10 Wichita State women chosen for Widener Global Leadership program

The Widener Global Leaders Program, a new, year-long, interdisciplinary program housed in the W. Frank Barton School of Business, has announced its first cohort of students.

The inaugural class will consist of 10 women from the Barton School of Business, the Elliott School of Communication in Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and School of Music in College of Fine Arts. The program is under the direction of Dr. Larisa Genin, dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business.

Beginning in fall 2021, the student participants will begin their transformation into global leaders by developing business skills, communication skills, artistic awareness, a commitment to social responsibility, cultural intelligence, and a global mindset. They will engage in various interdisciplinary experiences embedded in the worlds of business, communication, and music, which reflects the skillset of Peri Widener, who is the inspiration behind the program.

“We’re so excited to welcome this dynamic group of women to our inaugural year and to share the opportunities of our program,” said Dr. Raina M. Rutti, director of the Widener Global Leaders Program. “This transformational experience will not only provide an inclusive community for our students, but also an environment where they can learn, network and be mentored by exceptional faculty members and industry leaders.”

Ainsley Agnew, Bachelor of Arts in cello

Expected graduation: May 2022; Hometown: Lawrence, Kansas

Ainsley is a senior and has made the Dean's Honor Roll every semester. She is a member of the WSU School of Music's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Fine Arts Ambassadors, and is the FAA coordinator for the School of Music. She is very interested in social justice, inclusive feminism, and helping the environment. She hopes to create change through music.

Azah Barnes, Bachelor of Arts in communication

Expected graduation: May 2023; Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas

Azah is interested in photography and film and is looking to apply her photography skills to her major. She was the fundraiser coordinator for the Black Student Union and was involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Azah wants to work on the creative side of advertising, filming, and campaigning.

Jordyn Brock, Bachelor of Arts in integrated marketing communication

Expected graduation: May 2023; Hometown: Corinth, Texas

Jordyn has four years of work experience where she has been given increased responsibilities. She currently works as a project researcher and developer for ShockStarter at Wichita State’s Shocker Career Accelerator. Jordyn aspires to work for Vogue or another high-end magazine as a photographer or social media coordinator.

Kaitlyn Brown, Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing

Expected graduation: December 2023; Hometown: Topeka, Kansas

Kaitlyn is a member of the Honors College, an ambassador for diversity and inclusion, and a member of Deans Undergraduate Advisory Board for Barton School of Business. She also serves as secretary for the College Democrats Club. Kaitlyn is interested in working in the airline industry, music industry, news industry, or possibly the National Football League.

Anne Yap I-Shyuen, Bachelor of Music in piano performance and pedagogy

Expected graduation: May 2023; Hometown: Semenyih, Selangor (Malaysia)

On the competition circuit, Anne has earned numerous prizes and awards including third place in the Konrad Wolff-Ilse Bing Chamber Music Competition 2021 and the Achievement Award at the first Malaysian Piano Competition in 2018. She was also a semi-finalist at the first Nanyang International Music Competition 2017 in Singapore and the UCSI International Piano Competition in 2016. Besides piano, Anne plays the violin and is currently part of the WSU Symphony Orchestra. Anne’s dream job is to be a collegiate lecturer or music studio owner and teacher.

Amanda Phanivong, Bachelor of Arts in Integrated marketing communication

Expected graduation: December 2022; Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa

Amanda has made the Dean’s Honor Roll every semester. She is involved in National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Ambassadors for Diversity and Inclusion, and Public Relations Student Society of America. She also currently serves on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s marketing and walk planning committees. She is a recipient of the Rudd Foundation Scholarship and Timothy P. O’Shaughnessy Lifelong Learning Scholarship. Amanda recently began marketing internships with Amazon and the Rudd Foundation. This summer, she completed a fellowship with the Kansas-based, Storytime Village Inc. Amanda aspires to work for a Fortune 500 company in marketing or communication.

Grace Pierpont, Bachelor of Business Administration in general business

Expected graduation: May 2023; Hometown: Wichita, Kansas

Grace is a transfer student from Johnson County Community College, where she earned an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. She has held several leadership roles in student organizations, volunteered at the Kansas Humane Society and served in helping the homeless. Grace job shadowed at Compost Collective KC, where she learned how a company can embrace positive change. Grace aims to work for a company that makes real changes in the world.

Maria Romero Rodriguez, Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing

Expected graduation: May 2022; Hometown: Getafe, Madrid (Spain)

Maria chose to continue her education at WSU and compete in track and field. Originally a hurdler, she now primarily competes in the heptathlon. She had made the Dean's Honor Roll, the Athletic Director Honor Roll, and has been named to the Academic All-Conference team every semester. Maria volunteers at track meets and participated in Reading with the Shockers. Maria’s dream job is to work for a marketing or communications department within the airline, sports, or technology industry.

Martina Viale, Master of Arts in communication

Expected graduation: May 2023; Hometown: Borgarello, Pavia (Italy)

Martina graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Newman University, where she majored in marketing and management. She volunteered for the Adorers of the Blood of Christ helping refugees translate immigration documents, and she served as a mentor for the young kids. She also volunteered with Brothers/Big Sisters as a mentor. Martina seeks to work in the marketing field for an international company with an amazing culture.

Amarylis Yang, Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing

Expected graduation: May 2023; Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas

Amarylis is the assistant director of marketing with the Barton International Group, the merchandise chair of WSU’s Gamma Phi Beta, and the director of digital media at WSU’s Green Group. She has also worked with middle and high school students exploring STEM fields. Amarylis wants to change the world by caring for people and the earth. Her dream job is to assist start-ups and small businesses, particularly those that promote environmental awareness.

\Visit the Widener GLP page for more information.

About Wichita State

Wichita State University serves as the Kansas urban-based research university, enrolling more than 15,000 students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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About the W. Frank Barton School of Business

Located in Kansas’ business hub and with significant ties to the business community, the W. Frank Barton School of Business provides extensive applied learning opportunities. With in-person and online options, Barton School undergraduate and graduate programs are tailored to transform the lives of its students. It also holds a double AACSB accreditation for business and accounting, which puts it in the top 1% of business schools worldwide. The Barton School was established as the university’s College of Business Administration and Industry in 1926 and has thousands of graduates around the world.

About the Widener Global Leaders Program

The Widener Global Leaders Program was established in fall 2021 as an interdisciplinary program incorporating business, communication and music. Its focus is to create transformational experiences and foster an inclusive community for women leaders majoring in business, communication or fine arts. The program was made possible by a gift from Peri Widener, Wichita State University graduate and former vice president and general manager for Boeing, to help build a new generation of business leaders with a world view.