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The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) held its inaugural Accelerating Scholars in Accounting (ASA) event recently at its Roseland offices, welcoming more than 50 accounting students from universities, colleges and community colleges. 

Interactive discussions about the accounting profession and becoming a CPA were held at the May 16 event, including cultivating a positive mindset for success, how to sharpen one’s professional presence, the CPA exam, scholarships, networking, how to enhance one’s personal brand, and a business chemistry workshop conducted by Deloitte & Touche LLP.   

Apolinario (Jun) Medalla, managing partner of Exec-Comm and presenter at the event, noted that, in the accounting profession today, technical prowess or what he calls “foundational skills,” should be balanced with other essential skills, such as effective communication and presentation mastery. “Today, because of technology, people are looking at writing more,” he said, noting that these skills can be “silent differentiators” or “silent discriminators.” 

Joseph Hunt, CPA, PSA, manager at CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP), incoming chair of the NJCPA Emerging Leaders Council and an ASA volunteer, said the event provided the perfect setting for gaining the professional skills needed to succeed in the accounting industry. 

“I left the event knowing that the group of participants was inspired to make an impact,” Hunt said. “Thank you to the NJCPA for playing such an important role in the future of our next generation.”  

Aiysha (AJ) Johnson, MA, IOM, CEO and executive director at the NJCPA, offered guidance to the students on striving toward their goals. “Don’t be afraid to fail. The reality is if you fail, you have time to try again. Stay focused and don’t give up,” she explained. 

“It’s wonderful to see such enthusiastic future accounting professionals. We are grateful to our members who helped make this event happen,” Johnson said. 

The ASA event was sponsored by CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen), CohnReznick, Deloitte Foundation, Mazars, WilkinGuttenplan, Wiss and Withum. 

Students who participated in the ASA event attend the following colleges and universities: Baruch College, Brookdale Community College, Essex County College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, George Washington University, Georgian Court University, Kean University, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, Mercer County Community College, Middlesex County College, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Ocean County College, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Rider University, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Saint Elizabeth University, Saint Peter’s University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Stockton University, Syracuse University, The College of New Jersey, University of Pittsburgh and William Paterson University. 

The NJCPA has awarded more than $7 million in scholarships to high school and college students since the inception of its Scholarship Fund in the 1960s, including from the Deloitte Foundation for the past three years. The Fund has supported more than 1,700 New Jersey students on their way to becoming CPAs. 

Students interested in attending future events and learning about scholarship opportunities can become free Student Members of the NJCPA at njcpa.org/join. 


Photo caption: Joseph A. Chorba, CPA, principal at WilkinGuttenplan, fields questions from students about his journey in accounting. – Photo courtesy of New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.