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Jenkins Graduate Programs

Accounting Scholarship Offers Incoming Jenkins MAC Student Flexibility and Freedom

Poole College alumna, Laurie Powell, became the sixth Jenkins MAC recipient of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Scholar Program award. 

After earning bachelor degrees in accounting and economics this past May, she plans to pursue a master of accounting degree in the fall. According to Laurie, the decision to join the Jenkins MAC program made sense, but being awarded the PCAOB scholarship actually makes furthering her education possible.

The PCAOB Scholars Program is merit-based, but also encourages educational institutions to give special consideration to students from populations that are underrepresented in the accounting profession.

The program benefits students who may wish to become auditors or otherwise choose a different career. And in Laurie’s case, the scholarship offers her the flexibility to explore her options in the accounting field.

“Throughout her academic career, Laurie has consistently demonstrated the desire and ability to go beyond what was asked or expected of her. When evaluating Laurie against the PCAOB Scholars criteria, she best met the expectations of the PCAOB for serving the public’s interest”, said Scott Showalter, director of the master of accounting program and professor of practice in accounting.

Lessons Learned 

Determination and a hard-work ethic are characteristics she first witnessed in her mom, and modeled throughout her time as an NC State student. Growing up in Greensboro, NC, her version of “normal” didn’t look like everyone else’s. As a single parent, her mother adopted Laurie and her three sisters, and with each child, Laurie’s mother traveled alone to China to bring them home. 

Laurie with her mom and three sisters.

“I don’t come from a family that was financially well-off. My mom raised me and my sisters by herself. She worked very hard and did things on her own”, Laurie said. “I’m very independent in how I approach decisions because I saw that in my mom”. 

As someone who’s always been financially conscious, Laurie was determined to finance her education on her own terms, which for her, meant not taking out any private student loans. Instead, she worked a part time job during her last two years as an undergraduate student to help supplement the cost of her tuition.

But now, Laurie says she can breathe a sigh of relief. “The PCAOB scholarship will lift a major financial burden off of me and my family”, she said. Instead of working during the fall semester, she can focus solely on excelling in the MAC program. “Now, I don’t have to stress about getting a job to pay for school. With the impact of COVID-19, jobs aren’t always secure. You never know what’s going to happen, so I’m really grateful for this scholarship”, said Laurie. 

Her Path, Her Way

When charting her career path, Laurie was strategic in choosing the master of accounting program because she values flexibility. She doesn’t necessarily have plans to become a chief financial officer, but after gaining some initial experience in one of the Big Four accounting firms, Laurie thinks she will likely choose to work for a smaller, local tax company.  

As she thinks about her long-term goals, what’s most important is establishing work-life balance. “Although I’m never going to turn down a career opportunity, I really want to focus on developing life experiences”, said Laurie. “As a full-time student working a part-time job for the last two years, I’ve really begun to see the importance of spending time with friends and family. I want to be successful, but also be able to travel and just enjoy life.”

Laurie’s achievements have proved that she’s not afraid of a challenge, and she’s ready for what’s next. “With hard work, anything is possible”, she adds. Armed with a ‘can-do’ spirit, she’s confident she can create both the career and the life she wants, in her own way.