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The Internal Audit Foundation Announces Grants for Individuals and Universities, Relaunches Larry B. Sawyer Student Scholarship

Press Release The IIA Jan 29, 2024

LAKE MARY, Fla. (January 29, 2024) — The Internal Audit Foundation, part of The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA), today announced it is awarding more than $100,000 in individual and university grants, and relaunching its Sawyer Scholarship.

“The growth and advancement of the internal audit profession relies on innovative research and a strong pipeline of talent entering the profession,” said Warren Stippich, Jr., CIA, CRMA, CPA, President of the Internal Audit Foundation. “We’re proud to provide funding and educational support to promising students and institutions that are working to advance the internal audit profession.”

As part of its mission to encourage research and education, the Internal Audit Foundation has awarded the Michael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Grant to two university students: Xiaoxing Huo and Jennifer Puccia.

Xiaoxing Huo is a doctoral student at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Her dissertation is titled: “Professional Identity of Internal Auditors in South Africa.” Xiaoxing received a bachelor's degree in internal auditing and a master's degree in government auditing from Nanjing Audit University, China. Upon completing her doctoral program, she hopes to continue her research of the micro development of individual audit professionals in developing countries and the macro development of the audit profession at large.  

Jennifer Puccia is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Accounting at Michigan State University. Her dissertation is titled: “The Effect of Audit Committee Internal Audit Expertise on Financial Reporting and Operating Performance.” Jennifer received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the Ph.D. program at Michigan, she worked as an Information Technology Auditor for EY in Dallas, Texas, and as an Internal Audit Senior Consultant in Technology for Protiviti in Chicago, Illinois.

The Michael J. Barrett Doctoral Dissertation Grant honors the memory of Barrett, who served on the Board of Research Advisors for the Internal Audit Foundation, and dedicated his career to furthering research and education in the internal audit profession.

The grant is available to current doctoral students within auditing, accounting, business, or related fields. Candidates must be writing a dissertation related to the internal audit profession and planning to teach in the field of auditing for at least two years. The grant is awarded to two candidates per year.

Internal Audit Foundation Awards $93,000 in IAEP Grants

The Foundation has also awarded $93,000 via the Internal Auditing Education Partnership (IAEP) Grant to 17 universities across North America, South Africa, Lebanon, Thailand, North Macedonia, and Malaysia. IAEP grants are supported by contributions made to the Foundation’s Academic Fund, which supports initiatives designed to help students become leaders in the internal audit profession.

Grant funding this year totaled $30,000 more than last year’s IAEP grants, due to a significant jump in donations to the Academic Fund, including a notable donation by Deloitte. Funds are allocated for use in five areas – Program Sustainability & Advancement, Student Engagement, Educator Development, Graduate or Teaching Assistants, and Scholarships.  

The list of schools awarded the IAEP grant include:

AZM University (Lebanon) Texas A&M University
Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) Union University
DePaul University University of Buffalo
Duquesne University University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Georgia State University University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Kennesaw State University University of Pretoria (South Africa)
Louisiana State University University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Pittsburg State University Ss. Cyril and Methodius University (North Macedonia)
Seattle University   

Foundation Relaunches Sawyer Scholarship

The Foundation also announced the relaunch of the Larry B. Sawyer Student Scholarship (formerly the Esther B. Sawyer Award). Established in 2000 by the Internal Audit Foundation Board of Trustees, the scholarship awards up to $5,000 each to three individuals who are currently enrolled in or have recently completed undergraduate or graduate-level internal audit courses.

The program is in memory of Larry B. Sawyer, CIA, CPA, an attorney, author, and advocate for the internal audit profession and original author of Sawyer’s Internal Auditing. Scholarship funding is supported by contributions made to the Foundation by the Sawyer family.


About the Internal Audit Foundation

The Internal Audit Foundation, supported by the generosity of its donors, advances the practice of the profession by executing global research to explore issues impacting the profession and funding academic initiatives that support the pursuit and promotion of internal audit education within institutions of higher education.

About The Institute of Internal Auditors and the Internal Audit Profession

Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value, improve an organization’s operations, and help organizations meet their goals. Internal auditors are strategic business partners who bring an in-depth understanding of business culture, systems, and processes, which helps them evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is an international professional association that serves more than 245,000 global members and has awarded more than 195,000 Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certifications worldwide. Established in 1941, The IIA is recognized throughout the world as the internal audit profession's leader in standards, certifications, education, research, and technical guidance. For more information, visit  

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James Schiavone


The Institute of Internal Auditors