For the second year in a row, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has selected a University of Delaware student to be a PCAOB Scholar. This year’s recipient, Jeel Patel from Newark, Delaware, is an honors accounting major and a member of UD’s Class of 2022.
This scholarship is a merit-based program meant to aid students likely to become auditors, as well as those who would otherwise change career plans. Patel was granted a scholarship amount of $10,000 to supplement her education for the 2021-2022 academic year.
“When I first found out I was chosen I just felt honored and excited to be chosen for such an award,” Patel said. “I was in awe and didn’t really have any words that out of all the accounting majors, I would be chosen.
“Being the recipient has helped my educational journey by decreasing the financial burden on my parents and myself,” she continued. “Rather than trying to focus on paying for tuition, I can focus further on my classes in accounting.”
Patel was nominated for this award by Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics Professors Carolyn Levine, professor of accounting and chairperson for Department of Accounting and MIS, and Debra Dragone, associate chairperson of accounting.
Levine had nothing but praise for Patel and shared that, “Jeel is intelligent, inquisitive, outgoing and takes full advantage of the educational opportunities that are available to her. Jeel gives back to UD by participating actively in our tutoring programs, recruiting new students, serving as the president of the Accounting Student Association and sitting on the Accounting and MIS Student Advisory Board.”
Patel has put an emphasis on relationship building with faculty during her time at UD. She shared that, “Professor Dragone has aided me on my current career path like no one else. Whenever I have a concern or a question, she is the person I go to for help. From classes to jobs, she has guided me on my journey.
“Furthermore, she has connected me with professors and recruiters, which opened up further opportunities for me in the field,” Patel continued. “For example, she introduced me to Dr. Levine, who has become another mentor that I can go to for any questions or concerns I have for my career path.”
According to the United States Department of Labor, employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 7% from 2020 to 2030. UD’s accounting program’s mission is to promote scholarship in accounting, to offer distinctive and innovative educational opportunities that contribute to professional success and to advance ethical leadership in a rapidly changing business environment.
“I was attracted to Lerner’s accounting program because of the various connections the accounting department has with the Big 4, it opened opportunities for many different job fields,” Patel said. “Additionally, I just found the accounting classes to be more interesting to me than other classes, which is why I was attracted to the program.
“The most helpful thing I have learned, so far, from Lerner’s accounting program has to be to not be afraid to reach out to your professors,” she continued. “When I first started college, I used to be so scared to talk to my professors and not really create any bonds. After joining the accounting program, I learned to reach out to professors as much as I could from any help I needed, which opened up more doors for me in the field.”
Outside of the classroom, Patel has been a very active student in the UD and Lerner College communities. She has been a student worker at the University and held several accounting internships. Patel also served as the president of the Accounting Student Association and is a member of the Accounting Student Advisory Board and UDress Magazine, a student-run fashion magazine.
“Being President of the Accounting Student Association has helped me network with multiple different firms, allowing for these firms to know me and make a bond with them,” Patel said. “Additionally, as I reach out to firms and people to speak at meetings, it has given me the confidence to reach out and network with people as much as I can.”
Within six months of graduating, on average, 97% of Lerner’s accounting graduates are employed or pursuing further education. Patel, who is currently studying for the CPA Exam, will join the ranks of these employed accounting majors upon her graduation in May 2022. This month, she accepted a full-time offer at KPMG’s Philadelphia office as an associate in their forensics department.