Contributors to the Washington CPA Foundation make a difference in the lives of future CPAs. Read stories of people who were able to pursue their dream of becoming a CPA because of the Foundation's scholarship program.

Student Spotlight: Michelle Rouse, Scholarship Winner

by Monette Anderson | Aug 15, 2017
Michelle Rouse headshot

Michelle Rouse became a Washington CPA Scholar this year, earning her place amongst 60 high-achieving, future CPAs in the state. Originally from Oregon, Michelle has spent her academic career at Gonzaga University where she will continue studying to earn her Masters in Tax. She dreams of combining her accounting major with her criminal justice minor to pursue a career as a forensic accountant. Michelle interned with Deloitte this summer where she received and accepted an offer to join full-time after graduation. We caught up with Michelle to ask her a few questions about her experience applying for the Washington CPA Foundation scholarship and what advice she would give other students doing the same.

What was the most intimidating part of the scholarship application process for you?

The most intimidating aspect was probably the essay, because that is the most personal part in my opinion. You are opening yourself up to total strangers. So, my advice is to just go for it and don’t hold back. I looked back at what I wrote last year and saw how I could make changes and add in parts depending on how my perspective and life had changed in the past year. In addition, I would recommend letting others read your essays before submitting them and see what feedback you can get. It can’t hurt!

You were a second-time applicant and first-time recipient. What pushed you to try again?

I applied for this scholarship twice and was lucky enough to have been an awardee the second time. Applying for the second time seemed almost easier and less stressful because I knew there was nothing to lose. I had to remind myself that not being chosen the first time didn’t mean I was going to be a bad accountant, just that it was a tough round of applicants and wasn’t meant to be. I’ve always had the mentality that your biggest regrets in life are the things you don’t do. So, this year I knew that if I didn’t apply I’d regret it because I’d always wonder if I would have won or not.

Did you do anything differently this year?

My approach this second round was to put it all out there and see what happens. After more accounting knowledge and more certainty that this is the career for me, my job as an applicant was to get that point across.

How long do you think the total application process took you? How early did you begin?

I don’t recall how long the application process took because I would complete sections of it at a time. I would suggest working on parts and drafting your essays early, because once you start the application you will constantly think of things you want to add or change. So, start drafting early and make sure you give your professors, or whoever is writing your recommendation, plenty of advance notice. If you work on the application in sections and during study breaks, then the total application process seems to go by rather quickly.

What were the biggest benefits of earning a Washington CPA Foundation Scholarship?

The biggest benefit I’ve received from being an awardee is the sense of accomplishment and pride I felt. Winning this award showed me that someone else believes in me and in my dreams. It gave me this sense of pride to go into my 5th year strong and know that all my hard work and schooling will pay off in the end.

Could you use help paying for your accounting degree? The Washington CPA Foundation scholarship program will start accepting applications soon. Find out if you qualify and check back in September to start your application!

Monette-Anderson-HeadshotMonette Anderson is the WSCPA Academic Relations Coordinator. You can reach her at


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