AICPA Recognizes Top 2018 CPA Exam Performers with Elijah Watt Sells Award

110 CPA candidates qualified for the award

April 11, 2019

NEW YORK (April 11, 2019) - The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) today announced the 110 winners of the 2018 Elijah Watt Sells Award. To qualify for the award, CPA candidates must obtain a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, pass all four sections on their first attempt and have completed testing in 2018.

Nearly 86,000 individuals sat for the CPA Exam in 2018 with 110 candidates meeting the criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

“Winning the Sells Award is an extremely impressive accomplishment for any CPA candidate,” said Mike Decker, American Institute of CPAs vice president of examinations. “The CPA Exam is a rigorous assessment and these candidates are commended for an exceptional performance that very few individuals achieve.”

The Elijah Watt Sells Award program was established by the AICPA in 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA Exam. Sells, one of the first CPAs in the U.S., was active in the establishment of the AICPA and played a key role advancing professional education within the profession.

The AICPA, which owns and scores the CPA Exam, works with hundreds of volunteers and other stakeholders to maintain its relevance to the profession and alignment with the knowledge and skills required of a newly licensed CPA. To support candidates along their journey, the AICPA provides a wealth of information and tools, including the CPA Exam Blueprints, sample tests and tutorial topics, and the recently published CPA Exam Booklet enhanced with augmented reality features.

The individuals listed below are the 2018 Sells Award winners in alphabetical order, followed by their board of accountancy affiliation, education and present employer: 

Kelsey M. Alexander (Colorado), a graduate of University of Colorado Boulder with a BS in Business Administration and MS in Accounting, is employed with KPMG in Denver, Colorado.

Ruicheng Richard Bai (California), a graduate of University of California, Berkeley with a BS in Business Administration and a BA in Statistics, is employed with Deloitte Tax LLP in San Francisco, California.

Hayden C. Bauer (Kansas), a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Accountancy and a Master of Accountancy from the University of Arkansas is employed with KPMG in Chicago, Illinois.

Michelle Bauer (Washington), a graduate of University of Washington with a BABA in Accounting and Information Systems, is employed with Moss Adams LLP in Seattle, Washington.

Bridget J. Bauman (Texas), a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting & Business Honors and Master of Science in Accounting, is employed with Bray International, Inc., in Houston, Texas.

Alice M. Begovich (Virginia), a graduate of The University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Master of Accountancy from The University of Tennessee is employed with Deloitte Tax LLP in McLean, Virginia.

Mary Kate Breese (Pennsylvania), a graduate of Grove City College with a BS in Accounting and in Finance is employed with Felix and Gloekler, P.C. in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Asher Brown (Oklahoma), a graduate of The University of Oklahoma with a BBA in Accounting and Masters of Accountancy is employed with Grant Thornton, LLP in Oklahoma City, OK.

Matthew Brooks (Texas), a graduate of Brigham Young University with a BA in French Studies and a MS in Accounting from The University of Texas at Dallas is employed with Deloitte Tax, LLP in Dallas, Texas.

John Browning (New York), a graduate of University of North Carolina at Asheville with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in Economics; and Master of Science in Accountancy from Wake Forest University, is employed with KPMG in New York, NY.

Katherine Brunt (Texas), a graduate of Texas A&M University with a BBA in Accounting and Business Honors and a Masters of Financial Management is employed with EY, LLP in Dallas, Texas.

Emily Buzby (Florida), a graduate of the University of Florida with a BS in Accounting and MS in Accounting, is employed with KPMG in Jacksonville, Florida.

Guillermo Andrew Casay (Maryland), a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with a BS in Accounting and Finance is employed with the FDIC in Arlington, VA.

Joseph S. Cassata (Illinois), a graduate of DePaul University with a BSC in Accounting and Management, is employed with Wellen Capital in Chicago, IL.

Jamie Castor (Texas), a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Mathematics and Sports Management and an Advanced Technical Certificate in Accounting from Austin Community College, is employed with EY, LLP in Houston, TX.

Michaela K. Christian (Iowa), a graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Bachelor of Science in Finance, is employed with RSM US LLP in Des Moines, IA.

Nathan Claflin (Wisconsin), a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a BBA in Accounting, is employed with EY in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Margaret Collins (North Carolina), a graduate of Wake Forest University with a BS in Accounting and MS in Accountancy employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Douglas Coons (Nebraska), a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame is employed with Deloitte in Omaha, Nebraska.

