2018 GFOA Scholarship Winners

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has announced the recipients of its 2018 scholarships. GFOA’s mission is to promote excellence in state and local government financial management and the awarding of scholarships is one of the ways GFOA accomplishes its mission.

The recipient of the $15,000 Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship is Shirley A. Walker, who will graduate in May 2018 with a Master of Accountancy degree with an emphasis on Forensic Accounting, from Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee. Shirley presently serves as the Chief Financial Officer with the Holly Springs Marshall County Airport, and Project Manager with the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, in Mississippi.  She plans to sit for the Certified Public Accounting, Certified Fraud Examiner, and Certified Information Systems Auditor examinations, with the goal of achieving a Forensic Accounting and Auditing position within government.  Funded by the Girard Miller Foundation.

The recipients of the two awards for the Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship are Erika Jex and Timothy Kelly. Each will receive $10,000. Funded by Government Finance Officers Association.

  • Erika Jex will graduate in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. She presently serves as an intern for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  In this position, Erika inputs and analyzes data in Excel, publishes reports, and assists squad members with other tasks. Erika placed first in Arizona in Forensic Accounting at a Phi Beta Lambda competition in 2017, and placed fifth in the nation. Upon graduation, Erika plans to pursue a Master of Science in Accounting degree and sit for the Certified Public Accounting and Certified Fraud Examiner examinations, with a goal of working in the field of governmental accounting.                                          
  • Timothy Kelly will graduate in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance degree from Sacred Heart University, John F. Welch College of Business, in Fairfield, Connecticut. He will participate in an audit intern program with PricewaterhouseCoopers this summer, and begin coursework to achieve a Master of Science in Accounting degree, with a concentration in Forensic Accounting. Timothy’s goals include working in the accounting or finance function of a local government, and obtaining the position of controller.   

The recipient of the $10,000 Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship is Chineme Stacy Esimai, who will graduate in the spring of 2020 with a Master in Public Administration, concentration in Inspection and Oversight, from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, New York. Stacy immigrated to the United States from Nigeria over two decades ago and earned the Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner designations. She is currently employed by the New York City Comptroller’s Office in the Audit Bureau, where she assists with the financial audits of New York City agencies. Stacy’s long-term goal is to work in the Inspector or Auditor General Office at the state or municipal level.  Funded by Government Finance Officers Association.

The recipients of the four awards for the Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship are David Franklin Bodway III, Ximena Tagle Hodzic, Bethany McCrady, and Chelsie Wilson. Each will receive $10,000. Funded by the Government Finance Officers Association Scholarship Reserve.

  • David Franklin Bodway III will graduate in June 2019 with an Executive Master in Public Administration degree from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.  He has been employed with Clackamas County, Oregon, since 2012 and currently serves as a Finance Manager. David manages the County ledger that encompasses a $781-million- dollar budget, and oversees the general ledgers for five of the County’s component units.  David’s goal is to expand his leadership and responsibilities within local government.
  • Ximena Tagle Hodzic will graduate in December 2018 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Richmond, Virginia, with a Master in Public Administration degree and a concentration in Financial Management. Ximena immigrated to the United States from Peru with a goal of working in government. She has been employed by the
    Commonwealth of Virginia for almost three years, currently serving as a Budget and Policy Analyst for the Department of Planning and Budget. Previously, Ximena served as a Newcomer Health Program Specialist in the Virginia Department of Health.  Ximena’s goal is to continue working in state or local government finance.
  • Bethany McCrady will graduate in December 2018 from the University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, with a Master of Public Affairs degree. Bethany has been
    employed with the City of Richardson, Texas for over five years. As a Senior Financial Analyst, her responsibilities include coordinating activities of third-party audit providers, implementing and guiding the internal audit program, administering the City’s credit card acceptance program, and developing finance-related policies and procedures for the City’s departments. Bethany’s career goal is to one day be the Finance Director for the City of Richardson. 
  • Chelsie Wilson will graduate from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, in July 2019 with a Master of Accountancy degree. Chelsie has been employed with the Town of Davie, Florida for twenty-two years, currently serving as an Accountant II. Her responsibilities include specialized accounting tasks, assisting in cash management and investing activities, reconciling accounts, subsidiary records, and subsystems, and reviewing financial transactions for accuracy, completeness, and conformance with guidelines.  Chelsie’s goals include sitting for the Certified Public Accounting examination, and securing an accounting position with greater responsibilities within the Town of Davie. 

The recipients of the three awards for the Jeffrey L. Esser Career Development Scholarship are Celia King, Larissa Mendez, and Amy Miller. Each will receive $5,000. Funded by Government Finance Officers Association. 

  • Celia King will graduate in June 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from California Coast University in Santa Ana, California. Celia has been employed with the Town of Yountville, California for almost fourteen years, beginning her career as an Account Clerk in the Finance Department, and currently serving as an Accounting Technician. Her responsibilities include performing higher-level accounting tasks, assisting in the compilation of the annual budget and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, preparing journal entries, monthly, and quarterly financial reports, and processing bi-weekly payroll. Celia’s goal is to one day secure a position as a Finance Manager or Finance Director.
  • Larissa Mendez will graduate from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, in December 2022 with a Bachelor of Public Management degree. Larissa has been employed with Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, Florida, for thirteen years, beginning her career as a Clerical Specialist in the Zoning Department. Currently, she is serving as a Procurement Specialist with the Facilities Development and Operations Division. Her responsibilities include reviewing department requisitions for completeness and accuracy, obtaining non-discrimination forms, insurance forms, and three quotes from vendors, and authorizing payments of invoices or the return of merchandise. Larissa’s goal is to secure a finance position with greater responsibilities within Palm Beach County.
  • Amy Miller will graduate in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree from Colorado State University, Global Campus, in Greenwood Village, Colorado.  Amy has been employed with the City of West Bend, Wisconsin, for five years, currently serving as the Deputy Finance Administrator. Her responsibilities include providing supervisory and administrative support to the Finance Administrator, while overseeing the daily operations of the Finance Department. Amy assists with the preparation and delegation of the operating budget document and the annual audit, processes the annual budget entries, and performs the year-end close.  Prior to the City of West Bend, Amy was employed by the Herman School District in Mayville, Wisconsin, as the Business Manager/Bookkeeper. Amy’s goal is to continue expanding her responsibilities while working in government finance.

A full list of past scholarship winners is also available.

For more information regarding GFOA’s scholarships, please contact Peg Hartnett, Senior Manager.