Portland State University’s Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) Epsilon Alpha chapter students have made an impressive splash in the 2012-2013 academic year. In addition to achieving Distinguished Chapter status in 2011-2012, this year’s chapter achieved Superior status for the first time, were named semi-finalists in the Ernst & Young Diversity award and placed first in two out of three categories in the Northwest Regional Best Practices competition in April, 2013.
Being one of only 10 chapters selected in the nation as semi-finalists, the Ernst & Young Diversity award is an important recognition for PSU. “The mix of students—of varying age, background, education, experience, even life stage […] who attend PSU is what makes it special, and what informed our takes on the Best Practices Competitions,” said Yoon Chung, BAP Epsilon Alpha Chapter officer.
For example, the award-winning community outreach Inspiration Program earned students first place honors in the Inspiration category in the Best Practices Competitions. In this project, eight BAP Epsilon Alpha Chapter students invited local high school seniors from underserved communities to consider financial careers at a Feb. 28 event held at PSU’s School of Business. Twelve high school students attended the event and were introduced to PSU accounting students, the BAP organization and the accounting profession. A scholarship fund was set up to award one of the 12 students with a $2,000 scholarship at PSU.
At the event, BAP students differentiated PSU’s accounting program from competitors by leveraging its relationships with the Portland business community to secure job shadowing days for participating high school students, connecting them with local accounting firms. All of the students who attended signed up for job shadows with accounting firms including Grant Thornton and Talbot Korvola & Warwick LLP.
“We believe this is a powerful way to contribute to the success of future accounting and finance professionals while providing increased membership to PSU and BAP […] our team has made a real impact on the students through sharing our knowledge and passion for the accounting profession,” said Stephen Bedford, BAP officer. “We will undoubtedly see some of these students attend our business school at PSU and follow our footsteps.”
In addition to community outreach, BAP students bolstered their writing and communication skills by creating an award-winning academic accounting journal designed, produced and written by PSU accounting students. Winning another first-place honors in the Imagination category at the Best Practices Competition, the journal offers valuable information about multiple career paths in accountancy and shares interviews with industry experts including local professionals and PSU professors.
Intentionally modeled after several regarded student law journals, the PSU BAP Journal provides analysis of accounting issues to be referenced by the greater community. The Journal’s articles are edited by local experts, helping students to forge stronger connections with Portland’s accounting and finance professionals while being better informed of local and national financial issues.
Tyee Carr, School of Business accounting instructor and faculty adviser, has led BAP students throughout all of these milestones. “BAP is a significant out of the classroom experience that enhances the accounting program at PSU,” said Tyee. “We have re-imagined what BAP can be during the 2012-13 academic year and I can’t wait to see what our students do next year.”
Congratulations to the following 2012-2013 BAP officers (pictured from left to right): Katie Sheffield, Eric Skoro, Yoon Chung, Andrew J. Wheeler, Holly Huddleson, Peter Tran, Molly Stewart and Stephen Bedford. The School of Business would also like to acknowledge PSU accounting faculty and advisers Becky Einolf, Tyee Carr and Elizabeth Almer for their dedicated guidance and support of PSU accounting students. To learn more about PSU BAP’s projects and membership, visit www.betaalphapsi.pdx.edu.