Kelly Schunk receives academic award in accounting

Yash Chitrakar

The Kansas City chapter of Financial Executives International acknowledged 19 students from multiple colleges nominated for the 2017 Academic Award, April 11.

Kelly Schunk, senior accounting major at Washburn, took home one of the academic awards for her outstanding student status.

FEI is an association connecting senior-level financial executives. Their mission, as they state, is to conduct professional development seminars to facilitate the flow of new ideas and perspectives, as well as sound career and business decisions.

The association understands that while top-level business is important, it would not work if budding entrepreneurs and students of finance and accounting are not given encouragement to continue putting in the effort. So to encourage such people, FEI organizes an Academic Award Night annually.

“One of the most rewarding things FEI does is to partner with Kansas and Missouri schools as we sponsor annual academic awards to help students reach their goals of higher education,” said Bob Wright, president of the FEI Kansas City chapter. “As Kansas City’s premier networking and professional development group for financial executives, our hope is that these young adults represent the next generation of leaders for the region.”

The award ceremony was essentially an effort to celebrate the achievements of the nominees and the recipients of the award.

Schunk, one of the top students in all of her classes with a GPA of 3.83, was the perfect candidate for the award. She is a hard worker, according to Jim Martin, Schunk’s academic advisor and mentor.

Schunk is also a two-year co-captain on the Washburn soccer team and is working at an internship with the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. She has also volunteered for Compassion International and done a mission trip to Rwanda.

She is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, Forge Topeka and winner of multiple academic scholarships.

“Kelly is talented and determined to do her best and pursues her studies with dedication and enthusiasm,” said Kanalis Ockree, professor of accounting. “She strives constantly for excellence and does not hesitate to challenge herself with difficult and demanding academic endeavors.”

She also received praise from her former coach.

“Kelly has an uncanny ability to lead by example. She put the team first and never once showed a selfish side. Her leadership skills are second to none and her peers recognize it, as do her professors and coaches,” said Chris Jones, women’s soccer coach.

The award is worth $1000 and comes with a one-year affiliate membership to FEI. While the money is appealing, it is the other benefits of receiving the award that adds to its appeal.

“In the short term, the award will help pay for her education,” Martin said. “In addition, the award gives her exposure to numerous professionals. As an example, at the awards banquet, Kelly networked with numerous professionals in our industry and was offered chances to interview for jobs.”

Schunk plans to use the scholarship for her graduate degree.

“I was really excited and honored to receive the award. It is always nice to be rewarded for your hard work,” said Schunk.