Business Students Recognized for Greatness

Published: May 16, 2019

College of Western Idaho (CWI) is proud to announce the 2018-2019 winners of the Pearson Outstanding Business Students of the Year:  Kayla Liscinski, Bethany Winn, Kari Twiss, Dandan Shoa, and Hannah Buchana. Recognized for their academic achievements and activities in and out of the classroom, students were nominated for the award by Business faculty and internship advisors. Applications were reviewed by a faculty committee and winners were selected based on eligibility requirements, grade point average, and other honors, contributions, and achievements. Those selected receive a scholarship, a personalized certificate and medal, and have their name added to an annual plaque. 


Kayla Liscinski
Kayla, a native Idahoan, is a third-year CWI student graduating with an Associate Degree in General Business. She currently works in a local construction company's bookkeeping department and as a bookkeeper for Homeschool Idaho, a local nonprofit homeschool organization. As a previously homeschooled student, Kayla learned to work hard and applied this skill to her college studies. When not studying or at work, Kayla enjoys adventuring with her husband, hiking, skiing, or enjoying local coffee shops. Following graduation, she plans to attend Boise State University to pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting and finance and possibly study abroad. She will graduate from CWI with 3.95 GPA.

Bethany Winn
Bethany was born in California, raised in the Midwest, and spent most of my high school years and first year of college in California. She moved to Idaho to pursue a position as Direct Care Staff at Boise Girls Academy Teen Challenge. While attending CWI, she has additionally worked in food service. Bethany has been accepted to Boise State University and will begin attending there this fall to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Management. Following her schooling, she is interested in nonprofit business work and pursuing a corporate career.

Kari Twiss
Kari was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, graduating from Moscow High School in 1991. She studied Business at the University of Idaho for two years before beginning a career in bookkeeping. Shortly after moving to the Treasure Valley in 1999, she got married, started a family, and became a stay-at-home mom.  She is married to her husband of 19 years, Eric. The couple has three children:  Marisha (17), Ethan (15), and Ryan (12).  In addition to being a full-time wife and mom, Kari operates a home-based business, is active in her church, and is the Host Family Coordinator for the Boise Hawks. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, gardening, traveling, and watching her kids play sports. Kari will graduate from CWI with a 4.0 GPA.

Dandan Shao
Dandan and her husband moved to the United States from China in 2015 where she worked as a high school teacher. Her first job in the United States was working in the Caldwell Public Library as a page. Facing challenges of English language and American culture in this role, Dandan knew she needed to make a change. One year later, she went back to school and became a student at CWI. Looking back on the past three years, she is very proud of the progress she has made and still remember how shy she was in her first class. “Thanks to the courage from my instructors, classmates, and especially my husband,” Dandan said, “I gained much confidence. I am graduating with a GPA of 3.95 this semester.”

Hannah Buchanan
Hannah graduated from CWI in December 2018 with an Associate of Arts in Business, while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.866. Since then, she has attended her first semester at Boise State University majoring in Accounting. She chose Accounting not because it was a subject she knew and understood, but because it was something she could learn to know and understand. While at CWI, an influential accounting professor helped Hannah develop a love for numbers and making things balance. Additionally, she completed an internship with the College’s Business Office.

For more information regarding the CWI Business Student of the Year award, contact Joe Welker at

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