Scott Polczynski

Scott Polczynski

February 20, 2014

Third-generation Saluki is a great ambassador

More than 300 high school and community college students are at SIU today for a different kind of competition: They are vying for valuable scholarships and bragging rights during the 16th annual Accounting Challenge. Some traveled short distances; others have come from as far as Cairo, Centralia, Edwards County, O’Fallon and Olney. They are putting their skills to the test, learning how much can be accomplished through teamwork, and making new friends.

I always enjoy welcoming the students, especially because of my accounting background. This is a great opportunity to let them know about the rewarding career opportunities available to them, and about the outstanding education they can receive in our nationally recognized School of Accountancy. As a professor in the school, I have a great appreciation for the faculty members’ commitment to student success.

Scott Polczynski knows the value of the Accounting Challenge. A DuBois native, he competed as a senior at Nashville High School. Now a senior majoring in accounting at SIU, this is the third year that Scott has served as student coordinator of the event.

Scott is a third-generation Saluki, following in the footsteps of Grandfather Jim Dietrich, Dad Wayne and Mom Mimi. Older sister Cara also is a current student. Scott is proud of the family connection to SIU, but he also acknowledges that led him to consider enrolling elsewhere.

“I wanted to blaze my own trail,” he said. “But my parents convinced me to check it out, and once I did, it just felt like home. I looked at other schools and they weren’t as welcoming. One of the universities I looked at had a beautiful new building for its business college. That was great, but I realized the people inside a building are more important.”

The Accounting Challenge is just one of Scott’s many responsibilities. He has worked in the College of Business’ Placement Center since his first semester on campus. He also is very active in two student organizations, serving as president of the Accounting Society and as vice president of our chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor organization for financial information students and professionals. He also is the student ambassador for the Illinois CPA Society.

In each of the three years Scott has helped coordinate the Accounting Challenge, between 300 and 350 students have participated. In the best of circumstances, that means handling lots of details. But I know from talking with Scott that this year, Old Man Winter created unexpected complications. The event originally was scheduled for Feb. 7, but that week’s brutal weather forced many of the schools to cancel. Scott and Professor Marcus Odom, director of our School of Accountancy, worked with the schools and the many faculty, students and staff who help with the event to reschedule it.

“We’ve never had to postpone it,” Scott said. “But I know how important it is for students who are thinking about accounting careers and about SIU. One of the reasons I came to school here was because of my experience in the Accounting Challenge as a high school senior.”

Scott is a great ambassador for our university. I appreciate his passion for letting others know that big things are within reach for SIU students.