More than 50 Western Washington University students and graduates received Outstanding Graduate honors for the 2019-20 academic year.
Faculty members from dozens of academic departments and programs select one graduate to honor as the Outstanding Graduate of the year. Selection is a high honor based on grades, research and writing, service to the campus and community, and promise for the future.
The Outstanding Graduates from the College of Business and Economics include:
Gabriela Guedea of Lynnwood graduated in March with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in operations management and a minor in business analytics. Guedea is a smart, hard-working student who was a leader in operations management classes. She was a member of Western's chapter of the Professional Women's Association and volunteered for the Whatcom Women in Business's Annual Professional Women Awards Gala & Auction. Guedea hopes to travel in Europe and work before going to graduate school in business. The daughter of Kari Meehan and Sergio Guedea, Gabriela Guedea is a graduate of Lynnwood High School and Edmonds Community College.
Jordan King of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, graduates in June with University Honors and a Bachelor of Arts degree. She majored in economics and Spanish and minored in mathematics. King was a student researcher at the WWU Center for Economic and Business Research, where she produced reports on the impacts of education in Whatcom County, residential and retail policies in Marysville, and the economic profile Point Roberts. She was also a student leader on campus, from serving as president and logistics officer for the WWU International Affairs Association and president of the WWU Great Puzzle Hunt to helping with funding decisions on the Departmentally Related Activities Committee. Off campus, King volunteered for the Northwest Model United Nations Seattle Conference, where she served as assistant director of the conference’s Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice She studied abroad in Cusco, Peru, in 2018, studying the language and economy. Lately, she has volunteered as a Spanish and math tutor to students in need of assistance because of COVID-19. King, who graduated from Lake City High School, will pursue a master’s degree in economics at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Ina LaGrandeur of Bellingham is graduating with University Honors in June with a Bachelor of Arts in accounting with minors in Spanish and business administration while also completing the Honors Program. LaGrandeur’s accomplishments at Western includes being a WWU College of Business and Economics Distinguished Scholar, Resident Adviser of the Quarter for her time in the Fairhaven residence halls and the Moss Adams Outstanding Senior for her excellent work in the accounting department and impact on the community. As a Residence Hall advisor, she counseled students one-on-one and ran events such as the step-in and step-out identity inclusion event. LeGrandeur was a minister of administration for the WWU Catholic Newman Center, a volunteer at CAST, Operation Sack Lunch, Mary’s Place, YWCA, Pike Place Food Bank, Rainier Valley Food Bank and the Union Gospel Mission, she has also served homeless people in both Bellingham and Seattle. During her time at Western, she was also AS Elections Coordinator and through Western Votes, she ensured enfranchisement of all communities in both university and community elections. Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, LeGrandeur helps low income community members file their taxes. She was also the president of Beta Alpha Psi/Accounting Society this year. During her time there she opened membership to all in CBE without charge. She also significantly increased donations to fund students attending all local, regional and national meetings and conferences. LaGrandeur had the opportunity to take the WWU Accounting Global Experience course in London, visiting companies in both their Seattle and London offices. LaGrandeur accomplished all of this while earning Phi Eta Sigma honors and self-funding her education. After graduation, LaGrandeur will be attending the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana to get her Master’s in Science of Accountancy with a focus in taxation. She plans to graduate from the program in May 2021 and become a tax associate with KPMG in Seattle for after she completes graduate school.
Finance and Marketing
Brandon Smith of Arlington graduates in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He majored in finance with a minor in business analytics. He has the top GPA of finance graduates and excelled in even the hardest courses. Smith also volunteered for his church’s youth programs and summer camp. He says he’s most proud of the analytical and communication skills he developed at Western, along with his relationships with other students and faculty. A graduate of Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy, Smith worked for three years in property management in Marysville before attending Western. The son of Peter and Cathy Smith, he is heading to law school at Pepperdine University in California.
Presidential Scholar, College of Business and Economics
Outstanding Graduate, Management
Erin Smith of Olympia graduated in June with a Bachelor of Arts in international business. She's known for her positive attitude, enthusiasm and thoroughness and a low-key, effective leadership style. During her time at Western, she helped revitalize the International Business club and became co-president. She was also treasurer for Fairhaven Hall Council, where she helped organize a successful canned food drive. And she attended meetings and events with the Native American Student Union. Last summer Smith interned at Callisons, a company in Lacey that is a leading supplier of mint oils and flavors around the world, and worked in their logistics department helping to formulate an export compliance manual. Smith studied abroad in Bulgaria at the American University in Bulgaria and had the opportunity to visit 10 different countries during the four months she was there. She was also a member of the Griffins football team and worked in the team's marketing department and joined the Women in Leadership Club, and the Better Community Club. Smith, whose parents are Nancy Smith and Kieo Smith, graduated from Yelm High School and attended South Puget Sound Community College prior to attending Western.