Past Scholarship Recipients

We wish all our scholarship winners the best in their future careers, and we invite you to join us in supporting our scholarship fund as well as attending our meetings!

The 2016 scholarship awards were presented to:

Elizabeth Zedaker-Baumbusch, CSU East Bay

Shilpa Balnadu, San Jose State

Phuong Ly, San Jose State

Anqi Xu, Santa Clara University

Also congratulations to our chapter members who were awarded the 2016 AFWA Foundation Scholarships!

Eileen Perry, CSU East Bay
(Masters scholarship)

Jeff Olevson, Mission College
(Undergraduate scholarship)

Diane Ollila, Golden Gate University
(Masters scholarship)

The 2015 scholarship awards were presented to:

Diane Ollila
Diane is working on an MBA/Accounting concentration from Golden Gate University and has been in the public accounting sector for most of her career. She is looking forward to moving away from tax preparation and into the non-profit sector as a Chief Financial Officer. Her work/life balance advice is "if you don't have a plan you will just be a part of someone else's plan". She enjoys volunteering as a horse-sidewalker for equine-facilitated therapy for at risk, low-income children and military veterans. She is also the program chair for Silicon Valley AFWA for 2014-2105 and we are glad to have her on the board.

Brendan Haggerty
Brendan is majoring in Accounting and Information Systems at Santa Clara University. He comes from a family of accountants his grandmother worked for IBM in 1950s and his mother at a big 4 until she had to move to private industry because her advancement to partner was stymied by taking time off for maternity leave. His mother provided a good role model for work/life balance by "emphasizing family togetherness time, community involvement, importance of being a good neighbor and friend, and being a spiritual, ethical person." To balance his time Brendan "set(s) boundaries and stay(s) organized and focused." Brendan volunteers as a tutor in the Arrupe program for underprivileged and academically-struggling high school students, InnVision and The Godfather Foundation for ALS research.

Shruti Raja
Shruti is pursuing masters in Taxation at San Jose State University. In India she became a certified Chartered Accountant, returned to the states and now has a one-year old baby who provides inspiration everyday with the new things learned. For Shruti "being a mom, a wife and aspiring tax professional has made (her) realize ... key to success is prioritizing the important things." She is also careful to switch modes between family and homework and to give each her full attention. Shruti is a volunteer for the VITA program and enjoys mentoring others who want to pursue a career in accounting and taxation.

Alyna Merali
Alyna is majoring in Accounting at Santa Clara University. Her "African background, Indian heritage and Islamic faith have offered (her) invaluable perspectives and experiences that have positively shaped her life..." When not studying and working she raises funds to alleviate global poverty and cancer. Alyna recently participated in the Global Medical Brigade in Ghana and empowered students at Starfish International in the Gambia. What brings balance to Alyna's life is "the act of giving and serving others." She was taught that long ago by her Grandpa who inspired her with his words "...living a life of humility, in service of others and continuing to learn, that I can make an impact, provide a spark and create light." Alyna plans on taking the CPA exam after graduation and then pursue a master's in Public Health "to channel her passion for health with (her) business acumen to make an impact in the non-profit sector." She will continue with "global rotations, her linguistics skills, cultivate (her) love of travel and cultural diversity."

The 2014 scholarship awards were presented to:

Mr. Nima Rahnemoun
Nima is a student at San Jose State and is pursuing an accounting degree. His expected graduation date is December 2014 and he is a member of Beta Alpha Psi - the national accounting honors association. He aspires to become a CPA and auditor in a public accounting firm. While attending SJSU he is also working full time at a car rental company to support himself.

Ms. Sarah Ip
Sarah is a student at UC Berkeley and expects to graduate in May 2014 before going on to pursue a post graduate degree in finance at Santa Clara University. Sarah works part time at UC Berkeley's International House to assist with her support as she attends school. She has traveled internationally as part of her studies - to include Shanghai and Paris. She has also volunteered at the San Francisco Public Defender's office.

Ms. Charmaine Catral
Charmaine is an accounting student at San Francisco State University and expects to graduate in August 2014. After graduation, she plans to attend a master's of accounting program and sit for the CPA Exam. She currently holds a part time job at NASA Ames Research Center, where she's been for 2 years. She is a member of the Accounting Student Organization at SFSU.

The 2013 scholarship awards were presented to:

Faith Severson ***

Shelly Woo *

Eileen Perry *+

Tiffany Leung *

Award Key:

* Monetary Scholarship
+ Becker Scholarship
***Monetary Scholarship and Honorary Julie Velasques Award

The 2012 scholarship awards were presented to:

Maxine Rowe*
Returning student studying at Notre Dame De Namur University

Claudia Garcia***
Currently a Sophomore at Santa Clara University

Laura Whittaker*
Currently a Junior at Santa Clara University

Cindy Cheng+
Currently a Senior at San Jose State University

Tran Le*
Currently a Junior at Santa Clara University

Lisha Jiang*
Bachelors Degree in Accounting from University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China. Currently taking courses at De Anza College to prepare for the CPA exam

Zachary Morris*
Currently a Junior at Santa Clara University

Award Key:

* Monetary Scholarship
+ Becker Scholarship
***Monetary Scholarship and Honorary Julie Velasques Award