Committee Members Biographies

Biographies for START Conference committee members.

Photo not available.

Afra Anan

Afra Anan is an MBA student here at Smeal. She recently graduated from her undergraduate studies in August 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. Her involvement on campus spans from cultural clubs to student government. She currently serves as the Director of Internal Affairs for the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG). She is incredibly excited to be joining the committee for the second time and serves as the conference’s marketing lead.

Portrait of Bennett Balady.

Bennett Balady

Bennett Balady is a new member of the START committee and a sophomore at the Smeal College of Business hoping to major in Finance. Bennett is excited to get involved and explore many co-curricular activities and organizations Penn State offers. One of Bennett's favorite ways to get involved on campus is through THON, raising money for the kids!

Photo not available.

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.

Portrait of Sam Edgar.

Sam Edgar

Sam Edgar, currently a senior 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 fourth year on the START Committee. In addition to the START Committee, Sam is the treasure of Limitless, a special interest organization benefiting THON.

Portrait of Jade Jean-Baptiste.

Jade Jean-Baptiste

Jade Jean-Baptiste is a Bunton-Waller Fellow Scholar master’s student studying Accounting Analytics at the Smeal College of Business. Along with being a member of the START Committee, she is also the marketing chair of the Brooklyn Canarsie Lions Club, a branch of Lions Club International. Jade is passionate about finding ways to address the racial wealth gap and aspires to narrow the gap through her work in accounting.

Portrait of Eyan Lynch.

Eyan Lynch

Eyan Lynch, currently a senior studying Political Science in the College of the Liberal Arts, is serving his first year in the START Committee. In addition to being on the START Committee, Eyan is also the Treasurer for the Visionary Arts organization on campus, and in the process of building his own startup in the automotive industry.

Portrait of Samiyah Alyse McDuffie.

Samiyah Alyse McDuffie

Samiyah McDuffie is a third-year student at the Smeal College of Business. She is an accounting major within the undergraduate/graduate integrated MAcc program and is on track to graduate in 2026 with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting. Additionally, upon graduation, she will have 150 credits to be eligible for the CPA examination. Samiyah is on the professional development committee for the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), a Spring 2023 distinguished member of the Accounting Society, a Bunton-Waller Undergraduate Fellow, and a Smeal Diversity Enhancement Scholar. This summer, she will be an Advance Start Audit Intern in PwC’s Washington, DC, office.

Portrait of Parker Melo.

Parker Melo

Parker Melo, is a second-year student from New York and hope to enter the marketing field when he graduates. Every day he looks to inspire change and improvement in his life and in the world around him.

Photo not available.

Zachary Raifman

Zachary Raifman is a second-year student and returning member to the START Committee. Currently Zach intends to major in Finance at Smeal. He is excited to be a part of the committee a second year and is interested in exploring the many co-curricular activities and organizations Penn State has to offer.

Portrait of Anthony Sanchez.

Anthony Sanchez

Anthony Sanchez is a first-year student and new member to the START Committee. He is from Long Island, New York and intends to major in either Finance or Supply Chain and Information Systems. He is currently exploring the many co-curricular activities and organizations Penn State has to offer, besides the START Committee.

Portrait of Aiman Sohail.

Aiman Sohail

Aiman Sohail is entering her second year with the START Committee as an international student. She is a rising junior 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 is a senior majoring in Business Management with a minor in Economics. Hugh is the current President for the Black Male Leadership Symposium (BMLS), as well as being the President for Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and the At-Large UPUA Representative for the Penn State Chapter of the NPHC. Hugh is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion throughout the Penn State community. After he graduates, Hugh is looking to join a consulting firm and eventually work his way into the music and entertainment industry, managing top artists and traveling with them on global tours.

Portrait of Djime Traore.

Djime Traore

DJ is a new member to the START Committee. From Philadelphia, PA, DJ is a senior majoring in Labor and Human Resources, with the Human Resources option and a minor in Business and the Liberal Arts, all within the College of the Liberal Arts. He is a member and Vice President of Men’s Club Basketball and a member of the Penn State Club Bowling Team. He hopes to instill a diverse change in the world and leave an everlasting impact on everyone he meets along his journey.

Portrait of Tuong Truong.

Tuong Truong

Tuong Truong is currently a sophomore planning to major in Accounting with a minor in International Business. He is a Lenfest scholar who is a distinguished member of the Accounting Society, vice president of ASCEND, Smeal Diversity Enhancement Scholar, as well as an active member of PSU VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). In his second year on the START Committee, he hopes to work with the other members to shed light on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in both the personal and professional aspects of life! Tuong's two favorite hobbies are solving Rubik's cubes and playing card games!