In four years, the program has provided 100 students with resources to advance their academic and professional pursuits.
CHICAGO – January 2016 - This month, 25 minority college students received unparalleled access to training and resources essential in the transition from student to professional at the Illinois CPA Society’s Mary T. Washington Wylie (MTWW) Internship Preparation Program.
This award-winning program continues to provide its scholars with the tools they need to advance in their academic and professional aspirations. The culmination of this experience is an opportunity for students to interview with accounting firms. In the four years since the program’s inception, 100 students, representing 37 schools, have participated. To date, 69 students have received one or more internship or other offer. In total, 24 students have received an offer or are currently working in a full-time position. In addition, many of the program’s scholars are on track to take the CPA exam and three of the 2013 scholars have already passed the exam.
Over the course of the three-day program, students interacted with accounting and finance professionals from leading firms and organizations as diverse as the Chicago White Sox, Exelon, and The Field Museum. A highlight of the program, the Careers in Accounting Panel addressed various career paths. Panelists shared stories of how they found their niche in accounting, daily workload expectations, and how to be successful in similar roles.
The American Institute of CPAs Vice Chairperson, Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, delivered the program’s inspirational keynote address, which was focused on overcoming personal and professional challenges and supporting diversity within the profession. Young professionals and past program scholars brought energy and a unique perspective as they shared what it takes to earn an internship and receive a full-time position.
“This experience changed my life. I learned so many beneficial lessons about my professional presence, attitude, and etiquette, which will allow me to soar in my future career,” said Valencia Pringle, MTWW scholar.
In addition, the students participated in interactive sessions dedicated to business ethics, team building, interview skills, and the CPA exam. Students also enjoyed a revamped resume session that allowed them one-on-one time with recruiters to receive feedback and then make edits to their resumes.
“Every volunteer truly cared about my success in the program and my future in the CPA profession. I am walking away with a greater sense of self-confidence after I received helpful resume tips, interview advice, and learned all about the CPA exam,” said AuQuan Mack, MTWW scholar.
“It is incredible to witness the transformation of these students over the course of only three days. These students represent the future of the CPA profession, and it is our responsibility to help them succeed,” said Illinois CPA Society President/CEO Todd Shapiro.
The all-expenses-paid program is funded by donations to the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois’ Mary T. Washington Wylie Opportunity Fund. Essential to the program’s success was the generous support and involvement from the following accounting firms: Crowe Horwath LLP, Deloitte LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, Grant Thornton LLP, KPMG LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Sikich LLP. Each firm engaged the scholars in different formats: with speakers, volunteers, or mentors to help develop and facilitate the program.
The 2016 Mary T. Washington Wylie Scholars are:
Name Hometown School
Edgar Allen Palatine William Rainey Harper College
Aisha Bell Bolingbrook Western Illinois University
Aaron Blum Pittsburgh, PA University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
LeRone Branch South Holland Dominican University
Meri-t Ua Brown Chicago Illinois Wesleyan University
Naquincia Burnett Elgin Elgin Community College
Daisjaun Burns Chicago University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Jakell Collins Chicago Eastern Illinois University
Elizabeth Cristobal Chicago Western Illinois University
Aseelah Duncan Chicago Eastern Illinois University
Jacqueline Flores Berwyn St. Xavier University
Takira Hill Chicago Western Illinois University
Tshawnda Kitchen Charleston Eastern Illinois University
AuQuan Mack DeKalb Northern Illinois University
Alexandro Martinez Franklin Park Roosevelt University
Samone Morris-Beck Peoria Western Illinois University
Cindy Peralta Chicago St. Xavier University
Valencia Pringle Chicago St. Xavier University
Corbin Quinonez Tulare Greenville College
Juan Ramirez Waukegan Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Cortesha Spencer Washington Park McKendree University
Odontuya Sumiyatsooj Mount Prospect University of Illinois at Chicago
Ashley Terrell Bellwood Northern Illinois University
Nana Wiafe-Ababio Peoria Bradley University
Dave Zuniga Chicago Heights St. Xavier University