Meet the 2018-19 Outstanding Graduates from the College of Business and Economics

  • Lauren stands in front of wall, smiling
    Lauren Connally
  • Olivia Dingus
  • Brooke Flores
  • Hannah Svendsen
  • Tiara Waldron

More than 50 Western Washington University students and graduates received Outstanding Graduate honors for the 2018-19 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 graduates were recognized at spring Commencement June 15. The five Outstanding Graduates from the College of Business and Economics are:


Lauren Connally

Outstanding Graduate in Economics

Lauren Connally of Covington graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She majored in both financial accounting and economics and minored in business administration. In addition to her studies, Connally completed two internships: One with the Trane Corporation, where she forecasted infrastructure needs and potential areas of sales growth, and another for Puget Sound Regional Services, where she developed a dashboard analyzing the financial strength of each of their programs. After graduation, Connally plans to attend graduate school at the University of Washington. A graduate of Kentwood High School, Connally is the daughter of John and Stephanie Connally.


Olivia Dingus

Outstanding Graduate in Energy Policy and Management

Olivia Dingus of Spokane Valley graduated cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double-major in Energy Management and Economics. Since her freshman year, she was a member of the Women in Energy Mentoring Network (WIEMN) working to connect female students in energy studies with professional women working in related firms and agencies. She was also a member of Project Zero Net Energy Tiny Home (ZeNETH), working with a team of students aiming to build a tiny house on Western's campus as an example of an affordable, sustainable and attainable housing solution. She received two highly competitive scholarships for those interested in the field of energy, including the Ingersoll Rand Trane scholarship and Institute for Energy Studies Women in Leadership scholarship. In fall 2019 she will continue her internship with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and attend the University of Wisconsin — Madison to pursue a Master of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics. She is a graduate of University High School and is the daughter of Tom and Wendy Dingus.


Brooke Flores

Outstanding Graduate of Decision Sciences

Brooke Flores of Issaquah graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Science and majored in manufacturing and supply chain management with a minor in business analytics. During her time at Western, Flores was treasurer then president for APICS, a club for manufacturing and supply chain management students. She was selected as an APICS Scholar and attended the National Conference of APICS in Chicago in 2018. She was also a finalist in the Starbucks Supply Chain Case Competition and a regional finalist in the Association for Supply Chain Management Case Competition. She was involved in Alpha Kappa Psi and Western Community Outreach. Flores was a supply chain intern at the wholesale apparel company SanMar and REI. After graduation, Flores will work as a global logistics intern for Patagonia in Reno, Nevada. She also plans to spend a few months traveling Europe and Asia. Her goal is to build sustainable supply chains with ethical sourcing practices, and eventually earn her master's degree. Flores is a graduate of Skyline High School and is daughter to Lynnette and Rafael Flores.


Hannah Svendsen

Outstanding Graduate in Accounting

Hannah Svendsen of Kenmore graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts and majored in accounting with a minor in international business. During her time at Western, Svendsen had the opportunity to attend the WWU Accounting Global Experience in London, spending time with other students while meeting with firms and learning about international accounting. Outside of her studies, Svendsen has been co-president of Western Community Outreach, a club dedicated to helping the low-income and homeless communities in Bellingham. She was also a member and reporting secretary for Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting and honors society on campus. Finally, Svendsen was a student ambassador and office manager for the Western Foundation, helping to represent the WWU student body when connecting with alumni, donors and community members. Svendsen completed an audit internship with Grant Thornton, an accounting firm in Seattle, which has hired her as a full-time audit associate starting this fall. Svendsen is a graduate of Inglemoor High School and is daughter to Andy and Joanne Svendsen.


Tiara Waldron

Outstanding Graduate in Management

Tiara Waldron of Kelso graduated magna cum laude in June with a Bachelor of Arts and majored in both international business and Spanish with a minor in economics. During her time at Western, she was named a Distinguished Scholar in the College of Business and Economics and was the CBE Spring Quarter Leadership Fellow. Thanks to scholarships and financial aid through Western, Waldron was able to study abroad in Madrid, Spain, in fall 2018. "I grew as a person. I gained independence reflecting on my own identity and values compared to those around me," Waldron said. "I met amazing people who have changed me and will be friends for life." After graduating, Waldron plans to move to Seattle to further her career in international business. She is a graduate of Kelso High School and is daughter to Amy Morningjoy.



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Monday, July 22, 2019 - 12:26pm