The list of honorees for our Awards Ceremony is filled with the names of students who have been outstanding in service-learning. In fact, several of the nominees for the Service-Learning Award are receiving “Outstanding Graduate” awards in their fields. We are proud to present the Spring 2007 to Ms. Carole Kongprachith.
Carole has tutored through Project SHINE, served in multiple capacities in the FAFSA Project and Tax Clinics, and has helped to lead and inspire others through her presentations at local and national conferences.
Dr. Peggy Friedman shares her positive impressions from her work with Carole:
I am so happy to be able to share with you the accomplishments of Carole Kongprachith in the area of Service-Learning. First let me explain a bit about service-learning and one of the several projects that Carole was involved in, the one that I too am most involved in. From the teacher’s point of view, service-learning provides an opportunity for students to actually apply to a social program, problem, or need in the community what they are learning in the classroom. It has the potential to create to a high level of student engagement, since students aren’t just learning abstract concepts, but actually see for themselves how many of the concepts work in practice. At Chaminade, Service-Learning is integral to the fulfillment of our mission of graduating students who have a lifelong commitment to civil engagement. As a relative newcomer to the use of service-learning in my classroom, my experience a has lead me to become a believer, advocate and cheerleader for its incredible power to engage students.
The particular project I will discuss in detail is called the FAFSA project. It involves having our Chaminade Accounting students, remember that Carole is an Accounting major, counsel high school seniors and their families in preparing the federal application for financial aid for college. The high schoolers we serve with this program often have particularly complex financial and family situations that make filing the FAFSA forms challenging. Like other government forms, they are touted to be user friendly, but can be, in fact, dreadfully difficult. Carole’s first experience with this project was actually doing the FAFSA counseling which she reported helped her better understand basic accounting concepts, and equally important, the role of professionalism and client relationships in the field of accounting.
In order to make this counseling service more widely available it was decided that marketing students should be collaborators with accounting students in growing the program. Enter Carole, again, now participating in the project in her Marketing Strategy course, which she was taking as a requirement for her minor in Marketing. As you can see Carole was particularly qualified to make a tremendous contribution to the success of the FAFSA project. Wearing her marketing “hat” she and her classmates updated and improved the original Strategic Marketing Plan for the project that will be passed on to the next marketing class to be involved.
What is remarkable about Carole’s participation in this project is her ability to be both a strong leader and a cooperative team player at the same time. Most social programs require a great deal of partnering and collaboration to harness the resources to get the job done, along with a strong “can do” attitude. Carole demonstrated the ability to be both a strong collaborator and strong leader. I am confident that she will continue to develop these abilities as she pursues her MBA degree here at Chaminade and eventually her CPA.
Carole and two of her peers who worked on the FAFSA project were accepted to present it at a Service-Learning conference on the mainland this past April. While I, personally, did not attend this conference, my “spies” who were there reported that the presentation was very informative, professional, and inspiring. Carole’s polished communication skills are yet another asset she brings to the table.
Carole has participated in other Service-Learning experiences, most notably, one where tax accounting students help the homeless file for government benefits they are entitled to and sorely need. The students actually go out into the homeless community—on the beach or in the park—and provide this service. This work is done under the direction of Professor Wayne Tanna. It has been recognized in the past as exemplary and this year is included as part of the video promotional material that is produced by Aloha United Way. So, incidentally, Carole is also a “movie star.”
Carole has taken full advantage of enhancing her learning experience here at Chaminade by actively, competently, and passionately involving herself in service-learning opportunities. I know our mission of creating students with a lifelong commitment to civic engagement will be realized in Carole. I wish her all the best in her continued studies in our MBA program and in her future service to the community.