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Sophia Raphael Cardinal named University of Nevada, Reno’s 2010 Herz Gold Medalist



The University of Nevada, Reno has named Sophia Raphael Cardinal the recipient of the 2010 Herz Gold Medal, presented at each commencement ceremony to the graduating senior with the highest grade-point average.

Raphael Cardinal, a Carson High School graduate, was admitted to Nevada in the fall of 2006 and has today completed her degree in accounting in the College of Business with a 4.00 cumulative grade-point average. She has been employed as an intern with a local accounting firm and will begin her studies for the Certified Public Accountant Examination (CPA exam) after graduation.

“I did not come to the University of Nevada, Reno planning to be an accountant,” she said. “Thankfully, a move to the College of Business led me to Professor Cynthia Birk’s Accounting 201 course. It was there that Professor Birk started my passion for debits and credits and prompted me to major in accounting.”

The University marks the achievement of the top graduating senior – the Senior Scholar – from each college on campus, as well as their faculty mentor. University Accounting Lecturer Birk taught Raphael Cardinal and served as her faculty mentor for the Senior Scholars award.

“I feel very honored to be recognized as Sophia’s mentor and friend,” Birk said. “This sort of recognition is very rewarding. Most faculty members try to make a difference and we don’t always know if we are succeeding or not. “

“I thank the Nevada Alumni Association for selecting me as a senior scholar,” Raphael Cardinal said. “Graduating with a 4.0 has been my goal throughout my entire college career, so receiving this award means a lot to me.”

She said that she has also benefited from her participation in the University’s chapter of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), an honorary organization for accounting students. Through BAP, she volunteered in the community, networked with local firms and expanded her knowledge about the profession, making great friends along the way.

“I’ve been fortunate to have outstanding professors,” Raphael Cardinal said. “Each and every one of them challenged me, helped me with my many questions, and taught me well. I am blessed to have participated in their classes and will apply what I learned from them to my career.”

“Sophia is a very talented student and she really involves herself in the subject matter,” Birk said. “She is also very focused. She sets goals and is able to attain them. She is not just finishing her bachelor’s degree, but she is finishing with 150 credits, so she will be able to sit for the CPA exam in Nevada. I am very confident that she will complete that goal soon.”

The Herz Gold Medal was established in 1910 by brothers Richard, Carl and Otto Herz when the University was only 36 years old. It is the University’s oldest and most prestigious award, presented each commencement ceremony to the graduating senior with the highest grade-point average.

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