Our People

Main page content

CBA & MSBA Driver Team

Haluk Demirkan, PhD & PMP; Director of CBA and MSBA

Dr. Haluk Demirkan is a Milgard Endowed Professor of Service Innovation and Business Analytics, and the Director of the Center for Business Analytics and Master of Science in Business Analytics at the Milgard School of Business, University of Washington Tacoma.

With 150+ publications and his 20+ years of professional experience, he has been advising more than 40 Fortune 500 companies in maximizing the return on companies’ resources by effectively implementing strategic data, analytics, cognitive and service-oriented technology & management solutions.

He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University, an M.E. in Industrial and Systems Engineering and a Ph.D. in Information Systems and Operations Management from the University of Florida.

Michael Helser, PhD; Manager, Operations and Programs

Michael Helser is the Manager of Operations and Programs for the Center for Business Analytics (CBA) at the Milgard School of Business, UW Tacoma.

Michael is responsible for managing the daily operations and programs of the CBA. He develops business and community relationships and promotes opportunities for collaboration and innovation in the region. Additionally, he works with the director in developing and implementing professional education programs and he has oversight of the Center’s marketing strategy and communications.


Ellen Hermansen, Advisor, Masters of Science in Business Analytics

Ellen Hermansen is the advisor for the Master of Science in Business Analytics program. Ellen's previous experience in higher education includes two years working in community college admissions and three years advising international students in areas of immigration, academics, and university transfer.

Ellen has lived and worked internationally in Germany as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow, as well as in South Korea as a public school teacher. She holds a B.A. degree in German Language from Grinnell College, an M.A. in Cross-Cultural and International Education from Bowling Green State University, and she is currently pursuing her MBA in the Milgard School of Business at UW Tacoma.


Merve Kayhan Serter, Technical Program Manager and Milgard Data & Analytics Academy Instructor

Merve is the Technical Program Manager of the Center for Business Analytics (CBA) at the Milgard School of Business. She manages the CBA Virtual Analytics Lab, identifies and implements technology solutions for higher education, and provide technical and analytics support to the students. She is also a Milgard Data & Analytics Academy instructor. Her teaching interests are in the areas of Data Analytics, Data and Information Systems Management, and Cloud Computing.

She holds an M.S. degree in Management of Technology from New York University, Tandon School of Engineering where she was awarded i2e (invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship) Student Achievement Award. She has prior experience in academia as well as technology companies. Her interests are business analytics, cloud computing, innovation management, and STEM Education for Children.


Cynthia DeHope, MSBA Program Recruiter & Admissions

Cynthia DeHope is the Graduate Recruiter/Pre-Admissions Advisor for the Master of Science in Business Analytics program. She has worked in both pubic and private institutions of higher education in various roles since 2006. These include Program Director, Academic Advisor, and Financial Aid Counselor.

Cynthia holds a Master of Arts in Education with teaching certification and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Public Relations) from Pacific Lutheran University. She also studied abroad at the National University of Ireland, Cork while completing her undergraduate degree.

Information Systems/Business Analytics Faculty


Sergio Davalos, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Fellow for CBA

Dr. Sergio Davalos is a member of the Center for Business Analytics, the Master of Science in Business Analytics Programs at the Milgard School of Business,  and the Center for Data Science at the University of Washington Tacoma.

He has more than 30 years of experience teaching in academia.  He was worked in computer science, management information systems, and business information systems programs.    While at the University of the Virgin Islands, he was part of a group that developed one of the first online bachelor's program in computer science.

He received a B.A. in Mathematics, an MS in Computer Science, and a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems with a Cognitive Science minor from the University of Arizona.

His research is multidisciplinary involving several fields of study such as marketing, accounting, finance, and transportation.  Some of his recent projects are:

  • Discovering evidence of nostalgia in social media
  • Personality prediction based on vlogs, demographics, and Facebook status
  • Bankruptcy prediction based on an evolutionary computing ensemble
  • Sentiment analysis metrics: developing and validating
  • Dynamic News feed clustering in Facebook


Luna Zhang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Dr. Luna Zhang is an Assistant Professor of Business Analytics and a member of the Center for Business Analytics and the Master of Science in Business Analytics Programs at the Milgard School of Business.

She has over 10-year experience in data analytics. Dr. Zhang has been invited to present her research at conferences including INFORMS, CIST, WISE, and POMS. Her paper has been published in a premier academic journal. 

She received her MS in Economics and Ph.D. in Business and Economics from Lehigh University.

