CWI Business Alums Earn Top Honors

Published: December 18, 2023

Congratulations to College of Western Idaho (CWI) Business alumni, Annika Kempnich and Maranda Barnhart, who were recently awarded top honors from Boise State University’s College of Business and Economics (COBE).

Kempnich was selected as the COBE Outstanding Graduate and graduated from the University with a bachelor’s in Accountancy in December 2023. To be a COBE Outstanding Graduate, students must have an excellent academic record and contribute to their classes, departments, college, and university. One student is selected from each of the College's bachelor and master programs for each graduation ceremony.

Originally from Frankfurt, Germany, Kempnich came to Idaho in 2016 as part of a high school exchange student program. She decided to continue her education in the U.S. and moved back to the Gem State in 2019 where she enrolled in CWI.

Kempnich graduated from the College with her Associate of Arts in Business in 2022.  Some of her favorite memories at the College were in Associate Professor of Accounting, Joe Welker’s, Introduction to Financial Accounting (ACCT 201) and Introduction to Managerial Accounting (ACCT 202) courses.

“I always appreciated his real-life experience and expertise, which made his classes very relatable and informational,” Kempnich said. “I have never regretted this decision and have now successfully graduated with my bachelor's in Accounting. Because of CWI, I am more confident, and knowledgeable and can eventually start a successful career in accounting.”

Kempnich will continue her education at Boise State as part of COBE’s master’s in Accountancy program. She plans to one day complete the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam and begin a career in accounting.

Barnhart was honored with the Signature Student Award for the Finance program. The Signature Student awards are given to exceptional students in each program twice a year. A COBE Signature Student has a passion for learning, effective communication, critical thinking, ethical behavior, strong leadership, and community engagement.

A Boise native, Barnhart earned her Associate of Arts in General Business in 2021 before transferring to Boise State to study Finance and Accounting. Some of her favorite memories at CWI were the help she received in her math classes from Math Solutions Center Support Faculty, Kate Orduno, which helped her build a solid foundation and apply the skills to her Accounting and Finance courses.

“Since then, I have loved math, even through Calculus and Statistics,” said Barnhart. “This experience helped bring me so much confidence and taught me not to let my fears or life challenges control me.”

Barnhart is also thankful for the guidance from Welker, who helped her understand and enjoy Accounting as well as introduced her to Finance.

“Joe's passion for teaching and investment in me as a student, and even in my career, helped me become more excited about continuing to learn about Accounting and Finance.”

Barnhart is currently a Financial Planning intern at Aspen Capital Management and is set to graduate from COBE in May 2024. Upon graduation, she would like to pursue a career as a Financial Advisor to help others when it comes to their retirement and reaching their financial goals.    

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