Recent Grace College accounting graduates and future certified public accountants Juliana Romano and Caleb Yoder are investing their talent in northeast Indiana and giving back to the region that gave them so much.
A large percentage of Grace’s accounting graduates stay in the area. “In my 20 years of experience, approximately one-fifth of Grace accounting graduates have chosen to remain in northeast Indiana and use their skills in a variety of accounting positions, from nonprofit organizations to top accounting firms,” said Dr. Roger Stichter, Grace College professor of accounting.
Romano, of Livonia, Mich., decided to come to Grace College after she attended its annual Presidential Scholarship Competition. She went on to obtain two degrees during her four years at Grace: marketing and accounting. “Whenever I’m asked about my time at Grace, I cannot contain my joy,” said Romano. “The Grace College School of Business was one of the biggest blessings,” she said.
The School of Business connected Romano with an internship at Zimmer Biomet and nominated her for business competitions to help her gain experience and build her resume. When she graduated in May of 2018, she already had a job lined up. The annual accounting fair at Grace connected Romano with the Forbes Top Accounting Firm Baden Gage & Schroeder in Fort Wayne where she works as an audit staff accountant. Romano says she loves her work and is thankful to work at Baden Gage & Schroeder, which has also been named an Inside Public Accounting Best of the Best Firm three years in a row.
This past winter, Romano took the final portion of the CPA exam and passed. “There is not a business class I took at Grace that didn’t help me with the CPA exam,” stated Romano.
Fellow 2018 graduate Caleb Yoder of Leo, Ind., would agree. Yoder also passed all four parts of the CPA exam on his first try. “Dr. Stichter was an extremely effective instructor,” said Yoder. “The program wasn’t easy, but he helped me understand the tough concepts. It was the challenging assignments and tests that really helped prepare me to solve problems in the workforce,” said Yoder.
Yoder originally came to Grace as a civil engineering major, but it didn’t take him long to switch to accounting. “I always loved the challenge math brought, and Grace’s accounting program is one of the best in the state. Switching my degree to accounting became an easy decision after weighing the options,” he explained.
Yoder returned to Fort Wayne after graduation to work at Dulin, Ward & DeWald, Inc., a 2019 Inside Public Accounting Top 400 Firm, as a staff accountant. “My family and my wife’s family are both in northern Indiana. God has placed us in a special church community in Fort Wayne as well. We are so thankful for our community and our jobs,” said Yoder.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with these two graduates, and I’m thrilled that the connections they made at Grace’s accounting fair have paid off long-term! Our region has a lot to offer young professionals like Juliana and Caleb,” stated Stichter.
Grace College’s CPA pass rate was recently ranked in the top 7% in the country by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Grace placed 17th, making it the highest-ranked Hoosier institution in the category. To learn more about Grace’s accounting program, visit grace.edu/major/accounting/.