UK’s Gatton College Accounting Ph.D. student, Mark Cheng Wins Prestigious, $25K Deloitte Foundation Fellowship; One of Only 10 in Nation 

For the first time, a University of Kentucky Ph.D. student has been awarded the $25,000 Deloitte Foundation Fellowship, an honor bestowed to only 10 future professors in the nation. 

Sung-Yuan (Mark) Cheng, a second-year accounting doctoral student, whose research examines issues related to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting, was one of the recipients. Each year doctoral students from more than 100 universities are invited to apply for the fellowship. 

“I was very surprised when I received the phone call from the Deloitte Foundation. I feel so fortunate to have received this award. I am very grateful for the support from the faculty here in the Von Allmen School of Accountancy. Without their support, I could not have accomplished this,” said Mark Cheng.  

Mark is a licensed certified public accountant and has a master’s degree in professional accounting from the University of Texas – Austin along with a bachelor's degree in Finance from National Taiwan University. 

Mark’s research interests lie in financial accounting and auditing using archival methods. He was a senior auditor for PwC in Taipei where he provided assurance and tax services for more than 15 public and private companies. His main clients included companies in the chemical industry and electric vehicle industry. He noticed that these clients paid much attention to their ESG reporting and engagement, which motivated him to do ESG-related research. 

“I hope my classroom can be an inclusive learning space for students from different backgrounds. I believe a better understanding of ESG issues can help students make better business decisions when they become users, preparers, or auditors of ESG information,” said Cheng.  

The fellowship is awarded to students who plan to pursue academic careers upon graduation and is intended to support the 2022 recipients’ final year of coursework and the subsequent year to complete their doctoral dissertation. 

Von Allmen School of Accountancy Director and Gatton Chaired Professor, Dr. Brian Bratten said, “Mark is an extremely gifted, hard-working, and creative student. He is working on novel research projects with several faculty members and is highly valued as a contributor. Although he is only a second-year student, he has an advanced research portfolio and very high prospects for future success.”  

“The Ph.D. committee selects one student every year to apply for this award primarily based on research potential. Given Mark’s current work on cutting edge research, it was obvious to us that his name would be put forth. We are very proud of him for receiving this award, recognizing his achievements and his contributions to not only the college’s Ph.D. program but the college’s research mission,” said Dr. Monika Causholli, Director of Graduate Studies and Deloitte Associate Professor. 

Mark says, “I would like to express my gratitude to my advisor, Dr. Brian Bratten, for his constant support, guidance, and encouragement. I would also like to thank Dr. Monika Causholli, Dr. Nargess Golshan, and Dr. Hong Xie for their tremendous help and guidance on research projects. I like the accounting Ph.D. program here at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics. Faculty members care about students' academic and professional growth. I also enjoy the collegial relationships I have with my peer Ph.D. accounting students.”