USM Beta Alpha Psi

Alumni Newsletter 2014-2015

Beta Alpha Psi Southern Miss 2014-2015 Newsletter

Superior Awards for a Superior Chapter


The University of Southern Mississippi’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi was recently named a Superior Chapter for the 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014 academic years. Being a superior chapter is a national recognition with Beta Alpha Psi and less than half of the more than 300 Beta Alpha Psi chapters receive this honor. In order to be a superior chapter, members and pledges must fulfill various requirements by actively participating in numerous professional meetings, service projects, and events. Here are some of the plans we have to continue this success throughout the future.

About Us

The Zeta Mu Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi is located on the campus of University of Southern Mississippi. The Beta Alpha Psi organization was founded in 1919. Our chapters has been part of the Beta Alpha Psi national organization since 1982.

Another Year to Build on Past Accomplishments

It has been an exciting year with this group of Beta Alpha Psi members! Many new things have been accomplished through the determination of the current members, officers, Mrs. Simmons, and the help of the alumni. I would like to thank the alumni for being patient and understanding about the mix-up with the alumni social event. We are planning to have another one and details will be sent out to each of the alumni.


Sara Freeman, President

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BAP Annual Meeting 2014

The annual meeting was held in Atlanta, Georgia this year. Our members participated in the community service project for the International Day of Literacy by visiting local elementary schools and teaching the children the importance of reading. Vanessa Mitchell (Past President) and Ashley Foley (Current Vice President of Candidates) did an amazing job while presenting in the Chapter Operations Session. An Immediate Past Chairman of the American Institute of CPAs, Richard J. Caturano, CPA, CGMA from McGladrey LLP was one of the key speakers that addressed professionalism inside as well as outside of the workplace. Many of the attendees enjoyed a Braves baseball game even though it was called off due to rain. Officers and members that attended the annual meeting gathered many tools and ideas to bring back and incorporate in our chapter at USM.


Blake Pittman, Vice President of Social and Community Outreach

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The Road to Membership

We have implemented a new recruiting method that we think will be a great success in semesters to come! Junior Beta Alpha Psi is an opportunity for sophomore level accounting majors enrolled in Principles (ACC 200), Managerial (ACC 220), and Intermediate I (ACC325) to learn more about Beta Alpha Psi and what they can gain from membership. At the beginning of the semester, officers visited every class period of these classes and introduced themselves and Beta Alpha Psi. We also invited these students to three of our meetings throughout the semester. Participants in Junior Beta Alpha Psi got to experience the benefits of being in Beta Alpha Psi.

Another recruiting method we are trying out is visiting the junior colleges. This semester, two officers and one candidate reached out to Jones County Junior College and spoke with four classes about the university, the College of Business, the School of Accountancy, and Beta Alpha Psi. As transfer students, these students miss out on opportunities of learning about the university and we felt that reaching out to them might influence their decision to come to Southern Miss as accounting majors.

We are excited to see the impact of these new recruiting methods. Our candidate number has increased by 10 members this semester! All of our candidates agreed that our Junior Beta Alpha Psi efforts influenced their decision to want to become a part of our chapter. It will be exciting to see the candidate numbers grow semester after semester as we perfect this recruitment method and try out new ideas.


Ashley Foley, Vice President of Candidates
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Giving Back

Our group has been humbled by the opportunities to give back to our campus and our community. We were able to serve our campus through tutoring and petty cash audits. The petty cash audits are helping create a campus-wide presence of our organization with the departments by helping the internal audit department with this task. Along with assisting the internal audit department, we are helping College of Business students through tutoring. For any student that is in any accounting course, we offer tutoring. Our main focus is the first two accounting courses in which the College of Business students are enrolled. As lucky as we are to serve on-campus needs, we are also able to give back to our community.

We teamed up with KPMG for a literacy project that we shared with under-privileged children at Edwards Street Fellowship Center (ESFC) which is located in Hattiesburg, MS. ESFC provides services to struggling families who are confronted by circumstances beyond their capacity to overcome without a helping hand. ESFC offers a thrift store and a food bank along with activities for children. We approached the project with a Dr. Seuss theme which included games, arts and crafts, and free books that each child could keep. ESFC is a member of the First Book initiative which encourages children to read and provides them with a book of their own. Along with ESFC, we were able to visit Homes of Hope.

