The first recipient of the KPMG Novelette A. Ebanks Inspirational Scholarship, Rochel Gardner, has graduated with a Master’s in Accounting in May 2020, after achieving her Bachelor’s in Accounting and Business Analytics degree in May 2019 from Indiana University.
In 2015, Rochel was awarded the first Novelette A. Ebanks Inspirational Scholarship for exceptional academic achievement, commitment to the community and a robust work ethic.
While studying, Rochel was an active member of the IU Women’s Varsity Basketball Club and the Undergraduate Business Diversity Council, which strives to strengthen diversity, inclusion and equality within the Kelley School of Business. She also volunteered with the Habit for Humanity initiative, helping building houses for families in need.
During the summers, Rochel worked within the Audit team and the Advisory team at KPMG in the Cayman Islands, gaining further experience based on her career aspirations. Now a full-time employee with the Cayman Islands firm, in her spare time Rochel participates as a member of the Leo’s Club Grand Cayman and the Women of Valor Basketball Club.
“My best advice to students who are interested in pursuing a degree in financial services is don’t be afraid of failure. If you don’t challenge yourself, you won’t see any progress. Instead, have an open mind and a determination for success. Always aim to make yourself proud of your hard work and commitment to completing your degree,” said Rochel of her further education experience.
“KPMG have been extremely supportive throughout my entire collegiate journey. The support system at the firm helped me every step of the way giving me valuable advice and constant encouragement.”
“I look forward to working full-time and being able to help future scholarship recipients, as well as the upcoming opportunities to work within the communities to empower other young Caymanians.” said Rochel.
The Novelette A. Ebanks Inspirational Scholarship is awarded to a Caymanian student who displays strong academic achievements, a commitment to the community or at school and leadership qualities. The scholarship was created in loving memory of KPMG Partner and inspirational mentor to local students, Novelette A. Ebanks.
“Novelette was a kind, caring individual, always gracious in her presentation. She never lost sight of the most important element in an organization – the people – and she went out of her way to help those she worked with. It was bittersweet on her retirement, but her decision to spend more time with her children was a natural one. It was a privilege to have been mentored, trained, worked alongside and more importantly, a friend of Novelette’s,” said KPMG Partner, Sheenah Hislop. “Rochel truly embodied Novelette’s essence and we are excited for the extraordinary successes she will bring to KPMG.”
Novelette’s daughter, Giselle Ebanks said, "My mother inspired both my brother and I to strive for the very best and to be resolute in achieving our goals. In particular, her guidance was instrumental in my decision and success in attending medical school and Kiefer’s (her son’s) acceptance into a top tier boarding school. I am very fortunate and grateful to have had such an amazing role model as a mother, whose legacy I will continue to embody.”
The Novelette A. Ebanks Inspirational Scholarship is part of The KPMG Ignite Your Future Program, which offers local and overseas scholarships to local students who are interested in a future career in accounting, finance, actuarial science or accounting information systems. There are also a range of internship opportunities at the firm, for both undergraduates and postgraduates.