February 13, 2012

Accounting Challenge draws hundreds of students

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The battle was on as hundreds of students converged at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for a two-phase test of their accounting knowledge and problem-solving ability.

It was the 14th annual School of Accountancy Accounting Challenge and about 400 students from 23 area high schools and community colleges vied on Feb. 10 for bragging rights, trophies and SIU Carbondale scholarships. 

The academic portion of the competition tested accounting knowledge and skills.  Then, joining in teams, the competitors set about their next mission.  Each team got a few supplies -- two pieces of paper, two straws, two cotton pads, two pipe cleaners and a piece of tape. 

What to do with those little odds and ends?  Create a rocket.  A rocket that would fly further than any other team’s when shot from an air gun.  The contest was the brainchild of Larry Busch, associate professor emeritus from the SIU Carbondale School of Art and Design, and he served as emcee for the competition.

One by one, the teams climbed onto the stage in the Student Recreation Center’s small gymnasium.  They dropped their homemade projectiles into the tube that resembled a clear vacuum cleaner tube.

The rocket designs were as varied as those who created them.  There were balls encased in cotton and pipe cleaners, funnel-shaped designs, and some that totally resembled rockets. 

Some of the missiles fit so tightly, they weren’t going anywhere when Luke Mcarthy, a freshman accounting major, fired the blast of air.  Others barely left the tube.  But some sailed far across the room.  One actually made it about 78 feet.  The rocket challenge score counted 60 percent and exam scores 40 percent in the team competition. 

Students winning the individual competitions earned certificates of recognition and scholarships that they can claim if they attend SIU Carbondale and major in accounting.  Winning teams took home trophies for their schools and team members.

“We really enjoy having all the students and teachers on campus.  This is a wonderful opportunity to get some really great students for our accounting program,” said Marcus Odom, director of the School of Accountancy.

Winners of the 2012 Accounting Challenge individual competition, listed with the school they attend and the SIU Carbondale accounting scholarship they won, are:

Accounting I -- High School

            •  First, tie: Marcus Wood, Edwards County High School, and Victoria Shirriff, O’Fallon High School, $500 each.

            •  Second, tie:  Alyssa Stanford and Michael Loehr, both from Flora High School, and Corey Richards, Hamilton County High School, $300 each.

Advanced Accounting -- High School

            •  First:  Dylan Hoyer, Massac County High School, $500

            •  Second:  Ryan Shubert, Red Bud High School, $300

            •  Third:  Makenzie Martin, Marion High School, $250

            •  Fourth:  Kyle Adams, Carterville High School, $200

Community College

            •  First:  Dung Trieu, Kaskaskia Community College, $500

            •  Second:  Heather Smith, Kaskaskia Community College, $300

            •  Third:  Kim Saale, Kaskaskia Community College, $250.

Winning team trophies at the competition, listed by school with team members by name, are:

Accounting I Team

            •  First:  Nashville High School, Joshua Lohmann, Brock Wuebbles, Hannah Hesemen, Sydney Thompson.

            •  Second:  Flora High School, Bryson Beckham, Thomas Bates, Bryce Kapper, Tristan Eaker. 

Advanced Accounting Team

            •  First:  Flora High School, Dexter Burgess, Andrew Gonzalez, Nicholas Painter, Lauren Putbrese

            •  Second:  Red Bud High School, Ryan Shubert, Olivia Stellhorn, Andrea Hartmann, Kyle Doiron.

Event participants also met with faculty and staff and enjoyed breakfast and lunch.  They also had the opportunity to tour the School of Accountancy, a unit of the College of Business.  Sponsors of the 2012 Accounting Challenge include Caterpillar, the SIU Carbondale College of Business and the school’s alumni group, the Accounting Circle.  Area businesses donated as well. 

For more information about the School of Accountancy or the Accounting Challenge, contact Odom at 618/453-2289 or by email at modom@business.siu.edu.