COB alumni group funds department’s new projects

May 3, 2018



Staff Reporter | dcs033@latech.edu


“Just Business,” an alumni group of the College of Business, has funded eight cutting-edge new projects led by faculty, staff and students.


On April 16, the College of Business announced the recipients of the 2018 “Just Business” grants. Eight projects were selected for funding in effort to encourage modern connections of finance and innovation and perpetuate a culture of inspiration in Louisiana Tech’s business and economics departments.


Otis Gilley, head of the departments of economics and finance, received a grant that funded the travel and conference expenses of Tech faculty and students as they attended the Economic Scholars Program at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, a program which enables students to witness and partake in the gathering of business and economics research.


“This is a huge confidence builder for our students,” Gilley said. “This department and its students are very grateful for the ability to attend and participate in the Economics Scholars Program with students from all over the country.”


Totaling in $19,000, the grants were divided out among applicants whose ideas would prove to be truly innovative. Barry Babin’s pitch to purchase eye-tracking software to monitor consumer response certainly caught alumni attention. The tools his grant will purchase allow for research to be conducted concerning consumer attention.


“The eye tracking allows us to automatically assess a person’s gaze, gaze meaning what that person’s pupils become fixed on for even tiny fractions of seconds,” Babin sad. “Then, we see if the gaze corresponds to things like preference or knowledge.”


Not only will the tools make the students capable of more extensive marketing research, but access to such new technology will prepare COB students for future careers in large companies.


“With more elaborate systems, you can assess gaze in a real world setting without being tied to a computer or using virtual reality glasses,” Babin said.


Kevin Watson received two “Just Business” grants, both of which will have a direct, positive impact on students.


While one of his grants will provide study materials for production and inventory certification exams, the other grant will fund a trip for supply chain management students to visit Nissan’s vehicle assembly plant and one of their nearby suppliers in Clinton, Mississippi.


“Supply chain management is one of those things where it helps to have a point of reference,” Watson said. “We hope to use this experience as an opportunity to introduce our students and program to Nissan and their suppliers.”


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