Student sparked ‘inner fire’ to learn English, earns national accounting scholarship

Haiying Li
Haiying Li

This story was originally posted on June 7 on UH News.

The state’s lone recipient of a $10,000 national accounting scholarship is a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business undergraduate student. Haiying Li, a junior accounting major, was named a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) scholar for the 2022–23 academic year. These scholarships are awarded to outstanding students who will likely pursue a career as an auditor.

Li was born in China and came to the U.S. in 2012. She struggled to speak English and spent most of her recess time in the classroom studying, while her classmates played outside.

“I’ve always worked hard and believed that the amount of effort I put in is equal to the results I end up with”, Li said. “Knowing that I had to work harder than others, I ignited my inner fire, propelled myself to the top 15% of my graduating class and graduated high school (President Theodore Roosevelt High School) with a semester’s worth of college credits.”

Finding support at UH Mānoa

Li enrolled at UH Mānoa in 2019 and entered the Shidler College of Business in spring 2021. She said her experience at Shidler College has been great. Her advisors and professors constantly encourage and support her.

“One misconception students always have about college is that college is completely independent and they are entirely on their own,” Li said. “Going to college does help students develop into mature and independent young adults, but there are mentors and peers who can help you make this transition and get you ready for your career. You are not alone!”

Aside from her work in the classroom, Li is an executive board member of UH Mānoa’s Beta Alpha Psi, the premier international honor society for accounting students. After earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration in accounting, Li hopes to pursue her master’s degree in accounting at Shidler. Her goal is to pass the CPA exam.

“I am honored and grateful to be a recipient of the 2022 PCAOB scholarship,” Li said. “By receiving this scholarship, I will be able to focus on my education without worrying too much about paying tuition and fees.”

Li was nominated for the scholarship by a committee from UH Mānoa’s School of Accountancy.

“The School of Accountancy Scholarship Committee was delighted to select Haiying. Her dedication and perseverance to succeed is indeed commendable and the committee felt she was a great nominee for this prestigious scholarship. We are proud that Haiying is the fifth Shidler student to receive this distinction,” Professor and School of Accountancy Director Hamid Pourjalali said.

—By Marc Arakaki