A Student Perspective

by Michelle McDowell, MSU Bozeman | MSCPA Student Representative Board of Directors 2016/2017

McDowellMichelle2015I will always remember completing my application for the student representative board member of the Montana Society of CPAs (MSCPA). At 4 PM on the due date of the application I found myself alone in my usual study room the professors joking referred to as my office. I re-wrote my application essay four times and repeatedly read it aloud. Getting my thoughts on paper can be messy because my mind often moves faster than my fingers. This blog post may even elude to this timing difference. What was my reason for applying? I care. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to contribute. And, I wanted to stay in Montana following graduation. My time spent as the MSCPA’s student representative has been an amazing opportunity to support the links between the students and the MSCPA. I feel very privileged to have been given this time to be part of something bigger.

The first board meeting I attended was in Missoula. I intentionally wore a burgundy colored blouse in the event any comments came up regarding the university I attended. And indeed a few comments were made but all in good fun.

Student board members have very minimal requirements. At some point during this time I recall asking the board if I could attend all the board meetings during my time as the student representative. I did not exactly bring the room to silence but the response was along of the lines of “What?”, “Really?”, “That would be great!”. This meant a lot to me because I truly wanted to contribute what I could were appropriate.

The next semester was incredible for me and I was fortunate to have the support of both accounting faculty and students. In particular I had two pillars of knowledge and experience to guide me. First is the MSU-Bozeman Accounting Club Faculty Advisor, Steve Ault, and our recent and loved MSCPA Communications Director Margaret Herriges. My efforts would not have been as successful without these two individuals.

During my term, I did not cast my net as wide as I had hoped. For students and members who I met in person, I do hope to have left a positive lasting impression regarding the MSCPA. And I hope to have help put the MSCPA on the map for students. Unfortunately, I played a less active role during the first part of my time as a graduate student. However, I am staying in Montana following my graduation so I have plenty of years ahead of me to make up for it. It has been an honor to serve the MSCPA during my time as a student and I look forward to continuing my service as a professional.

Thank you,

Michelle

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