Faculty Spotlight

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Craig Israelsen

Craig L. Israelsen grew up in Los Altos, California and spent his summers on his grandparent's farm in Logan, Utah.  He is married to Tamara Trimble Israelsen.  They met at Utah State University.

They have seven children (Sara, Andrew, Heidi, Mark, Nathan, Emma, Jared).  Hobbies include hiking, woodworking, traveling…and family vacations.  He competed in the Boston Marathon 5 times, but never won.  Craig taught at Brigham Young University for 9 years and at the University of Missouri-Columbia for 14 years.   He now teaches as an Executive-in-Residence at Utah Valley University in the Personal Financial Planning Program.

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Dr. Laura Ricaldi PhD, CFP

Laura is an Assistant Professor of Financial Planning in the Finance and Economics Department where she teaches a variety of classes in financial planning. Laura is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM with a passion for teaching. She loves to teach students basic financial literacy skills, but where she excels is teaching advanced topics like insurance planning and risk management, ethics for financial planners, and the CFP® Exam Prep course. The CFP® Exam Prep course helps prepare students to pass the industry standard of excellence, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM designation. Currently the average pass rate for the CFP® Exam for UVU students enrolled in the prep course is about 81% while the industry average is around 55%. She received her Ph.D. in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Tech University, an MBA with an emphasis in Management and Leadership Skills, and a BBA in Accounting.

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Dr. Xu Sun PhD

Xu is an Associate Professor in finance at UVU and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) holder. She has taught several undergraduate and graduate finance courses, including the CFA exam preparation courses. Xu is also a member of the CFA Salt Lake society and has participated in several society events with her expertise on financial investment. She holds the Senior Fellow for the Higher Education Academy and is very passionate in advising and mentoring students in research, project-based learning, and pursuing industry certifications. She completed her PhD in finance from University of Texas - Pan American (now University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley) in 2015 after receiving her bachelor degree in China. Her research interests include corporate board of directors, firm investment efficiency, institutional trading, and FinTech. She focuses on empirical studies and has published on journals including Review of Financial Economics and Financial Services Review.