Clare Creighton (North Carolina), a graduate of Rice University with a Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Sciences and Master of Accountancy from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is employed with Richey May & Co. in Charlotte, NC.

Christopher D’Agostino (Michigan), a graduate of Walsh College with a bachelor’s degree in accounting is employed with Rehmann in Troy, Michigan.

Thomas Deal (Oregon), a graduate of Santa Clara University with a BS in Accountancy is employed with KPMG LLP in Portland, OR.

William Joseph Donohue III (Ohio), a graduate of The Ohio State University with a BSBA in Marketing and Master of Accountancy from Cleveland State University is employed with KeyBank in Cleveland, Ohio.

Michael Dougherty (Florida), a graduate of The University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Accounting from The University of Florida (if applicable) is employed with Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP in Jacksonville, Florida.

Gogo Duale (California), a graduate of Aston University with a BSc in Economics and Management, an MSc in African Development from the London School of Economics and a Certificate in Accounting from UCLA Extension is employed with KPMG in Los Angeles, California.

Jesse Eles (Connecticut), a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a BS in Accounting is employed with Ernst & Young in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Timothy Fallon (Alaska), a graduate of University of Wisconsin – La Crosse with a BS in Accountancy, is employed with KPMG LLP in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Sijie (Jessie) Fang (Illinois), a graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BS in Accounting and Marketing and MS in Accounting, is employed with KPMG in Chicago, Illinois.

Marielle Fesmire (California), a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a BA in Business Economics is employed with PwC, LLP in Los Angeles, CA.

Stephen Flessner (Maryland), a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park with a BS in Accounting and a BS in Finance is employed with EY, LLP in Baltimore, MD.

Brian P. Frey (District of Columbia; Virginia), a graduate of the University of Maryland with a BS in Accounting and a BS in Information Systems, is employed with KPMG LLP in Washington, DC.

Amy Fursa (Minnesota), a graduate of College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University with a BA in Accounting is employed with Ernst & Young, LLP in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Natalie Gilbert (Texas), a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Accounting and a Masters in Professional Accounting, is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Houston, Texas.

Sanyam Goel (New Hampshire), a graduate of Delhi University with a Bachelor of Commerce, is employed at Shyam Goel and Associates in New Delhi.

Katherine Griesemer (Tennessee), a graduate of Lee University with a BS in Accounting and Finance and is employed with Unity Dance Troupe in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Johnathan Grimaldi (New York), a graduate of Boston College Carroll School of Management with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance is employed with PwC in New York, New York.

Alex Gunnerson (Oregon), a graduate of Brigham Young University with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting and Masters of Taxation (also Brigham Young University) is employed with KPMG in Portland, Oregon.

Wesley Davis Guymon (California), a graduate of Utah Valley University with a BS in Accounting and MS in Accounting from Southern Utah University, is employed with CVF Capital Partners in Davis, California.

Caleb Guzman (Texas), a graduate of Texas A&M University with a BBA in Accounting and MS in Accounting is employed with EY, LLP in Houston, Texas.

Justin Henry (Wisconsin), a graduate of University of Wisconsin - Whitewater with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting and Masters of Professional Accountancy from University of Wisconsin - Whitewater (if applicable) is employed with CliftonLarsonAllen in Madison, WI.

Tori Hardiek (Indiana), a graduate of Butler University with a BS and MS in Accounting, is employed with Somerset CPAs and Advisors in Indianapolis, IN.

Lauren Heller (Hawaii), a graduate of Rice University with a B.A. in Mathematical Economic Analysis and Master of Accounting is employed with J.P. Morgan in Houston, Texas.

Sarah Henderson (West Virginia), a graduate of University of Charleston with a BS in Accounting and Finance is employed with Suttle & Stalnaker, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia.

Nathan Herrmann (Colorado), a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a B.S. and M.S. in Accounting, is employed with KPMG, LLP in Denver, CO.

Adam Heussner (Minnesota), a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a BBA in Accounting, is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

James P. Hodson (Pennsylvania), a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Accounting and Finance, is employed with EY in Philadelphia, PA.

Timothy Hubner (Illinois), a graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor’s in Accounting and a Bachelor’s in Finance and is employed with KPMG in Chicago, Illinois.

Brenden Hull (Georgia), a graduate of the University of Georgia with a BBA in Accounting and International Business and a Master of Accountancy, is employed with CohnReznick LLP in Atlanta, Georgia.

Michael Janenko (Pennsylvania), a graduate of DeSales University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Finance and MBA from DeSales University is employed with Olympus America Inc in Center Valley, PA.

