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For the second time in recent months, the Economics Department has had one of its students, Mark Connolly, chosen for the prestigious designation of University Scholar. Mark’s selection follows on the heels of the selection in August of Philip Gorecki, a double major in economics and molecular and cell biology. Administered by the Honors Program, the highly-selective University Scholars program is designed to provide “the most academically elite students at UConn” an opportunity to advance their UConn education through this special program. A key part of the program is in-depth and focused research on a project of the student’s choice. Mark was one of only 24 students recently selected as 2010 University Scholars.

Mark is pursuing dual degrees in Accounting and Economics, and is working toward his CPA degree. He is particularly interested in auditing and in environmental economics and has thus chosen to focus his project on environmental auditing. He will be studying the role that accounting firms can and do play in environmental auditing, and the potential for auditing to provide valuable information both to the audited firms and to the public. He is particularly interested in the use of audits as third-party certification. Mark will be interning this summer with PricewaterhouseCoopers to gain a greater understanding of the audit process. His faculty advisors on this project will be Professor Lawrence Gramling in the School of Business, and Professors Kathleen Segerson and Olivier Morand, both in Economics.

One advantage of the Scholars’ program is the flexibility it offers students in designing their plans of study. Mark has structured his plan of study and remaining coursework to give him the background necessary for his project. In the course of doing this, he will also be preparing himself for his next goal, graduate study in environmental economics. One day he hopes to be a research professor bridging the gap between industry and environmental protection.

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