By Jess Clarke
For Scott Showalter, working at NC State means more than just being the director of the Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) program and teaching courses at Poole College of Management.
“We go all out wherever we are,” he says of his wife Elizabeth “Josie” and him. “We just jump in with both feet… We decided that if I was going to teach here, I had to do more than just teach.”
Do you use season passes to attend Wolfpack basketball and soccer games? Check. Do you attend campus theater productions? Check.
Establishing Foundation Scholarship for MAC Students? That’s what they did: the D. Scott and Elizabeth A. Showalter Endowment.
“The great thing about an endowment scholarship is that it really lasts forever. It’s for people who want to make a long-term impact,” says Showalter. “We want something that lasts far beyond our lifetime.”
The Showalter Foundation can help MAC students throughout their lives as more and more accounting industry employers require a college degree. “An accounting degree is very important for career and earning potential,” he says.
But students must be able to afford the MAC program to position themselves for these opportunities and greater earning potential.
Many MAC students enroll in the program with debt from their undergraduate degrees. And some are part-time students who need to work to earn a degree. “There is a significant need for scholarship funding,” says Showalter. “Without some kind of scholarship help, some are having a really hard time making it work.”
Scholarships are a powerful recruitment tool. “Students are looking for the best bargain they can get,” notes Showalter.
And fellowships increase diversity in the MAC program — and ultimately in the accounting industry, which historically hasn’t been very multicultural.
A more diverse mix of MAC students enriches the learning experience. “It changes the whole classroom dialogue and teamwork by offering different perspectives,” says Showalter.
Having a cross-cultural group of students increases the number of employers who recruit and hire graduates at NC State. “We don’t think this is just important for the MAC program,” he says. “We can have a significant impact on the accounting profession.”
That influence begins with Poole.
Showalter and his wife created the grant to help Poole meet his fundraising goal during NC State’s recent capital campaign. They have continued to add to the fund over time. “You have a vehicle that you can easily contribute to and watch it grow,” he says.
So far, one student has received the scholarship, which partially pays for tuition, and another will do so in the fall. The Showalter Fund is one of approximately 15 MAC grants, all of which are merit-based.
Before joining NC State, Showalter worked in public accounting as a partner at KPMG, which recruits MAC students. The company matches his contributions to the scholarship fund. “To the extent that your employer fits, you can do even more,” he says.
The MAC program makes a difference in students’ lives before they graduate.
Established in 1994, the program offers internships, networking opportunities, and other real-world experiences that position students for success after graduation. With optional academic specializations, students can differentiate themselves when looking for a job. And the MAC program has dedicated career services focused solely on supporting MAC students.
“What we hear from students is that we treat them like family. Even our online students don’t feel abandoned,” says Showalter, MAC director since 2018 and faculty member since 2008.
This is also reflected in the record number of 170 students for the program combined in both the on-campus and online cohorts.
Showalter is committed to MAC students going beyond the classroom — and he encourages others to support the MAC program and the accounting industry.
“I give back because I want to ensure the future success of the accounting profession and accounting professionals. It is vital for the public that well-qualified people enter the accounting profession,” he says. “The MAC program helps a wide range of people who would otherwise not be able to get into accounting. If you want to make a difference, this is the place to do it.”
This post was originally published in MAC Program.