Laura Elise Jones (Texas), a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Master in Professional Accounting is employed with KPMG in Dallas, Texas.

Szu Yin Chen Keen (Oregon), a graduate of National Chiao-Tung University with a BA in Management Science and MBA from Willamette University is employed with Doty, Pruett, Wilson PC in Salem, Oregon.

Minjae Kim (Texas), a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Accounting/Business Honors Program and Master in Professional Accounting, is employed with Analysis Group in Dallas, Texas.

Michael Kimble (Kentucky), a graduate of University of Louisville with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Accounting from William & Mary, is employed with BKD CPAs & Advisors in Louisville, KY.

Mizuki Kio (California), a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a BA in Business Economics is employed with Deloitte Tax, LLP in Los Angeles, California.

Katherine Kress (Wisconsin), a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a BBA in Accounting, is employed with CliftonLarsonAllen LLP in Appleton, WI.

Collin Kuntz (Missouri), a graduate of Truman State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master’s in Accountancy is employed with Bayer in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mike Lamers (Wisconsin), a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BBA in Accounting and Finance, is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Nathaniel Levy AZ, a graduate of Northern Arizona University with a Bachelors of Accountancy and Master of Business Administration (Accounting focus) from Northern Arizona University is employed with KPMG in Phoenix, Arizona.

Xiaoxuan Li (California), a graduate of UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics, is employed with Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Los Angeles, California.

Corey Lockridge (Tennessee), a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Economics and a Master of Accountancy, is employed with PwC in Atlanta, GA.

Michael Lundberg (Utah), a graduate of Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Master of Accountancy Degree from Brigham Young University is employed with Grant Thornton LLP in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Benjamin C. Lyford (Missouri), a graduate of Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and Master of Accountancy from Missouri State University is employed with BKD LLP in Springfield, Missouri.

Ziheng Ma (New York), a graduate of Hainan University with a BS in Accounting and a MS in Accounting from Fordham University, is employed with KCH & Co., P.C. in New York, NY.

Matthew Maley (Minnesota), a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BBA in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy is employed with General Mills in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Philip Mann (Texas), a graduate of Texas A&M University with a BBA in Accounting and MS in Accounting is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Fort Worth, Texas.

Caleb Martin (Indiana), a graduate of IUPUI with a BSB in Accounting, Finance, and International Studies, is employed with Katz, Sapper & Miller, LLP in Indianapolis, IN.

Jennifer Mason (Arizona), a graduate of University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Accounting and Master of Science in Accountancy from University of Phoenix is employed with Kindly Care, Inc. in Gilbert, Arizona.

Ashley McDowell (Colorado), a graduate of University of Nebraska – Lincoln with a BS in Accounting and a Master of Professional Accountancy is employed with BKD, LLP in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Jake McElmury (Minnesota), a graduate of University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a BSB in Accounting and Finance, is employed with Deloitte in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ryan McMillen (Illinois), a graduate of University of South Carolina with a BS in Accounting and Finance and Master of Accountancy is employed with Ernst & Young, LLP, in Chicago, IL.

Max Michaels (California), a graduate of University of San Diego with a BA in Accountancy is employed with EY LLP in San Diego, CA.

Scott Mikus (Pennsylvania), a graduate of University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Accounting and Finance, is employed with BNY Mellon in Wilmington, Delaware.

Matt Moran (Illinois), a graduate of the University of Iowa with a BBA in Accounting and Finance, is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, Illinois.

Joel Morris (Oregon), a graduate of Portland State University with a B.S. in Accounting and Finance, is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Portland, Oregon.

Yusi Mu (California), a graduate of Nankai University with a Bachelor of Management and a Master of Accounting from University of Southern California, is employed with EY in Los Angeles, CA.

Patrick Nanna (Massachusetts), a graduate of Northeastern University with a BSBA in Accounting and MS in Accounting, is employed with Deloitte & Touche LLP in Boston, Massachusetts.

David Newell (Missouri), a graduate of Truman State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and is earning a Master of Accounting with Data Analytics from Villanova University and is employed with KPMG in St. Louis, Missouri.

Tom Neyer (Missouri), a graduate of University of Missouri–Columbia with a BS and MS in Accountancy, is employed with Grant Thornton in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sarah Olson (Illinois), a graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BS and MS in Accountancy is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, Illinois.

Aaron Pannell (Florida), a graduate of Florida State University with a B.S. Accounting and a Master of Accounting from Florida State University is employed with EY in Tampa, FL.

