Finance major awarded 2009 McGowan Scholarship

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Single mom to take on bad practices that led to the recession

Recent graduate Stephanie Richardson will be The University of Tulsa's 2009–2010 McGowan Scholar, a national recognition that provides funding for one year of tuition up to $18,000.

Richardson will use the McGowan award to begin her joint degree in finance and applied mathematics in preparation for a career in risk management.

A native of Tulsa, Richardson has balanced a rigorous undergraduate schedule and leadership in student groups with “full-time motherhood.”

“The balance is rarely easy, but the reward is well worth it,” Richardson said. “The motivation my daughter brings to me and my love for learning have been enough to get me through the hard times. I want my daughter to grow up with the understanding that a strong work ethic and a good education are the necessary tools to accomplish her dreams.”

Her undergraduate finance classes at TU sparked Richardson’s interest in mathematics and finance. But current market conditions and international events led her to pursue a career in financial risk management.

“Lack of proper risk management procedures has led not only our own country, but also much of the world, into a recession,” Richardson said. “I want to help prevent this from happening again.”

In addition to her hectic academic and personal schedule, Richardson served as chairperson for the membership and public relations committee of TU’s Student Investment Fund. She created and distributed marketing materials, gave presentations to each finance class, contacted local businessmen to speak to classes and created a stock picking game for business students in order to create interest in the Student Investment Fund.

Now she looks forward to earning a graduate degree to open up more opportunities for her and her daughter.

“Receiving this scholarship reinforces my belief that you can work through tough circumstances and prevail,” Richardson said. “It also inspires me to excel in my studies and to work towards making meaningful contributions to the business world, and perhaps someday being able to provide similar help to someone else.”

The William G. McGowan Scholars Program partners with select universities with an accredited business program to honor one business undergraduate or graduate student on an annual basis. TU has awarded six consecutive scholarships since 2004 with scholars coming from Venezuela, Kenya, China and the United States.

The McGowan Scholars program began in 1994 and is funded by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund. The fund was established to commemorate the accomplishments of McGowan, who founded MCI Communications and led the company until his death in 1992. As a student, he built upon a working-class upbringing in Pennsylvania coal country, worked his way through an undergraduate degree at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and attended Harvard Business School, where his second year was funded by a Baker Scholarship. His experience led him to establish the McGowan Scholars Program.

Amethyst Cavallaro