Delaware County Controller Joanne Phillips Announces GFOA’s Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship Awarded to Staff Member Kelly Diaz

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Released: April 25, 2023

Controller’s Office’s Deputy Policy Analyst receives prestigious scholarship

Delaware County Controller Joanne Phillips is proud to announce that Kelly Diaz, Deputy Policy Analyst in the Controller’s Office, has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). The GFOA, which represents public finance officials throughout the United States and Canada, has a mission to advance excellence in public finance and awards a small number of scholarships to high-performing students preparing for careers in state and local government.

Ms. Diaz, a longtime Delaware County resident and four-year staff member of the Controller’s office, was selected from nearly 200 candidates from across the nation as the single recipient of the $20,000 Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes outstanding performance by a full-time master’s student with a commitment to the public sector and in preparations for a career in state and local government finance.

“Our office is so proud that Kelly was selected to receive this scholarship,” said Delaware County Controller Joanne Phillips, who had written a letter of recognition for Ms. Diaz. “We get to see her exemplary work first-hand, and there is no one more deserving. The GFOA made a great choice, and this will keep her on the path to a bright future.”

“I was stunned and ecstatic when I learned the GFOA chose me as the recipient of the Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship, said Ms. Diaz. “This generous award will relieve a substantial burden of the cost of tuition and books and allow me to focus on continuing my education instead of worrying about how to pay for it.”

Ms. Diaz was hired as an accountant for the County of Delaware Controller’s Office in November 2018 and was promoted by County Controller Phillips to a deputy position in March 2022. The independently elected Controller is the designated “fiscal watchdog” of the county and the staff work to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used responsibly.

“My experience working for the Controller’s Office really sparked my fascination with public administration,” said Ms. Diaz. “I witnessed local government grapple with major changes in a very short time period—ranging from political shifts to pandemic recovery and a difficult labor market—and these experiences strengthened my belief that ethical and professional management are vital in shepherding governments through such challenges, and led me to apply to Villanova University’s Master of Public Administration program in the summer of 2022.

Ms. Diaz holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, with a Minor in Business and Technical Writing, from West Chester University, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Maryland Global Campus. She expects to graduate from Villanova University with a Master of Public Administration degree in August 2024.

Although the GFOA represents public finance officials, the scholarship funds come from the private Girard Miller Foundation. No Delaware County taxpayer money was used for the scholarship.

Kelly Diaz

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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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