Foster grads honored for top scores on CPA Exam

Think of Andrea Betassa (BA 2010, MPAcc 2011) and Kiely Lenore Strohmaier (BA 2010) as national valedictorians of newly minted Certified Public Accountants.

The pair of accounting graduates from the University of Washington Foster School of Business posted two of the top scores in the nation on the Uniform CPA Examination in 2011. This feat earned them the Elijah Watt Sells Award, issued by the American Institute of CPAs.

The Sells Award recognizes candidates who achieved a cumulative average score above 95.5 across all four sections of the CPA Exam (on their first attempt). More than 90,000 people took the exam in 2011. Only 37 met the award’s criteria.

Betassa, who earned a BA in accounting and a master’s degree in professional accounting from the Foster School , now works for Deloitte in Seattle.

Strohmaier, who earned a BA in business administration from Foster, works for CliftonLarsonAllen in Moses Lake, Washington.
Among nearly 500,000 CPA Exam candidates over the past five years, only 92 have earned the Sells Award. Five of this elite group are alumni of the Foster School.

Michael Robert Dean (BA 2009, MPAcc 2010) won in 2010. Older brother Bryan Dean (BA 2007) won in 2007. And Maria Goto (BA 2008) won in 2009.

“This extraordinary accomplishment is a testament to the extremely high quality of students at the Foster School, and the terrific instruction they receive from our distinguished faculty,” says Steve Sefcik, associate dean for undergraduate programs and professor of accounting.

The Elijah Watt Sells Award was established in 1923 by the AICPA to recognize outstanding performance on the Uniform CPA Exam.