Accounting and Finance MajorsChristina Bryner-2016 Student Gallery Winner

"At Eberly, the professors invest themselves in the students. There isn't one time that I've passed a professor in the halls without them asking about job offers and how my senior year is going. In addition, Eberly has tremendous alumni. Through attending some Student Accounting Association (SAA) and Student Managed Investment Portfolio (SMIP) meetings, I've been able to network with various students who have all been willing to answer my questions and provide advice about career paths. I know a lot of schools say it, but at IUP you are definitely more than just a number."

I am from Blairsville, Pennsylvania, which is approximately 20 miles from IUP. To fully explain why I chose IUP, I feel it is necessary to provide some background on myself. I am a first-generation, low-income student. This qualified me for a program known as the Upward Bound Math and Science program (UBMS). I joined this program as a high school freshman and had the opportunity to stay on IUP's campus for three summers. During my time in UBMS, we received lectures from IUP professors to give us a better feel for what to expect from college life. Seeing so many professors willing to take time out of their busy schedules to give presentations to local high school students was both inspiring and very meaningful to me. Going on tours of Eberly during UBMS showed me IUP had a phenomenal business school. Fast forward seven years from high school, and my IUP education enabled me to complete a summer internship at a Fortune 500 company alongside students from Notre Dame, Pitt, and Duquesne.

My time as a tutor and scholarship advisor for the Upward Bound Math and Science program at IUP has been extremely influential in shaping my character. During my time in high school as a UBMS scholar, I was fortunate enough to become the first local student presented with a National Dell Scholarship. This prestigious award is only given to students who have overcome adverse circumstances, whether it be financial difficulties or something more personal, and who are driven for success.

As a tutor and scholarship advisor, I assist current UBMS scholars by mentoring them and learning about their backgrounds, helping them find scholarships to achieve their collegiate goals, and aiding them with their essays. This year, I am personally advising four students.

Last year, with my assistance, another UBMS scholar was selected as the second local student to ever receive the National Dell Scholarship. Knowing how much this award has helped me achieve my goal of attending and being successful in college, I was ecstatic for her.

Being a tutor and scholarship advisor has benefited me in many ways. I have gained leadership skills and been able to give back to the local community in meaningful ways, and I have been able to be a dependable positive presence to high school students who may not necessarily have that at home. I have been involved with UBMS since 2009 and have been a tutor and scholarship advisor since 2012.

Eberly gives its students all the tools necessary to be successful in life, no matter what career path they choose. Every one of my professors has encouraged their students to strive for success. This unwavering commitment to the students is something I will always cherish.

No matter what college one attends, what matters most is what one chooses to make of their opportunities. IUP and Eberly have opened doors for me that I could have only dreamed about. I am so proud to call myself a future IUP alumnus.

Christina has been hired by Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP as Audit Staff Accountant (as of May 2016).