Novogradac Names Inaugural Participants for Building Opportunities Program

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Initiative Invites Students to Consider Careers Centered on Social Benefit

National public accounting and consulting firm Novogradac has selected 32 students from 24 schools to comprise the inaugural class of its Building Opportunities program, an initiative designed to introduce accounting and real estate finance students to a career focused on building opportunities for their communities.

Leveraging some of Novogradac’s strongest assets including its talented employees as well as industry-leading publications, trainings and conferences, Building Opportunities provides professional networking, mentoring and educational resources to selected accounting and real estate finance students to expose them to career paths in affordable housing, community development, historic preservation and renewable energy.

“As an organization, Novogradac is proud to specialize in affordable housing, community development, historic preservation, and renewable energy federal and state tax incentives,” said Michael Novogradac, CPA, the organization’s managing partner. “Building Opportunities provides students with the chance to explore a career centered on providing societal benefits. And as Novogradac continues to do its part to increase diverse representation in community development finance and accounting, we are particularly gratified that more than half of the participants chosen for this year’s program identify as female and 48% identify as Black, indigenous and people of color.”

Interest in the program was intense: Novogradac received more than 250 applications from students attending more than 150 schools. The students selected to participate this year include finance, economics, accounting and real estate majors.

“We are so pleased with the robust response from the student community, both in the number of students interested in what we do, as well as the quality of the applications we received,” said Amy Hook, Novogradac’s chief social impact officer. “We are excited to see the outcomes of the program.”

To be eligible students must be full-time undergraduate (juniors or seniors) or graduate students studying accounting, economics, business, finance or real estate with a minimum grade point average of 3.6. Selection is based on academic performance, quality of leadership positions and skills shown, commitment to community service, and an essay that shows an understanding of pursing a career based on purpose and a commitment to pursuing a career in community development finance or accounting.

The 2021 Building Opportunities participants are:

  • Clayton Barker, Saint Mary’s College of California
  • Rahsaan Browne, New York University
  • Elisa Cardenas, University of Houston
  • Ava Dai, University of California, Berkeley
  • Mara Dean, Seattle University
  • Derrick Dolezal, Texas A&M University
  • Beth Hannah, Southern New Hampshire University
  • Jason Hewitt, Boston University
  • Brianna Hughes, University of Minnesota
  • Gabby Huminsky, Saint Louis University
  • Dan Karas, Northwood University
  • Crystal Kendzior, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
  • Lexi Kirschling, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
  • Matt Klinghoffer, Tulane University
  • Hyebin Lee, Binghampton University
  • Queenie Li, Middlebury College
  • Trinity McMahan, University of Arkansas
  • Sydney Milewski, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Stella Nguyen, Youngstown State University
  • Tatiana Nikolaeva, University of California, Berkeley
  • Heer Patel, University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • Yohelis Polanco, Hofstra University
  • Jayden Russell, University of Utah
  • Derin Sezercan, Barnard College of Columbia University
  • McKay Shurtz, Brigham Young University
  • Thea Soukup, Kenyon College
  • William Tang, Columbia University
  • Kim Thoun, Fayetteville State University
  • Abs Trewin, Luther College
  • Daniel Villalobos, Duquesne University
  • Ryan Walker, Washington and Lee University
  • Nathan Wieler, St. John’s University

About Novogradac
Novogradac, which has been in business for more than 30 years, has grown to more than 650 employees and partners with offices in more than 25 cities. Tax, audit and consulting specialty practice areas for Novogradac include affordable housing, community development, historic rehabilitation and renewable energy. For more about Novogradac’s focus on social impact, click here.

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Alex Ruiz
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