The Alliance of Black Women Accountants (ABWA) has awarded three Santa Monica College (SMC) Accounting majors—Shakira Drummond, Carmieshra Gorman, and Leisha Gorman—scholarships at a Nov. 12 ceremony held at the Glendora Country Club.

Smith and Gorman received $1,000 general scholarships and Drummond was one of two Rosemarie Pamela Brown scholarship recipients, receiving $2,500.

ABWA board president Nefertiti Long stated that the organization provides annual scholarships to women of color aspiring to have careers in accounting or finance.

“We conduct outreach to high schools, community colleges, and universities to reach these students. It is amazing that Santa Monica College provided so many candidates that were selected through our application review process!” stated Long. “In addition to scholarships, we provide mentoring as well as meetings to expose students to professionals in the field and other resources as they move along their journey.”

Shakira Drummond said she was “beyond ecstatic” at learning she had received a scholarship from ABWA. “It felt great knowing that I had support from people who didn’t know me personally but still believed in me enough to invest in me,” she said. “I am beyond grateful for SMC Accounting Professor Victor Trippetti, as he laid the solid foundation for me to acquire the knowledge necessary to pursue a career in accounting or finance.”

“Immense gratitude” are the words that came to Carmieshra Gorman’s mind. “I could not have been more pleased to be lifted up by an esteemed association of professional women,” Gorman stated. “To receive the ABWA’s support is an incredible honor that has already made a profound impact as I work towards my accounting degree. Thank you to all of the women who made this possible!”

Leisha Smith stated that she was nervous after submitting her application, wondering whether it was “good enough.” “Being awarded made me realize that it wasn’t about whether my application was good enough, but rather if it was portraying my story, my hard work, my challenges, and who I am as a person.” Smith thanked “the amazing support system” at Santa Monica College, and gave a shout out to “Accounting Professors Ming Lu for helping me find accounting and mentoring me along the way and Greg Brookins for making me grow my love for learning, and especially my mother who has been my rock and supported me through whatever decision I have made. These people have made the biggest impacts in my life, and for that I couldn’t ask for anything or anyone else.”

The alliance gives out ABWA General Scholarship Awards amounting up to $1,000 and the $5,000 Rosemarie Pamela Brown Scholarship (in honor of its founder), split this year between two recipients.

Leisha Smith and Shakira Drummond are also members of SMC Black Collegians Umoja Community.

The Alliance of Black Women Accountants was birthed out of the vision of founder and late president Rosemarie Pamela Brown. After working many years in public accounting, Brown noticed that frequently she was the only person of color in the room. “Public accounting is a challenging and demanding field. For Rosemarie and other women of color, having mentors that look like you and can relate to your challenges as well as serve as an advocate for you is rare if at all experienced throughout one’s career. Rosemarie wanted to change that,” reads a statement on the “About Us” section on the alliance’s website. To learn more about the Alliance of Black Women Accountants, visit allianceofbwa.org.

Submitted by Grace Smith