Accounting alumna wins 2011 Elijah Watt Sells Award

UMSL accounting alumna Nguyen Ngo is a recipient of the 2011 Elijah Watt Sells Award.

When Nguyen Ngo received word she was a recipient of the 2011 Elijah Watt Sells Award, the University of Missouri–St. Louis alumna was excited to share the news with the faculty who helped make the honor possible.

“The first thing that I thought when I heard the news about the award was that I have to let all of my professors know,” Ngo said. “After all they have done to help me, I feel like winning the award is the least that I can do to show them how thankful I am to get to know, learn and work with them during my time at UMSL.”

Ngo, who earned her master’s degree in accounting  from UMSL in December and her bachelor’s degree in accounting from UMSL in August 2010, is the second UMSL alumnus in four years to receive the prestigious Elijah Watt Sells Award.

Chris Leon, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis in finance and accounting in 2007, received the award in 2008. The national award is presented each year to candidates earning the cumulative highest score on the four-part Uniform Certified Public Accountants examination. More than 90,000 candidates sat for the exam in 2011.

“The accounting faculty is extremely proud of having two Elijah Watt Sells award recipients in four years,” said Mary Beth Mohrman, associate professor and chair of the Accounting Area at UMSL. “The accomplishments of Nguyen Ngo and Chris Leon are their own, and reflect their diligence and ability. In addition, their accomplishments are an indication of the quality and rigor of our accounting programs. While we do not teach directly to the CPA examination, our rigorous programs help our students to excel on qualifying exams and in their careers as accounting professionals.”

Ngo, who started in January as an auditing associate at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in San Francisco, is a native of Vietnam. Being more than 8,000 miles away from home for several years was a little easier with the help and guidance she received from the faculty at UMSL.

“As an international student, I couldn’t afford some of the more expensive CPA review courses, but the accounting program at UMSL definitely prepared me well for the exam,” she said.  “I owe everything to all the professors in the accounting department. They provided me with all the knowledge and  tremendous support that I need in order to succeed in the exam , and now the workplace.”

Ngo said she had heard about the Elijah Watt Sells Award and the UMSL student who had previously won the award in the class of D. James Tiburzi, assistant teaching professor at UMSL.

“He proudly told us about the news and looked so happy and proud that day,” she said. “I wanted to repeat what Chris did so that he and all the other professors in our department could be proud like that again. “


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