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Assistant Professor Jenny McGarry
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McGarry Honored With Quad Cities Core Values Commitment Award

November 18, 2021

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MOLINE, IL – Western Illinois University Assistant Professor Jenny McGarry has been chosen as the recipient of the WIU Quad Cities Core Values Commitment Award.

McGarry, a faculty member in WIU's Department of Finance, Economics and Decision Sciences, was presented with her award at a recent campus potluck. A nameplate for her honor will be installed on the award board on the third floor of the Quad Cities Complex.

The award recognizes McGarry's leadership in expanding the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, as the organization's faculty advisor. WIU-QC has a long history of partnering with the United Way Quad Cities to offer free tax preparation services on campus.

"Her efforts bringing together regional organizations, corporate partners and community leaders to impact our Quad Cities community, while also providing an exceptional learning opportunity for students, demonstrates exemplary commitment to all four of Western's core values, including academic excellence, educational opportunity, personal growth and social responsibility," said the selection committee.

Protocols in place because of COVID-19 did not allow the Quad Cities campus to be open as a tax-prep site this spring; however, WIU accounting students still actively served the community and gained valuable experience. In collaboration with Courtney Kay-Decker of Lane and Waterman, LLP, and McGarry's VITA team, WIU students established rigorous security standards and procedures, allowing them to prepare tax returns on campus securely.

COVID has also allowed WIU-QC students to expand their reach to surrounding communities, creating a new partnership with the with United Way of Adams County. One WIU-QC student this semester is assisting United Way clients while earning internship credit to use toward her degree.

"Although our participation in VITA looks much different than it has in previous years, students value the experience and are thrilled to continue offering free tax preparation in the community," said McGarry. "I am proud that our students have been flexible and innovative in the way that they have approached VITA this busy season. Protecting sensitive taxpayer information with new security procedures has been of utmost importance. Students have willingly embraced the new procedures and continue to serve the community despite challenges brought by COVID-19. The overall community impact that the VITA program makes is astounding."

The selection committee continues to include Quad Cities-based representatives from WIU-QC Faculty Council, the Council of Administrative Personnel and the Civil Service Employees Council. The selection committee includes Katherine Broughton, Quad Cities Faculty Council; Cameron Ruiz, Council of Administrative Personnel; Thomas Rosner, Civil Service Employees Council; and Assistant Vice President and Interim Administrator in Charge of the Quad Cities Campus Kristi Mindrup.

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