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Local group sends students to finance conference

Jan. 20, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Ten Haworth College of Business students traveled to Phoenix, Ariz., late last fall to attend the Society of Financial Service Professionals Conference, thanks to the generosity of the society's southwest Michigan chapter.

The students were a mix of finance and commercial law majors and accountancy majors.

Those who attended and their hometowns were:

  • Brandi Boerman, Hamilton, Mich.
  • Jesse A. Dekker, Vicksburg, Mich.
  • Vincent E. Franks, Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • Dustin T. Mead, Nashville, Mich.
  • Amy M. Rariden, Grand Blanc, Mich.
  • Steven K. Stegenga, Saline, Mich.
  • Steven M. Stempihar, Bessemer, Mich.
  • Joe Trupiano, Livonia, Mich.
  • Alexandra L. Zapczynski, Grand Haven, Mich.
  • Stravroula Sepsakos, Muskegon, Mich.

"Attendance at the conference provided the students with a great opportunity to interact with financial service professionals and learn about the latest regulations and developments in the field," says Dr. James DeMello, professor of finance and commercial law, who accompanied the students on the trip.

Students say they got a lot out of the experience. In addition to networking with financial professionals, they could choose from among 36 different educational sessions and listen to a presentation by William E. Strickland Jr., winner of the White House's Coming Up Taller Award and a MacArthur Fellowship.

"During the conference, many of us had the opportunity to take part in case studies through role-playing where we experienced a number of different types of cases, which allowed us to better understand the cases from different perspectives," says Rariden, a finance major. "In class, we typically read case studies, but we don't actually have the opportunity to engage much further than that."

Members of the South West Michigan Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals say they were glad to work with WMU on the initiative.

"This was a bit of a new direction for the professional chapter," says Jim Gasaway, investment advisor at Gasaway Investment Advisors and a chapter board member. "Instead of financing academic scholarships to WMU students as we have over the last couple of years, the chapter chose to use the money to help send 10 students attend the conference."

Gasaway says the chapter was pleased with the results.

"The students and their professor were all top notch, far exceeding our expectations," Gasaway says. "Not only do they have impressive resume's, they are a very sharp group. They all really appreciated our chapter's willingness to put this trip together for them. The national chapter also helped by waving the registration costs for the students. It was a pleasure to get to know all of them."

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Media contact: Valorie Juergens, (269) 387-5964, valorie.juergens@wmich.edu

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