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Accounting & Audit

Illinois CPA Society Announces Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program Scholars

The Illinois CPA Society and its charitable partner, the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois, have announced the latest group of young aspiring professionals to complete its award-winning and highly competitive Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program.

The Illinois CPA Society and its charitable partner, the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois, have announced the latest group of young aspiring professionals to complete its award-winning and highly competitive Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program:

Full NameCollegeHometown
Brighet AkinnuwesiUniversity of Illinois at SpringfieldSpringfield, Ill.
Blessing ArthurBenedictine UniversityWoodridge, Ill.
Amanda BalabaIllinois Wesleyan UniversityLapu-Lapu, Philippines
Aisha BawanyDePaul UniversityMorton Grove, Ill.
Kelly BentonDePaul UniversityChicago
Agustina CortezLewis UniversityOrland Park, Ill.
Devin DeVryUniversity of IllinoisAurora, Ill.
Natalia EcheverriaRoosevelt UniversityChicago, Ill.
Janae FlemingKentucky State UniversityRichton Park, Ill.
Lauren FryeLoyola University ChicagoYpsilanti, Mich.
Aisha GarrettCollege of DuPageWest Chicago, Ill.
Dominique GayLoyola University ChicagoChicago
Kenyon HelmAurora UniversityAurora, Ill.
Cedric HolmesUniversity of IllinoisOlympia Fields, Ill.
Elsie KemigishaNorthern Illinois UniversitySchaumburg, Ill.
Tangela NoralsUniversity of IllinoisJoliet, Ill.
Pedro OcampoUniversity of St. FrancisBerwyn, Ill.
Odalys OchoaLewis UniversitySummit, Ill.
Michael OpokuSouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondale, Ill.
Rebecca OwusuUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoRomeoville, Ill.
Angela PanUniversity of IllinoisNaperville, Ill.
Aura PerezAurora UniversityMontgomery, Ill.
Adriana QuirozSaint Xavier UniversitySouth Holland, Ill.
Anna RambergAugustana CollegeCambridge, Minn.
Ja’Micah SawyerArrupe College of Loyola University ChicagoChicago
Shamak ShahCollege of DuPageWestmont, Ill.
Jonathan SilvaDePaul UniversityDes Plaines, Ill.
Destini SimonUniversity of IllinoisChicago
Helmut SoglohunIllinois State UniversityEast Moline, Ill.
Joi StricklandIllinois State UniversityBourbonnais, Ill.
Armani TubbsIllinois State UniversityChicago
Ernest WalkerGovernors State UniversityLansing, Ill.
Jarmekia WalkerSouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondale, Ill.
Tyrek WalkerMonmouth CollegeChicago
Romerion WilliamsUniversity of IllinoisCountry Club Hills, Ill.
Darius WrightUniversity of St. FrancisNorth Miami Beach, Fla.
Miguel ZavalaUniversity of IllinoisCicero, Ill.

The three-day, virtual program took place Jan. 4-6, 2023, where these racial and ethnic minority students received customized training to arm them with the skills needed to obtain accounting internships or full-time positions and ultimately pursue the CPA credential. Program highlights included motivational speeches, insightful panel discussions, resume and LinkedIn profile advice, interview coaching, CPA exam information, and opportunities to network with other diverse accounting students and professionals.

The scholars engaged in various sessions and interviews with representatives from Abbott, Baker Tilly LLP, Crowe LLP, Deloitte LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, FORVIS LLP, Grant Thornton LLP, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, KPMG LLP, Northern Trust Corporation, PwC LLP, Sikich LLP, Topel Forman LLC, and Wipfli LLP. Participants also received $500 scholarships to help with their educational expenses. Additionally, through a unique partnership with the University of Illinois, participants had the opportunity to interview for a free tuition and stipend scholarship for the Master of Accounting Science program.

“As we strive to do more to advance diversity in the CPA profession, this class of 37 scholars represents the largest cohort in the program’s 11-year history,” says Kari L. Natale, CAE, senior director of the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois. “It was an honor to get to know them and witness them grow and develop the skills needed to succeed in this competitive profession, overcome personal barriers, and gain the courage to be the best versions of themselves.”

The program is funded by donations to the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois’ Mary T. Washington Wylie Opportunity Fund, which honors her legacy. Mary T. Washington Wylie, a Chicagoan and Northwestern University graduate, began her own accounting practice in her South Side Chicago basement in 1939 and became the first Black female CPA in the United States in 1943. She is widely regarded as a trailblazer who made it her life’s mission to hire and mentor aspiring Black CPAs by fostering their development and supporting their careers.