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Marisa Winters Named Principal Community Scholar

Published Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Marisa Winters
Marisa Winters

Marisa Winters, a senior Accounting and Finance double major at SMSU, was selected as one of 25 Principal Community Scholars from Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin for the 2017-18 academic year.

The award is given to students with a business-related major who submit a project proposal to address campus or community issues. Students receive civic leadership training and resources to help complete their service project. A $1,000 scholarship is awarded at the project’s completion.

Nominations come from faculty or staff, and student applicants are selected through a rigorous review process.

Winters is a Montevideo, Minn. native and the daughter of Jamie and Jennifer Winters. Her project is completing, implementing and training Prairie Home Hospice personnel on an accounting database for use at their annual Charity Ball.

“In my Accounting Information Systems class last spring, we started a base template for Prairie Home Hospice," she said. "We set up several tables in the database but it was very bare-bones. I enjoyed working on the project, so Professor Will Thomas asked if I would be interested in competing it.”

Winters focused on creating and completing various data tables in the Microsoft Access Database program, then organizing and connecting them. The project is nearly complete, and Prairie Home Hospice will be able to easily pull reports and analyze various aspects of their data for their 2018 ball.

For example, a supporter can be assigned a number that corresponds with their bidder number. If they purchase several items, all the items can be combined on one invoice. Several additional analysis tools are included as well.

“I worked at the ball in 2017, so I had an idea of what would be helpful,” Winters said. She has worked closely with Hospice staff to further tailor the database to meet their needs.

Professor Thomas served as her faculty advisor for the project. “He gave me a lot of independence to experiment and learn the program, but he was always ready to help," said Winters. "Principal staff were also a video-chat away."

It was a learning experience, she added. "There was a lot of trial and error, and I found out several different things can be done with Access. I was able to use Access on a network basis, which taught me computer science skills you don't usually learn in accounting."

In addition to her project, Winters is the treasurer for the Student Activities Committee, PR Coordinator for the Student Association and Chair of SAFAC (Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee).

After graduation in May, Winters will start a position as government auditor at Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing in Willmar, Minn.

Winters has enjoyed the experience and encourages students to look for a way to make a positive impact and get involved. "It's a great program to be part of; I definitely recommend applying for the Scholar program and taking advantage of the opportunity.”



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