Undergraduate student Commencement speaker found a ‘home’ at La Salle

May 2, 2024

Bernadette “Bern” Shields, MBA ’24, ’24, was equipped with the tools from La Salle’s School of Business to move onto a role at PwC. 

Bernadette “Bern” Shields, MBA ’24, '24

Bernadette “Bern” Shields, MBA ’24, ’24, has found a second home at La Salle University.  

The Warminster, Pa., native originally thought she’d enroll at a large state flagship school, but when she started receiving communications from La Salle, her interest was piqued for the tightknit school in Philadelphia’s Logan neighborhood.  

A tour of the campus and receiving the Christian Brothers Scholarship sealed the deal.  

“It was a no-brainer to come here,” she said.  

When it was time to decide her future career path, Shields took advice from her dad who works in banking and always said the one change he would have made would be to study accounting. With her strength in mathematics and interest in the business world, Shields majored in the 4-year BS/MBA Accounting Program in La Salle’s School of Business. She’s also a part of the Honors Program, an opportunity she felt allowed her to dive deeper into her liberal arts education. 

Shields said the School of Business education helped prepare her for the workforce with its real-world curriculum and knowledgeable faculty. With digestible content placed in real-world scenarios, schoolwork felt like a real-life job which made picturing herself in the field easier.  

“I learned so much aside from the education I received at La Salle,” she said.  

She received an internship opportunity at accounting firm PwC which opened doors to a full-time job in the fall at the company’s Boston office.  

On campus, Shields is active with participation in the Business Scholars Co-op Program, being a sister of Alpha Sigma Tau, and the former manager of the women’s soccer team.   

She said La Salle has become a second home for her with its supportive community.  

“It’s become such a special place for me,” she said.  

During the Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on May 10, Shields will give back to the La Salle community who’s given her so much by delivering the Student Commencement Address. She worked to create a speech that everyone in the audience could relate to. It’s also a full circle moment from Shields who delivered a prayer during her high school commencement address from her car due to COVID-19 protocols. Now, she’ll be able to address the student body in-person on stage.  

She said the challenge of how COVID-19 change day-to-day life is something everyone graduating will be able to relate to.  

“The ability to find words when you experience something and everyone is in the same boat as you, it’s special and it’s difficult,” she said.   

—Meg Ryan