BenU senior, Kendall Winkler, awarded prestigious Illinois CPA scholarship

October 19, 2017

Lisle, Illinois ~ Growing up, Kendall Winkler was a whiz kid with numbers. Algebra and problem-solving were second nature to the Spring Grove native.

This made deciding on Accounting as a major and career field an obvious choice after she transferred to Benedictine University.

“The accounting field allows me to develop and use these skills every day,” Winkler said.

Her enthusiasm for numbers, coupled with the support she received at Benedictine, has helped her become a standout student. She recently received a tuition and textbook scholarship from the Illinois CPA Society’s Accounting Scholarship Program funded by the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois.

Applicants had to be seniors or graduate students for the 2017-18 academic year in order to be eligible. Winkler had to answer prompts, send in transcripts and provide two recommendation letters. The scholarship allows her to pay for the last few courses she needs to graduate this semester without using any loans, a burden she’s relieved to have lifted.

“I was so excited to be chosen,” Winkler said. “It has taken me quite some time to figure out what I wanted to do after college. “After receiving this scholarship, I feel more confident in my decision.”

A job offer six months before her planned graduation date, also helps.

In addition to high-quality academics, dynamic teaching and learning with a unique mix of cultures and perspectives, and a holistic focus on learner’s needs, Benedictine provides students with many opportunities to access and apply for internships at top Chicago-area businesses.

Winkler took note of the public accounting firm Friedman + Huey Associates LLP through Fall Interview Day (a recruiting event hosted by the Illinois Small College Placement Association) last year.

“I was looking for a tax internship to see if it was a career I wanted to pursue,” she said. “I knew it was an incredible opportunity I could not pass up.”

During the busy tax season from February to April 18, Winkler gained the professional experience she desired.

“Not once did I have to buy anyone coffee or make copies,” she said. “I was a valued member of the tax team. I spent my spring completing tax returns and learning more than I ever had in the classroom.”

Winkler was then asked to come back to the firm from June to August and join full time after her intended graduation date in December.

“The internship taught me how important enjoying the people you work with is, especially when you work long hours together,” she said. “The busy season was a lot of work and extremely challenging, so it was great to have an understanding support system in the firm.”

Winkler’s advice for securing a post-graduate job?

“You should apply for internships at businesses or organizations that you are interested in working for after graduation,” she said. “An internship can turn into a job if you work hard and prove how valuable you can be to the company.”

In addition to working full time, Winkler’s post-graduation plans include pursuing a master’s degree and CPA license.

“Benedictine has helped me tremendously in preparing me for my career,” she said. “The faculty, staff and students have provided me an experience I could not have received anywhere else. I am not just a number here, but rather a valued member of the University.”

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Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 6,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.

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