SOA Students Chosen for the 2020–21 PCAOB Scholarship

PROVO, Utah – Dec 04, 2020 – Earlier this year, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) announced the winners for the 2020–21 PCAOB scholarships. Two students from the School of Accountancy (SOA) at the BYU Marriott School of Business were among the recipients: Joy Saline, an accounting senior from Snowflake, Arizona; and Derek Smith, a second-year MAcc student from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Each year, the PCAOB awards these prestigious, merit-based, $10,000 scholarships to 234 undergraduate and graduate accounting students across the United States.

Rather than submit applications, PCAOB scholars are nominated for the scholarship by professors from their universities. For Saline, the scholarship represents a second chance at her education. “I left BYU in 2015 without graduating due to personal circumstances,” she says. “After spending four years away from the Y, I had an impression to apply to BYU Marriott’s School of Accountancy.

“When I was accepted, it felt absolutely incredible,” she continues. “There I was as a thirty-year-old getting a second chance to make a comeback. My acceptance into the program was the greatest miracle I’ve witnessed in my life thus far, and the PCAOB scholarship compounds that feeling of gratitude.”

The scholarship also allows Saline to focus on her schooling. “Many students worry about paying for school,” she says. “Now, I can focus more on learning and less on finances. I have an opportunity to rub shoulders with and learn from the best students in the nation, and I feel blessed that I can focus on enjoying the experience.” 

SOA professors nominated Saline and Smith after witnessing their dedication to hard work and learning. “We are incredibly pleased that two of our students were recognized with such a prestigious scholarship,” says Doug Prawitt, director of the School of Accountancy. “Our accounting program is highly ranked and nationally recognized, but truthfully much of our success is due to the unparalleled excellence of our students. I couldn’t be happier for Joy and Derek—they are outstanding students and wonderful people who are indeed deserving of this scholarship.”

Smith feels humbled that his SOA professors nominated him for the scholarship. “Receiving the PCAOB scholarship was a particularly humbling moment for me because I was nominated for the award by my professors,” he says. “While I am grateful for the monetary award, knowing that the people I look up to took the time to seek me out and reward me is truly special.”

Smith appreciates the reliable support and personal investment that he receives from his SOA professors. “My professors demonstrate conscious effort and willingness to get to know me on a personal level and care for me beyond my schoolwork, which makes reaching out much easier when I need help not only with homework, but also in making important life decisions,” he says.

Smith’s professors even inspired him to pursue his current career path. “I want to earn a PhD in accounting and eventually become an accounting professor,” he says. “I loved my professors in the accounting program, and their impact on my life is tremendous. They are a big part of why I want to go down the path that I am on now. The SOA taught me to never shy away from difficult things but that I should push myself and never be satisfied with the easy way out.”

Joy Saline
Joy Saline
Derek Smith
Derek Smith

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert