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Michelle Harding, a doctoral candidate in accounting in UT’s Haslam College of Business.
Michelle Harding, a doctoral candidate in accounting in UT’s Haslam College of Business.

Michelle Harding, a doctoral candidate in UT’s Haslam College of Business, is one of twenty-five students in the nation selected to attend the Early Career Professional Development Workshop at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, June 22–25.

Attendees are selected based on their ability to successfully publish top-tier research. The workshop aims to boost early success in the careers of historically underrepresented academic faculty.

“This conference will help me make a greater research impact earlier in my career,” Harding said. “The Olin Business School’s program is amazing because of the intentionality of the workshop content and the significant resources invested in each participant.”

In addition to attending research and career development workshop sessions, Harding will present one of her current working papers, which addresses tax disclosures.

She also has coauthored work with faculty at Northeastern University and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

“My research focuses on how firms communicate daily decisions, enabling stakeholders to have greater confidence in the sustainability of a firm’s tax strategies,” Harding said.

Professor of Accounting LeAnn Luna, Harding’s dissertation advisor, says Harding is a perfect fit for the conference.

“Publishing in the major journals requires the intellectual curiosity to think about important issues, how to add to the literature, and the day-to-day dedication to see the project through,” she said. “Michelle is inquisitive and one of the hardest workers I have ever worked with in the PhD program.”

After achieving her master’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia, Harding spent nearly a decade in industry. The decision to pursue a doctoral degree came at a turning point when she was offered a promotion to become a regional vice president of finance for a subsidiary of Sysco Inc. Instead of moving forward in her corporate career, she chose to pursue research on the questions she continually encountered within her work.

Harding, a native of Williamsburg, Virginia, anticipates finishing her dissertation on the impact of tax risk on the quality of company disclosures for uncertain tax benefits in the spring of 2017.


Katie Bahr (865-974-3589,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,