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Whitmore Global Business Center Names 2024 Eccles Scholars

The Whitmore Global Business Center (GBC) at the BYU Marriott School of Business named 11 first-year BYU Marriott MBA students as 2024 Eccles Scholars. The Eccles Scholars Award offers financial support to MBA students who are interested in and committed to international business.

Group of well-dressed students in business attire pose for photo in the atrium of the Tanner Building.
From left: Kjerstin Roberts, Ling-Yu Lee, Julian Antuña, Kaavya Sawhney, Ryan Ruth, Altyn Zhekey, Tyler Johnson, Julio Cesar Augusto, Chris Maljanovski, Natalie Koon, and Val Fulton.
Photo courtesy of the Whitmore Global Business Center.

To be selected for this award, students undergo a rigorous application process and are selected based on academic performance, international experience or interest, and second language fluency. Because of the generous support of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, each award recipient receives up to $9,000 of financial aid to go toward tuition, international study experiences, and global career exploration.

The 2024 Eccles Scholars are Julian Antuña, Julio Cesar Augusto, Val Fulton, Tyler Johnson, Natalie Koon, Ling-Yu Lee, Chris Maljanovski, Kjerstin Roberts, Ryan Ruth, Kaavya Sawhney, and Altyn Zhekey.

“It is a pleasure and an honor to meet and visit with these outstanding students who will truly become the future leaders in our global business community,” says Lisbeth Hopper, business manager at the GBC.

About the 2024 Eccles Scholars
Raised in Rosario, Argentina, Julian Antuña joined BYU Marriott after earning a bachelor’s degree in information systems engineering from Universidad Tecnológica Nacional. With over five years of experience in the tech industry, Antuña has built a career at a variety of companies. His last role was in operations at AgileEngine, a multinational software factory, where he collaborated with tech professionals from a dozen countries, including Mexico, the United States, Ukraine, and several areas of South America. In addition to his tech career, Antuña cofounded Noel Translations Services, a B2B linguistic agency that serves clients in Chile, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, and the US. These experiences have provided him with valuable insights and a deep appreciation for global business management. Antuña served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Trujillo, Peru. He is married and raises two children.

Growing up in Curitiba, Brazil, Julio Cesar Augusto was heavily influenced by his parents who helped him learn English and French. Augusto served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Japan, learning Japanese and Spanish in the process. He returned home to Brazil and earned a degree in electrical engineering from Federal University of Technology–Paraná. After interning with ExxonMobil, he built a career working with communication platforms, supporting operations across Latin America, Croatia, the US, and India, until landing at WhatsApp (Meta) where he works with governments. Augusto hopes to pursue a global career after his time in the MBA program at BYU Marriott.

Raised in Santiago, Chile, Val Fulton grew up speaking Spanish and then learned English after she moved to the US. She studied business administration and accounting at the University of Arkansas and interned for Walmart in accounting, finance, and strategy roles that exposed her to international business practices and international opportunities. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Fulton invested in real estate while being a full-time mother to three children. Fulton plans to embark on an international business experience in Santiago, Chile, where she’ll work to increase her knowledge of local business laws.

From a young age, Phoenix native Tyler Johnson developed a passion for understanding people and cultures outside his own. As an undergraduate, Johnson began studying at BYU–Idaho, then transferred to BYU–Hawaii to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management with an emphasis in supply chain, operations, and analytics and a minor in entrepreneurship. While studying at BYU–Hawaii, he started, scaled, and sold a food truck business called Beach Bus where he enjoyed interacting with tourists from all over the world. Before beginning at BYU Marriott, Johnson worked at Shyft Global, directing multicultural teams in China, Vietnam, and Mexico. Now in BYU Marriott’s MBA program, he hopes that he can work internationally and continue meeting people from all over the world.

Natalie Koon grew up in Hong Kong and attended high school in Hawaii. During her childhood she learned Cantonese, Mandarin, English, and Japanese, and then she learned Korean in college. Learning these languages introduced Koon to diverse perspectives and cultures, and she became interested in international business. Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in food science from BYU, Koon has worked at LifeVantage and Young Living Essential Oils where she has gained extensive exposure to international markets. She has worked in business around the Asia Pacific region, gaining a deeper understanding of cultures and business practices. After her first year in the BYU Marriott MBA program, Koon will work for a company that has an international presence to apply her international business interest.

