The Illinois CPA Society and its affiliated CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois recognized the 12th and largest group of young people to date to complete its Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program.
This highly competitive program aims to prepare promising Illinois-based racial and ethnic minority college students who are interested in pursuing a career in accounting with the skills necessary to get their first accounting positions and ultimately pursue the CPA credential.
The three-day, virtual program occurred last week, Jan. 3-5, 2024. During the online session, a diverse group of scholars and prospective CPAs got customized training, access to interviews, CPA exam guidance, and more. Some of the highlights of the sessions included motivational speeches and insightful panel discussions, resume and LinkedIn profile advice, interview coaching, and opportunities to network with other diverse accounting students and professionals.
The scholars also got a chance to do sessions and interviews with representatives from Abbott, Baker Tilly US, Crowe, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Forvis, Grant Thornton, Hyatt Hotels, KPMG, McDonald’s, Northern Trust, PwC, Sikich, Topel Forman and Wipfli. All the participants received $500 scholarships to help with educational expenses. In addition, through a partnership with the University of Illinois, they had the chance to interview for a free tuition and stipend scholarship for the university’s master of accounting science program.
“We remain dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the CPA profession, and the ongoing expansion and enhancement of this crucial program continues to be a top priority,” said Kari L. Natale, vice president of the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois, in a statement Tuesday. “This impressive cohort represents the future of the CPA profession. It was a privilege to get to know them, observing as they conquered common barriers and gained the courage and skills necessary to become the best versions of themselves.”
The program, which has welcomed 338 alumni, is funded by donations to the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois’ Mary T. Washington Wylie Opportunity Fund, which honors Washington Wylie’s legacy as a trailblazer in the accounting profession. She was a Chicagoan and Northwestern University graduate who founded her own accounting practice in a South Side Chicago basement in 1939 and became the first Black female CPA in the United States in 1943. She made it her life’s mission to hire and mentor aspiring Black CPAs.
The 41 scholars from this year’s class include:
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