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Accounting prof cited for service

In early February, Dr. Presha Neidermeyer, associate professor of accounting, along with 276 WVU students, was recognized for public service at the President’s Volunteer Service Award ceremony.

Dr. Presha Neidermeyer

The students had completed a total of more than 51,000 hours of community service at places such as Christian Help, Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Cancer Society, law clinics, Milan Puskar Health Right and numerous other organizations.

Provost Michele Wheatly joined WVU's Center for Civic Engagement Director Kim Colebank in honoring the recipients. Dr. Presha Neidermeyer was given the Excellence in Service Learning Award, along with only two other WVU faculty and staff.

"By opening the skills and talents of her students to the community,” Colebank said, “Presha Neidermeyer makes connections that are beneficial to all. Her belief in service learning pedagogy is evident in her strong commitment to provide meaningful experiences to her students.”

Neidermeyer began offering service-learning opportunities to her honors class in 2008. Since then, students have helped local and international non-profit organizations with budget preparation, grant writing, accounting software training and implementation.

This spring she and Professor Nancy Ruhe (also of the accounting division), began a class to allow trained accounting students to prepare income taxes for people who otherwise might not be able to afford paid tax preparation. She also is taking students to South Africa to help not –or-profit organizations working in communities devastated by AIDS/HIV.

“I believe it’s critically important to get students involved in philanthropy early on,” she said, “with the hope that they will continue to be actively involved in gifts of not only money but also of their time throughout their careers. The skill set business students bring to the table is unique. These are expensive skills that are frequently out of many not -for-profit organization’s price range. These opportunities afforded to students are high-level experiences not generally available to new hires at entry level.”

Other WVU community members being recognized with Excellence in Service Learning Awards were: Interim WVU Chief of Staff Jay Cole and Volunteer Coordinator at Caritas House Jon Sonnenday.