Two Southeast Students Selected for Brown Smith Wallace IMPACT Leadership Program

Two Southeast Missouri State University accounting students learned they have been accepted into the IMPACT leadership program of Brown Smith Wallace, a nationally ranked public accounting firm in St. Louis, during a visit to the firm last week by a group of Southeast accounting majors.

Austin Kight, a senior accounting major from Cape Girardeau, and Jade Frey, a junior accounting major from Decatur, Illinois, were honored as candidates selected to participate in the leadership program this summer. They were chosen through a competitive application process that included both an essay and an on-campus interview. Accounting students from eight universities competed to participate, according to Dr. Roberta Humphrey, Southeast associate professor of accounting. IMPACT sessions are scheduled for June 4-5 and June 11-12.

“I am very excited to see what will become of the IMPACT opportunity,” Kight said. “I could truly picture myself working for the firm.

Frey added that she’s “super excited” about the opportunity to participate in the program and learn more about public accounting at Brown Smith Wallace this summer.

IMPACT provides accounting students an exclusive opportunity to explore their intended career field, strengthen their leadership skills and prepare for their first internship. Students participate in real-world tax, audit and advisory simulations and engage in presentations designed to help prepare them for a career in public accounting. Participating students work closely with firm leadership with the goal of leaving the session with refined leadership and professional etiquette skills, which are essential to success in the industry.

Kight and Frey were among 18 Southeast accounting majors and three Southeast accounting faculty members – Dr. Leisa Marshall, Humphrey and Rebecca Lohmann — who toured the offices of Brown Smith Wallace April 6. During the visit, the students heard presentations from Southeast alumni about their experiences as employees of the firm and the path they have taken, leading them to their position with the firm today. Among the alumni presenters were Lincoln Gray, partner; Dan Alvillar, CPA, senior audit; Maggie Eggleston, tax staff; and Claire Simonds, advisory staff. Coordinating the day’s events was Laura Simmons, senior Human Relations generalist with Brown Smith Wallace.

“The visit provides students with the opportunity to see first-hand the inner-workings of a CPA firm,” said Marshall, Southeast professor of accounting. “Their interactions with alumni in the field humanizes working professionals for the students.”

Brown Smith Wallace Partner Gray, added, “We absolutely appreciate the opportunity to host this type of event and always look forward to more time with the students.”

The Southeast alumni also discussed internship opportunities at Brown Smith Wallace, the 150 credit hours required to sit for the CPA exam and the essential elements of a successful accounting career.