Faculty You Should Know: Cathalene Bowler

Cathalene Bowler, new assistant professor of accounting in UNI's College of Business Administration, has had money on her mind from a young age. "Growing up, I didn't have the money to go to school," she said. However, by working hard and taking advantage of every opportunity, Bowler has built an impressive career for herself. Her new job at UNI makes her one of only 108 African-American female accounting professors in the United States.

Cathalene Bates
Bowler joined UNI this fall as an assistant professor of accounting.

Originally from Tallahassee, Fla., Bowler decided to study accounting in high school after watching a television program about wealthy celebrities who lost everything when their financial advisers stole their money and fled the country. "At that point, I decided I didn't want anyone to manage my finances but me," she said.

However, the path to financial independence wasn't an easy one. She joined the military right out of high school to help pay for her continuing education. After 11 years in the military, she got a job at H&R Block where she "fell in love with doing taxes." After seven years with the company, she decided it was time to get her degree and began attending classes at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee.

Bowler jumped right into her studies and served as a mentor for fellow students, leading study groups for classes she wasn't even in. "Students would flock to me for help," she said. Professors at FAMU took notice of Bowler's leadership. One in particular, Ira W. Bates, acted as a mentor for Bowler, encouraging her to get involved with the PhD Project, a national organization dedicated to helping diversify the workplace by encouraging minorities to get Ph.D.s.

Bowler took Bates' advice to heart. Upon receiving her bachelor's degree from FAMU, she went on to get her master's degree from Florida State University, also in Tallahassee. She then got a scholarship through the PhD Project to Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, to get her Ph.D. When it came time to look for employment, Bowler had offers from several well-known universities, including UNI.

Marty Wartick, head of the accounting department at UNI, had encouraged Bowler to apply to UNI. According to Bowler, "She was the friendliest, loveliest person I've ever met."

Ultimately, it was the friendliness of the campus community that led Bowler to apply to UNI. One moment in particular helped to finalize the decision for Bowler. "I was filled with excitement when Provost Gloria Gibson called me personally to encourage my decision," said Bowler. "If I had any second thoughts, her call alleviated any chance of that."

While Bowler was concerned with having to deal with weather much colder than what she was used to in the Sunshine State, she was willing to make the sacrifice. "I'll take a warm, welcoming atmosphere any day," she said.

Another concern was being away from family, something that turned out to be a non-issue when her husband decided to move to Iowa with her. Now, he's working as the administrative assistant for the dean of the College of Business Administration. On top of that, one of their sons is looking to apply for the master's of accounting program in the spring, so Bowler's already beginning to build her own community at UNI.

While Bowler is still getting in the swing of things, she's impressed by the resources available on campus and has no doubt she'll enjoy all that UNI has to offer. "UNI just seems to have everything," she said. "This is the best decision I could have possibly made."