Laura Hilby, who graduated from Buena Vista University in 2012, is one of 39 nationwide recipients of the 2012 Elijah Watt Sells Award presented by the American Institute of CPAs to outstanding performers on the uniform CPA exam.
A four-year member of the women's basketball team during her time at BVU, Laura graduated summa cum laude with double majors in accounting and corporate mathematics. She's currently an auditor with McGladrey LLP in Des Moines.
"I was so thrilled to hear about Laura receiving this award," says BVU head women's basketball coach Janet Berry. "She was such an outstanding student-athlete and I'm so proud of her accomplishment."
Of the more than 92,000 candidates that sat for the CPA exam last year, the Award recipients achieved a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the exam, completed testing during the 2012 calendar year, and passed all four sections on their first attempt.
Hilby, who is believed to be the first student from BVU to earn the award in the last 25 years, says her two accounting teachers in the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business — Beth Blankers, associate professor of accounting, and Dr. Sue Cullers, professor of accounting — had an important impact on her education and career path.
"Overall, I enjoyed all of their classes as they challenged me, but also incorporated real-life applications. They also both cared about me not only as a student, but also as a person. The lessons I took away from both professors were invaluable and better prepared me for my professional career."
She earned academic all-conference honors in each year of eligibility and was named to the Capital One Division III Academic All-American Third Team as a senior.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.