AICPA Recognizes Outstanding CPA Exam Performers with 2020 Elijah Watt Sells Award

May 5, 2021

89 CPA candidates qualified for the award

NEW YORK (May 5, 2021) - The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) today announced the 89 winners of the 2020 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 2020.

Nearly 75,000 individuals sat for the CPA Exam in 2020 with 89 candidates meeting the criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award.

“The CPA Exam is a rigorous assessment and successfully passing is an impressive accomplishment,” said Mike Decker, AICPA vice president of examinations. “This year’s Elijah Watt Sells winners are commended for an exceptional performance that very few Exam candidates 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 Blueprintssample tests and tutorial topics, and the CPA Exam Booklet.

The individuals listed below are the 2020 Sells Award winners in alphabetical order, followed by their board of accountancy affiliation, education and present employer: 

Natnael Abebe, (Oklahoma) a graduate of Oklahoma State University with Bachelors and Masters in Accounting, is employed with Ernst & Young in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Emily Ahlstrom (Ohio), a graduate of Case Western Reserve University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and International Studies, is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Cleveland Ohio.

Asma Ajani (New Jersey), a graduate of University Of London with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Management is employed with Anshuman Sehgal CPA LLC in Somerset, New Jersey.

Ibrahim AlSemari (New Hampshire), a graduate of Alfaisal University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a double concentration in Accounting and Finance, is employed with Ernst & Young in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Neha Arora (Montana Jurisdiction), a graduate of Mumbai University with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and Masters of Commerce Degree from H.R College (Mumbai University) is employed with BDO India LLP in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Julie Baker (Washington), a graduate of Gonzaga University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting is employed with KPMG in Seattle, Washington.

Lauren Barhorst (Ohio), a graduate of the University of Dayton with a BSBA in Accounting and a Master of Professional Accountancy, is employed with Deloitte in Cincinnati, OH.

Priya Baskaran (CA) is a graduate of PSG College of Arts & Science with a B Sc and MBA from Anna University.

Kaylee Bastien (Illinois), a graduate of The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Master of Accounting Science from The Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois is employed with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Dallas, Texas.

Tyler Beaudet (New York), a graduate of Northeastern University with a BSBA in Finance & Accounting and a MS in Professional Accounting from Seton Hall University is employed with Deloitte & Touche LLP in New York, New York.

Corbin Befort (Kansas), a graduate of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance and a Masters of Accounting is employed with Koch Industries in Wichita, Kansas.

Peyton Bell (Georgia), a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Accountancy and Data Analytics from University of Georgia is employed with KPMG in Atlanta, GA.

Richa (California), a graduate of Delhi University with a Bachelor’s in Commerce, is employed with Deloitte in Gurugram, India. 

Samuel Bishop (Texas), a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BBA in Accounting and MS in Accountancy from the Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business is employed with EY in San Antonio, Tx.

Julia Blair (Florida), a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Accounting is employed with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Layal Boukhzam (Alaska), a graduate of the American University of Beirut with a BBA in Finance and Accounting, is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Daniel Buckles (Kentucky), a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Accounting, is employed with Blue & Co., LLC in Lexington, KY.

Zac Cohen (Washington), a graduate of the University of Washington with a BBA in Accounting and Finance is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Seattle, WA.

Brianne Davidson (Colorado), a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and a Master of Professional Accountancy from the University of South Dakota is employed with KPMG in Denver, Colorado.

Michael Domiano (Illinois), a graduate of the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Accounting, is employed with Deloitte in Chicago, IL.

John Foster (Washington), a graduate of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance and Master of Accounting is employed with EY in Kansas City, Missouri.

John Frantonius, (Indiana), a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Master of Science in Accounting from IUPUI’s Kelly School of Business is employed with BKD, LLP in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Andrew Fuller (Texas), a graduate of The University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy and Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (ACMS) and a Master of Science in Accountancy, is employed with Deloitte in Dallas, Texas.

Daniel Goldberg (Virginia), a graduate of George Mason University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Science in Accounting, is employed with KPMG in Tysons, Virginia.

Natalia Graf (Pennsylvania), a graduate of Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, is employed with EY in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Tien Hsieh (California), a graduate of National Chengchi University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Science in Accounting from National Chengchi University is employed with Deloitte in San Francisco, California.

