AICPA Announces 2017 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop Graduates

Three-Day Invitational Program Increases Minority Student’s Knowledge of the Accounting Profession

June 19, 2017

New York (June 19, 2017) – The American Institute of CPAs is pleased to announce that 98 students have graduated from the 2017 Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop (ASLW) program. The three-day program, which was held this May in Houston, was designed to strengthen the students' professional and networking skills, and help them prepare for the CPA Exam.

ASLW is an annual, all-expenses-paid program, open to ethnic minorities who demonstrate a strong desire to complete the CPA Exam and an interest in pursuing a career in accounting. The AICPA Foundation covers the participants travel, hotel accommodations and meals. This was the 23rd year that the AICPA has held the ASLW program, which emphasizes the variety of opportunities that the CPA profession provides and how to make a positive difference through leadership development. The students represent a diverse range of backgrounds from colleges and universities all across the United States and Puerto Rico.

At this year’s ASLW, students learned about the process and best practices for taking and passing the CPA exam while developing their leadership skills. ASLW attendees networked with leaders in the profession, while making valuable connections with their peers. Feedback from attendee’s pre and post-conference demonstrated an increase in students who said that they understand the scope of careers that are available to accounting graduates.

That knowledge was gleaned content shared by the program speakers included Jina Etienne, CPA, president and CEO of the National Association of Black Accountants Inc., Julie Ho, CPA, partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP's Cyber Risk Services Practice, and Billy Williams, CPA, Partner in Audit at KPMG, among many other leaders in the profession.

“It was truly amazing to be around other individuals at ASLW who share similar careers goals, but have different viewpoints and life stories,” said Alantra Jackson, a master’s of science in accounting candidate at Texas A&M – Commerce and 2017 ASLW graduate.  “I am thankful for the opportunity provided to me by the AICPA and ready to tackle my last semester of graduate school and pass the CPA exam.”

Attendees engaged in a variety of interactive and stimulating panel discussions led by experts in the profession. Topics included the culture of business, smart money decisions, social media networking, personal branding, the life of a CPA, and understanding unconscious bias.

For the first time, this year’s ASLW ran concurrently with the Accounting Diversity Pipeline Symposium, which engages professionals, educators and state societies in conversations on the progress, research and future opportunities that will increase the pipeline of minorities in the profession. Both the ASLW and the Symposium shared the theme “Defying Gravity: The CPA Profession." Having the programs co-located allowed the students and professionals to interact with each other and share information in a relaxed atmosphere.

Keynote speakers at the symposium included John O'Leary, a highly acclaimed motivational speaker and bestselling author; and Trudy Bourgeois, an expert on corporate mentoring and leadership development who is the founder and CEO of the Center for Workforce Excellence.

“The Accounting Scholars Leadership Workshop is one of the many AICPA programs that aims to increase diversity in the profession and expand the pipeline of talented CPAs. The workshop plays a crucial role in providing talented minority students with the tools and support they need to earn their CPA license,” said Kim Drumgo, AICPA director of diversity and inclusion initiatives and vice chair of the National Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. “The addition of the Accounting Profession Diversity Pipeline Symposium this year served to deepen the relationship between these students and key stakeholders in the profession that they are working towards joining.”

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.

The list of the 2017 ASLW graduates is available online at ThisWayToCPA.

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

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