UAS is proud to announce Karen Quitslund as the spring 2012 recipient of the Ellis Award for Outstanding Students in Business and Accounting.
Quitsland, originally from Fairport, N.Y., attended State University of New York at Buffalo in 1986. After majoring in Finance and Information Technology, she found she didn’t have the GPA to graduate. “I was done with college at that point,” Quitslund said. “I wanted to travel; so that’s what I did.”
Twenty years later, Quitslund, feeling a gnawing regret at not finishing her degree, decided to go back to school.
“I enrolled in the University of Alaska’s School of Management. I also knew that I wanted to study accounting; it was one of my favorite classes in high school and still is 25 years later,” she said “It has taken me five years to graduate with my BBA in Accounting and it was worth every minute!” she said.
A resident of Petersburg, Quitslund loves the flexibility and options with distance learning.
“There were certain classes that were more challenging than others and I was in contact with the professors frequently,” she said. “I was pleased that they each were very responsive to my questions and helpful in talking me through my questions and problems.”
Quitslund thanks her family, without whom she said she never could have completed her degree.
“Many nights they were troopers when I would say, ‘I didn’t have time to get anything together for dinner, how do you all feel about burritos?’ And their enthusiastic answer of ‘We love burritos’ made me feel so much better about spending so much time on my studies.”
She also thanks the numerous organizations that helped with scholarships, including Icicle Seafoods, Petersburg Economic Development Council, Southeast Conference and the Mabel Crawford Memorial Scholarship.
In July 2011, Quitslund was hired as the Finance Director for Petersburg City Schools.
“My education at UAS has prepared me well for the job responsibilities,” she said. “I am very fortunate to be using my knowledge and skills in my profession.”
“You couldn’t have made a better choice than Karen Quitslund as Outstanding Student in Accounting. I’ve been waiting 35 years to hire a Director of Finance of her caliber.” said Dr. Robert Thomason, Superintendent, Petersburg City School District