Committee Members Biographies

Biographies for START Conference committee members.

Portrait of Canaan Blackwell.

Canaan Blackwell is a senior graduating in May of 2023 with a degree in Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the Smeal College of Business. He has been an active member of the START Planning Committee for the past two years. Canaan also runs his own clothing brand called Loco Lyfe.

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Matthew Bowles

Matthew Bowles is entering his first year with the START Committee. He is from Boyds, Maryland, and is currently a sophomore intending to major in Marketing within the Smeal College of Business. Matthew is also a member of Beta Sigma Beta and serves for THON within his organization.

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Sam Edgar

Sam Edgar, currently a junior majoring in Management Information Systems in the Smeal College of Business, and minoring in Information Sciences and Technology in the College of IST, is serving his third year on the START Committee. In addition to the START Committee, Sam is a member of Lion Scouts, the largest tour organization at Penn State.

Portrait of Jeremiah Hooks.

Jeremiah Hooks

Jeremiah Hooks an MBA student and graduate assistant in the Diversity Enhancement Programs office. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in Economics from The College of the Liberal Arts in Spring 2022. Jeremiah hopes to pursue a career in management and is currently working with the undergraduate Smeal Multicultural Organizations to gain experience. He is passionate about the art of boxing and weight training and is involved with organizations on campus. In his free time, Jeremiah enjoys journaling.

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Sharnakae Johnson

Sharnakae Johnson is a senior majoring in Management and minoring in the Legal Environment of Business. In addition to being a member of the START Conference Committee, she is the event planner for the Management Major Ambassadors for the Management and Organization department in the Smeal College of Business. Her interests include community outreach, playing chess, and reading. After graduation, Sharnakae hopes to start a career in human resources consulting and attend law school to fulfill her dream of becoming an employment lawyer.

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Samiyah Alyse McDuffie

Samiyah McDuffie is a second-year member of the START Conference. She is currently a sophomore majoring in Accounting with a minor in Management Information Systems within the Smeal College of Business. Samiyah is a member of The Accounting Society and NABA, she is also life-long Girl Scout and is gearing up for a summer internship with PwC.

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Lawrence McKenny

Lawrence McKenny is entering his second year with the START Committee. He is currently a Senior studying Supply Chain and Information Systems within the Smeal College of Business. Lawrence also serves as treasurer for the Penn State Esports Club and is a member of the Supply Chain Management Honor Society.

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Jenna Mediavillo

Jenna Mediavillo is in the Master of Corporate Finance program and a graduate assistant for Diversity Enhancement Programs. She graduated from Penn State in May of 2022 with a bachelor of science in Economics and a minor in Information Systems and Statistical Analysis from The College of the Liberal Arts and the Smeal College Business Fundamentals Certificate. Post-graduate school, Jenna will be joining Deloitte as a Financial Consultant. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and traveling.

Portrait of Ayesha Patel.

Ayesha Patel

Ayesha Patel is a senior majoring in Management in the Smeal College of Business and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation with the Hospitality Management cluster. She currently serves as president for the Smeal Multicultural Organization, Assistance in Transition to University Park (ATUP) for students participating in the 2+2 program. Ayesha is also the service chair for the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association. She is excited for graduation and will be starting a position as a Human Capital Advisory Associate with KPMG.

Portrait of Zachary Raifman.

Zachary Raifman

Zachary Raifman is a first-year student and new member to the START Committee. Currently Zach intends to major in either Real Estate or Finance. He is interested in exploring the many co-curricular activities and organizations Penn State has to offer.

Portrait of Aiman Sohail.

Aiman Sohail

Aiman Sohail is entering her first year with the START Committee as an international student. She is a rising sophomore studying Corporate Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIENT) along with International Business as a minor in the Smeal College of Business. She is serving as president for the Smeal student organization BASH (Business & Society House) on campus while practicing her family business; WBM International. Aiman is really into fine arts and loves to volunteer at the largest model Railroad Museum called Northlandz.

Portrait of Hugh Stewart.

Hugh Stewart

Hugh Stewart is a junior majoring in Management with a minor in Economics from Owings Mills, MD. Hugh is the secretary of the Smeal Multicultural Organization Black Male Leadership Symposium (BMLS). Hugh is the THON Committee Chair for the Raw Aesthetic Movement (R.A.M) Dance Squad, and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

Portrait of Tuong Truong.

Tuong Truong

Tuong Truong is a first-year student and a new member to the START Committee this year. His intended major is Accounting. Even though this is only his first year, Tuong aspires to become a distinguished member of the Accounting Society and hopes to take on internships from different companies in the near future!

Portrait of Jordan Walker.

Jordan Walker

Jordan Walker is a senior, graduating in May 2023 with a degree in Management Information Systems from the Smeal College of Business. This is Jordan’s third year being on the START committee. He is a non-profit owner in “The Walkers Heart Foundation” and is an active advocate for his community back in Philadelphia. In his free time outside of school he loves to hang out with friends, listen to music and play video games. After college, Jordan will be joining Ernst and Young as a Tech Risk consultant.

Portrait of Justin Walker.

Justin Walker

Justin is a senior majoring in Management Information Systems in the Smeal College of Business. This will be his second year on the START Committee. Justin has multiple involvement experiences around campus and his home community including being a lead graphic designer for the Esports club at Penn State and working for restorative justice practices within the Philadelphia community. He is excited to start his position as a Technology Risk Consultant at EY upon graduating this spring.