New Lab Assists Business Students

Published on October 08, 2018

A new laboratory in Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Business gives students easy access to the data available to Wall Street’s top trading firms in an advanced teaching and research setting.

“Not only will this resource benefit students in finance, but Morningstar Direct access will give students in management, accounting and marketing access to an extensive amount of real-world data that they can use for both classwork and research projects,” said Dr. Oliver Feltus, chair of EKU’s Department of Accounting, Finance and Information Systems.

An existing computer lab in the Business and Technology Center was retooled to become the new Financial Research and Investments Computer Lab. Renovations were completed over the summer.

“Through careful planning, the lab was completed on a reduced budget, but the results achieved are anything but reduced,” said Mike Hawksley, lab manager and a senior lecturer for the College of Business and Technology (CBT). A contribution from CBT alumni Don and April Perry helped make the space possible. “It is industry professionals like the Perrys who make exciting learning opportunities like this available to our students.”

The lab brings new energy to a busy student-oriented experiential learning space, said Hawksley. “Finance and Banking has a very international dimension that is well reflected in this new space. Students are being exposed to many real-world and real-time examples of business-related events. Awareness, recognition and understanding of today’s global financial news helps students gain context to these daily events and how they impact business decisions and our economy.”

Upgrades include new, faster computers, supporting dual monitors, which allow students to work on several documents at a time in a much more efficient manner. Also, five new large flat-panel displays show current financial news as well as timely information about various companies and markets. Business students will now use industry-renowned software to perform financial research and portfolio analysis, making them more career-ready.

The lab also is a focal point for recruiting prospective students who want access to cutting-edge technology as part of their education.

“A lot of pieces had to come together,” said student worker and team leader Mackenzie Kibler, who worked diligently to help complete the project on time and on budget. “There is nothing else like it on campus, and it really has the wow factor. Lots of sweat over the summer turned into a neat, clean, organized space that students can look forward to working in.”

Dr. Ben Woodruff, professor of finance, said the lab “combines the technology that students need to solve the problems they will see in the 21st century with the professional look of a modern trading floor. It is a wonderful representation of our college mission of combining technology with business.”

The Perrys each earned degrees from EKU in 1986 and 1996. Mr. Perry, senior vice president and investments manager at Kentucky Farmers Bank, serves on the EKU School of Business Advisory Council. Ms. Perry serves as CEO and chairs the board of Kentucky Farmers Bank in Ashland, Kentucky. Their two children are also Eastern alumni.

To learn more about programs offered in EKU’s School of Business, visit