Three RIC scholars rank among top in nation

RIC student Benjamin Silva ’11 earned the highest score of all student test takers on the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam and earned one of the top 10 highest scores in the nation.

Benjamin Silva ’11
The CMA exam is the gold standard certification for accountants and financial professionals nationwide. Each year, professionals as well as students sit for the exam.

Out of the 2,300 individuals who took the exam this year, Benjamin Silva, a 2011 RIC graduate, achieved one of the top 10 highest scores in the nation. Out of total examinees, 100 were students; Silva outscored them all.

The exam covers accounting, economics, finance, operations management, statistics and strategy, with a strong emphasis on ethics.

In recognition of his exceptional performance, the Institute of Certified Management Accountants will present Silva with the Priscilla S. Payne Student Performance Award at their annual conference next June.

Even though Silva’s accomplishment is tremendous, none of RIC’s accounting faculty were surprised, said David Filipek, RIC associate professor of accounting. Silva graduated with a 4.0 grade point average in all his accounting courses and was an active member of RIC’s Accounting Association.

“He was one of the best students we’ve had,” said Filipek. “I predict he’ll be a leader in the field. He’s very quiet and unassuming, yet amazingly confident.”

“Everything on the test I learned in some course or another at RIC,” Silva said. “I mainly reviewed what I had already learned.”

When he left the test site, he said, “I knew I had passed, but I wasn’t expecting such a high score. Twenty-three hundred people are a lot of people to compete with. And the test covers so much material. There are questions that you aren’t quite sure about, there are 100 multiple choice questions and an essay portion.”

After acing the CMA exam, Silva is now taking the four-part Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.

”I just wanted to get it done. I’ve taken Regulation, which for me was challenging; it covers tax law and business law. I did fairly well, but I won’t know until the grades come in,” he said.

He described his four years at RIC as ”great, especially getting involved with the RIC Accounting Association.” As a member, he visited accounting firms; attended the Institute of Management Accounting (IMA) monthly dinner meetings, which included guest speakers in the accounting and finance field; he was able to network and stay abreast of current issues in accounting and flew to the IMA Student Leadership Conference in California.

”Academic learning is one thing, but if you want to get involved and advance your career, the Accounting Association at RIC is great for that.”

Through the Accounting Association, Silva was able to obtain a paid internship this summer at Oliveira & Associates, a CPA firm, in East Providence. In September he will begin a master’s program in accounting at Bryant College and will then pursue a career in public accounting.

RIC student Heideh Shadravan is recipient of the PCAOB national merit-based scholarship.

Heideh Shadravan ’11
With 52 institutions in the country selected to nominate students to receive the $10,000 scholarship offered by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), RIC student Heideh Shadravan ’11 has won this honor for herself and for Rhode Island College.

The PCAOB Academic Scholarship Program recognizes graduate students and undergraduates enrolled in an accounting degree program who demonstrate aptitude in accounting and auditing as well as high ethical standards.

Shadravan, who will begin the master’s in public accountancy program in the fall, was nominated for the scholarship by RIC’s accounting faculty.

“It will cover the cost of completing my master’s degree. I’m very grateful,” she said.

Faculty describe Shadravan as an outstanding student and a student leader. As an undergraduate in the accounting program she was elected treasurer of RIC’s Accounting Association and took on additional duties as well, such as acting as liaison between RIC and the Institute of Management Accounting (IMA). She also organized a Book Swap to help accounting students mitigate the cost of books.

As Shadravan begins her graduate program, she has already been elected graduate advisor of the RIC Accounting Association. She is also a member of the Rhode Island Society for CPAs, the co-president of the Providence Chapter of the IMA, and RIC representative for the Becker CPA Exam Review.

“We’re a very close-knit group here in the accounting department,” she said. “I’m often referred to as the mother of RIC’s accounting student community. As a single mother with two children of my own, 15 and nine, I believe in striving for the betterment of the group. I do all that I can, whenever I’m called on, to help other students. Each of us supporting each other creates a tight-knit family, which I’m honored to be a part of.”

Shadravan, whose last name in Persian means “Happy Spirit,” credited the accounting faculty for recognizing her leadership ability.

“Sometimes we don’t recognize the beauty and potential within ourselves,” she said. ”The faculty have encouraged me to see that.”

The PCAOB, which was established through the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as a result of the Enron scandal and which is responsible for overseeing the accounting of all publically held corporations, just inaugurated the PCAOB Scholarship Program this year.

Funding of the scholarship is generated from the collection of monetary penalties imposed by the PCAOB. The PCAOB hopes to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in auditing to protect the interests of investors, said PCAOB chairman, James Doty.

“Heideh has done the accounting program proud,” said Jane Przybyla, RIC associate professor of accounting.

Kristen Kichefski named 2011 APNA Janssen Student Scholar.

Kristen Kichefski
RIC nursing student Kristen Kichefski is only one of 15 undergraduate students in the nation to be awarded the APNA Janssen Student Scholarship offered by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association in partnership with Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs.

Over 300 scholarship applications were submitted by nursing students from across the United States. From these applications, 15 graduate and 15 undergraduate nursing students were selected through rigorous review by the APNA Awards and Recognition Committee to receive the scholarship.

Fellow undergraduate winners were from prestigious schools such as the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins, Villanova and Purdue universities, among others.

Each student exemplified a passion for psychiatric nursing and the potential to have a significant impact on the field.

A senior in the BSN program at RIC, Kichefski works a 20-hour-a-week rotation at Butler Hospital in the Senior Specialty Inpatient Program. Her geriatric patients, she said, have a variety of psychiatric and medical disorders, including addiction, depression, dementia, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The APNA Janssen Scholarship, which includes travel and lodging expenses to attend the APNA 25th Annual Conference in October 2011, in Anaheim, Calif., will expose Kichefski to the latest research treatment approaches and science behind psychiatric mental-health nursing.

“I’m looking forward to networking and discussing information among colleagues,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to implementing the information in my geriatric practice.”

Interestingly enough, nursing was not Kichefski’s first career. She first earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting, working as an account manager in human resources and accounting departments for seven years. She married and had three sons; but when all three boys were diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disorder, Kichefski became inspired by the people who worked at the medical research facilities. She decided to become a nurse.

Along with her passion for psychiatric mental health, Kichefski is an energetic leader both at the college and for the state of Rhode Island.

She is president of the Student Nursing Association of Rhode Island, vice president of RIC’s Nurses Association, a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee, a member of the Student Outcomes Committee, coordinator of Project-in-Touch and a volunteer organizer of community projects.

Kichefski credits RIC for cultivating a climate for leadership:

“Every lesson has to do with nursing leadership, doing as much as possible for your patients and your community. The school provides opportunities for students to get involved, and the faculty truly listen.”

After graduating in December, Kichefski plans to become a licensed RN and enroll in a master’s nursing program.

RIC President Carriuolo said of these award winners: ”I am so proud that three of RIC’s students have been recognized nationally for their achievements. It is a tribute not only to these fine students but also to the quality of the faculty and programs offered at the college that serves Rhode Islanders.”