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Problem-solving skills is something that Shelby O’Dell has developed as a student at East Central University.

It has also enhanced her scholastic growth and has set her on a path of being named a member of ECU’s prestigious Business Scholars Program. She was recently selected for the exclusive program for not only her solid academic achievements, but her ability to show leadership skills in a manner of being an extension of the university’s faculty through the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business.

“As a student taking intermediate accounting I can testify that the homework and exams are very difficult,” O’Dell said. “Taking this class and other accounting courses have forced me to develop problem-solving skills that are useful in every area of my life. These courses have helped me develop a determination to continue working on something difficult until I find the right solution.”

Leadership skills through Business Scholars Program are developed by virtue of being an event volunteer such as assisting with career fairs, professional trips and student/faculty recruiting activities. Additionally, these students are department hosts or hostesses for professionals who visit the programs and for prospective students visiting campus. They also serve as mentors, providing leadership for the Business Leaders Association (BLA) student organization and working with the younger ECU students in the Freshmen Scholars Program.

Students must have at least a 3.50 grade-point average before entering the program and must maintain at least a 3.25 each semester to remain in the program. They must also be active in BLA by attending meetings and holding positions of responsibility. Besides being on campus for two or more years, the Business Scholars must be able to volunteer for special projects in the School of Business, participate in the Dean’s Leadership Council, be willing to travel during assigned trips and, once they graduate, give back to the program after graduation as Alumni of Business Scholars.

In achieving Business Scholar status, O’Dell has also gained valuable work experience at Kellogg & Sovereign, LLC in Ada, doing accounting work for the company.

“Much of what we have covered in my accounting courses applies to what I am doing now,” O’Dell said. “My communications class was also very helpful because it gave me guidelines for what the proper etiquette is when working in an office. The MIS courses I have taken so far have also been very helpful for my job. Without knowledge of Excel, I could not do my job.”

In garnering leadership and service skills, O’Dell was making an impact as a Turner High School student. She served a vice president of FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) local chapter and introduced young children to the Little Dribblers program in order to raise money and introduce them to the game of basketball.

“We had practices with them after school, two nights a week, for several weeks. While I was helping run the program, I got to know many of the kids very well,” said O’Dell. “I tried my best to not only help them with their ball-handling skills, but to be a positive role model for them. The kids really enjoyed this program and we were able to raise several hundred dollars for our chapter. The money went to things like going to the state convention and to a food drive we participated in every year.”

Though she doesn’t have a specific idea of what she wants for her career, she does have some plans in obtaining her accounting degree and then a master’s degree in accounting of finance as well as getting her CPA.

“I am considering being an auditor, owning my own business or going on to law school,” O’Dell said. “I think that will be a decision that I make when I am further along in my education and I have a better idea of what each of these careers would be like.”



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