GFOA Scholarship Spotlight: Matthew Williams

Matthew received the $10,000 Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship.

Photo of Matthew Williams.

Matthew Williams is a senior, majoring in Accounting at Drake University, and is originally from the Chicago area. He has Cerebral Palsy Spastic Dysplasia, which creates challenges in fine and gross motor skills. Matthew’s challenges heightened his desire to be an advocate for those with disabilities. He serves as an ambassador for Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley and is currently the Chair of Drake’s Residence Hall Association Disability Inclusion task force. Additionally at school Matthew is a member of the band and treasurer of the Residence Hall Association. He is a member of the board of directors at his local church. Matthew was recognized as the 2022 Zimpleman College of Business Junior of the Year and was one of three hundred students nationwide selected as a Bank of America Student Leader for his community involvements.

Q & A with Matthew

Where and what are you currently studying, and why did you choose this?

I will be returning to Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa) to begin my Master of Accounting program. Drake was my top choice as faculty really take the time to get to know students, understand and help us achieve our goals, and overall our accounting program has had very good success in placement after graduation and passing the CPA exam, which is a goal of mine. I really enjoyed my time as an undergrad at Drake, and can’t wait to return! Drake also has MPA classes I can take which works well in tandem with my local government interests. 

What government are you working in or hope to work at in the future?

I hope to work in a local municipality or at a public library district in the future - both of which provide an excellent offering of a challenging finance career as well as the opportunity to directly serve the public. I have been grateful to have the opportunity to be involved as a Student Trustee with my local library district and intern with my local municipality’s finance department, with each experience demonstrating how rewarding public service can be and served as inspiration to find a career path that combines my dual passions for service and accounting.

What are your future career goals?

It is a goal of mine to become the CFO/Director of Finance for any state/local government agency, but particularly a public library or a municipality. I imagine that I would start my career in a technical accounting role to gain a firm understanding of financial reporting, before moving into a more decision maker/advisor role to the agency, which requires a firm understanding of the entity’s financial statements.

How will GFOA’s scholarship help you achieve those goals?

This scholarship foremost makes my attendance at Drake University possible, which comes at a considerable cost. The portion of the scholarship that will provide me the invite to attend the annual conference is incredibly valuable as it will allow me a second to none opportunity to network for career opportunities as I will be entering the workforce in Summer/Fall 2024.