March 14, 2019 | By Clare Becker | Back to news
Headshot of Ph.D. student Mary Vernon
Mary Vernon is one of 10 students nationwide to receive a 2019 Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting from the Deloitte Foundation.

Mary Vernon, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems at the Wisconsin School of Business, is a recipient of the Deloitte Foundation’s 2019 Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting, one of only 10 such fellowships awarded nationally each year.

Designed for students planning on careers in higher education, individual awardees receive $25,000 to support their remaining coursework and dissertation. With approximately 100 institutions invited to submit applications, this year’s awardees include students from MIT, Cornell, Michigan State, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.

“Mary is simply an outstanding student,” says Vernon’s advisor, Stacie Laplante, an associate professor and director of the School’s Ph.D. program for the Department of Accounting and Information Systems. “She works incredibly hard, she’s incredibly efficient. With this award, she’s competing with the best students out there.”

Vernon started the doctoral program in accounting at WSB in 2016 with a focus on taxation.

Vernon has three research projects in progress, including co-authoring articles with WSB accounting faculty, Associate Professor Fabio Gaertner and Assistant Professor Dan Lynch. Several of these articles are under review for publication with academic journals. One paper examines the unintended consequences of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) on pension contributions. This paper has been featured on National Public Radio and is currently under review at a top-tier journal. Vernon has been instrumental in all aspects of her papers from idea generation, data analyses, and writing.

“A student of Mary’s caliber doesn’t come around very often.”

–Associate Professor Stacie Laplante

“One of the things that separates the Ph.D. program from the undergraduate or even the master’s program, is that you really have to be self-directed,” Laplante says. “You must have the initiative to work hard on your own and at your own pace. Mary is smart and tenacious. If she needs to figure out how to do something, she goes and figures it out incredibly quickly.”

“A student of Mary’s caliber doesn’t come around very often,” Laplante adds.

Vernon also received a Wisconsin School of Business Distinguished Teaching Award, a recognition given to doctoral students by the School’s research programs office. She is a member of the American Accounting Association and the American Taxation Association. Prior to WSB, she worked in wealth management for RMB Capital Management and as a certified public accountant with Miller Cooper & Co. Vernon received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Accounting Science from Northern Illinois University.

WSB’s Department of Accounting and Information Systems has a strong track record for producing Deloitte Foundation Fellowship winners.

In 2008, Marsha Keune (Ph.D. ’10) received the Deloitte Foundation Fellowship while a doctoral student under advisor Jon Davis, then professor and chair of WSB’s Department of Accounting and Information Systems. Keune is now an associate professor at the University of Dayton.

Current WSB faculty member Thomas Linsmeier (Ph.D. ’85), a professor of accounting and information systems and the Thomas G. Ragatz Accounting and Law Distinguished Chair, was awarded the fellowship (then known as the Deloitte Haskins & Sells Doctoral Fellowship) in 1982.

Founded in 1928, The Deloitte Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting U.S. education and excellence in teaching, research, and curriculum innovation. “Growing the pipeline as well as strengthening the quantity and quality of accounting professors is critical to developing the next generation of future leaders,” says Deloitte Foundation President Tonie Leatherberry in the company’s news release.

Read the research by Associate Professor Fabio Gaertner, Assistant Professor Dan Lynch, and Mary Vernon on pension contributions and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA).


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