PhD Students

Joseph Burke CPA, CFE, started the PhD program in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s and MBA degrees at Northern Arizona University in 2010. After college, he started his career with Deloitte and Touche in Denver, where he was a senior auditor and specialized in the Midstream Oil and Gas industry, with a focus on public offerings, carve-out audits, and IPO preparation. He enjoys fly fishing, camping, hiking, and generally anything outdoors.
Deni Cikurel began the PhD program in 2013. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Middle East Technical University (METU) in 2009. After his graduation from METU, he worked in KPMG Istanbul for two years as a financial auditor specializing in manufacturing companies. In 2012, he graduated from the Texas A&M University MBA program. While at Texas A&M, he also worked as a TA in financial accounting for the MBA program. Deni is primarily interested in conducting empirical research in financial accounting. During his free time, Deni enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with his friends and family.
Paul Demere began the PhD program in 2012. He graduated with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and taxation, respectively, from Virginia Tech in 2008. Afterwards, he spent three-and-a-half years working at the Greensboro and Washington Metro offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers in their Private Company Services and Mergers & Acquisitions tax practices. He is primarily interested in pursuing research related to U.S. taxation and tax accounting. When not being a tax nerd, he enjoys pleasure reading (particularly fiction novels), working out, and cheering the Hokies and Fighting Illini onto domination in football and other sports.
Brian Gale began the PhD program in 2014. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Miami University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School. After graduating from law school, Brian practiced tax law at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, working on a variety of transactional and controversy-related matters. His primary research interests are related to U.S. and international taxation and tax accounting. In his free time, Brian enjoys anything that gets him outside, including hiking, backpacking, and golfing.
Brent Garza began the PhD program in 2011. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston in 2008 and a Master of Science in Accounting from Indiana University in 2009. Prior to enrollment in the PhD program, Brent was an audit associate at KPMG LLP in Indianapolis, IN helping complete all requirements to be licensed as a CPA. Outside of school, Brent enjoys spending time with his wife and attending the theater.
Kamber Hetrick began the PhD program in 2013. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard University in 2008 and a Master of Science in Accounting and Information Analysis from Lehigh University in 2010. Kamber then joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as an auditor in the New York Metro market and currently holds a CPA license in New Jersey. Her principal research interests include audit quality and auditor behavior. Outside of the PhD program, Kamber enjoys baking cookies and spending time with her husband and adorable daughter.
Sean Hillison is a graduate of the University of Florida's Fisher School of Accounting where he earned both his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Accounting degrees. After graduating in 2002, Sean practiced public accounting for nine years in Ernst & Young's South Florida audit practice. At Ernst & Young, Sean most recently served as an audit senior manager to various SEC registrants and private equity controlled companies. In 2011, Sean left Ernst & Young to begin the PhD program at the University of Illinois with a primary focus on audit research. Sean enjoys spending his free time with his wife and cheering on the Illini and Gator football teams.
Ryan Hudgins began the PhD program in 2014. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from Ohio State University. He also holds a Master of Science degree in social and applied economics from Wright State University. He worked as a tax accountant for three-and-a-half years, and he is an inactive CPA in the state of Ohio. His primary research interest is managerial accounting. He enjoys spending time with his wife and their pets.
JangHansol Jang began the PhD program in 2015. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Master of Accounting Science degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He gained professional experience in the hospitality industry at the Ritz-Carlton as well as in the consulting industry with Ernst and Young Advisory. His research interests lie in national and international corporate taxation. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor activities and working out.
kim-minjeongMinjeong Kim joined the PhD program in 2016. She earned her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Business Administration, Accounting from Yonsei University. Her working experiences include, the operations internship at Mason Small Business Development Center, an internship at the fixed income asset portfolio team at Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, and also an internship with the consumer risk management department at Citibank Korea. Her research interests lie primarily in archival managerial accounting. She enjoys reading, jogging, and traveling.
R. William Snyder, CPA, received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business in 2006. Upon graduation, Bill practiced tax at Deloitte in both New York City and Philadelphia. Bill most recently served as a manager in the R&D and Government Incentives group before leaving Deloitte to begin the PhD program at the University of Illinois in 2012. In his free time, Bill enjoys hiking, camping, and spending time with his wife and four children.
sommerfeldtRyan Sommerfeldt began the PhD program in 2016. Before coming to the University of Illinois, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University. He worked in the advisory practice for Squire & Company, PC in Orem, Utah and as an audit intern for Grant Thornton LLP in Houston, Texas. Ryan’s research interests lie in experimental audit with a particular interest in fraud. In his free time, Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons as well as playing all types of sports, including basketball, hockey, and tennis.

Dongyi Wang started the PhD in 2013. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting with James Scholar Honors and a Master of Accounting Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dongyi has professional experiences at private accounting firms, commercial banks and consulting practices. Dongyi's research interests lie in how accounting policies impact investors' perception of the disclosed financial information and the efficiency of capital allocation in the stock market. Outside the PhD program, Dongyi has a variety of interests, including traveling, reading, and designing and making audio amplifiers and other high fidelity audio reproduction devices.
Shuyang Wang began the PhD program in 2013. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Peking University. Before enrolling in the doctoral program, she worked as an intern in the Audit and Assurance department of PricewaterhouseCoopers as well as the National Clearing Center of People’s Bank of China. In her spare time, she enjoys playing badminton, traveling and cooking.
Williams-JeffJeffrey Williams began the PhD program in 2015. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the Marriott School at Brigham Young University. He worked as a tax intern at Hawkins Cloward & Simister LC, a small CPA firm in Orem, Utah. Jeff’s research interests lie in experimental managerial accounting. He enjoys reading, playing sports, and spending time with his wife and two beautiful daughters.
Ha Young Yoon began the PhD program in 2014. She earned her Bachelor of International Studies from Korea University. She passed the US CPA exam in 2010. Prior to coming to Illinois, Ha Young earned her Master of Science in Business Administration, Accounting from Korea University in 2014. Her research interests span a wide range of topics in financial and managerial accounting. In her free time she enjoys reading, watching movies and playing sports.