April 25, 2019  

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Defatta, Scharfenstein attend Beta Gamma Sigma Student Leadership Conference

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Southern Miss students Alisha DeFatta (left) and Kayla Scharfenstein pose next to the Beta Gamma Sigma monument at Joseph Green Hall. (Submitted photo)

University of Southern Mississippi students Alisha DeFatta and Kayla Scharfenstein were chosen to attend the Beta Gamma Sigma Student Leadership Forum held Feb. 5-8 in San Diego, Calif. The forum provides a hands-on learning experiences for business students across the country to improve their leadership skills.

DeFatta is a senior finance major, and currently serves as the vice-president of public relations for the University’s Beta Gamma Sigma chapter. DeFatta is also a member of numerous honor societies on campus and works as a tutor for both the First Year Initiative Office and the College of Business.

Scharfenstein is a junior accounting major. Along with Beta Gamma Sigma, she is a member of several other honor societies, the Honors College and the Baptist Student Union. Scharfenstein also spends much of her time volunteering with Savannah Smiles and working in medical records at a local clinic.

Wanda Fennell, Beta Gamma Sigma advisor and professor of Management and International Business, said she considered it a privilege to teach DeFatta and Scharfenstein in her Operations Management course.

“Over the last two years, I’ve come to know them both, and while they excel academically, it is their intellectual contributions during class, their strong work ethic, and their willingness to help others that places them in an elite group of students,” Fennell commented.

The program began in 2001 and continues to influence Beta Gamma Sigma members from across the country in the areas of leadership and social interaction.

"It was such an enriching experience to be surrounded by some of the best and brightest students in business and having the chance to learn and network with them,” said DeFatta. “At the Beta Gamma Sigma Leadership conference I not only learned how to become a better leader, but also learned how important it is to be a better follower.”

Scharfenstein also said the forum lead her to realize the importance of becoming a good follower. “The BGS Student Leadership Forum taught me many valuable lessons that I will carry for a long time, but I think the most valuable lesson I learned was that the same qualities that make a good follower, make a good leader,” she said.

As members of Beta Gamma Sigma, DeFatta and Scharfenstein have earned the highest academic recognition business students at an AACSB-accredited intuition can receive during their undergraduate or graduate career.     

For more information about Beta Gamma Sigma and other College of Business organizations, visit http://www.usm.edu/business/student-organizations.