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Pioneer Sessions

Pioneer Sessions Week: October 2nd - 6th, 2017

Pioneer Sessions Week

Chris Hickey - Managing Yourself and Your Business

Chris Hickey

Monday, October 2 - 12 p.m. Media Innovation Center  

My name is Chris Hickey and I am a social and digital media marketer and consultant from Wilmington, Delaware. I am a consummate creative with a strategic and analytical mind and a lot of passion. In short, I am ready to help you achieve your business goals from concept to creation. 

Whether its in a large corporation, institution, agency, or start-up, I have been able to provide great work with quantifiable results in a variety of industries. Previously, I managed the social media presence for Integrity Staffing Solutions, one of the largest light industrial staffing firms in the United States. During my tenure, I was able to grow the company's social media presence by nearly 38% and increase organic engagement by 529%. Additionally, my work was recently recognized at the American Staffing Association's Genius Awards as an honorable mention for best social media campaign.

I am a rather quick learner and quite adaptable and attribute these skills to my strong academic background. I graduated from West Virginia University as an honors student majoring in marketing with a minor in Spanish. Whether it was my two terms abroad in Spain and Hong Kong, my involvement in Student Government Association, Delta Sigma Pi, or emergent leadership with Respectful Mountaineer, I was involved in higher education from many different perspectives. After interning with QVC and We Are Social, an international social media conversation agency, I am applying my academic, experiential, and professional knowledge to current projects and can easily translate this expertise to your company.

Heather Heiskell Jones/Stephen Bupp - Law School: Should I Attend?

Stephen Bupp

Heather Heiskell Jones

Monday, October 2 - 5:30 p.m. Erickson Alumni Center Room 110

Ms. Jones' primary practice is litigation, including toxic tort, medical monitoring class actions, multi-media rights claims, employment discrimination claims, product liability, including medical device and pharmaceutical products, employer liability, negligence, deliberate intent and insurance bad faith. She is experienced handling cases in the West Virginia Business Court Division.

  • West Virginia University, B.A., cum laude, 1984
  • University of Richmond, T. C. Williams School of Law, J.D., 1987
  • University of Virginia Trial Advocacy Institute, 1996
  • Serving as lead attorney for the nation's leading collegiate sports marketing company in a dispute involving multi-media rights
  • Serving as lead attorney for chemical companies in toxic tort, product liability and medical monitoring class actions
  • Serving as lead attorney in employment matters, including gender discrimination/harassment claims
  • Serving as lead attorney for businesses and employers in catastrophic injury and death cases involving alleged deliberate intent
  • Serving as lead attorney for companies in litigation before the Mass Litigation Panel in West Virginia
  • Serving as lead attorney for manufacturers and distributors in product liability cases, including medical device and pharmaceutical products
  • Serving as lead attorney for intermediate care facilities in negligence litigation
  • Serving as lead attorney for businesses in cases involving commercial disputes, breach of contract and tortious interference with a business relationship
  • Serving as lead attorney for insurers in cases involving bad faith and violation of the Unfair Trade Practices Act, extracontractual and coverage issues

Kristi Wood-Turner - Exploring Passion and Purpose: The Necessity of Involvement 

Krisit Wood-Turner

Tuesday, October 3 - 12 p.m. Erickson Alumni Center Room 110

Dr. Wood-Turner is the Director of the Center for Service and Learning and has been working on campus-community relationships for more than 10 years.  She is also the founding Director of the Collaborative @ WVU, our first AmeriCorps VISTA program that currently supports 14 members.  With a background in Sociology (BA and MA) and Education (Ed.D), she strives to highlight the connection of engagement in society to the advancement in higher education programming.  During her years of service to WVU, she has worked in areas of academic advising, residential education, academic affairs, civic engagement, global education and research.  Throughout her career and personal life, she leads by example as a board member for the Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club, the Emergency Food and Shelter Board and more! She stays active in her campus community as well by sitting on various committees and volunteering with student initiatives.   Her experience in and out of the classroom combined to highlight her passion for engagement. Dr. Wood-Turner believes that understanding the needs of the community and linking theory to practice gives students meaning and motivation toward life-long learning.

Morris Morrison - Choosing Your Path: Life After College

Morris Morrison

Tuesday, October 3 - 5:30 p.m. Erickson Alumni Center Room 110

Many people have already experienced Morris Morrison's highly inspirational message on stage. Now it's your turn. Get ready to experience the journey of one of America's fastest-growing motivational speakers that took him from the bright lights of New York City, to a hospital parking lot where a doctor's words changed Morris Morrison's life - forever, after loosing his parents in New York City. Some of the top companies in the world such as Microsoft, GE and many others have witnessed Morris Morrison's energy live on stage and in his latest book, OVERNIGHT SUCCESS: An Inspiring Story About Culture, Results & The American Dream. His unforgettable message sounds like a Hollywood story that you will never forget, as Morris Morrison uncovers the connection between today's culture, spoiled soccer kids, Netflix, and the #1 topic dominating everyone's mind today - how to get the results that we want...faster. Morris Morrison is driven to reignite the spirit of the American Dream in the hearts and minds of everyone, by inspiring individuals and organizations to purse the RESULTS that matter most, and by using their story to change the world.

Lydotta Taylor - Perception vs. Reality: A Look Into Millennials and Gen Z

Lydotta Taylor

Wednesday, October 4 - 12 p.m. Erickson Alumni Center Room 110

Lydotta M. Taylor is the Founder, President & CEO of The EdVenture Group. Through her work with The EdVenture Group she has had a positive and sustaining impact on education and business systems across numerous states where the group is actively engaged in a number of projects. Lydotta’s ability to leverage resources and connect partners across industry has earned her notable awards and board positions.  Lydotta has been a leader in the professional development areas of leadership, change management and organizational culture.

Lydotta completed the Advanced Management Program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Executive Education and holds a Doctoral degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a specialization in STEM Professional Development from West Virginia University.  Lydotta completed the Life Success Consulting and Coaching certification in 2008.  Prior to founding The EdVenture Group, she served as Vice President for Workforce and Education at the West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation. Her education career began as a high school math and computer science teacher followed by serving as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Monongalia County school system.

Lydotta currently serves on numerous Advisory Councils for colleges at West Virginia University, the Board of Directors for the United Way of Mon and Preston Counties, and the Salvation Army. Taylor has held numerous positions on a variety of community boards in the past.  She is a former Chairperson of the West Virginia Workforce Investment Board. She has made countless presentations to groups across the United States, sharing knowledge and successes for the business and education community to model. Lydotta is currently serving as an adjunct professor for the West Virginia University Leadership program, the Masters of Business Administration, and the Masters of Industrial Relations programs.  

Dr. Naomi Boyd - Managing Assets and Liabilities: Becoming More Budget Directed

Dr. Naomi Boyd

Wednesday, October 4 - 5:30 p.m. Erickson Alumni Center Room 110

Naomi E. Boyd, Ph.D. received her Ph.D. in Finance from The George Washington University, Washington D.C. in 2009. Dr. Boyd spent eight years as a Student Scholar, Financial Analyst, and Consultant to the Office of the Chief Economist at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Washington D.C.

