UMO Students Compete in Statewide Event

UMO Students Compete in Statewide Event

October 19, 2020
Contact:  Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations

MOUNT OLIVE –Five University of Mount Olive students recently competed in a statewide virtual event aimed at tackling community issues related to COVID-19 that could be mitigated by financial technology.

Selected from the Tillman School of Business, the students representing the University of Mount Olive, were Crystal Burchette, a finance and business management double major from Troy, NC; Armando Ferreira, a finance major from Minaçu- Goiás- Brazil; Julius Muchangi, a biomedical sciences major from Muranga, Kenya; Reed Parris, an accounting major from Kinston, NC; and Oliver Mollenhoff, a business management and human resources major from Stockholm, Sweden.

Student teams chose from two community challenges: one related to healthcare and one related to economic relief, with a focus on racial equity.  Teams attended sessions, engaged in workshops, and bounced around ideas with mentors to solve the problems.  Each group used the knowledge they gained to prepare and submit a three-minute video presentation showing how their team would solve the COVID-19 financial challenge.  Throughout the week-long event, students also gained valuable networking opportunities with representatives from well-known and established companies from all over North Carolina.

Junior Oliver Mollenhoff said, “This was a great opportunity to apply my knowledge and challenge my critical thinking in real-life situations regarding COVID-19. In particular, the workshops provided a deeper understanding of certain areas regarding the community and issues that have been raised with this pandemic.”

“Engagement opportunities like this allow me to use my knowledge from the classroom and put it towards real life events,” said Senior Crystal Burchette.  “I was honored to have been chosen by a faculty member for this opportunity. It means so much to know that my professors believe in me and my ability to do well representing the Tillman School of Business.”

“What a great experience this was for our students to have the opportunity to help solve a real-life problem that will benefit one of our NC communities, said Dr. Kahty Best, Dean of the Tillman School of Business at UMO. “I am proud of our students for taking the time to accept this challenge. Each of them has been dedicated to the cause and well represented the University and the Tillman School of Business!”


The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University is sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. For more information, visit

Pictured (L-R):  Crystal Burchette, Oliver Mollenhoff, Armando Ferreira, Reed Parris, and Julius Muchangi