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  June 7, 2004

Shilpa Manaktala, Bachelor Of Science, Accounting

Shilpa Manaktala was a biology major when she signed up for a basic accounting course during her third semester at UConn.

"My mom encouraged me to take an accounting class to explore my other options, but I was skeptical at first," says Manaktala, a student in the Honors Program and a University Scholar. "It turned out to be a critical turning point in my college career because I really loved the class," she says, crediting Richard Kochanek, a professor emeritus of accounting, with her decision to major in that subject.

"Professor Kochanek got me excited about accounting and made me want to pursue it further," she says. "His passion and enthusiasm for accounting was infectious, and I always looked forward to doing my accounting homework."

Manaktala wrote her thesis on stock option accounting. She says her professors have been top notch.

"Because I graduated from Northwest Catholic, a relatively small high school, I wasn't sure how accommodating and responsive college professors at a large university would be," she says, "but I've been so lucky. The accounting professors are just wonderful. They've taken a lot of personal interest and have always been readily accessible."

Manaktala, one of two senior class representatives, gave brief remarks during the morning graduation ceremonies May 9. She is one of the top graduates in this year's class, graduating with a 4.0 GPA.

She was a teaching assistant in the accounting department of the School of Business for two years, which is rare for an undergraduat e student. "It helped me develop communication skills and strengthen my leadership qualities," she says.

She also volunteered with the School's income tax assistance program, helping students and local community members prepare their taxes.

Manaktala did an internship during the summer of 2003 at Pricewaterhous eCoopers in Hartford, where she helped with the preparation of financial statements for multiple retirement plans. "I got a taste of the challenges and demands of a career in public accounting," she says, "and a better understanding of the work ethics and skills needed to be successful."

Her work with the company has led to a full-time position. Manaktala will be working in assurance services starting in January 2005, after she completes her master's degree in accounting at UConn.

Manaktala credits her parents as "great role models." Her mother is a pediatrician in private practice, and her father, who died in November 2000, was a management consultant, with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. At the time of his death, he was pursuing an MBA at UConn's Greater Hartford campus.

Shilpa was inducted into the School of Business Hall of Fame as a Student Fellow this spring.