2024 Academic Scholarship Winners

GFOA has announced the recipients of its 2024 scholarships. GFOA’s mission is to advance excellence in government finance to build thriving communities. Awarding of scholarships is an important way GFOA accomplishes its mission.

The recipient of the $25,000 Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship is Rachel Eddings

  • Rachel Eddings is the finance officer for the Town of Montreat in Western North Carolina. Originally from the Ohio-Michigan area, Rachel has called Black Mountain, North Carolina, home for the last 22 years. She has always focused on being the best employee by continuing her education and learning everything she could from each position. She recently enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program at Montreat College.

The recipients of the two awards for the Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship are Kanika Jain and Aaron Keathley-Silva. Each will receive $10,000

  • Kanika Jain holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in Accounting from the University of California, Riverside, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in accountancy at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is committed to deepening her understanding of governmental accounting and financial management. Kanika continues her journey and aspires to assume leadership roles within local government, focusing on financial policies and strategies.
  • Aaron Keathley-Silva is beginning the Master of Accountancy program at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. After graduating high school in McAllen, Texas, Aaron attended St. Edward's University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. After spending time in law enforcement, he decided to change careers in 2023 with a focus on finance.

The recipient of the $10,000 Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship is Briana Poindexter. 

  • Briana Poindexter is currently in the Master of Public Administration program at New York University's Wagner School of Public Service, specializing in Profit and Nonprofit Management and Policy. Briana has a strong foundation in political theory and analysis, along with a powerful interest in data-driven decision-making and innovation. She is excited about collaborating with like-minded professionals to pursue positive change.

The recipients of the four awards for the Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship are Abigail Leiva, Angela Brown, Apil Kincaid, and Kathryn Combs. Each will receive $10,000

  • Abigail Leiva currently works in accounts payable at the Village of Oak Lawn, Illinois. She is working towards her Master of Accountancy at Northern Illinois University. Abigail was born and raised in Blue Island, Illinois. She is a first-generation American, as both of her parents immigrated to the United States from Guatemala. She has spent 15 years working in local government.
  • Angela Brown is a senior accounting assistant with the City of Patterson, California. She is pursuing a master’s in business administration with a concentration in Finance and Human Resources at California State University, Stanislaus. Angela was born in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and raised in Antigua, West Indies. She ventured to California for higher education and earned a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing.
  • April Kincaid currently serves as a budget analyst for the City of Gahanna, Ohio. April has a distinct passion for connecting people to their local governments. She is pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Toledo. She also plans to complete the Certified Public Finance Officer (CPFO) program.
  • Kathryn Combs serves as a management analyst II for Clackamas County, Oregon. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from the University of North Texas and a Master of Library Science degree from Texas Woman's University. She is currently attending Southern Oregon University to earn a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in accounting.

The recipient of the $10,000 Jeffrey L. Esser Career Development Scholarship is Becky Gatcomb.

  • Becky Gatcomb is the Deputy Treasurer and Tax Collector for the Town of Southwest Harbor, Maine. She previously attended Husson University, majoring in Accounting, before having to put her studies on hold. She has since been certified as Treasurer and Tax Collector with the Maine Municipal Tax Collectors' and Treasurers' Association. She has also taken courses with the American Institute of CPAs, the Maine Municipal Association, and the Maine Government Finance Officers Association. Becky plans to resume her education at Husson University this fall.