Her research interests include

  • Economics of electronic commerce
  • Online consumer demand
  • Information systems and operations management interface

Some of her current projects are:

  • Consumer purchase behavior in online and offline markets
  • Global IT and performance
  • Search cost and price competition
  • Advisor for Analytics Innovation Club


Margo Bergman, Ph.D, MPH,Fellow for CBA, Senior Lecturer, Faculty MSBA

Dr. Margo Bergman is Senior Lecturer at the Milgard School of Business, University of Washington Tacoma, and a Milgard Fellow in the Center for Business Analytics.

She has over 15 years of experience in decision-making research, data analysis, and teaching. She has worked on projects related to these topics for the Department of Defense, Chambers of Commerce, the University of Washington Medical School, and the Veteran’s Administration.

Dr. Bergman is a frequent peer reviewer and conference speaker, with publications in a variety of fields.

She received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Houston, and an MPH from the University of Washington – Seattle.

Currently, she is:

  • Serving as a board member for;
    • Louisa Boren STEM K-8
  • Serving as a peer reviewer for multiple journals

Some of her recent projects are:

  • Sentiment Analysis for Consumer Confidence
  • Price Elasticity and Consumer Search
  • Community Engaged Research with WA State Courts

Value Co-creating Partners, Instructors, or Practitioner Expert Advisers

CBA Student Consultants

  • Michael Turek, Marketing and Community Outreach Leader, MBA, LinkedIn
  • Avery Neims, Marketing Specialist, Senior, Linkedin
  • Jayanth Sanganabatla, Software Engineer, Master of Cybersecurity and Leadership, LinkedIn

MSBA Student Business Analytics Consultants

Meet our MSBA Student Consultants


Analytics Innovation Club Officers

John Cannon, President of Analytics Innovation Student Club, President, MSBA studentLinkedIn
I served three years in the US Army before I attended the Milgard School of Business, earning a Bachelor of Arts Business Administration in 2008. I’ve worked in a variety of functional areas in the last 10 years, from sales, to product support, to supply chain/procurement. At the same time, I’ve continued my military career in the US Air Force Reserve. My most recent role was as Manufacturing and Supply Chain Planner at Safeworks LLC, a global manufacturer based in Tukwila, WA.
Michael Turek - MSBA StudentLinkedIn
Michael Turek is a 15 year professional and leader with experience in project/program management, business development, small business consulting, and startup management. Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Washington and most recently an MBA from UW in 2019. Michael is a selected member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society. Currently Michael is pursuing a Master of Science in Business Analytics from the University of Washington Tacoma and serves as Vice President of the UW Tacoma Analytics Innovation club and UW Tacoma INFORMS student chapter. Michael is presently working with MultiCare Health System on developing a predictive analytical model for reducing 30 day emergency department readmission rates system-wide.
Tina Chou – Secretary, MSBA StudentLinkedIn
I'm a huge tech enthusiast and keen on finding the latest and future tech trends and bringing in analytics. I've worked at different tech companies as a digital product development specialist before moving to the US for my master's in business analytics. Before coming here, I was working at Audi headquarters in Germany as a website development & rollout specialist. Recently, a software system my team and I developed got funded by the Singapore Airlines.
Sandeep Vadluri – Treasurer, MSBA StudentLinkedIn
Sandeep worked in the financial services industry as a Derivatives Marketer at Deutsche Bank for 11 years prior to attending the UW Tacoma's MSBA program. He earned a Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2006. He is passionate about data science and has worked on building various analytical models for interest rate risk management and derivative pricing and marketing derivative strategies to corporations while at Deutsche Bank.
Megan Tan – Communications Officer, MSBA StudentLinkedIn
After obtaining a bachelor's in biochemistry, I began working in the QA lab at Schnitzer Steel. This quickly transitioned into operations management roles for a number of companies. I found a deep interest in process improvement and analysis of data to increase efficiency, which led me to the MSBA program at Milgard.

Former Value Co-Creation Partners

  • Noah, Chief Marketing Officer & Content Production Specialist, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration (Marketing),2019, LinkedIn 
  • Becki Waskey, Bachelor of Business Administration, Milgard School of Business, 2020, LinkedIn
  • Jeff Bennett, CBA Research Consultant & Project Manager, MSBA 2019, LinkedIn
  • Jaime L. Core, Manager, Operations and Programs of CBA, LinkedIn
  • Nick Butler, Instructional Designer & Technologist, LinkedIn
  • Bruce Worobec, Lecturer, LinkedIn