Last year, the inaugural offering of the Minority Summer Residency Program (MSRP) at Florida International University (FIU) drew 33 high school students from around South Florida to the Modesto A. Maidique campus for a packed five-day program. This year, 37 students had the fun and intellectual stimulation of the experience, which always includes site visits and a number of speakers.
“Over the course of the five days, students learn about careers in accounting, accounting concepts and personal finance, all while getting used to being on a college campus,” said Brenda Hubbard, director of academic relations and student initiatives, Florida Institute of CPAs (FICPA), which created the program.
“The attendees are juniors about to enter their senior year,” said Sharon Lassar, who has led the outreach programs for the School of Accounting in the College of Business Administration for several years. “Not only did the event provide lots of background to them—as well as helping them improve soft skills such as business etiquette—but also our accounting students benefited.”
That was certainly the case for lead volunteer Ali Vayanim, vice president, ALPFA at FIU.
It’s never too early to mentor.
“A program like this would have prevented some lost time for me and enabled me to be more focused and attentive to my goals earlier,” he said. “I have been lucky to have good mentors and wanted to act as a mentor and guide to these students, who really impressed me with their curiosity, insights, and how well-prepared and knowledgeable they were.”
A grant from the Beckman Coulter Manufacturing Foundation, along with sponsorship for the second year from Ernst & Young and support from the FICPA, made the event possible. The group toured Beckman Coulter, learning about private accounting and Ernst & Young, when they learned about the public accounting sector.
Ron Thompkins, a past president of the FICPA and a member of FIU President’s Council, and Monte Kane (MS ’82), current president of the FICPA Educational Foundation, served as judges for student presentations at the end of the program and participated in the graduation ceremony.