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Diversity MBA Student Profiles

Diversity MBA Student Profiles
Class of 2011

Gerardo Caballero Gerardo Caballero
Originally from the Hudson Valley in New York State, Gerardo graduated from Binghamton University in 2004 with a BS in Biological Sciences and worked for a few years as a laboratory technician in a medical laboratory. He is currently studying Supply Chain Management and Marketing, and hopes to pursue a career in Healthcare or Pharmaceuticals post-MBA.
Philip DeOrtentiis Philip DeOrtentiis
Philip was born and raised in Bronx, New York. He attended undergraduate at Penn State and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. After graduating, he worked briefly for Pepsi-Cola North America in their database department before assuming a position with Alliance Bernstein L.P. as a Junior Performance Analyst in New York. He was promoted a year and a half later to Quantitative Operations Analyst and stayed in that role before choosing to pursue his MBA at Penn State.
Abiodun Ige Abiodun Ige
Abiodun was born and raised in Akure, a city in Southwestern Nigeria. After graduating from the Federal University of Technology Akure, he worked for the Nigerian government for a year and started a business with operations in telecommunications and entertainment in February 2005. He later sold the business to join one of Nigeria’s most prestigious banks, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc., where he worked in various capacities, from the rank of Executive Trainee to Assistant Manager, before joining Smeal. His banking experience included activities in various segments of the market. At different points in his career, he worked in retail banking, mid-market/commercial banking as well as in public sector banking.

Post MBA, Abiodun would like to pursue a PhD in Business Economics and Public Policy. He is very interested in the interplay between public sector policy thrusts and business development in developing countries. He wants to study how countries compete for FDIs and which factors influence Multinational Corporations to establish subsidiaries in developing countries. Ultimately, he hopes to play a key role in the economic development of his native country, Nigeria and possibly Africa as a whole.
Daniel L. McFarland Daniel L. McFarland
Daniel was born in Jackson, Mississippi and grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Before Daniel graduated from high school, he decided that he wanted to serve in the military. In the Spring of 2002, he was accepted to Marion Military Institute where he progressed through an Accelerated Army Reserve Officer Training Corps and Early Commissioning Program. He was also awarded a State of Mississippi Congressional Scholarship and a Campus-Based Scholarship from the Institute. McFarland graduated from Penn State University in the Spring of 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Politics. He was heavily involved in community service based organizations like United Way and the Four Diamonds Fund for Childhood Cancer Research. Lieutenant McFarland has recently graduated from phases two and three of the Army Basic Officer Leadership Course, and returned to State College to begin his journey towards obtaining an MBA.
Vanessa Minaya Vanessa Minaya
Prior to coming to Smeal, Vanessa worked for over five years at JPMorgan Chase in Delaware. She was an Account Manager for co-brand partnerships and a Segment Lead for the Hispanic Segment where she managed acquisitions, marketing strategy, and competitive intelligence analysis for Chase Card Services.She is also a graduate of the JPMC Leadership Development Program. Vanessa received her BBA in Economics and International Business from Temple University in 2003. Her family is originally from the Dominican Republic, where she completed her primary education before relocating permanently to Pennsylvania. Last summer, Vanessa worked as an MBA Summer Intern at American Express OPEN where she provided strategic analysis on the digital marketplace. Vanessa is concentrating in Marketing, Strategic Leadership, and Entrepreneurship. She is a proud Bunton Waller Fellow and also the Vice President of Marketing and Student Affairs of the Minority MBA Association. While at Smeal, she plans to continue to pursue her passion in Social Entrepreneurship.
Kerean Povich Kerean Povich
Kerean is an MBA student with a focus in Marketing, Corporate Strategic Leadership, and Entrepreneurship. Born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Kerean’s curiosity about people, business, and the world has driven her to explore foreign lands including New Zealand, England, Australia, and other islands within the Caribbean. She spent the last four years living in Madison, Wisconsin but calls Boston home. Before arriving at Penn State, Kerean spent the last three years managing cross-functional teams delivering sales promotions to over 4,000 agents, district managers, sales director, and sales VPs of American Family Insurance. Prior to American Family, she developed and managed technology strategy of numerous projects at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), based in Newton Massachusetts, including a four-year, 4-million dollar National Science Foundation project. She was recently recognized as a Phenomenal Woman at American Family Insurance. She has been cited for her leadership by both Toastmasters and EDC. Kerean enjoys family time and the outdoors where she and her husband Matthew spend many hours hiking and biking, and developing their budding passion for digital photography.
Ana Salgado Ana Salgado
Ana was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras where she obtained her first degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. She then moved to the United States and graduated from Florida International University with a degree in Finance. While studying at FIU, she was appointed Deputy Consul for the Consulate General of Honduras in Miami. In 2009, she joined the Penn State MBA program with concentrations in Human Resources and Strategic Leadership to later pursue a career in HR.
Khem Wright Khem Wright
Khem is a graduate of Hampton University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He came to Penn State for his MBA because he felt a strong sense of community and a fastidious commitment to integrity. He believes that these qualities, along with a strong work ethic, will serve him well in his professional performance and personal relationships. In terms of a profession, he is looking to work in the financial services industry through a concentration in Finance. With a strong Finance and Accounting background, he will be well equipped to be effective in analyzing and improving the financial health of a company. Outside of the professional arena, Khem is an avid fan of all sports.
Class of 2012
Adefesobi Adefesobi "Phoebe" Adeniran
Before coming into the Smeal MBA program, Phoebe attended the University of Minnesota, graduating in 2007 with a BS in Civil Engineering and a minor in Construction Management. Phoebe then joined MA Mortenson Company, a construction firm based in Minneapolis and worked in the Energy division of the company. She traveled around the country and was involved in the development and construction of wind farms for clients including E.on and BP. After two years with the company, Phoebe decided it was time to further develop her managerial skills for her personal growth and that of the industry she will work in. Phoebe will be concentrating in Supply Chain management and Finance while at Smeal.
Samuel “Felix” Ankrah Samuel “Felix” Ankrah
Felix is from Accra, Ghana and has lived and worked in Boston and Wisconsin for the past few years. Upon graduating Lawrence University, with majors in both Economics and Political Science, he accepted a job with Hertz in Boston, where he managed the operations of four branches. After two years at Hertz, he relocated to Wisconsin and joined PC Mall as a Technology Consultant. He also founded a consulting firm to provide business advice to non-profits and small businesses.

