Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance

2016 Scholarship Recipients

The Foundation of AFWA has announced the recipients of it’s 2016 Spring Scholarship Program for students of accounting and finance. We received 132 applications and awarded 9 undergraduate scholarships, 4 Masters scholarships, and 1 Mary Feeney Bonawitz PhD scholarship for a total of $22,200.

“The committee would like to thank the AFWA member volunteers who were kind enough to give their time to the review process. With so many qualified applications, our volunteers had a tough task to select only a few deserving candidates. The thoughtful thank yous and expressions of gratitude we receive from our recipients remind us each year why we give our time and dollar to support these young women and men of accounting and finance,” said Pamela Wenner, Chair of the Foundation Scholarship committee.

And now, the 2016 student of accounting and finance scholarship recipients are:


Daria Cooper Mississippi State University
daria_cooperDaria is a senior accounting major aspiring to become a CPA. She was born and raised in Russia and moved to the US in search of more equality between men and women. In Russia, she studied Electrical Engineering, but having been an accounting assistant at MSU, she is now excited to pursue a career in public accounting.



Jessie Fifield New York University (Paula Zanni Award)
jessie_fifieldThis Fall, Jessie will begin her senior year at New York University, and plans to sit for the CPA exam upon graduation. Jessie has begun gaining practical experience through her finance internship at Ogilvy & Mather and will intern with Pricewaterhouse Cooper this summer. Jessie plans to pursue a career with the FBI in Forensic Accounting. She is a teammember on the NYU women’s basketball team and an active member of the Stern Accounting Society.


Kimberly Knight-Ferrari Bellevue College

Jeff Olevson Mission College
jeff_olevsonJeff is a member of the Silicon Valley Chapter of AFWA and an Accounting student a Mission College. He previously studied at San Jose State University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in meteorology. Now making a career change into accounting, Jeff’s goal is to become a CPA and a teacher at the Community College level.



Jessica Downing Pettenuzzo University of San Diego
jessica_pettenuzzoJessica began her college career as an Honors Biology major but after merely one semester, realized science was not her calling and found a better fit in accounting class (where there was no blood involved!). “I am excited to continue my path towards my CPA, but most of all, I am eager to see where the future will bring me, because there is nothing that I love more than adventure, a good laugh, and the opportunity to learn something new, wherever or whatever it may be!”


Daniella Ryskina Loyola Marymount University

Leigh Schissel Drake University
leigh_schisselLeigh will begin her senior year at Drake University this fall, on track to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting (May 2017) and her Masters of Accounting Degree (December 2017).  She is the Vice President of Academic Excellence for her social sorority, is in a business fraternity and is one of the founding members of the new Women’s in Business Organization on campus. Last year, she interned with Meredith Corporation in their Financial Reporting Department and this summer she is interning with Deloitte & Touche, LLP as an Audit Intern in Des Moines, Iowa.  

Kalina Springer Pacific Lutheran University
kalina_springerUpon completion of undergraduate studies, Kalina plans to pursue an MBA in international finance with a goal to manage international investments, or trade and development, for international firms. As a Miss America Contestant (Miss Tahoma 2016) she serves and brings awareness to the Special Olympics. She is a strong supporter of community organizations that promote social inclusiveness and poverty alleviation.


Jolene Wingerd University of Baltimore
jolene_wingerdJolene’s passion has always been in the field of finance. She is the mother of a young son and works full time on a federal grant in Baltimore County Public Schools while attending the University of Baltimore as a part-time student. Upon graduation, she plans to continue working with the school system in a supervisory role in order to provide high quality education for Maryland students.




Michelle del Pino University of North Florida
michelle_delpinoMichelle has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and went back to school to earn a degree in accounting more than 15 years ago. Her classes were put on hold with the birth of her two children, but she gained years of experience working for non-profit organizations and working her way up to Finance Director. She is now on her way to earn an MBA degree with a concentration in accounting and looks forward to combining her Spanish with an accounting and business degree.


Diane Ollila, Golden Gate University
diane_ollilaDiane earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Finance from San Jose State University. She is currently studying at Golden Gate University to earn an MBA with a concentration in accounting. She is preparing to sit for the CPA exam in 2016.During her career in accounting and finance, Diane has been passionate about improving the lives of others by promoting financial literacy and encouraging other women in the accounting and finance industries.


Eileen Perry California State University

Casey Witkowski Wake Forest University

casey_witkowskiCasey graduated Magna Cumme Laude from the College of Charleston in only 3 years with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Last summer, she worked as a Wealth Management intern for Merrill Lynch on Hilton Head Island, SC. She then worked for 9 months as a Seasonal Client Associate for Merrill Lynch in Charleston, SC. This summer, she will be working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston, MA as a valuation intern in their Transaction Services group with the hope of receiving a full-time offer afterwards. In the fall, Casey will attend Wake Forest University to pursue a Master of Science in Accountancy with a concentration in Financial Transaction Services.

PHD SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT (Mary Feeney Bonawitz Award)

michelle_hardingMichelle Harding University of Tennessee
Michelle Harding is a third year accounting doctoral student a the University of Tennessee with a research focus in corporate taxation and a special interest in tax disclosures. She is a licensed CPA with more than 10 years of non-profit , public accounting, and industry experience. Most recently she was the financial controller for a $70 million subsidiary of Sysco, Inc. where she managed teams in Nashville, TN and Raleigh, NC. She received her undergraduate and master’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia.