Bethel Graduate is Recognized with Country’s Top CPA Award

In May 2023, Maddison Sumners ‘22 was one of 50 people in the country to be awarded the Elijah Watt Sells Award this year by the American Institute of CPAs. More than 67,000 candidates were considered for this award that is granted to CPA candidates who obtain a cumulative average above 95.50 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA examination.

By Marcus Dip Silas S'25

July 05, 2023 | 10 a.m.

Maddie Sumners

As a student at Bethel, Maddison Sumners ’22 set her sight on excellence. She was determined to excel as a student in the accounting and finance program and she graduated summa cum laude with a perfect 4.0 GPA. When she took her Uniform CPA examination, Sumner’s average was 95.75, and she was very pleased to learn that her hard work over the years had paid off.

“It was an honor to be included amongst the recipients of the Elijah Watt Sells award,” Sumner says. “While I was at Bethel and studying for the exam, I knew that I wanted to give my very best effort.” Sumner credits her achievement in part to the guidance and education she received through the Bethel Business Department.

“I am grateful for all the resources I was offered through Bethel’s accounting and finance program.”

— Maddison Sumners '22

Bruce Olsen is the associate professor of business in Bethel’s Business College of Arts & Sciences. As a former professor of Sumner’s, Olsen has high regard for her work ethic and academic accomplishments. “Maddie took full advantage of her Bethel education and exhibits the character of a true learner,” Olsen says. “Maddie often got perfect scores on her tests, but remained humble, kind, hard-working, and fully engaged.” Sumner also worked as Olsen’s teaching assistant during her senior year and Olsen found her work ethic to be outstanding.

Sumner now works for Deloitte & Touche LLP, an international accounting and consulting firm. She applies the same passion and commitment to commitment as a student to her current role as an auditor at the company. Sumner’s advice to current and prospective accounting and finance majors is to persevere. “For other students who want to pursue completion of the CPA exam and licensure path, my advice to them is to never give up,” Sumner says. “The journey is rigorous and challenging but it is worth every effort. Anticipate challenges but stay the course.” Sumner says that exploring different methods of studying at Bethel was what helped her develop key problem-solving skills to become a better learner.

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