Ling-Yu Lee grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and moved to the US when she turned 18 to pursue a college education. Lee majored in piano performance at Weber State University, eventually going on to work on a master’s and doctoral degree in piano performance at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. She founded Lee’s Academy—a STEM, arts, and foreign language training school for Utahns. Managing her business gave her a sense of purpose she felt had been missing as a pianist. As Lee pursues an MBA from BYU Marriott, and alongside her study of the English, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese languages, she hopes to leverage her intercultural and multilingual skills to foster business connections around the globe.

Chris Maljanovski grew up in Malmo, Sweden, and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering with an emphasis in civil engineering at Lund University in Sweden. After graduation Maljanovski spent five years as an engineer for NCC, a multinational construction company based in Scandinavia, before beginning his MBA at BYU Marriott. His role at NCC included engineering concrete to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which led to additional responsibilities, like reporting on climates across Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland and coordinating with companies across Europe. Maljanovski hopes to one day work for Toyota and learn more about operational techniques in Japan.

A native of Highland, Utah, Kjerstin Roberts earned a bachelor’s degree in experience design and management from BYU Marriott. She served as president of the Ballard Center’s Social Impact Association; she also served as vice president of events for the Nonprofit Student Society. Over the summers, she volunteered at schools and orphanages in Central and South America, which exposed her to new people and cultures. Following graduation, Roberts joined Teach for America and taught English to students from all over the world, including many refugees, at an inner-city school in Jacksonville, Florida. In a separate position, she hosted virtual events for businesses in more than 25 different countries. After receiving her MBA, Roberts plans to pursue a PhD in organizational behavior with an emphasis in cross-cultural collaboration and mental health in the workplace.

From Pocatello, Idaho, Ryan Ruth, arrived at BYU and began building a skillset to help him pursue international opportunities. During his undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering, Ruth took Chinese classes and earned a minor in Asian studies to strengthen his ability to work internationally. Working with an international team on a study abroad in Singapore, he learned more about engineering design principles. Through a joint program between BYU Marriott and BYU’s College of Engineering, Ruth is earning both an MBA and an MS degree in mechanical engineering

Kaavya Sawhney arrived in the US in 2020 to pursue her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on a tennis scholarship. She is from Chandigarh, India, and speaks Hindi and Punjabi, and she learned to speak English by taking classes, watching movies, listening to music, and participating in debates. Recognizing the impact that her communication ability can have in a global business context, she looks forward to someday opening her own business that focuses on serving diverse cultures from around the world. Being a tennis player, Sawhney has gained exposure to different countries and their cultures as she has traveled for tournaments. Apart from joining the BYU Marriott MBA program, she also joined the BYU women’s tennis team. Traveling around the world has cultivated Sawhney’s passion for pursuing a business career focused on international markets.

Altyn Zhekey was born in Mongolia, was raised in Kazakhstan, and has lived in Russia, the US, the UK, the UAE, and Turkey. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Utah and Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, then she earned a master’s degree in metals and energy finance from Imperial College London. Zhekey cofounded a medical diagnostic center and worked as a financial analyst for mining and road construction companies in Kazakhstan and Mongolia. She also interned at the Dubai International Financial Center and worked for the Emirates Group. She hopes to use her language skills in English, Kazakh, Mongolian, Turkish, and Russian to pursue her financial literacy goals across the world. This upcoming summer she’ll join Rothschild & Co as an investment banking associate. In the future, Zhekey aspires to help individuals improve their understanding of financial literacy.

About BYU Marriott
The BYU Marriott School of Business aspires to transform the world through Christlike leadership by developing leaders of faith, intellect, and character. Named for benefactors J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, the school is located at Brigham Young University. BYU Marriott has four graduate and nine undergraduate programs with an enrollment of approximately 3,800 students.