Learning accounting from a CPA
“We have excellent students who are very capable and intelligent critical thinkers. They are very involved in Greek Life, student organizations, athletics, and volunteer and community outreach projects. Our students are very connected to each other, to the community, and to business leaders. These opportunities really benefit our students and help them become well-rounded and strong individuals as they start their professional and personal lives.”
Assistant Professor of Accounting
Coming Full Circle as a UE Student and Faculty Member
Martha Stilwell, a UE alumna, earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, summa cum laude, with a major in management in 2009. She earned her Master in Professional Accounting from the top-ranked program at the University of Texas at Austin in 2010, and she is currently working on a Doctorate in Business Administration with a focus on accounting at Creighton University, with an expected graduation date of 2019.
As a student, Stilwell narrowed her search to two schools – Purdue University and University of Evansville. “I came to UE because of the student/faculty interaction and the small class sizes.” Stilwell explains, “I wanted my professors to know my name, know where I was from, and know what I was interested in, and, of course, I wanted to attend Harlaxton College.”
During her freshman year, Stilwell spent 10 days participating in Contemporary European Business Issues, a business course at Harlaxton College. She was able to interact with the professors who would instruct her in future classes. She enjoyed her time at Harlaxton so much during that short time that she returned for fall semester of her junior year. Now, as a faculty member, Stilwell has returned to Harlaxton this year to instruct during the 10-day business class.
Leading Students on the Career Track
Stilwell finds the most rewarding aspect of being a faculty member at UE to be the interaction with her students on a daily basis. “I like helping them find out what they want to do with their lives both personally and in terms of their career. I enjoy talking to students and advising them to help them achieve their goals.”
She has personal experience with self-discovery within her own career track, which she uses when advising her students. She earned her MPA after deciding accounting and not management was her passion. Stilwell’s five years of experience in auditing as a Certified Public Accountant help her to educate students about accounting careers. “I really enjoy helping students understand exactly what accountants do in the industry. Many people don’t know what accounting entails or the different paths you can take in accounting, so I can show students what they can do and help them decide what they really are interested in doing.”
A Full Semester Internship Counts as Class Credit
All students in the School of Business are required to complete at least one internship before they graduate. In 2016, a new course, geared specifically toward accounting majors, was introduced. Students can receive 12 credit hours if they complete a full-time, semester-long accounting internship either locally or nationally.
Stilwell explains, “Most students must remain full-time to maintain good academic standing and financial aid status. We also find that most accounting firms want to take on a full-time intern who will be treated as new staff with many responsibilities and high expectations.”
This new class, Accounting 499: Professional Internship, allows students to earn 12 hours of class credit for working full-time as a professional accountant. This permits them to focus all of their attention on the internship and fully experience life as an accountant. The students do need to work 540 hours minimum, as well as complete papers and side projects. Students also have the opportunity to register for other classes if they want to receive 15 or 18 credits in the semester. With proper planning with their advisor, many students can complete this 12-hour internship and graduate in four years.