By Deanna C. White
Theresa Yeboah has never had any doubts about her future. The Ghana native has always known she had a flair for numbers. She decided on her career path – to become a certified public accountant (CPA) – when she took her first business class as a high school junior in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The Georgia Society of CPAs (GSCPA) High School Residency Program (HSRP) cemented exactly where she wanted to put "the language of business" to work.
Yeboah was determined to become an auditor for one of the Big Four. Upon her December graduation from Georgia State University with a Master of Professional Accountancy, she has a job waiting for her at Deloitte.
"I have benefited tremendously from the scholarship," said Yeboah, who was awarded the scholarship three consecutive years. "The scholarship helped me to pay for school and my expenses so I did not have to work so much and could focus my attention on my studies and activities, like Beta Alpha Psi. It gave me more time to devote to my dream of becoming a CPA."
This fall, Yeboah was just one of seventy-eight accounting students from thirty-six states across the country awarded the AICPA Scholarship for Minority Students for the 2011-2012 academic year. AICPA officials say recipients are selected based on academic achievement, a demonstration of leadership and volunteerism, and an overall commitment to becoming a CPA.
This year there were 272 eligible applicants, a major increase from previous years. Scholarship recipients included students in both undergraduate and graduate accounting degree programs who maintained a minimum grade point average of 3.3.
Adilene Mercado, an accounting major at the University of Washington in Seattle, said, "Being an AICPA scholarship recipient is an honor that will provide me with opportunities my parents never had. The scholarship is helping me live my dream of being the first in my family to go to college and, ultimately, to use my education to give back to my community."
Rick Hernandez, a senior accounting major at the University of Connecticut, said, "To be honest, this scholarship means everything to me. My parents are trying their best to put me and my sister through college right now, which is no easy feat, so I try to do everything I can to help them. The scholarship helped pay for all of my books and most of my board for this semester."
Scholarship funding is provided by the AICPA Foundation, with contributions from the Accounting Education Foundation of the Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA), the New Jersey Society of CPAs (NJSCPA), and Robert Half International. Each student receives an individual award ranging from $1,500 to $3,000.
The following students were among those selected for designated awards:
Stuart Kessler Scholarship
Scott Williams, University of Southern California
New Jersey Society of CPAs
Elaine Gil, Rutgers University
Iram Khan, Rider University
Robert Half International
Christopher Sanchez, University of Connecticut
Accounting Education Foundation of the Texas Society of CPAs
Stephanie Aranda, Southern Methodist University
Joston Benton, Southern Methodist University
Adlith Castillo, University of Houston
Loren Dailey, Texas A&M University
Jaleesa Frank, University of Houston
Joneesha Henderson, University of Texas at Dallas
James Henshall, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Ryan Macia, University of Texas at Austin
Minchau Nguyen, University of Houston
Robin Simon, University of Texas at Austin
Carolyn Solorzano, University of Texas at Austin
The application deadline for the 2012-2013 scholarship is April 1, 2012.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
, founded in 1887, is the world's largest association representing the accounting profession, with nearly 377,000 members in 128 countries. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education, and consulting. Membership is also available to accounting students and CPA candidates. The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for audits of private companies; nonprofit organizations; and federal, state, and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination.