Since 1964, the Alaska Society of Certified Public Accountants has awarded students in Alaska with the Paul Hagelbarger Scholarship. This year, UAA was home to three of four recipients: Valeria Dorofeeva, Molly Monaghan and Hyun Teresa Lee. The fourth recipient, Marcela Nichifor, is a student at UAF.
Each student won a scholarship of $2,000, as well as recognition on AKCPA’s Facebook page and newsletter, which is mailed to around 1,000 accounting professionals in Alaska. The recipients were also granted free membership to the AKCPA.
“It’s a lot of recognition and great exposure. It shows involvement in the profession itself,” Crista Burson, executive director of AKCPA, said. “It’s a feather in their cap.”
Applications of the Paul Hagelbarger Scholarship were due on Nov. 20, 2017, and reviewed by a committee within the AKCPA. Applications were open to all junior, senior and graduate students majoring in accounting and attending an educational institution in Alaska.
Molly Monaghan, senior accounting and finance major, said she was pleasantly surprised with winning the award and found it beneficial to her academics and career in more ways than one.
“I’m so excited about it because [the scholarship] is about half of my tuition for a semester, so it takes a weight off my shoulders,” Monaghan said. “It’s also such a great opportunity to just get your name out there. The people that review the applications are CPA’s and are in the workforce, so it’s valuable for them to see your name.”
The scholarship was created as a memorial fund to honor the service of Hagelbarger, the first elected president of the AKCPA. The Paul Hagelbarger Memorial Scholarship Fund came into existence about 10 years after he served two consecutive terms as president in 1954 and 1955.
“[Hagelbarger] was all about promoting this profession,” Burson said. “The primary purpose of this fund is to provide financial support and promote accounting and the practice of public accounting in our state.”
The amount of money given away in scholarships and the number of recipients varies from year to year, depending on the number of students that apply, says Stasia Straley, associate professor of accounting and AKCPA board member.
“It’s not unusual that as long as we have qualified applicants, they will often win,” Straley said. “We always tell our students that there aren’t many legal ways to earn $2,000 in one hour of work, and that’s about what it takes to apply for a scholarship.”
Straley, along with Burson, presented UAA’s recipients with their awards. Straley said that the physical presentation of the scholarships began recently as an outreach to meet students, as well as draw attention to the scholarship and encourage students to apply.
“I was honored that both Stasia and Crista came to my ACCT 409 Income Tax class to congratulate me and award me with this scholarship,” Dorofeeva said. “My goal is to become a CPA, and the Paul Hagelbarger Scholarship will help me stay on track with my school curriculum and graduate in May 2018.”