The annual Education Night Dinner of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, Buffalo chapter, was held April 22, 2014, at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. This year’s speaker was John R. Koelmel, CPA, president of HarborCenter, and former president and CEO of Buffalo-based First Niagara Bank.
The primary purpose of the program is to honor the outstanding junior, senior and graduate accounting students in the local colleges and universities, but it also served to provide a forum where educators, students and practitioners could network.
According to Vincent Agnello, professor of law, “The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) is one of the largest and oldest state accounting organizations in the nation, with more than 29,000 members. This event is a great opportunity to showcase our top Niagara students to the area’s most influential CPAs. The dinner also provides a great opportunity for our students to network with WNY’s CPAs.”
The NYSSCPA Award of Honor is presented to one graduating senior and one graduating graduate student from each school, in recognition of outstanding achievements in accounting studies. The requirements included completing the school’s registered accounting curriculum (by May 2014), and receiving the highest general averaged grade in all accounting courses. Two Niagara graduate students, Janelle M. Pedulla and Joshua R. Rogers, were awarded this year due to a tie.
Pedulla was born and raised in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and both her mother and her younger sister have been her driving force behind her accomplishments. Pedulla, ’01, returned to Niagara in 2013 to complete her graduate work after being self-employed for many years. She will graduate this May.
Rogers graduated from Niagara with a B.B.A. in accounting in 2005. He then accepted a position with Deloitte and worked his way to the position of audit senior assistant, becoming a CPA along the way. In the fall of 2012, Rodgers returned to Niagara to complete his MBA. He currently works with Computer Task Group, an information technology services company.
The recipient of the NYSSCPA Award of Honor as a graduating senior accounting student was Emily Read. Read is from Whitesboro, N.Y., and has worked this season with the accounting firm Chiampou, Travis, Besaw, & Kershner, LLP. Upon graduation this May, she will be spending her summer interning with Deloitte in New York City. When she is not studying, Read has a passion for community service and enjoys being a resident assistant on campus.
Andrew J. Stachowski, a junior accounting major with the highest overall scholastic average, was the recipient of the John T. Kennedy Memorial Award. Though he is expected to graduate next May, Stachowski plans on staying at Niagara to pursue his MBA as well as earning his CPA certification. He aspires to become an accountant at a local accounting firm and enjoy a successful career as a bookkeeper. Aiding his accounting knowledge, he participated in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program this semester at Niagara.
Also in attendance at the dinner were Foundation for Accounting Education (FAE) Excellence in Accounting Scholarship awardees Jason Cutler and Natalie Wisniewski. The scholarships are awarded based on a myriad of requirements, such as grade point average, credit hours, and financial aid. Professor Vincent Agnello and Joseph Winter, assistant professor of accounting, were also at the dinner to support and congratulate the awardees.
Winter stated, “It was lovely to see the undergraduate and graduate students from Niagara recognized at the ceremony. The awardees should be proud of their accomplishments and achievements in the field of accounting and I offer congratulations for these honors.”