Alumna Sams ’14 Meets with Students About New National Association of Black Accountants Chapter

Posted on 3/7/19 3:27 PM

On March 7, 2019, Raven Sams, 2014 IUP accounting alumna and senior compliance testing specialist with PNC in Pittsburgh, met with a group of eight IUP students to help them finalize IUP’s National Association of Black Accountants chapter. The IUP NABA chapter’s founder and president is senior accounting major Atiyah Gardner. Kim Anderson, the Student Accounting Association faculty advisor, helped arrange the meeting by putting Raven, one of her former students, in contact with Gardner.

“I think it’s fantastic that Atiyah is establishing an IUP NABA chapter. When I learned that Raven was involved with NABA in Pittsburgh, I knew she would be of great help to Atiyah in finalizing the steps needed to get the IUP NABA chapter up and running,” Anderson said.


From left: Brittney Arnett, internal audit manager, PNC; Tyra Thompson, senior accounting major and NABA vice president; Atiyah Gardner, senior accounting major and NABA president; Mercedes Littlejohn, senior marketing major and NABA charity chair; Chynah Johnson, senior marketing major and NABA PR and events chair, and Raven Sams, senior compliance testing specialist, PNC.

Sams graduated magna cum laude from IUP, where she completed a triple major in accounting, finance, and international business. Sams was on the audit staff at Deloitte for four years before accepting her current role at PNC. She is the current vice president of the Pittsburgh NABA chapter. Sams, along with her colleague, PNC Internal Audit Manager Brittney Arnett, met with the IUP NABA students. Arnett is currently the membership chairperson of the Pittsburgh NABA chapter, is a CPA, and worked for three years at KPMG and has been with PNC for the past seven years.

During the meeting, Sams and Arnett provided background information on NABA, including the fact that it was founded in 1969 in New York by nine African-American accountants. These nine individuals realized that there were not many black professionals in accounting or business and decided to form NABA. Sams and Arnett also talked about NABA’s mission: “To address the professional needs of its members and to build leaders that shape the future of the accounting and finance profession with an unfaltering commitment to inspire the same in their successors.” They also discussed the eastern NABA region, which is comprised of 10 professional chapters, including Pittsburgh and over 50 student chapters from Massachusetts to Virginia.  

Sams and Arnett described the many benefits of becoming a NABA member, including the Eastern Regional Student Conference, student scholarship program, annual case study competition, and the Accounting Career Awareness Program. Arnett informed the students that the ERSC will be held in September and will attract participants from over 70 universities, corporate sponsors, and professionals from across the region; it provides a wealth of leadership, employment, and networking opportunities for many diverse college students.

Sams went over the remaining steps the IUP NABA chapter needs to complete, which involves securing 10 student members who have paid the $35 national dues, electing new board members, getting the application approved by the regional and national board, and submitting some compliance documents.

To conclude the meeting, the students asked questions, including how has NABA helped them, suggestions for fundraising efforts, and how to apply for the scholarships. Sams and Arnett provided some professional advice, such as how to wear their hair in the work place. All of the students who attended found it to be very informative. Sams and Arnett encouraged the students to contact them any time, and they promised to return to campus.

Although the focus of NABA is on accounting, it is open to all business majors. Any business students interested in joining IUP’s NABA chapter should contact the current NABA president, Atiyah Gardner, at