She was surprised again when she learned she would be receiving the award.
Mrs. Kapka, 53, is a senior lecturer of accounting at The University of Texas at Tyler. She teaches auditing and internal auditing, as well as financial accounting, managerial accounting and forensic accounting. Next summer, she will begin teaching an advanced auditing class, which will be part of UT Tyler's new Masters of Accountancy program.
Mrs. Kapka grew up in Tyler, graduated from Robert E. Lee High School and attended Tyler Junior College and UT Tyler, where she earned her bachelor's degree in business administration in 1981.
She worked in public accounting for a corporation, then Whitehouse Independent School District for eight years before moving up to higher education. Mrs. Kapka worked as chief auditing executive for UT Tyler from 1999 to 2010, conducting operational and financial audits of the university while getting her master's degree in business administration in 2003. After graduating, she was asked to teach auditing courses at UT Tyler and did that part-time.
After Dr. Harold Doty became dean of UT Tyler's College of Business and Technology, he asked Mrs. Kapka if she would teach full-time. She thought about it and realized the highlight of her work was teaching, so she took the job in 2010.
She recalled when she started her accounting career there were no computers. She said after three years of doing tax returns manually, she had enough. Now, she does only her own and her parents' tax returns, and usually waits until April 14, she said.
When Mrs. Kapka went back to school to get her master's degree and took her first auditing course, it clicked for her, she said. She likes to solve puzzles and has an analytical mind, which she believes makes her a good auditor.
When auditing a company or entity, she said she figures out what makes it tick, and because she hardly ever audits the same thing twice, she never gets bored.
Teaching came naturally for Mrs. Kapka, who said the best part about teaching is seeing the light bulb go off in people's heads, especially in her freshman accounting classes. She said she loves teaching undergraduate students who are starting their college careers and need a little more mentoring then graduate students.
“I get to see light bulbs go off every day,” she said. “They put things together and you can almost see it in their faces.”
She said several CPA firms in town have hired her students over the years and she thought it was nice to be nominated by her peers. When she received forms to fill out for the award, she thought that would be the end of it. She was shocked again to learn some of her students sent in letters of support for her to win the award, and that she would receive it during an awards luncheon in October in Austin.
Mrs. Kapka said it is nice to know people notice her work.
Four awards were given statewide. Mrs. Kapka in the small four-year college or university category, as well as one each for a junior college, a medium and a large university, she said.
Mrs. Kapka and her husband of 34 years, Robert, have one son, Kevin, who is a senior at Texas A&M University. For fun, Mrs. Kapka makes jewelry and rides around on her Harley Davidson, touring East Texas and the Hill Country.