The School of Management’s Student Advisory Council (SAC) was formed in 2008 to provide
opportunities for School of Management (SOM) students to voice their opinions on the
direction of the school. The Student Advisory Council is a liaison between SOM students
and the SOM dean.
The 2019-20 SAC members are listed below with the group they are representing.
Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program
Joel Ballou is a UAF graduate student and teacher’s assistant for the School of Management’s
Student Investment Fund. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration
from UAF and is looking forward to continuing his education at the university. He
has taken advantage of several unique opportunities offered through the School of
Management, such as attending the Quinnipiac G.A.M.E Forum in New York City and the
Permanent Fund Corporation’s Board of Trusties Annual Meeting.
Joel loves the Alaska wilderness and most weekend you will find him mountaineering,
ice climbing, or winter camping. All of these hobbies he also learned at UAF through
the Outdoor Adventures program where he was a student employee.
Native Alaskan Business Leaders (NABL)
Jillian Bjornstad is from the Aleutian community of Sand Point. Currently, Jillian
is a senior seeking a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Japanese. She
is the President of NABL (Native Alaskan Business Leaders) and has been since fall
of 2017. Last Spring, the club traveled to the NIKE World Headquarters in Oregon and
placed 2nd in the AIBL (American Indigenous Business Leaders) business competition.
Along, with being a part of NABL, Jillian has also been very involved with the School
of Management. She is a member of both ASB (Associated Students of Business) and AIM
(Active Innovative Minds). Jillian is also one of our Student Marketing Assistants
working at SOM. This will be her third time on the Student Advisory Council.
Students Offering Leadership Development (SOLD)
Claire Everts is a senior at the UAF School of Management seeking a bachelor’s degree
in business Administration with a focus in marketing and a minor in art history while
working at the School of Management as a marketing assistant. Claire was born and
raised in Alaska and enjoys every aspect of the Alaskan lifestyle. She currently serves
as the vice president of Students Offering Leadership Development (SOLD).
When she is not working or in school, Claire loves to adventure – whether traveling
across the world or spending time at her family’s lake cabin.
Active and Innovative Minds (AIM)
Melinda Farmer was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. In her free time, she enjoys
hiking, art, and reading. She is a senior undergraduate student pursuing a dual degree
in digital design and business administration with a concentration in marketing. Melinda
currently works for the School of Management as a Student Marketing Assistant. She
is the fall 2019 president of AIM (Active and Innovative Minds) and a new member of
NABL (Native Alaskan Business Leaders).
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Jewel Hediger is a current MBA graduate student and a teaching assistant for several
human resources and organizational theory classes. She graduated from UAF in 2019
with an undergraduate degree in psychology and has decided to combine psychology and
business to assist her with building a career in HR. Her passion has also led her
to join SOM's Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) club, where she has found
great opportunities learning to network, building important career skills, and meeting
influential people. During Jewel's free time, she loves to be outside. She loves to
hike, ski, run, and adventure with her dog. After being outside, she also loves to
cook and bake. While school is very busy, she tries her best to live a healthy lifestyle
between classes and homework.
Aharon Hughes is a senior at UAF pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering with
a minor in aerospace. He currently serves as president of the UAF Esports Club. An
avid competitor, Aharon frequently participates in the local esports events he organizes
and occasionally travels outside of Fairbanks and even outside of Alaska for competition.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA)
Eric LaMesjerant is a graduate student in the College of Engineering and Mines, working
towards a master’s in civil engineering with a focus on water resources. He graduated
from UAF in 2018 with his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Eric is a U.S. Army veteran, served as vice president for Chi Epsilon (civil engineering
honor society), and has been working in water resources related research since 2017.
In his free time, he enjoys all aspects of fly fishing, shooting, and generally getting
Cadet Club (ROTC)
Miguel Saavedra was born and raised in Alaska and spends most of his time, when not
in school or playing hockey, in the woods – hunting, fishing, and exploring his home
state. Miguel is a sophomore at UAF studying homeland security and emergency management.
He hopes to obtain a job working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
in disaster relief after serving time in the military. In 2022, he will be commissioned
as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, where he hopes to branch military intelligence
or infantry and work his way into a reconnaissance detachment with the Army’s 75th
Great Alaskan Accounting People (GAAP)
Ben Udden is a senior at UAF pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He currently
serves as the vice president for Great Alaskan Accounting People (GAAP). Originally
from Florida, Ben moved to Alaska in 2012 and began pursuing his degree in 2014 while
deployed to Afghanistan. Ben is married to Meryem Udden and has a one-year-old daughter,
Aliyah. He enjoys shooting, diesel performance, and construction.
International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM)
Master of Security and Disaster Management (MSDM) Program
Dana Woodward is pursuing an MBA and recently completed his Master of Security and
Disaster Management (MSDM) degree at the UAF School of Management. Additionally, he
has completed his undergraduate studies in health sciences in healthcare management.
Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., he spent 24 years in the U.S. Navy, primarily onboard
submarines as the sole medical provider. Dana is excited to serve on the School of
Management Student Advisory Council representing the MSDM program and the student
chapter of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).