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Students & Alumni

2 Poole Accounting Students Win Scholarships From National Board

By Jess Clarke

When Poole accounting student Jenniffer Lozano Rodriguez was a community college student in Raleigh, she worked cleaning area offices. At one, a medical doctor had a framed undergraduate diploma from N.C. State on his wall.

She remembers thinking: “One day I will have my name on a diploma like that.”

As it turns out, Lozano Rodriguez will keep that promise to herself — hopefully twice.

As she anticipates finishing her undergraduate accounting degree in December, she started this semester in the Jenkins Master of Accounting program and plans to graduate in 2024. A scholarship from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) will help her with MAC tuition.

She is one of two Poole accounting students awarded a $10,000 PCAOB scholarship for 2023-24. The other, Josiah Coyer, expects to finish the undergraduate program next year. The awards target deserving students around the U.S. from populations historically underrepresented in accounting.   

The scholarship will enable Lozano Rodriguez to focus on her studies instead of having to take on more weekend cleaning jobs. As a single mother, she’ll have more time for her teenage son, too.

“I didn’t want to finish with a lot of debt. It gives me more quality of life,” she says. “I’m really happy I can take the next step and not worry so much about money.”

Taking Two Steps at Once

Lozano Rodriguez is taking two steps at once as a student in the MAC Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program (ABM). She’s in three MAC courses now as she finishes her undergraduate degree, so she can progress more quickly. Her MAC credit hours count double toward both her undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Coyer has applied to the MAC and ABM programs. He, like Lozano Rodriguez, wants to pass the CPA exam before he finishes his MAC degree. MAC courses will help them with exam preparation.  

In addition to the financial help Coyer receives from the PCAOB scholarship, the award is a boost symbolically.

“Just having the scholarship on my resume is huge. I’ve had several recruiters and other employers say that,” he says. “And knowing that it was only me and one other person who got that award at NC State is huge to me, too.”

Also big for Lozano Rodriguez and Coyer were their undergraduate internships. So big that they both accepted offers for post-graduate, full-time employment from their internship host companies.  

Coyer had tax and audit internships this spring and summer at Thomas, Judy & Tucker PA in Raleigh, where he’ll begin as an audit associate in 2025.

Eventually he may move to a role in industry as a controller or CFO or start his own public accounting firm. He also might pursue teaching accounting, inspired by his Poole professors.  

“I’m thoroughly impressed with the NC State faculty, their selflessness,” he says. “Some of them were high-ranking professionals in the accounting world at Big Four firms. They have amazing backgrounds …They want to teach us because they actually care.”

Lozano Rodriguez’s stint as a tax intern at Grant Thornton in Raleigh led to the position she’ll start in 2025. Her time there provided valuable exposure to a U.S. work environment for the Colombia native, who moved to America five years ago. She arrived with accounting experience and family in North Carolina and other states — but she knew no English.

The Value of Diversity

PCAOB scholarships help widen the pipeline for Lozano Rodriguez and other accounting students entering the field. And they enrich the overall learning environment for Poole’s MAC students.

“The PCAOB scholarship selection criteria specify diverse candidates due to the lack of diversity in the accounting profession,” says MAC Program Director Scott Showalter, who notes that other MAC scholarships are available for students, too.     

“The profession of accounting, like all things, flourishes when you have a mixture of thoughts, ideas and experiences. Having a diverse student body helps to cultivate these valuable qualities and helps all students have a much more rewarding experience,” MAC Director of Admissions and Enrollment Jay Arrington says.

The university’s welcoming environment makes Lozano Rodriguez’s experience more rewarding — and has helped her succeed.

“The main thing I like about NC State is the diversity and inclusion. The people make you feel like you’re part of the community,” she says. “I just fell in love with the university. I knew I wanted my degree from NC State.”

This post was originally published in Poole College of Management News.