A. Gary Anderson
Graduate School of Management

Students Honor UCR Business Faculty

Five professors are recognized with top student-voted awards for exceptional teaching
By Laurie McLaughlin |

Students honored five professors for their achievements inside the classroom with the business school’s May 17 awards dinner. The evening was hosted by the president of the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) Student Association, Mrinal Hulkoti ’24 MBA, and the association’s vice president, Harman Dhillon ’24 MBA.

“Each year, the school provides students an opportunity to give awards to the professors who have had an impact on their academic journey,” said Hulkoti at the AGSM Student Association Banquet celebrating the end of the academic year, which celebrated both faculty and student achievement.

There are three award categories: the Golden Apple Award recognizes teaching excellence in the core and prerequisite courses and elective courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels for a total of four awards; the James Merino Innovation Award; and the Shulman Endowed Excellence in Teaching Award.

Undergraduate Ambassador and School of Business Leadership Council (SBLC) Director of Communications Jaya Gazula ’24 and SBLC Treasurer Nico Palencia ’25 together presented the honors for the undergraduate program and said: “The Golden Apple Award, as voted by the students, are for professors who have provided the best overall experience in terms of learning, engagement, teaching style, and for employing innovative teaching methods.”

Undergraduate students Nico Palencia ’25 and Jaya Gazula ’24 with Golden Apple Awards 2024 recipient Asst. Prof. Kyle Ingram


Assistant Professor of Teaching in Management Kyle Ingram received the Golden Apple For Excellence in Teaching the Undergraduate Prerequisite and Core Courses, and the presenters shared what some of his students wrote in their nominations: “[Dr. Ingram’s] students said, ‘I have learned so much that has contributed to my leadership development’ and ‘he implemented creative, hands-on activities to promote mental stimulation and increase information retention.’”

Associate Professor of Management Ye Li received the Golden Apple for Teaching Excellence in Undergraduate Elective Courses. Nominating students’ comments included: “[Dr. Li’s] form of teaching ensures that students use critical thinking and data in order to make decisions,” and “he offered lessons that are applicable to my career and personal life.”

Graduate students Mrinal Hulkoti ’24 MBA and Harman Dhillon ’24 MBA with Golden Apple Awards 2024 recipient Dr. Alexandru Roman

Management Lecturer Alexandru Roman received the Golden Apple for Excellence in Teaching Graduate Elective Courses. Roman’s students said that he teaches “effectively by giving real-world examples and encouraging participation in discussions,” “inspires UCR students to push boundaries,” and “forces us to look at known cases from a strategic point of view.”

Elaine Wong Award with Students
Mrinal Hulkoti ’24 MBA and Harman Dhillon ’24 MBA with 2024 James Merino Award & 2024 Golden Apple Awards recipient Associate Prof. Elaine Wong


Associate Professor of Management Elaine Wong was honored with both the James Merino Innovation Award, which recognizes a faculty member for bringing innovative ways of teaching or utilizing innovative tools and technologies in the classroom, and the Golden Apple for Excellence in Teaching Graduate Core Courses. Her students wrote: “[Dr. Wong] brings energy and compassion along with insight to make the course interactive and memorable,” “I never before felt like my voice mattered the way it did in her class,” and “the inverse format of the course allowed us to digest the material in advance and engage in valid arguments with other serious learners during class time, and that’s gold.”

Mrinal Hulkoti ’24 MBA and Harman Dhillon ’24 MBA and Nico Palencia ’25 and Jaya Gazula ’24 with 2024 James Merino Award recipient Prof. Sean Jasso


Professor of Practice Sean Jasso received the Shulman Endowed Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes an outstanding faculty member who embodies the fulfillment of learning through their excellence in teaching. While presenting the award, Gazula shared a student’s comment: “[Dr. Jasso] embodies excellence and fosters that in his students. His involvement with the case studies and competitions highlights that education extends beyond the classroom; this approach not only enriches academic learning but prepares students for future success.”

The evening’s proceedings also recognized the recipients of teaching awards from the UCR Academy of Distinguished Teaching: Associate Professor of Marketing Ashish Sood received the Innovative Teaching Award, and Assistant Professor of Teaching Jonathan Lim received the Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.

Congratulations to each of these exceptional professors who infuse their courses with enthusiasm, intellectual rigor, caring, and a concentrated focus on how best to share knowledge so that students learn from their shared experience in the classroom.

Kyle Ingram, Elaine Wong, and Sean Jasso with their 2024 awards


View more photos of the event:

2024 AGSM banquet Flickr album

Learn more about the annual School of Business Faculty Teaching & Innovation Awards:

Faculty Teaching & Innovation Awards