Business students recognized for leadership, community involvement

contact: Alyssa Benson
| WMU News
Photo of Robert Nyhuis.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Twenty-five students from WMU’s Haworth College of Business were recognized as part of the Trailblazer Student Recognition program, and one student was named Trailblazer of the Year.

The Trailblazer program recognizes and honors business students for their commitment to academics, personal and professional development, leadership and community and campus involvement.

"Our exceptional students are dedicated to excellence not only in their academic careers, but also in their communities,” says Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the Haworth College of Business. “The Trailblazers program recognizes a selection of students who make a difference and lead within the campus community, the professional world and beyond."

All students were recognized in a ceremony where the Trailblazer of the Year was also named. Robert Nyhuis, a marketing and management major from Zeeland, was honored as Trailblazer of the Year. 

Robert Nyhuis

Nyhuis is an active participant in many campus organizations, including the Western Student Association, the DESIGNEDtoLEAD student conference committee, the Haworth College of Business Strategic Planning Council and the Dean's Leadership Scholar Program. He also serves as the president of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and the Student Leadership Advisory Board. He works as a student office assistant in the Haworth College of Business dean's office and is a member of the WMU Lee Honors College. Nyhuis will be a business analyst intern at Southwest Michigan First during summer 2016.

"Being a Trailblazer is more than just involving yourself in leadership positions; it's about inspiring people to be the best version of themselves and motivating them to do good on campus and in our community," says Nyhuis. "It means working hard to make a name for yourself and leaving a legacy. As I move into my professional career, I plan to continue making a name for myself wherever I go and plan on giving back to the Haworth College of Business in any way I can."

The program was application-based, and a panel of college faculty and staff chose the 25 finalists. The public then had the opportunity to vote, which comprised 20 percent of the overall score and drew in more than 8,000 votes from members of the WMU community and beyond.


The following students were selected as finalists for the 2015-16 academic year:

  • Brianna Amat, a food and consumer package goods marketing major from Pinckney.
  • Joshua Angles, a human resource management major from Brooklyn.
  • Eric Beatty, a marketing and management major from Augusta.
  • Tinashe Chaponda, a sales and business marketing major from Kalamazoo.
  • Sarah Dean, a finance major from Plymouth.
  • Andrea Gentile, an accountancy and criminal justice major from Livonia.
  • Rachel Guenther, a human resource management major from Portage.
  • Sarah Hughey, an entrepreneurship, elementary education and history major from Portage.
  • Daniel Israel, an integrated supply management major from Fort Gratiot.
  • Jeremy Juday, a marketing major from Dowagiac.
  • Laura Karlen, an integrated supply management major from Kalamazoo.
  • Dylan Kotora, a finance major from Troy.
  • Sydney Lammers, an advertising and promotion major from Milan.
  • Kaitlin Laski, a marketing major from Warren.
  • Alexis Lenderman, an entrepreneurship and food service administration major from Kalamazoo.
  • Josie Marshall, a management major from Portage.
  • Eduardo Jimenez Martin, a finance major from Seville, Spain.
  • Matthew Milantoni, a sales and business marketing major from St. Clair Shores.
  • Melanie Morello, an integrated supply management major from Geneva, Illinois.  
  • Lauren Nowakowski, a management and sales and business marketing major from Bloomfield Hills.
  • Kazmira Ruhland, a management major from Portage.
  • Juliet Sanford, an advertising and promotion and management major from Jackson.
  • Erin Sionkowski, an electronic business marketing major from Ferndale.
  • Emma Stuba, an integrated supply management major from La Grange, Illinois.

For more information about the program or the student participants, please contact Alyssa Gapske, assistant director of marketing and communication for the Haworth College of Business, at (269) 387-5964 or

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