Current PhD Students

BalaminutLucas Balaminut began the PhD program in 2016. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Eastern Illinois University, in 2013. Afterwards, he worked for Bunge North American as an Accounting Staff, in St. Louis, analyzing commodity contracts, financial and inventory positioning, along with miscellaneous accounting evaluation. He earned his Master of Science in Accountancy from University of Illinois, in 2016, from which his passion for empirical research on capital markets flourished. Outside of accounting academia, Lucas enjoys reading about other fields, traveling, watching live concerts and recording podcasts about various topics.
Bethany Brumley began the PhD program in 2017 and is the recipient of the Grant Thornton Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tennessee Wesleyan University and her master’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee. After college, she began her career at Ernst & Young in Chattanooga, Tennessee and has over ten years of work experience in both public and private accounting, primarily in audit services. She is a licensed CPA in Tennessee. During her free time, she enjoys tennis, jogging, reading, and spending time with her fabulous nieces.
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.
Han, RussellRussell Han began the PhD program in 2018. He received his bachelor’s degree in both accounting and finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his master’s degree in business administration from Seoul National University. Prior to joining the Gies PhD Program, Russell worked as an associate for the Tax Services Department of Samjong KPMG. He has also interned for the Human Capital Service Group of Deloitte Consulting Korea. Russell’s main research interests are in managerial performance evaluation, the role of incentives as an effective corporate governance mechanism, issues in managerial risk-taking, and the informativeness of stakeholder-related disclosures. Russell enjoys music as well as working out.
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.
Alex Johanns began the PhD program in 2017. After earning Bachelor of Business Administration and Master in Professional Accounting degrees from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007, Alex spent 10 years in PwC’s Austin, Texas, assurance practice, managing audit engagements ranging in size from development stage companies to Fortune 50 SEC registrants in a broad range of industries, including technology, manufacturing, software, and life sciences. Alex’s primary research interests include the judgment and decision making of auditing professionals and the effects of auditing regulation and auditing standards on business. In his free time, Alex enjoys traveling and cheering on the Longhorns and Illini.
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.
Kim, Sydney1Sydney Kim began the PhD program in 2018. She attained her bachelor’s degree in management science from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and master’s degree in development policy from Korea Development Institute School. Prior to joining the Gies PhD program, Sydney worked as a macroeconomics research associate at the Korean government economic think-tank and as an equity analyst at a Seoul-based investment bank Korea Investment & Securities. She previously interned at Citi Investment Bank, Samsung, and Accenture Consulting. Her research interests primarily lie in financial accounting, macro-accounting, and the role of financial information. Outside of academia, Sydney enjoys music and painting.
Lyman, RachelRachel Lyman began the PhD program in 2018. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration, Accounting and in Psychology from Biola University. After graduation, Rachel spent nine years working for Deloitte and Touche’s audit practice with six years in Orange County, California and three years in Beijing, China. Domestically, she served public and private audit clients in a variety of industries while in China she served as a US technical accounting advisor for Chinese entities listed on US exchanges. Her research interests lie in judgement and decision making within audit services. In her free time, Rachel enjoys spending time with family, hiking, reading, and cooking.
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.
Yip, MichaelMichael Yip, CPA, CA (Ontario, Canada), began the PhD program in 2018. He obtained his Bachelor of Accounting and Financial Management and Master of Accounting in 2013 from the University of Waterloo. After graduating, he joined the Deloitte Consulting – Strategy & Operations practice in Toronto where he was a Senior Consultant. During this time, he advised clients on finance and technology related issues within the Energy & Resource, Telecommunication, Financial Services Industry and Healthcare sectors. His primary research focus is in managerial accounting and control systems. In his free time, he enjoys travelling, hiking, and swimming.