Becca Hardy, a senior at Eastern Mennonite University, was one of three local students from area colleges and universities to win a $1,000 scholarship from the Virginia Skyline Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants and the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants. She will pursue a master's in accounting at James Madison University. (Photos by Andrew Strack)

Work experience, grades and ‘future promise’ helps grad school-bound senior win area accounting scholarship

Becca Hardy, a senior at Eastern Mennonite University, was one of three local students from area colleges and universities to win a $1,000 scholarship from the Virginia Skyline Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants and the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.

A double major in accounting and business administration, she was awarded the scholarship in February. Timothy Shenk, of James Madison University, and Naseer DeMoss, of Bridgewater College, also received scholarships.

“Becca Hardy was selected based on her academic achievement, evidence of leadership, previous work experience and future promise,” said scholarship committee chair Cary Hevener, chief financial officer at TSSI.

After graduation in April, Hardy will begin the master’s in accounting program at James Madison University. After passing the CPA exam, she plans a career in accounting.

While balancing a successful four-year career with the EMU Royals volleyball team, Hardy has acquired practical work experience as well as shown an avid interest in the field.

During her first and second years at EMU, Hardy interned at Bridgewater-based Dynamic Aviation in the accounting department.

She began a second internship during tax season 2016 with Brown Edwards & Company in Harrisonburg, a regional CPA firm with nine offices in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. She continues that internship today.

“I genuinely love working here,” she said. “I enjoy the work and I love the people I work with.”

Jeff Smith, managing partner of Brown Edwards’ Harrisonburg office, was pleased to learn of Hardy’s recognition. “Becca has been an outstanding intern for us and adapts well to the challenging field of public accounting,” he said. “The thorough, high-caliber preparation she’s received at EMU mixed with her strong work ethic has produced a solid, dependable employee that her school can be very proud of.”

Hardy spent part of last summer on cross-cultural in Myanmar, where she studied their tax system. “At the end of the six weeks we had to present to the group and I am pretty sure everyone was bored to death but I thought it was so fascinating. I had fun with that project.”

Becca Hardy at her internship site, Brown Edwards & Co., in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

At EMU, she started as a business major. Professors Leah Kratz and Ron Stolfzfus encouraged her to add an accounting major after she enjoyed the required coursework in financial and managerial accounting. “I ended up liking both of those classes, which complement each other well.”

Hardy says she’s always been “fairly numbers-oriented.” When asked to share a story about that inclination, she admitted to receiving a cash register for Christmas. The entrepreneurial third-grader started a store in her hometown of Port Republic called Becca’s Bargains (it is no longer operational). She also points to her mother, a bookkeeper, and father, who has a degree in economics, as influential in her career choice.

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