Foundation scholarship winners plan inspiring careers as future CPAs

Written on May 16, 2017

By Jennifer Rieman, CAE, manager, public relations

If the recipients of The Ohio CPA Foundation’s 2017 scholarships are any indication, the future is certainly bright for the accounting profession. This spring, 25 students were awarded statewide scholarships and two were awarded the Clarke Price Accounting Scholarship to pursue degrees at colleges and universities statewide.

The College Scholarship Program provides $2,000 scholarships to students majoring in accounting with plans to sit for the CPA exam.

Andrew Kitay, a rising senior in the honors accounting program at The Ohio State University, plans to use his scholarship to finish his fourth year. Thanks to advanced placement credits earned during high school, Kitay will graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s of accounting in four years.

“The scholarship reminds me that my hard work and everything I’m doing is not going unnoticed,” Kitay said. “It really motivates me. If people are supporting me and my education, it’s only right that I work to the best of my ability, and pursue what I’ve set out for myself. I can’t express how grateful I am.”

John Grimm, a rising senior at the University of Dayton and a statewide scholarship winner, was at first resistant to majoring in accounting.

“My dad is a CPA and a controller for Howard Hanna,” he said. “Growing up I thought I never wanted to do that. But I took my first accounting class during freshman year and it just clicked, so I picked it up as my major along with a finance minor.”

Grimm has one public accounting internship under his belt, with plans for another this summer. He’ll stay at Dayton for his fifth year and MBA before sitting for the CPA exam in 2019.

“Dayton is a pretty expensive school and this scholarship lessens the burden,” Grimm said. “All students are worried about the price of college, so every little bit counts.”

Courtney Holloway, winner of the Clarke Price Accounting Scholarship, took a rather unusual path to accounting. An Air Force veteran with a background in Arabic linguistics, Holloway earned a bachelor’s in psychology post-military and worked in sales and fundraising for years before going back to school to pursue her MBA at the University of Cincinnati.

An influential professor convinced her to switch to a master’s of accounting, a choice she hasn’t regretted. After completing an internship at EY, she secured an offer from the firm and will start full-time after she graduates next spring and sits for the CPA exam.

Selecting a career the second time around was all about making an intentional move that would benefit not only Holloway, but her family too.

“I have a sense of what I want,” she said. “I’ve been in the workplace and I know that having this technical skill is a better path for the rest of my career.”

Like many students, Holloway didn’t enjoy math as a kid. The idea of majoring in accounting sounded intimidating and scary. After discovering that much of the material is logic-based, she noticed a connection to her first career as an Arabic linguist.

“Applying logic to information – that makes it similar,” she said. “Accounting is just enough of a challenge to keep me engaged. I feel like even after I finish my degree and sit for the CPA, I still have a lot of learning left to do.”

The value of an accounting degree and the CPA credential rings true to Kitay as well, and played heavily in his decision to pursue the major.

“I started to realize from that first accounting class just how much accounting is the language of business,” he said. “I am someone who looks for a holistic understanding of things, so I realized no matter what I do later on, that accounting is going to give me the best background.”

With plans to eventually start his own financial planning practice, Kitay thinks the CPA credential will be invaluable.

“The technical knowledge that the CPA requires, the high standards and the ethics—those values are going to help me a lot with my career goals,” he said.

A gift to The Ohio CPA Foundation’s Annual Fund Campaign will support initiatives such as the scholarship program. To make a contribution or see the complete list of 2017 scholarship recipients, go to www.ohiocpafoundation.org.

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