Accounting for achievement
Pelton lands academic All-America honor, prestigious GASB internship
Name: Matt Pelton
A tour of China, a term in West Africa and basketball games all over the Midwest ... Matt Pelton saw a thing or two during his four years at Augustana.
Now, Matt is in Norwalk, Conn., serving a yearlong internship with the Government Accounting Standards Board. The GASB internship is a prestigious position that will allow Matt to learn more about standardized accounting while responding to inquiries made by those who use government financial information.
Augustana Academic All-Americans, the sixth-most all-time and second-most among Division III schools
CCIW championships for Augustana, more than any other member institution
Augustana student-athletes who have won NCAA postgraduate scholarships
"The other people I'm working with are coming from the University of Texas and Notre Dame and Brigham Young — all these major schools across the country that have top-notch accounting programs," Matt said, "and basically everyone is coming in with master's degrees. It's unique for someone from a school like Augustana to be in this position."
Matt is not the first Augustana student to land a GASB internship, though. Barb Ruane '07 also was selected for the program and made such an impression that the fact that Matt hails from Augustana worked to his advantage during the selection process. It didn't hurt that he also had a recommendation from Kim Brunner, the Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of State Farm Insurance. Brunner, the Chair of Augustana's Board of Trustees, is an alum Matt met while being recruited to play basketball and with whom he has built a mentoring relationship over the past four years.
Matt recalls his first meeting with Mr. Brunner: "He really opened my eyes to what a great school Augustana is. I got the message that you don't have to go to an Ivy League school to become influential in the business world."
Matt spread his influence across the Augustana campus. He was a 3.9 student with an Accounting and Business double major and graduated Summa Cum Laude in May. He was a two-time captain of the Vikings' men's basketball team and finished his career ranked in the top 10 in five different statistical categories. He became Augustana's 132nd academic All-American when he was honored as a third-team selection by the College Sports Information Directors of America this spring.
Off the court and outside the classroom, Matt served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was a part of Athletes Giving Back, a student group that provides service in the Quad Cities community. He also was involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a member of the Phi Omega Phi fraternity.
After his junior year, Matt interned at the Deere & Co. world headquarters, which is located in the Quad Cities. He also added to his accounting résumé by analyzing the finances of a local church and conducting an audit of the Communication Sciences and Disorders clinic on Augustana's campus.
His plate has been full, but his experience robust.
"Looking back, I'm really satisfied with the four years I had here, the experiences I had with my coaches and teammates. Playing at Augustana offered the opportunity to learn a lot about life in general outside of just on the basketball court," Matt said. "If I would have gone to another school, I wouldn't have had the same experience.
"At Augustana, the professors really take a proactive role in getting to know the students and helping them not only in the classroom but finding opportunities outside the classroom, as well. The coaches, meanwhile, really see the purpose of Augustana as an academic institution. They stress education, and they don't contradict themselves in their actions."