Homes of Hope (HOH) is a nonprofit organization that serves children who are faced with an overly-challenged home life. It is a foster care facility that provides shelter for siblings (ages four to eighteen years old) to prevent them from becoming separated in a traditional foster care program. This year, we planned a Fall festival theme for the children. We set up a pumpkin painting area, face painting area, and a place where the kids could fill a bag with an assortment of candy. We enjoyed our time with the children and hope we made a positive impact in their lives.

Beta Alpha Psi scholarship update

We are very excited about our new Beta Alpha Psi scholarship! You all have done an outstanding job in contributing and I am very happy to report that our current balance with the USM Foundation is $3,425.00! We have awarded our first scholarship in the amount of $500 to an outstanding Beta Alpha Psi member! Thank you to everyone who has assisted and contributed as we work to make a difference for our students!

If you have not done so and would like to make a contribution, there is a giving form online at www.usmfoundation.com. Just click on the “Give Online Now” button and complete the required information. You can select “Give to the area(s) of your choice” in the “Designations” section, and then select “Other” located at the bottom of the pop-up screen. Type “Beta Alpha Psi Annual Scholarship Fund No. 2145” in the “comments” section. There is an “Additional Gift Info” section at the bottom of the page and you can mark “Do Not Publish My Name” in this section and the gift will remain anonymous. In the "Additional Gift Info", you can indicate "Class of ??", if you so desire. If you have any questions, please contact leslee.smith@usm.edu who is with the USM Foundation.


Valerie Simmons, Faculty Advisor

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“Hair-On-Fire!” Business Presentation Skills for Students

The only certified speaking professional in the state of Mississippi, Mandi Stanley, joined our chapter to give a presentation to College of Business students. Her interactive presentation “Hair-On-Fire!” helped students with presentation skills, handshaking etiquette, body language, organizing thoughts, and tips to eliminate nervous habits. A few of our members and professors were invited on-stage to help demonstrate these skills and how they can be improved. Her lively presence and interactive style kept the students’ attention all with good humor and a great lesson.

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Future Success with Successful Employers


2014-2015 academic year has come and gone already! The organization has been busy with events and activities and we still have many more to come. Several professionals came to speak at our meetings over the Fall semester, including: Postlethwaite & Netterville, OSA Investigative Division, Susan Graves from the Godwin Group, and representatives from BKD. Our chapter also took a trip to Bar-T Challenge Course. Members from Horne LLP joined us on the ziplines and rope courses. The course helped our organization start of the semester with new members and candidates. We were able to set a more solid foundation of teamwork through some of the challenges in the course. It was also a good experience with the members from Horne LLP that were just as nervous about the heights and ziplines as we were. The presentations and group exercises over the semester helped guide our members through interviewing skills, how to stand out from peers in a work setting, how to work together, and resume tips.

Professional speakers that came to visit our group during the Spring included Joey Havens from Horne LLP; Haddox, Reid, Eubanks, & Betts; Regions Bank, and KPMG representatives. Aside from professional speakers, our organization paired up with the Beta Alpha Psi chapter from the University of South Alabama chapter to visit the Outokumpu Stainless steel manufacturing plant in Alabama. Our group is becoming more passionate about the field and professional activities from these past two semesters. We greatly appreciate each of the professionals that took the time to come share their knowledge with our group.

Sucess at the Regional Meeting

For the Spring semester, we took part in many activities. The regional meeting was held in Atlanta, Georgia at the end of February.Kayla Scharfenstein and Blake Pittman presented in the Keeping the Chapter Active Session. Ashley Foley and Walker Watkins presented in a judged competition in the Best Practices Session which is sponsored by Deloitte. Ashley and Walker placed second in their category! This was our first year to present in a judged competition and we are proud of the hard work and dedication that these two put into the presentation and they each represented our university well. This was also the first time that we had two groups of presentations.

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Looking Forward to BIG Success

It has been a great year and we thank all of the alumni for the support. Our organization is growing stronger each semester. We are excited about what our chapter is going to accomplish in the future!