Graduate Business Student Award Recipients

Graduate Business Student Award Recipients

Nikolai Dziezyc Graduate Student of the Year

Nikolai Dziezyc '22, MBA

Nikolai was a panelist at the Full-Time MBA orientation where he spoke to students about his personal experience at USD, his job search and current internship position at University Growth Fund. Although he had a tumultuous schedule, he still offered up his time to give advice and direction to others — advice that helped shepherd students into valuable internships. Nikolai takes it upon himself to foster community and make sure that everyone around him is supported and heard. Nikolai works diligently and simultaneously manages to make time for those around him. He is a balanced individual across many frontiers and has been a fantastic mentor.

Graduate Student of the Year Finalists 

  1. Gidon Bonner '22, MSBA
  2. Samuel White '22, MSRE
  3. Raquel Kennedy '22, MBA
George Laning Graduate Student Entrepreneur of the Year

George Laning '22, MSRE-MBA

George quit his job last December at a highly prominent San Diego CPA firm and became 100% self-employed, marketing his own CPA tax practice, George J. Laning, CPA. He offers remote tax services with a focus on self-employed professionals, start-ups, real estate, and multi-state individuals and businesses. George also received his third issued patent from the USPTO for his invention. He plans to take Negotiation for Entrepreneurial Ventures this summer to prepare for the licensing of his three issued patents.

Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists

  1. Sami Viterbi '23, MBA
  2. George Hotaling '18, '22, MSGL, MSF
Marie Laule Graduate Student Ambassador of the Year

Marie Laule '23, MBA

Marie demonstrates a high level of engagement and has a positive attitude infused with changemaker energy. Since beginning the Full-Time MBA program, she has worked as a graduate assistant for Dr. Amit Kakkad, emceed the third annual Fowler Business Concept Challenge, supported the 10th annual University Legacy Entrepreneurship Conference, worked as a graduate assistant for the Knauss School of Business Student Success Center, served as director of marketing for the graduate Women in Business student organization, and was elected by her peers as director of alumni relations for the Graduate Business Student Association. Marie is an aspiring creative director and entrepreneur. She embodies the entrepreneurial mindset and seeks out opportunities to make improvements to processes and impact positive change. Marie’s service, ingenuity and dedication to the success of the Knauss School of Business have been tireless and invaluable.

Ambassador of the Year Finalists

  1. Jorge Daniel Atuesta '23, MSBA-MBA
  2. Danielle Levy '23, MBA
  3. Danni Marie Rivera '23, MBA
Gidon Bonner Graduate USD Community Engagement

Gidon Bonner '22, MSBA

Gidon has made the graduate USD community a much richer place. Whenever someone has difficulties, personal or academic, Gidon is always available — if necessary, until the middle of the night. He is known for organizing and conducting exam preparation and support for others including emergency crash courses (even before exam day until 3 a.m.). Gidon also stands out in terms of his genuine consideration for others. For example, he was the only one who remembered to bring vegan and vegetarian food (unsolicited) for a private graduate barbecue in case they were forgotten (which they were!). Gidon also draws people together in different ways during athletic activities, substantially fostering community. Whether it's mentoring young high schoolers who live with Type I diabetes, hosting multi-hour study sessions, organizing social events, interview coaching, or just being a good friend and colleague to our cohort, he goes above and beyond. Gidon is someone you can trust will do anything to the best of his ability and lead with compassion.

Cori Harris Graduate Diversity and Inclusion

Cori Harris '23, MBA

Cori was nominated by her peers for the leadership position of Graduate Business Student Association (GBSA) President for 2022. During her time in this role, she has advocated for and brought awareness to the local nonprofit organization, Home of Guiding Hands, which focuses on improving the lives of those with developmental disabilities in the San Diego community. She has promoted volunteer work through a company visit, fundraising opportunities through partnerships with GBSA-sponsored events and even connected one of our other student-led organizations, USD Golf Club, with their summer golf tournament fundraising event. She helped build relationships and engage in meaningful ways with community partners. 

Graduate Diversity and Inclusion Award of the Year Finalists

  1. Dai Phu Tran '22, MSF
Richard Clarke Alumni of the Year

Richard Clarke '21, MSF-MBA

Richard has volunteered his time to coordinate the MBA Leadership Fellows Program and lead several leadership labs for Full-Time MBA and Part-Time MBA cohorts. He has also supported students within MBA learning teams who were struggling.

He has participated in orientation panels for each new MBA cohort graduating in Spring 2021. Richard facilitated a workshop last fall for Full-Time MBA students that emphasized the importance of clear communication, setting boundaries, teamwork, as well as receiving and giving constructive feedback. He also served as a panelist and advocate for the inaugural Graduate Summer Bridge Program panel which supports underrepresented students at USD. Furthermore, Richard has served as a resource for students who are interested in consulting careers, specifically those who are interested in The Brink's Junior Consultant program. Impressively, he has managed to accomplish all of this while working and pursuing a PhD in Leadership. 

Alumni of the Year Finalists

  1. Carl Dumesle '21, MBA
  2. Sean Miles '16, MBA
  3. Cathie Deal '97, Master's of International Business

Graduate Business Student Award Recipients

  • 2021 Recipients
  • 2020 Recipients
  • 2019 Recipients