Accounting student named Outstanding Undergraduate at MSU-Meridian

Contact:  Lisa Sollie Shawna Marceleno of Meridian is MSU-Meridian’s 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the Division of Business. (Photo by Lisa Sollie)

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Shawna Marceleno was 17 years old when she set her sights on earning an undergraduate degree in accounting. She took a nontraditional path, but nearly two decades later, she is receiving a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from Mississippi State and being named Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the Division of Business. She will be recognized at MSU-Meridian’s May 2 commencement.

A Meridian native, Marceleno moved to Florida after high school. She studied accounting, taking community college classes when she could as she moved several times before returning to Meridian in 2012.

“A few years after I moved back, I got married and had a little girl, and life got in the way,” she said. “Five years later while working as an insurance agent, I saw an opportunity to go back to school, and I took it.”

Marceleno finished her last prerequisite class at Meridian Community College in 2017 and enrolled at MSU-Meridian that fall.

“It has been a really great experience here, and I’ve loved it,” she said. “The professors are awesome, and not just inside the classroom, but outside as well. They are willing to do anything they can to help you—whether it’s figuring out the direction you want to go in your career or introducing you to local business professionals—even helping you find a job.”

Marceleno also credits MSU-Meridian’s Collegiate DECA organization and faculty adviser Stacey Reynolds McNeil. Also an associate clinical professor of management, McNeil played a critical role in Marceleno’s professional development and growth.       

“One of my classmates, Steven Miller, who was president of our DECA chapter at the time, urged me to get involved and it has really stretched me. Dr. McNeil has pushed me hard to reach the next level and achieve the goals I’ve set for myself,” Marceleno said. “If it wasn’t for her and my accounting professors, Dr. Ennis and Dr. Faello, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

This summer, Marceleno will start the Professional Master of Business Administration program at MSU-Meridian and sit for the CPA exam this fall. She recently was elected vice president of MSU-Meridian’s Collegiate DECA for 2019-2020.

“I’m super excited about graduating this May and having this part of my journey done after so many years, but I still have more goals to achieve,” Marceleno said.  

“I know it will be hard, but I do my best work under pressure. And, thankfully, I have a great support system in my husband and daughter who have pitched in over the years to help do the housework and cook since I’ve either been at work, class or doing homework,” she said. “I can see the light—I just have to keep going a little longer, and then I can rest.”

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