Future Business Leader Sa'Kiara Hopkins Continues Family Tradition of Attending UBalt
January 25, 2023
Contact: Office of Advancement and External Relations
Article by Elizabeth Epps, B.A. '19
The spring 2023 semester finds Baltimore native Sa'Kiara Hopkins completing her undergraduate degree at The University of Baltimore through the Accelerated Business Bachelor's to Master's degree option. This Bronfein Scholarship recipient and accounting internee (more on those things later) is the third member of her family to attend UBalt, with an uncle and great aunt having earned their degrees at the University years ago. Now, this Merrick School of Business standout says she plans to keep the family tradition alive. Maintaining that track record of academic accomplishment, with an eye toward financial sustainability—that's Sa'Kiara's true passion.
The quest for achievement was established early on in Hopkins's life. After graduating from Western High School, she completed a two-year degree in general studies at Collin College in Frisco, Texas. Earning her associate degree led to her decision to complete a four-year degree at UBalt as her next step. She sought a quality education closer to home—a situation that would allow her family the opportunity to one day attend her Commencement in person.
But graduation is just a single step in Sa'Kiara's life plan. It's her love of finance, and her experiences as a bookkeeper, that made it easy for her to build her path to success. Step by step, she is growing, with each step acting as a catalyst, a suggestion for the next one along the way. With her school at her back, Hopkins's personal and professional development encompasses academics, networking, and leadership.
"Something about numbers, formulas, and problem-solving excited me," she says.
As a high-achieving Bronfein Scholar, Hopkins joined the University's chapter of Beta Alpha Psi as a mentee, on the recommendation of Jan L. Williams, associate professor of accounting in the Merrick School of Business. From there, Hopkins broadened her knowledge of the accounting field, financial best practices, and leadership. As the University's leading honorary organization for financial information students and professionals, Beta Alpha Psi exists to recognize scholastic and professional excellence in the business information field.
Clearly, it was a good fit. Nowadays, Hopkins attends conferences on accounting, where she learns from industry leaders while working on team projects here and elsewhere. Her participation in these leadership activities has aided Sa'Kiara's preparation for work in the profession. It also allowed her to take on the role of Beta Alpha Psi president during her last two undergraduate semesters.
“Being elected as one of the Fall 2021 Bronfein Scholarship awardees changed my life," Hopkins says. "Receiving that award gave me the opportunity to focus all my attention on school and relieved so many financial stressors. In addition to receiving the award, [Dr. Williams] was the reason I continued my studies at [UBalt.] She provided not only mentorship, but she cares about my education/career just as much as I do."
For all of its accounting students, UBalt provides a solid foundation toward a career: For decades, the University has produced the majority of top officers for the region's largest accounting firms.
In Hopkins's case, an internship with KPMG immersed her in that firm's culture by providing opportunities in its tax, audit, and advisory service functions. For eight- to 12-week stints, interns serve alongside seasoned professionals. Face-to-face learning and hybrid scenarios help students like Sa'Kiara to manage the responsibilities of life, while customizing their individual experiences. This summer, Hopkins will complete the second part of her internship, with a specialization—her choice is consultancy—and chances to engage with clients in a nurturing team environment.
Prof. Williams endorses the benefits of an internship.
"Firms are actively seeking interns," she says. "They're seeking bright talent and are extending offers of employment as the internship process unfolds. Graduates are being recruited during each networking session; whether it be on- or off-campus."
Hopkins, meanwhile, also praises the benefits of being a Bronfein Scholar, with assistance that covers tuition and textbooks, along with the dedicated mentorship of Prof. Williams.
"Dr. Williams saw the potential I didn't realize I had," Hopkins says. "She provided me with guidance, and she pushed me past my fears. She really does care about the students here at UBalt. Mentorship has never felt better!"
When considering a career like accounting, some personal qualities naturally come up. Discipline and consistency, for example, are key skills to have from the start. Becoming an expert in the modern tools of the field, including financial analysis systems, are crucial to success. And so is the ability to keep an eye on the needs of the client. Another would be the ability to innovate, in order to fulfill an unmet need.
To that end, Hopkins and Prof. Williams are petitioning to establish a local chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. In their casemaking, they are pointing to the strengths of the Merrick School to support this initiative. The school's small class sizes, opportunities to join panel discussions, special events designed to enrich the classroom experience, and a robust network of University of Baltimore alumni—all of these are important factors. UBalt accounting graduates, in particular, are inclined to seek out new alumni because of the rigorous career preparation they know is part of a UBalt education.
As Sa'Kiara works hard to complete her degree requirements, she remains grounded by making time for hobbies like roller skating and listening to gospel music. She also plays the trumpet and keyboards. Her other interests include journaling and writing poetry. She highly recommends James Clear's Atomic Habits as a guide for self-discipline and satisfaction. Finally, her plans for the future include giving back. She would like to afford future students the opportunities she found during her journey, made possible by the Bronfein Scholars program, and the mentoring of Prof. Williams.
Learn more about the B.S. in Business Administration with an Accounting concentration, and the M.S. in Accounting and Business Advisory Services, both offered by The University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business.
About the Bronfein Scholarship
The Bronfein Scholarship is offered to two African-American students entering with, and maintaining, a high school grade point average of 3.0. Students must enroll in the B.S. in Business Administration, specializing in either Accounting or Finance. Up to $10,000 in tuition and expenses over four years is available to awardees, along with assistance in securing summer internships aimed at preparing them for entry into their chosen career field.
Elizabeth Epps is completing an M.S. degree in Professional Writing at Towson University. She is a UBalt alumna with a B.A. in Digital Communications/Specialization: Public Relations.