Student Perspective: Anna Duffer, DeRoy Scholar

Anna Duffer discovered accounting in high school. Her best friend was an accountancy major and thought it was a good fit for Duffer, too. Duffer admired and trusted her friend and enrolled in an introductory accounting class. Very quickly, she realized how much she enjoyed it. She went on to earn associate degrees in both accounting and business management from Macomb Community College. These degrees helped her move into her current position as an administrative coordinator for Macomb County and put her that much closer to her end goal of a bachelor’s degree.

Soon Duffer was ready to transfer and earn her bachelor of accountancy to support her growing career. The same friend, who is also a Walsh alumnae, suggested Walsh. “At first I wasn’t sure Walsh was attainable for me,” said Duffer. “I couldn’t believe it when I was accepted.”

A Life-Changing Scholarship

Not only was Duffer accepted, she received the DeRoy Testamentary Scholarship, a full-tuition academic award. Because of this scholarship, Duffer, who balances a full-time career and family priorities with school, will not have to take a loan or worry about how she will finance her education.

“It’s financial relief, but it’s so much more,” said Duffer. “When I am feeling overwhelmed, I think about this scholarship and it’s like a hand on my shoulder reminding me that nothing is impossible and hard work does not go unnoticed.”

Duffer’s scholarship was funded by the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, which provides support for programs and projects that improve the quality of life and well-being of people in the community. It was named in honor of Helen DeRoy, a renowned philanthropist, automotive businesswoman and community leader in metro Detroit.

Duffer started classes this fall after a transfer process that she described as very smooth. “My Walsh advisor was phenomenal,” she said. “She helped me in so many ways and answered all of my questions throughout the process.”

A Clearly Defined Career Path

Duffer is working toward specific career goals. In her current role, part of her work involves helping low-income families gain access to weatherization assistance programs so they are in safe, warm environments all year round. Duffer also helps organize an annual “Walk for Warmth” which raises funds for furnace repair for families that are just above the income threshold to receive assistance but still have budget restrictions. She sees firsthand the positive impact these programs have and wants to continue her work in this space. By earning her bachelor of accountancy, Duffer will gain knowledge about funding and budget resources, along with management skills that will help her further her career.

Managing work, family and school does not leave Duffer much leisure time, but when she does have time to spare, she enjoys going to the movies with her mother and her daughter, escaping into a book, playing tennis and baking. She also recently shared her story with an audience of more than 200 at the Leadership Awards Dinner, Walsh’s annual scholarship fundraising event.

“I still can’t believe all of this is happening,” said Duffer. “I owe so much to my best friend. We are almost exactly two years apart and when my mom brought me home from the hospital, she thought I was her birthday present!” All these years later, that friend’s gift to Duffer was encouraging her to consider the field of accounting and Walsh.

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