Accounting instructor Winnie Westcott is selected as Educator of the Year
Even in college, Winnie Westcott enjoyed filling the role of resident assistant and being a mentor to younger students.
No surprise then that after a short career in corporate finance, she found her way into a classroom at Rutgers Business School teaching accounting in lessons often sprinkled with real-life insights.
A part-time lecturer with the accounting department at Rutgers Business School, Westcott was recently selected as an educator of the year by the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants after two accounting students nominated her for the award.
Westcott has "demonstrated an ability to clarify complex concepts and use real world examples to help her students understand the material beyond the textbook," the AWSCOA write in an announcement about the award. "She possesses a personal warmth and sincerity in wanting to help her students – she is always willing to go above and beyond to be available as a resource to them outside the classroom."
Westcott said she never expected to win the award. "It is the ultimate gratification," she said. "It gives me a sense of, this is all worth it."
When Westcott graduated from college, she took the typical route into an accounting profession: She landed a job as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and obtained her CPA. But then took a job in the corporate offices at Bed Bath & Beyond, and a few years later, she went to work for the not-for-profit Rutgers University Press.
That’s when she walked into the accounting department at Rutgers Business School and spoke with Professor Leonard Goodman about the possibility of tutoring or teaching.
In 2005, on Goodman’s advice, she started working on a master of accountancy in government accounting in 2005 with the intent of using it as a credential to land a teaching job. Six years and three children later, she had completed her master’s degree. Soon after, she started teaching introduction to financial accounting. In the fall, she will add intermediate accounting to her schedule.
"Even when I worked in corporate, a lot of the staff we hired were new graduates and I always liked the coaching part of developing new staff," Westcott said. "I always liked to see the click that happens when they applied the concepts they learned in class to the real world."
"Accounting was a profession I was very good at," Westcott said, "and I like being able to share what I know and bringing a real-world scenario to the classroom."