Joseph Pearson (South Carolina), a graduate of Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Master of Accountancy is employed with Deloitte in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dustin S. Peck (Pennsylvania), a graduate of Messiah College with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting is employed with Trout, Ebersole & Groff, LLP in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Steven Pochini (Michigan), a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in accountancy and theology and an MS in accountancy is employed with Plante Moran in Ann Arbor, MI.

Allyson Randle (South Carolina), a graduate of Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Professional Accountancy from Clemson University is employed with Ernst & Young in Greenville, SC.

Kelsey Ray (Oklahoma), a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a BS and MS in Accounting is employed with EY in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Matthew Reid (Georgia), a graduate of Purdue University with a BS in Management, an MBA from Indiana University, and an LL.M. in International Finance from Goethe University Frankfurt, is employed with BrandSafway in Atlanta, Georgia.

Nicholas Reilly (Illinois), a graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BS and MS in Accountancy, is employed with BDO USA, LLP in Chicago, Illinois.

Oscar Ryland (Ohio), a graduate of Miami University with a BS in Accounting and Finance is employed with Grant Thornton LLP in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Anthony Salazer (Louisiana), a graduate of Tulane University with a Finance and Marketing Undergraduate Degree and a Master of Accounting Degree is employed with EY in New Orleans, LA.

Brandon Salk (Rhode Island), a graduate of Bryant University with a BS in Business Administration and MS in Taxation, is employed with Grant Thornton, LLP in Westborough, Massachusetts.

Anne Salloom (New York), a graduate of Holy Cross with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics and a Master of Science in Accounting and MBA from Northeastern University, is employed with PwC in New York, New York.

Matthew Sorensen (Minnesota), a graduate of The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a BSB in Accounting and Finance is employed with KPMG in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Andee Soza (Arizona), a graduate of Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Master of Accountancy from Brigham Young University is employed with KPMG, LLP in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ted Spilde (Minnesota), a graduate of Hamline University with a BBA in Accounting and Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics from the University of Missouri is employed with KPMG in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Lawrence Stark (MA), a graduate of University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Accountancy from University of Vermont is employed with PwC in Boston, MA.

Regan B. Stewart (Texas), a graduate of Brigham Young University with a BS in Accounting and MS in Accounting is employed with EY LLP in Dallas, Texas.

David Stone (Maine), a graduate of the University of Southern Maine with a BS in Accounting and Economics and MBA from Thomas College, is employed with BerryDunn in Portland, Maine.

Cailin Yoho Thompson (West Virginia), a graduate of West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy from West Virginia University is employed with Suttle & Stalnaker, PLLC in Parkersburg, WV.

Ryan Thorsen (Colorado), a graduate of Brigham Young University with a BS in Accounting and MS in Tax, is employed with KPMG in Denver, Colorado.

Sharon Tucker (Illinois), a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s of Science – Accountancy, and Masters of Accounting Science, is employed with Tighe, Kress & Orr in Elgin, Illinois.

Kurt Urbanski (Indiana), a graduate of Purdue University North Central with a BS in Accounting is employed with Crowe LLP in South Bend, Indiana.

Vanessa Vandamas (Florida), a graduate of Florida International University with a Bachelor of Accounting and a Master of Accounting is employed with Deloitte in Miami, FL.

Kerry Walley (Illinois), a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting is employed with True Partner’s Consulting, LLC in Chicago, IL.

Austin Wang (New Jersey), a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a BA in Japanese and Economics and MA in East Asian Studies and a Master in International Economic Policy from Sciences Po Paris, is employed with Inteplast Group in Livingston, New Jersey.

Kaylie Windham (Texas), a graduate of Texas A&M University with a BBA in Business Honors and Accounting and an MS in Accounting is employed with EY, LLP in Houston, Texas.

Warren Wolf (Arkansas), a graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and a Master of Accountancy is employed with the Louisiana Legislative Auditor in Monroe, Louisiana.

Siying (Clara) Yang (Illinois), a graduate of University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Accountancy and ACMS (Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statics) is employed with Deloitte in Chicago, Illinois.

Xiaoqing Ye (California), a graduate of Shanghai University with a BA in Economics and MS in Accountancy from San Diego State University is employed with BDO USA, LLP in San Diego, California.

Alexandra Yunker (New York), a graduate of Fordham University with a BS in Accounting and MBA, is employed with Grant Thornton LLP in Boston, Massachusetts.

Joe Zywicki (Michigan), a graduate of Michigan State University with a B.A. in Accounting and is employed with KPMG Deal Advisory in Chicago, IL.