NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University economics and finance students received monetary awards and scholarships — many donated by Nacogdoches area financial institutions — during an April 20 ceremony.
Award and scholarship recipients were chosen by faculty members from the SFA Rusche College of Business’s Department of Economics and Finance.
“Students were selected based on their academic achievement in their coursework, engagement in research projects, participation in conferences, and pursuit of their future career goals — whether employment, entrepreneurship or graduate study,” said Dr. Mikhail Kouliavtsev, chair of the Department of Economics and Finance.
Representatives from the donating financial institutions said they are honored to contribute to these students’ college educations and are looking forward to working with them as they start their careers. Many are SFA alumni themselves.
“I am forever grateful for the education I received from SFA,” said Wendy Buchanan, managing director of investments at Buchanan Wealth Management of Trinity Capital Management. “It brings me great joy giving back to the university that made my career possible.”
Buchanan has endowed a finance scholarship, sponsored students each year on international trips, and provided extra scholarships annually to economics and finance students. She also sponsors the Undergraduate Research Mentorship Award for professors and is a member of the Rusche College of Business Executive Advisory Board.
Leah Trascher, finance senior from Tomball, received the Entrepreneurship Award, and Celeste Solis, finance senior from Lufkin, received the Portfolio Management Award — both of which were sponsored by Buchanan Wealth Management.
Other achievement award recipients included Christopher Ranniger, finance senior from Lufkin, who received the Asset Liability Management Award sponsored by Citizens 1st Bank; Linh Le, finance junior from Buon Ma Thuot, Vietnam, who received the Financial Institutions Award sponsored by BancorpSouth; and Emily Peipelman, economics senior from Pearland, who received the Finance Club Award sponsored by Commercial Bank of Texas.
The Economics Reading Group presented Rachel Rucker, data analytics senior of Jersey Village, with the Economic Interest Award and Gentian Kojeli, political science sophomore of Tirana, Albania, the Economic Pursuits Award. Both awards were sponsored by the Charles Koch Foundation.
The High-Ranking Economics Major Award went to Preston Pennington-Sahs, Frisco junior; the High-Ranking Finance Junior and High-Ranking Finance Senior awards, both sponsored by Southside Bank, went to Tristen Adams of Lufkin and Will King of Waxahachie, respectively. Brook Jester, McLeod senior, received the High-Ranking Banking Major Award from SFA’s Chadwick Family Banking Program.
Trascher received the Outstanding Economics/Finance Graduate Award and Rucker received the Undergraduate Scholar Award. Both were sponsored by the ECON 3339 Packet Fund.
A highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the new Dustin C. Harrison Memorial Scholarship to its first recipient, Richard Frauenberger, finance sophomore from Grapeland. The scholarship benefits finance majors who display upstanding character and maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Harrison graduated summa cum laude from SFA in 2018 with a degree in finance and then worked as an analyst at Ayco Goldman Sachs in Dallas before his death in March 2021. Ronnie and Chloe Canaan-Chapman, both 2018 SFA graduates and friends of Harrison, established the scholarship and presented it to Frauenberger at the ceremony.
Lastly, Dr. Emiliano Giudici, professor of finance, received the Favorite Professor Award from the Finance Club.
For more information on these awards and SFA’s Department of Economics and Finance, visit