Second Chances in the School of Accountancy
PROVO, Utah – Jul 07, 2021 – When she was a freshman at BYU, Ashley Weiler’s first meeting with the Women of the School of Accountancy (WSOA) club left her in awe. Among the BYU Marriott School of Business accounting alumnae, professors, and students, Weiler finally found the missing piece of her BYU education: a place where she belonged. Now as the president of the WSOA, Weiler hopes to show incoming female students that they can also feel at home in the accounting program.
Weiler, a Kent, Washington, native, entered BYU in 2017 with her associate degree and wanted to choose her major quickly. Despite never previously considering business as an option, she enrolled in several introductory business classes to take alongside her husband who majored in marketing. One of these classes included Accounting 200, taught by BYU Marriott associate professor Melissa Larson.
“When I took Professor Larson’s class, I wanted to be exactly like her. She’s smart and kind, and is a great mother and disciple of Jesus Christ. She’s just a boss lady,” says Weiler, a second-year MAcc student. “Her class sparked my initial interest in accounting.”
Shortly after she decided to pursue the accounting program, Weiler experienced some health challenges that led to struggles in her coursework and lower grades. “I worried that some of my grades would keep me out of the SOA,” she says. “In addition, during my sophomore year, my husband had surgery during the same week as my Accounting 310 midterm, and the circumstances were so stressful that I failed the exam.
“I thought my dreams of pursuing accounting were over and that I would never get into the program,” she continues. “But the SOA gave me a chance. I was accepted into the program, and all of my experiences have been incredible. If anyone currently in the accounting program feels like they don’t have a place in the SOA, I want them to know that they belong and that they can succeed.”
Empowering women to find this type of success is a cause that Weiler feels passionate about and one she says the WSOA supports. “I can’t even list everything that I love about the WSOA,” she says. “I adore the supportive and understanding community of women who have experienced similar life challenges. I love how we can be open and honest about topics that are often difficult to talk about, such as being in a traditionally male-dominated career or work-life balance while raising a family. Being surrounded by numerous successful women is truly inspiring and encouraging to me and other female SOA students.”
As president of the WSOA, Weiler enjoys planning club events and strives to inspire others; she also has a goal to expand the club, particularly by reaching out to freshmen in the introductory courses who might feel unsure about their fit with the program. “I’ve received feedback from multiple women who tell me how the WSOA events impacted them,” she says. “I love receiving a text message from someone expressing that she has struggled in the program but listening to other women who graduated from the SOA cheer her on gave her the motivation to keep going.
“The SOA allowed me to find confidence in my abilities to succeed after college,” she continues. “I will be forever grateful for my experiences here, and I want to make sure others can have the same opportunities.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert