February 07, 2014

Chanta Thomas earns minority doctoral honor

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Chanta Thomas, an accounting doctoral student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the recipient of a $10,000 Minority Doctoral Scholarship from KPMG Foundation. 

Thomas, of Belleville, received the award, renewable for up to five years, to help complete her studies. Thomas is among the 320 African-American, Hispanic American and Native American doctoral students across the country to receive the award since the scholarship was established in 1994.  

The program’s goal is increasing representation of minority students and professors in business schools. Recipients, including Thomas, are chosen “based on the attributes of the person as evidenced by academic and career success as well as the quality of the institution in which the applicant is matriculating for the doctoral degree,” according to Bernard J. Milano, CPA and president of KPMG Foundation. 

Milano said Thomas “has demonstrated that dedication, hard work and ambition pay off.  Like all of our scholarship recipients, she is key to our country’s future and we look forward to following her success after graduation.”  

Thomas, the daughter of Cynthia Thomas, earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting at SIU in 2004 and completed her MBA at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2006.  Returning to SIU to complete her education was an easy decision, Thomas said. 

“Because I went here as an undergraduate, I remembered what the environment was like and how encouraging my professors were.  I felt as though they were truly invested in my success.  Getting a Ph.D. is a long and arduous journey.  I wanted to make sure I was in a place that invested in seeing me through to the end,” Thomas said. 

She said faculty also encouraged her to get involved with KPMG, a decision she’s found beneficial not only because of the scholarship but because of what she has learned attending the academic and accounting conferences the funding is allowing her to participate in.  

“It is always important to attend these conferences to network and keep on top of new developments in research,” Thomas said.    

Thomas is president of the KPMG Accounting Doctoral Student Association, an organization founded by KPMG Foundation in conjunction with the doctoral project. 

Her doctorate focus is on conducting behavioral experiments on auditing, auditor judgment and decision-making and on internal controls. She anticipates completing doctorate by the end of this year or mid-2015.  She then hopes to join the faculty of a university where she can actively publish her research and teach auditing. 

“My goal is to be a part of an environment that encourages not only my success, but also allows me to contribute to the success of the students,” she said.