AICPA Announces 2016 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop Graduates

Three Day Program Aims to Increase Diversity, Strengthen Pipeline

June 16, 2016

New York (June 16, 2016) – The American Institute of CPAs is pleased to announce that approximately 90 students have completed the 2016 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop (ASLW) program. The three-day program is designed to strengthen their professional skills, help them prepare for the CPA Exam and begin their careers as CPAs.

ASLW is an annual, all-expenses-paid program, open to ethnic minorities who exemplify both a strong desire to complete the CPA Exam and an interest in exploring the career options accounting offers. The AICPA Foundation covers the participants travel, hotel accommodations and meals. This was the 22nd year the AICPA has held the ASLW program. This year’s class had an average GPA of 3.6.

At this year’s ASLW, themed “The CPA Profession: A Field of Dreams,” students learned about the path to becoming a CPA and strengthened their existing skill set while creating connections with like-minded peers. The students represented a diverse range of schools and backgrounds from across the United States and Puerto Rico.

“I was honored to be selected for the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop. During the program, we discussed careers in accounting and learned about burgeoning issues in the profession,” said Ola Adenekan, a 2016 ASLW graduate who recently graduated from Syracuse University and is currently an MSA student at the University of Virginia. “Brainstorming ideas with CPA leaders at ASLW gave my fellow students and I great insight into the profession and additional motivation to pass the CPA Exam.”

Speakers included Belicia Cespedes, one of the youngest CPAs in the world, who is currently interning at PwC in forensic accounting and Frank Thomas, author of “RISE: Even Death Can’t Stop Me,” who was a previous vice president of The Ryland Group.

Attendees engaged in a variety of interactive panel discussions led by noteworthy speakers and accounting professionals covering topics including effective social media networking, business culture, strengths-based leadership, the lifestyle of a licensed CPA and changes to the CPA Examination. Activities provided guidance on developing effective LinkedIn profiles, techniques to navigate a company’s culture, and personal assessments of the attendees’ inherent strengths.

“The Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop has a long history of helping students through the process of earning their CPA license and preparing them for a career in the accounting profession,” said Kim Drumgo, AICPA director of diversity and inclusion and vice chair of the National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. “Many of the ASLW scholars have questions about the CPA Exam. ASLW offers them answers in the form of tools and knowledge that give them the confidence they need to prepare for the Exam.”

Eligible candidates for ASLW include ethnic minority sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students with majors in accounting, finance or tax, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Typically, candidates have the intention of obtaining their CPA qualifications, show active involvement in both campus and community life, and hold a membership with the Student Affiliate Member of the AICPA; however, anyone with an interest in the program is encouraged to apply.

“ASLW is an example of the AICPA’s longstanding commitment to increasing diversity in the profession and strengthening the pipeline of accounting talent by drawing from the best and brightest students,” Drumgo added.

The list of the 2016 ASLW graduates is available on ThisWayToCPA.

For more information, or to apply for the Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop, visit

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