Faces of CBE

Meet some of the students, faculty, and staff of the College of Business and Economics

Kati Johnson in yellow blouse and gray blazer

Kati Johnnson

Assistant Director, MBA Program


My professional career started in the Seattle area working in Marketing for Sage Manufacturing, famed producer of the world’s finest fly rods, reels, and accessories. This early exposure to an integrated business allowed me to pursue my fly fishing passion around the world, but also gave me strong foundations in business as I worked with all aspects of our company (manufacturing, distribution, accounting, marketing, sales, product development, warranty services, etc.). I am so grateful for that early opportunity in my career, and will be forever indebted to my former boss for taking a chance on a young woman from South Carolina. After six years at Sage, I headed north to pursue Grad School here at WWU, in the MBA Program in fact, and then two years after graduating, left my job in the technology industry to return to WWU and work on behalf of the MBA Program

Favorite thing about your role in the MBA department

I say this to prospective students all the time, and I mean it… “the best part of my job is seeing people across the spectrum of their MBA journey.” From the very early prospective student stage when an MBA is merely an idea, to the confident professionals that graduate and do amazing things, I feel so lucky to be a part of this positive journey for so many students, and I never take it for granted.

Something interesting about yourself

I was raised by two former professional athletes so it is in my bones to want to compete! Since my college soccer days are a long time in the past, I have now found a passion for Crossfit, which helps fill that need to compete and push myself physically. As a mother of two young kids (a son and a daughter) this physical exercise is my one ‘non-negotiable,’ and it makes me extremely proud when my daughter now asks if we can work out together or go on a run.

Marciana Hill in a blue blazer next to a hedge

Marciana Hill

Economics Student


I am from Los Angeles, California. I am a senior graduating in spring 2019, majoring in Environmental Economics with a minor in Energy Policy.

Goals after CBE

Upon graduation, I will be joining the Peace Corps as a Coastal Resource Management Facilitator stationed in the Philippines

Favorite thing about being a student at CBE

My favorite thing about the CBE is it's helpful faculty and staff. The assistance they've provided has been proven to be invaluable during my collegiate journey; their support has made the process easier, and has helped me develop great relationships with those working in the CBE

Shih-Fen Chen in black business suit

Shih-Fen Chen

Kaiser Professor of International Business & Director of Center for International Business


After finishing his college in Taiwan, Shih-Fen came to the US to obtain an MBA from Michigan State University and a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining Western Washington University, he held tenure-track and tenured positions at Kansas State University, Brandeis University, and the University of Western Ontario. Shih-Fen’s teaching and research interests include direct investment, technology licensing, and product outsourcing. Specifically, Shih-Fen studies the allocation of branding rights between two companies that cooperate across borders to serve consumers and compete for the right to brand the final product.

Thoughts about International Business

One needs to study International Business in order to appreciate the intricacy of International Business.

Being new to CBE: My students thanked me before leaving the classroom, which is a pleasant surprise to me.

Favorite thing about teaching

I talk, the kids listen, and I get paid, which will never happen at home.

Something interesting about yourself

aka, Steve Cohen (Shih-Fen sounds like Stephen, and my friends at Brandeis inserted an “o” between the “c” and “h” in my family name)..

Edward Alden in black business suit and diagonal striped tie

Edward Alden

Ross Distinguished Visiting Professor


Edward Alden is the Ross Distinguished Visiting Professor at WWU, and the Bernard L. Schwartz senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got Left Behind in the Global Economy. He was the project director for the Council’s Independent Task Force report The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills and U.S. Leadership in the 21st Century. He has also directed CFR Task Forces on U.S. trade policy and immigration policy. His first book, The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11, was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas book prize. He has testified to Congress numerous times, written widely for major newspapers and appeared on several news stations. Prior to joining the Council, Mr. Alden was the Washington bureau chief for the Financial Times. He has written extensively about the U.S. response to globalization, focusing particularly on international trade, immigration, and homeland security.

Thoughts about International Business

In the words of Charles Dickens, it is the best of times and the worst of times for international business. Company profits are strong, and robust growth in many developing economies is providing a host of new market opportunities. But the rules of global commerce are being tested in a way they haven’t been for decades. Escalating trade conflicts, the growing U.S.-China disputes over technology, international cyber-theft, and rising concerns over data privacy all pose enormous new challenges for companies.

Favorite thing about teaching

I love seeing the progress that students make. They are eager to get smarter about the world around them, and to learn how to write and communicate. Watching the progress they make is very rewarding.

Diane Brearley in a peach blouse and scarf, with a black denim jacket

Diane Brearley

Academic Department Manager of Economics


Diane began working for the Economics Department in 2010. Prior to this she worked in the Equal Opportunity Office at WWU. She has over 16 years of administrative experience. She was born and raised in Bellingham and attended WWU. Her hobbies include photography, creating tribute videos and spending time with her family

Favorite thing about your role as an advisor

Meeting the students – most definitely.

Something interesting about yourself

I have 6 kids.

Favorite pastime

Camping with my husband and family, including our little dogs