When it came time to choose her Monmouth College Honors Program capstone project, Anna Bradac didn’t just want to write a “long thesis paper.” Instead, the senior from Batavia “wrote the book” on policies and procedures for the college’s business office.
“When I heard that the business office needed someone to do this project, I was like, ‘Pick me!’” said Bradac, an accounting major with a minor in business. “Part of being an accountant and being in business has to do with being organized. Some of this information already existed, but it was in different places, and some of it hadn’t been written yet. Once I got all the information together, I had to figure out the best order to put it in.”
Bradac worked on the project – which she referred to as “the internal controls of the business office” – from the third week of the fall semester all the way through the day before Reading Day, which was the date of her project presentation. She interviewed more than a half-dozen members of the department to get their input. One of them, student account manager Ronda Willhardt, provided valuable assistance as a content editor familiar with the necessary language.
Bradac said there were about 30 policies at the beginning, and the new document contains about 70. When he actually had the document in hand at Bradac’s presentation, Honors Program coordinator Craig Watson was impressed.
“He told me, ‘This is a dense document,’” said Bradac of the 82-page manual.
“Anna took on a daunting task and handled the complexities of assignment and organization of the manual with intelligence, maturity and amazing determination,” said Watson. “Hers has been the fourth or fifth senior honors project whose focus on public scholarship for the benefit of the college community has produced excellent results. In many ways her project was perhaps the most logistically involved and challenging.”
Watson provided the final grade, but the opinion of the business office was just as important.
“Anna devoted a lot of time to our project,” said controller Debbie Clark. “It was a wonderful experience to work with her. Her dedication and communication skills provided us with a very useful tool.”
The manual is also a tool for Bradac herself as she attempts to find employment after her graduation in May. She has reached the second interview stage with an accounting firm in Chicago, and one of her interviewers remarked that he was very impressed by the manual and the work Bradac put into it.
If she does indeed get the job, it would start in the fall, completing a very busy and exciting period in Bradac’s life. First, of course, is the final two months of her Monmouth College education, which will culminate with receiving her bachelor’s degree on May 15. The very next day, she will begin classes at Waubonsee Community College in Aurora as she accumulates the final classroom hours of the 150 required to sit for the certified public accountant's exam.
When those hours are completed in late July, her wedding plans will take center stage. Bradac will marry 2010 Monmouth graduate Walker Filip on Oct. 8.
There’s no word yet on the honeymoon site, but Bradac already had one trip of a lifetime thanks to Monmouth College. She spent one semester of her junior year on the Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s London & Florence Program. That counted as the art appreciation portion of her Honors Program requirements. In London, she saw 15 theatre shows in eight weeks and visited several museums. She was also exposed to many of the great art museums in Florence, Rome and Venice.
Two other special courses that Bradac took were “New York: Portrait of a City,” taught by sociology and anthropology professor Petra Kuppinger, and “Mind, Brain and Behavior,” taught by assistant professor of psychology Marsha Dopheide.
When not involved in her coursework, Bradac is active in Kappa Kappa Gamma women’s fraternity, having served as its public relation chair. She is also in Blue Key and is a member of Colleges Against Cancer.
Bradac said she was originally selected for the Honors Program during her first semester on campus through a recommendation from her “Introduction to Liberal Arts” professor, Stacy Cordery.
What Bradac noticed immediately in her first Honors Program course was that “everyone was participating in the discussion. Everyone wanted to be there. I wasn’t the only leader of discussions.”
She concluded, “The Honors Program pushed me to a higher level. It gave me the confidence that I can do over and above the normal college experience.”