At Smeal, he hopes to concentrate in Supply Chain Management and Strategic Leadership and eventually join the operations department of a technology manufacturing company.
Lucas Carvalho De Brito Lucas Carvalho De Brito
Lucas is a Brazilian national who attended Austin Peay State University in Tennessee with a tennis scholarship. At Austin Peay, Lucas majored in Economics and minored in Finance. He excelled as a business student and was awarded the Wall Street Journal Award, an award given by the faculty of the College of Business to the most outstanding graduating business student. Prior to Penn State, Lucas had internships with Merrill Lynch, Gerson Lehrman Group, and BC Industrial in Brazil. He was also a small business manager for about a year.While at Smeal, Lucas will be concentrating in Finance and Supply Chain.
Adrienne Darrah Adrienne Darrah
Adrienne Darrah is a 1998 Penn State alumna with a degree in Art History. After graduating, she worked for a small art museum in Allentown, PA, in their Development Department. She eventually moved to Washington, DC, where she worked for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, also in Development. After leaving the Kennedy Center, she made a switch from arts fundraising to higher education fundraising and went on to work for the University of Virginia, Penn State, and most recently the University of Portland, where she headed the University’s phonathon and direct mail efforts. Adrienne is married to Bob Darrah, who is a Major Gifts Officer for the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State, and has three cats, Mim, Myown, and Mojo Jojo.
Jorge Garcia Jorge Garcia
Jorge is originally from Laredo, TX.He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota's Curtis L. Carlson School of Management with a double major in Supply Chain Management and Operations Management. He also studied abroad at the Universitat St. Gallen in St. Gallen, Switzerland for 5 months. Jorge used to work for C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. and Logistics and Customs Group, and he also started an online marketing and promotional distributing company, which was officially incorporated by the state of Minnesota in June 2007.

In his spare time, Jorge enjoys playing sports, especially soccer and baseball, and when fortunate enough to be out near the ocean, also enjoys deep-sea fishing. Jorge is a GA with the Diversity Enhancement Programs, assigned to ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting).
Christopher Geffrard Christopher Geffrard
A native New Yorker, Christopher received his BA in Government, with a concentration in Comparative Politics, from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in 2003.After graduation, Chris worked as a paralegal in the litigation department of the White Shoe Law Firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, until arriving here at Smeal.Christopher is a Bunton Waller Scholar and a GA for both the Smeal Multicultural Business Society and Smeal Out in Business. Initially, Chris planned on pursuing an MBA degree with a concentration in Supply Chain Logistics.However, since orientation he has begun reevaluating his academic trajectory, and is looking to create a more specialized concentration, which combines his passion for real estate and supply chain.
Jorge Quezada Jorge Quezada
Jorge is originally from the Republic of Panama. He graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, after which he served in the United States Navy, stationed on the USS Tarawa. Most recently, Jorge lived in Memphis, TN where he was the System Operations Control Manager at Pinnacle Airlines, and was responsible for Operations Management, Flight Dispatch, and Crew Tracking.
Biko Taylor Biko Taylor
Biko is originally from Orangeburg, SC. He received a Bachelor's degree from DeVry University in Electronics Engineering Technology in May of 2002. While at SmeaI, he plans on focusing in Supply Chain Management and Strategic Leadership. He has eight years of professional work experience, specifically in the Medical Devices industry as an Engineer and Program Manager. Biko began his professional career as a Field Service Engineer for General Electric in the Healthcare Division operating in Memphis, Tennessee. His experience with G.E. allowed him to build excellent direct client relations skills and also direct sales of medical equipment and service contracts. His last employer was Philips Healthcare, where he worked within the Cardiovascular Division as a Technical Support Engineer and Program Manager for customer satisfaction. Biko provided support for Service Engineers and Clinical Applications Engineers and drove projects designed to improve business efficiency and customer relations.
Sofia Teixeira Sofia Teixeira
Sofia is a first year MBA candidate concentrating in marketing. She graduated from Babson College in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. After graduating, she moved to New York City and worked in public relations for nearly three years. Sofia then moved to Boston where she worked in experiential marketing and event planning. After six years on the agency side, she has worked with brand managers from many CPG companies on various projects. By interacting directly with these contacts, she has become increasingly interested in and curious about the role of a brand manager and the ins and outs of how marketing decisions are made internally. Therefore, Sofia hopes to pursue a career in brand management post-graduation.
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