Scholarship Spotlight: Accounting student’s passion earns BCA scholarship
“If organizations like Black Colleagues Association didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have any scholarship money. I felt like with big corporations, you just get overlooked. I got a bad attitude about it, I wasn’t getting anything, and felt it was all a waste of time. This scholarship honestly gave me hope.”
This comes from Ashley Holmes, a junior accounting major and recipient of the Illinois State University Black Colleagues Association’s (BCA) Judge Russell DeBow Scholarship, one of many scholarships offered through the BCA.
Holmes is the vice president of the National Association of Black Accountants on campus and serves as a member of the Student Government Association. Her favorite things about Illinois State are the College of Business and her involvement with registered student organizations. She has a plan to graduate in four and a half years with a bachelor’s and master’s and is happy that her BCA scholarship helps her pay for the cost of additional classes.
“I really love accounting, and nobody gets why. I just love numbers, auditing, all that stuff; it’s just me. I lucked up and got an internship as a freshman at a place I really want to work when I graduate.”
There is no luck in Holmes’ success. It is her drive and outstanding grades that landed her an internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the largest accounting firm in the world, for the second year.
Despite her success and involvement, Holmes struggled to find scholarships. She applied to many high profile scholarships with no luck. “When I first came to college, I knew I needed some scholarship money so I applied everywhere, but when you apply for those big scholarships, you’re competing against thousands of people and your chances are very low,” said Holmes.
Fortunately, she was awarded the BCA President’s Office Book Scholarship her freshman year, which was followed up with a renewable Judge Russell DeBow Scholarship for her success. She also was a recipient of the Illinois State Alumni Association Scholarship.
“The DeBow Scholarship proved to me that if you work hard, you’ll get rewarded. It shows to me that I’m on the right track for my future goals.”
The writer, Kenneth Porter, is BCA communication chair.