Morgan Hyman (New York), a graduate of The George Washington University with a Bachelor of Accountancy and a Master of Accountancy from Temple University is employed with Deloitte in New York, New York.

Kathrine Jensen (Utah), a graduate of Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Masters of Accountancy from Brigham Young University is employed with KPMG in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Simranpreet Kaur (California), a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accountancy is employed with KCoe Isom, LLP in Fresno, California.

Brian Kenny (New York), a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Finance, and Operations Management and Master of Business Administration is employed with KPMG in New York, New York.

Vandana Khosla (New York) a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and a graduate of Panjab University, India with a Bachelor of Commerce is employed with Reata Pharmaceuticals, Plano, Texas.

Samantha M. Kim (Virginia), a graduate of the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Washington, D.C.

Caleb Krohn (Nebraska), a graduate of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting and Finance is employed with BKD, LLP in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Erin Krysinski (Wisconsin), a graduate of Viterbo University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting is employed with SVA Certified Public Accountants in Madison, Wisconsin.

Jessica Lam (California), a graduate of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Finance and Accounting is employed with Deloitte & Touche LLP in Los Angeles, CA.

Natasha Lambert (Tennessee), a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Indianapolis is employed with Cumberland Consulting Group in Franklin, Tennessee.

Aaron Lawson (Michigan), a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a BBA in Accounting and MBA, is employed with Stryker in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Jocelyn Lee (California), a graduate of California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Taxation from University of Southern California is employed with Deloitte in Costa Mesa, California.

Ellen Lettenberger (Wisconsin), a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy is employed with Deloitte in Chicago, Illinois.

Alan Lewis (AZ), a graduate of Hiram College with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting & Financial Management, is employed with Hunter Hagan & Company, Ltd. in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Alexandra Lewis (Massachusetts), a graduate of Boston University with a BSBA in Finance and Accounting, is employed with Deloitte in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ying Lin (California), a graduate of University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Statistics is employed with BDO in San Francisco, CA.

Simon Luckhaupt (New York), a graduate of the University of St. Gallen with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Accounting and Finance is employed with KPMG LLP in New York, New York.

Diana Luong (Texas), a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Accounting and Master in Professional Accounting is employed with EY in Houston, Texas.

Chaitanya Luthra (Guam), a graduate of Hansraj College, Delhi University with a Bachelors in Commerce is employed with R.G. Luthra & Co. in Delhi, India.

William Martens (Tennessee), a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in International Business and a Master of Accountancy from the University of Arkansas is employed with PwC in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Andrew McAnelly (Michigan), a graduate of Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Master of Accounting from the University of Michigan, is employed at Plante Moran in Detroit, Michigan.

Cristian Melej (Massachusetts), a graduate of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, a Master of Business Administration from IE Business School (Spain) and a Master of Science in Accounting from Post University is employed with Hingham Institution For Savings in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Shannon Hentges (Texas), a graduate of the University of Alabama with a bachelor of science in commerce and business administration in accounting and master of accountancy from the University of Alabama is employed with Monarch CPA Services in Rockville, Maryland.

Matthew Mitchell (Virginia), a graduate of Liberty University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Master of Divinity in Biblical Languages from Southeastern Theological Seminary is employed with BDO USA, LLP in Norfolk, Virginia.

Connor Mohs (Minnesota), a graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance and a Master of Accounting with Data and Analytics from the University of Missouri - Columbia is employed with KPMG in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kim T. Nguyen (Maryland), a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting is employed with Ernst & Young in McLean, Virginia.

Jared Nielsen (Utah), a graduate of Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Masters of Accountancy from Brigham Young University is employed with True Financials in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Marla Niskern (Oklahoma), a graduate of Colgate University with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Biology is employed with Eide Bailly LLP in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Rachel Ott (IN), a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Law, Ethics, and Decision Making (LEAD) is employed with Charles River Associates in Chicago, IL.

Jacob Oster (South Carolina), a graduate of Anderson University with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Master of Science in Accountancy from Wake Forest University, is employed with Elliott Davis in Greenville, SC.

James Monroe-Parks (Washington), a graduate of The University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration Concentrating in Accounting and a Masters of Science in Taxation from The University of Washington is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Seattle, WA.

Michaela Peterson (Wisconsin), a graduate of the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Finance and is employed with Kerry in Beloit, Wisconsin.

Timothy Pratico (Massachusetts), a graduate of Bentley University with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Master of Science in Accounting from The University of Connecticut is employed with EY in Boston, Massachusetts.

James Pungello (Virginia), a graduate of Fordham University with a Bachelor of arts in Communication and Media Studies.  Employed with Tobii Pro in Reston, VA

Hannah Faye Krystle Reyes (New York), a graduate of De La Salle University - Lipa with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy is employed with PwC in the Philippines and on international assignment with PwC in New York, New York.

Samantha Rubenstein (New York), a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting and Finance, is employed with EisnerAmper in New York, New York.

Emily Rychener (Texas), a graduate of Rice University with a BA in Statistics and a Master of Accounting is employed with PwC in Houston, TX.

Sarabeth Sandweiss (Texas), a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Accounting and a Master in Professional Accounting, is employed with EY in Houston, Texas.

Kristina Schindele (Washington), a graduate of Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Washington, is employed with KPMG LLP in Seattle, Washington.

Jeremy Schultz (Pennsylvania), a graduate of Kutztown University with a B.S.B.A. in Accounting and a B.S.B.A. in Finance and is employed with RKL LLP in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Yubo She (California), a graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Accounting and Financial Management with a Minor in Chemistry, and a Master of Accounting is employed with Deloitte & Touche LLP in San Jose, California.

Erin Siebert (Missouri), a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accountancy is employed with PwC in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mariia Simanov (New York), CUNY Baruch College. MBA in Accountancy
American Express Company in New York, NY

Arthur Sklow (Pennsylvania), a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance is employed with Ernst and Young in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Chelsea Smiley (Vermont), a graduate of Bard College with a Bachelors in Psychology is employed with Marsh Captive Solutions in Colchester, Vermont.

Hannah Smith (Illinois), a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and a Master in Accounting Science, is employed with Baker Tilly US, LLP in Chicago, IL.

Emily Stone (Maryland), a graduate of Loyola University Maryland with a BBA in Accounting and a Master of Accounting (MAcc) is employed with PwC in Baltimore, Maryland.

Matthew Szubski (Ohio), a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Analytics is employed with EY in Cleveland, Ohio.

Sonya Tao (Texas), a graduate of Northwestern University with a BA in Economics and Mathematics and an Advanced Technical Certificate in Accounting from Austin Community College is employed with the Texas State Auditor’s Office in Austin, TX.

Alex Tarlow (Florida), a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Accounting is employed with KPMG in New York, New York.

Beverly Thomas (Texas), a graduate of Indiana University with both a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Business Administration is employed with EY in Dallas, Texas.

Thanh Tran (Virginia), a graduate of George Mason University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Science in Accounting from George Mason University is employed with KPMG in McLean, Virginia.          

Dominique Van Howe (California), a graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Information Systems and Analytics is employed with Ernst & Young in Redwood Shores, California.

Kristina Warrix (Texas), a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance and Master of Business Administration from Hardin-Simmons University is employed with Condley and Company, LLP in Abilene, Texas.

Claire Weddle (Connecticut), a graduate of Rice University with a BA in Mathematical Economic Analysis and a Master of Accounting, is employed with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Stamford, Connecticut.

Cecilia Weigman (Texas), a graduate of Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Master of Science in Accounting from Southern Methodist University is employed with PwC in Dallas, TX.

Anna Wrebiak (California), a graduate of The Warsaw School of Economics with a Master degree in International Finance Management, is employed with Ernst & Young LLP in San Jose, California.

Brenton Novit (Texas), a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Accounting and Master in Professional Accounting is employed with Deloitte in Austin, Texas.

Sam Yeaton (Ohio), a graduate of Butler University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Accounting from The Ohio State University is employed with Deloitte in Cleveland, Ohio.

Matthew Zalewski (Connecticut), a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Science in Accounting, is employed with Deloitte in Hartford, Connecticut.

Sarah Zazzu (New York), a graduate of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Honors, Accounting and Finance is employed with Deloitte in New York, NY.

Dalu Zhao (California), a graduate of University of Southern California (USC) with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Accounting, is employed with PwC in Los Angeles, California.

Shiyuan (Helena) Zhuang (New York), a graduate of New York University, Stern School of Business with a Bachelor’s Science in Finance and Accounting and Master of Science in Accounting is employed with Tiger Global Management LLC in New York, NY.

About the American Institute of CPAs
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 431,000 members in the United States and worldwide, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, and federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession.