing her to grapple with social isolation in addition to the challenges faced by first-generation students. “The lack of social interaction and the inability to connect with peers on campus made it difficult for me to adjust to college life.” However, joining FaM provided her connections and community, transforming her collegiate experience.  

During her time with FaM Aouinat “developed leadership skills, attended professional workshops, received career guidance, and benefited from mentorship opportunities.” After being inspired by her experience with a mentor, Aouinat herself became a mentor and guided two new FaM students. “Seeing my mentees grow, both academically and personally, was a rewarding experience and reinforced my belief in the power of mentorship.”In addition to her mentoring, Aouinat spoke at a local high school, where she shared her story and provided insight into the FaM program and college experience. 

Last summer, Aouinat interned for Spectrum’s Accessibility team, where she was able to explore her passions and grow personally while expanding her professional horizons. Her hard work and dedication led to Spectrum offering her a job as an Associate Business Analyst, and she will be embarking on this exciting new journey following graduation.

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