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UNT Student Named First-Ever Grant Thornton Accounting Fellow

Thornton Accounting

You never know where an MBA will lead: for Sonja Hightower, MBA and now doctoral student at the University of North Texas – College of Business, her business background has led to her position as the first-ever Grant Thornton Doctoral Fellow in Accounting.

Hightower comes to UNT with an immense background in business, including two bachelor’s degree, an MBA and more than 20 years of experience in accounting, banking and finance. Before beginning her doctoral degree at UNT, Hightower served as the senior vice president of internal audit and compliance for Vision Bank in Oklahoma. Her credentials also include a public accountant and internal auditor certification, among other certifications. Currently, she is in the first-year of her doctoral degree at UNT after having served as a lecturer in the COB Department of Accounting.

“With my background, I understand the challenges in bringing academia and practice together,” Hightower said. “Practitioners and researchers are too far apart. I don’t want to just talk about what isn’t working. I want to determine how we can make accounting better and help bridge the gap between academics, practitioners and standard setters.”

Grant Thornton is one of the world’s largest professional accounting services, and this is the first time the company has offered an accounting fellowship. The fellowship also comes with an award of $40,000 which will be given over the course of four years. Hightower will also have the opportunity for a mentor in Tyler Jones, an audit services partner with Grant Thornton. According to Jones, Hightower will not only have him as a resource, but also the power of Grant Thornton’s 8,000 professionals and 58 offices across the U.S.

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Alanna Shaffer

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas.

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