Dr. Boyd is currently the Department Chair for the Department of Finance and an Associate Professor in the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. She is also the Founding Director for the newly established Center for Financial Literacy and Education, which houses many of WVU’s programs in wealth management, banking, and insurance, supports outreach efforts throughout the state of West Virginia, and also creates research opportunities and support for faculty engaged in projects that help to further the mission of the Center.She teaches undergraduate investments, both the introductory and advanced courses in financial planning, and personal finance in the Executive MBA and MBA programs. Dr. Boyd also teaches Energy Finance in the newly developed Energy Finance program.Dr. Boyd serves as the Director of the Certified Financial Planning Program, and has served as the Ph.D. Program Coordinator for the area of Finance and the faculty advisor for the Finance Club in the past. Dr. Boyd also works closely with the State of West Virginia Auditor’s office to develop and implement financial literacy programs for secondary education teachers and state employees.Dr. Boyd's research involves the behavior of traders, the characterization of competitive market making, strategic and tactical asset allocation decisions, the integration of markets and market participants, price discovery, and other issues relating to market microstructure, investments, and personal financial planning. She serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance and as a Review Board Member for the American Journal of Business. Dr. Boyd has published articles in the Journal of Futures Markets, the Journal of Fixed Income, Review of Derivatives Research, Managerial Finance, the Journal of Alternative Investments, and the Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance.

  • Ph.D., Finance, George Washington University
  • M.B.A., Finance, Texas Tech University
  • B.F.A., Dance, The University of Texas at Austin
Honors  Awards
  • Semi-finalist for the Market Microstructure Best Paper Award at Financial Management Association 2016 Meetings
  • Highly Commended Paper in the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence for the Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance
  • 2016 Robbins Center International Research Fellowship Recipient
  • 2016 B&E Deans Summer Research Grant Recipient
  • 2015 Beta Alpha Psi Most Influential Finance Professor for Professional Development
  • Highly Commended Paper in the 2015 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence for Managerial Finance
  • 2015 Dean's Award of Distinction in Service
  • 2015 Department of Finance Research Award
  • 2015 Department of Finance Teaching Award
  • 2015 Department of Finance Service Award
  • 2011 Department of Finance Service Award

Dr. Geah Pressgrove - Storytelling in a Digital Age

Dr. Geah Pressgrove

Thursday, October 5 - 5:30 p.m. Erickson Alumni Center Ruby Grand Hall

Geah Pressgrove is an assistant professor at the Reed College of Media where she teaches introductory, skills and advanced courses in strategic communications. Pressgrove is also the faculty advisor for the award-winning WVU PRSSA chapter.

Her published and in-progress research examines the ways in which key communications variables influence relationship quality, behavioral outcomes and loyalty. She explores the organization-public relationship paradigm primarily in the nonprofit, corporate social responsibility, community and political contexts. She is particularly interested in the ways in which communicators can more effectively measure the effectiveness of relationship cultivation and maintenance strategies. Her work has been published in refereed journals including  Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Journal of Promotion Management, and Journal of Applied Communication Research.

Pressgrove earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Western Kentucky University. She completed her master’s in integrated communications, and her Ph.D. in mass communications at the University of South Carolina.

She has more than 15 years professional agency and freelance experience working with diverse clients including nonprofits, foundations, corporations, entertainment properties, municipal governments, political campaigns, and healthcare organizations.

Robert Waugh - Inclusion in Sports

Robert Waugh

Friday, October 6 - 12 p.m. Erickson Alumni Center Ruby Grand Hall 

Robert is from Hagerstown, Maryland, but lives in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. He teaches and coaches in Washington County Maryland.  Robert teaches Health and Physical Education at Pleasant Valley and Williamsport Elementary Schools. He teaches an evening on-line health class at Williamsport and Hancock High Schools. Robert is the head Unified Bocce Coach at North Hagerstown High School, and works with the Washington County Recreation Department. He is currently in his 9th year of teaching and 10th year of coaching.

Pioneer Sessions are available to all students and staff of WVU current or past. 
What's the goal? To connect alumni with current students and to provide an opportunity to facilitate learning and networking. The 45 minute session opens with the speakers reflecting on their industry and how it can prepare students post-graduation. Leaving the last 15 minutes open for Q&A.
Photo of Pioneer Session

Interested in speaking at an upcoming session? Contact Allyson Cannon, 

Missed a Session? View past Pioneer Sessions here.


Working in the Secret Service

Secret Service Career

Robert DeProspero shares his experience as the former assistant director and special agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division of the United States Secret Service.