The Halls are Alive: Accounting Careers Awareness Day at WKU
The halls of the WKU Accounting Department (not to mention the classrooms, lobby, and second floor auditorium) were alive with the sounds of laughter and learning on Friday, October 22, 2010. The Department of Accounting worked closely with the Kentucky Society of CPAs (KyCPA) to sponsor the WKU inaugural Accounting Careers Awareness Day. The KyCPA Accounting Career Opportunities Committee coordinates two of these events at a Kentucky college or university each Fall. WKU professor and committee chair, Dr. Harold Little, played a key role in WKU hosting Accounting Careers Awareness Day and worked with the Committee to ensure a successful event.
Approximately 190 high school students and their teachers, from ten schools from as far away as Louisville and Monticello, spent the day learning about the career opportunities available for accounting graduates and experiencing "Hilltopper Hospitality."
CPAs from seven businesses volunteered to make presentations to the students and serve on CPA discussion panels. Airgas Mid America, Inc.; BKD LLP; Cotton & Allen PSC; English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley; Hawkins & Company Inc.; Hensley and Company CPAs; and Holland CPAs were represented at Accounting Careers Awareness Day. The day provided a wonderful opportunity for this group of vivacious high school students to listen, and ask questions of, practicing accountants.
The WKU Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) turned out in full force to volunteer at the event. Fourteen BAP members and candidates provided assistance. The BAP volunteers manned the registration table, worked as time keepers, helped to set up the lunch, and conducted campus tours. Four students participated as discussion panel members to share their perspective about life as an accounting student at WKU and why they are majoring in accounting. In addition, BAP volunteers performed a myriad of other tasks required to make the day a rousing success.
Four BAP members did lunchtime presentations as well, speaking about their own unique experiences as WKU accounting majors. The Department's graduate assistant, Ashley Binion, spoke about passing all parts of the CPA exam. One accounting major, Shannon Smith, detailed her experiences combining Division One athletics with an accounting major. Another student, Lauren Shelbourne, highlighted her accounting internship. Perhaps the most unique presentation was made by Lindsay Daniels, professional race car driver turned accounting major.
Of course, the day would not have been possible without the generous support of many businesses and organizations. Papa John's donated 63 pizzas to feed all the students, teachers, and volunteers. BKD LLP, English Lucas Priest & Owsley, KyCPA, the WKU Store, the WKU Glasgow Campus, the WKU Alumni Center, and the Department of Accounting all contributed door prizes.
The high school students received fun gift bags at the conclusion of the day. The Ford College of Business contributed bright red canvas totes for every attendee. The Department of Accounting provided departmental notepads. The WKU Glasgow campus donated pencils and various CPA firms contributed pens and other fun giveaways for the bags. The most popular item in the bags proved to be the WKU sillybands provided by Southeastern Marketing and Distribution.
In short, the first Accounting Careers Awareness Day at WKU was a resounding success. Students and their teachers from around the state were able to interact with CPAs from Kentucky as well as WKU faculty and accounting students. None of this success would have been possible without the sponsorship of the Kentucky Society of CPAs under the leadership of Accounting Careers and Education Manager, Vicki Blair, and the CPA volunteers who generously donated their time.
Ms. Blair praised WKU BAP volunteers and faculty for their hard work in making the event a success, sharing a quote from the student evaluations: "This conference changed my perception of CPAs and WKU in general. I'm definitely considering WKU to major in accounting."
The WKU Department of Accounting looks forward to the day when future accounting majors tell the faculty that their accounting journey all began with a visit to the Department on October 22, 2010.