2011 Integrity First scholarship awarded at ethics workshop

Recipients of the 2011 Rande & Georgia Somma Integrity First Business scholarship were recognized on Oct. 13 in the International Suite of the Sewall Center during the first School of Business Ethics Workshop, which simulated a real-world gathering of business professionals to evaluate case studies.

Ellen Martin, Alexander Olijar, Steven Tessaro and Stephanie Vanscavish were announced as the 2011 Rande & Georgia Somma Integrity First Business Scholarship winners. They each received $2,500 grants as well as an entry under the Undergraduate Research category on their Student Engagement Transcripts, stated Associate Professor of Management and Chair of the School of Business Ethics Committee Dr. Daria Crawley.

In fact, any student who simply applies for the scholarship is given credit on their SET. However, the work involved is no easy task.

“I definitely did a lot of research on the Marcellus Shale,” stated accounting junior and scholarship recipient Stephanie Vanscavish in regards to her research for the 2011 Integrity First scholarship. “I talked to a couple people who worked in the industry…. Probably a good week and a half or so of research and asking people different questions.”

Intersecting the scholarship with the Ethics Workshop this year gave students a chance to meet with one another to demonstrate and discuss ethics in the business world.

Nearly 170 business students attended the workshop in which they were able to see firsthand how one may go about the process of evaluating a case study similar to the one selected for the scholarship.

Crawley and Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean of the School of Business Dr. Gayle Marco intended the workshop to be more of a “two-dimensional” experience whereas the scholarship is more “one-dimensional.”

“[Through this workshop, we’re] broadening who we are serving with this ethical integrity type of discussion,” explained Marco.

The purpose of the workshop, according to Crawley and Marco, was to serve as a real-world example of critical problem solving and evaluation that focused on the ethical issues and various stakeholders in which students lead each other to a consensus.

“You want to have some set of experiences in an environment where if you didn’t think of something it’s not going to be as costly here as oppose to ‘I’m on the job…it’s costing the company money,’” explained Crawley. “This is a way to kind of figure out and say, ‘I didn’t think about that, I don’t know if I agree with that, but I guess I have to at least consider that.’”

Group leaders from Dr. Jeffery Guiler’s Advanced Labor Management Relations and Negotiations class facilitated each group in order to reach a consensus.

Networking is another major component to entering the business-working world, according to Crawley and Marco. Thus, the opportunity to mingle with students with different concentrations and faculty of the School of Business also benefited students, adding an additional dimension to the evening.

“It gives us the opportunity to work with our students in a different situation,” said Marco. “Usually students view us as ‘we do the grades,’ and they don’t see us in the same light as we’re here to help you as well. So, this really is an activity where they’ll get to know the faculty a lot better.”

Rande Somme, RMU alum and former CEO of Johnson’s Control, a Fortune 500 company, concluded the workshop with a brief speech and announced the topic of the 2012 Rande & Georgia Somma Integrity First Business Scholarship.

Since first being awarded in 2008, the Integrity First scholarship has had a range of topics. Past topics include improper business techniques, outsourcing at Travelocity, product liability and how the company responded to their customers, and Marcellus Shale.

The deadline for the 2012 applications is yet to be determined but will be sometime in January 2012, and Vanscavish encourages business students to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Other than the fact that it is a scholarship and there’s money involved, it really gives you a place outside the classroom to show what kind of research and work you can do,” she said.