For the second straight year, St. Mary s University will be sending a Students In Free Enterprise team to the SIFE National Championship in Kansas City, Mo., on May 22-24.
Fifteen St. Mary s students competed at the SIFE regional contest in Dallas, winning individual prizes in two of the four categories last month. Their winning projects were in the Promoting National Business Ethics and Promoting Personal Financial Skills categories, earning them $2,500 in the process. In Kansas City, the students will be competing for the overall team championship against the other regional champions as well as for individual awards.
St. Mary’s students are a very organized and dedicated SIFE team whose goal it is to help the community in a systematic way. Everybody is a winner, said faculty adviser Prasad Padmanabhan, Ph.D., Myra Stafford Pryor Chair of Free Enterprise and Sam Walton Fellow.
Walton, the late founder of Wal-Mart, started SIFE 30 years ago. His goal was to encourage business college students to apply what they learn to practical business experiences before they graduate. Today, there are SIFE teams in 42 countries at some 1,700 universities.
St. Mary ‘s SIFE team members include: Jessica Medellin, Lisamarie Montez, Vanessa Cruz, Erlinda Delgaldo, Jackie Garza, David Gomez, Jonathan Gomez, Claudia Leza Valle, Nida Lopez, Melissa Moreno, Meredith Priesmeyer, Wendy Salinas, Nancy Truong, Daisey Vargas and Shriyukta Yadav. They submitted seven projects overall.
Faculty who helped students achieve their community-oriented goals include Mark Persellin, Ph.D., professor of accounting and director of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) project; Michael Shaub, Ph.D., Emil C.E. Jurica Professor of Accounting; and P.L. Varson, Ph.D., assistant professor of finance.
St. Mary s SIFE program began on Jan. 15, 2003, with seven members and one project. In 2004, the team expanded to 10 members and three projects. SIFE membership increased to 15 members and five projects in 2005.
SIFE team members teach entrepreneurship, market economics, business ethics and financial skills to people of all ages in their communities. The characteristics of a good SIFE project include having a definable need, achieving a measurable impact, fulfilling an overall competition judging criteria, being innovative, featuring active collaboration and having the potential for continuation.
According to the SIFE team judges in Dallas, the St. Mary’s team made a very strong showing in regional competition for the past two years. The University of Texas at San Antonio team finished as the second runner up in 2005 while San Antonio College team took first place among two year schools.