Event Introduces High School Students to Accounting World
The National Association of Black Accountants Offers Business Camp for Teens in the Jindal School
Oct. 8, 2012
High school junior Ashley Johnson initially thought accounting was nothing more than crunching numbers.
Her ideas have changed since she attended the Accounting Career Awareness Program, a weeklong camp presented by the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and sponsored by the UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management.
Johnson is considering accounting as a career after visiting UT Dallas for the accounting camp, also known as ACAP.
“I was analyzing the situation and I thought, ‘I could actually deal with that,’” said the student at Southwest High School in Fort Worth,.
She was among 30 students from Dallas-Fort Worth high schools who participated in the program.
“These students are really amazing,” said Dr. Marilyn Kaplan, associate dean of undergraduate education in the Jindal School. Some of the students draw so much from the experience that they attend the camp more than once, she said.
Faculty members gave them an introduction to the field of accounting, for which the Jindal School offers bachelor's as well as master's degrees. Students visited an area accounting firm and worked in groups to pitch ideas for new businesses.
NABA selects the students through an application process. Odell Brown, a NABA member, designs the camp’s curriculum, which he says serves as an introduction to college life and the accounting field.
“I think the main thing is that students grow up hearing about doctors, lawyers and teachers, but don’t really hear about CPAs and people in the accounting profession,” said Brown, who is a senior project leader at Southwest Airlines. “What ACAP does is provide insight into accounting and the business curriculum, and with that students have at least an introduction through the ACAP experience.”
ACAP director Maria Bean, who is also a NABA member, said many of the participants start the camp uncertain about all of the career options available in the accounting field. However, once they complete the program, they are even more eager about attending college and living on campus.
“Without ACAP, a lot of students wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn about the opportunities and benefits of majoring in accounting or a business-related field,” said Bean, who is an inspections specialist with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
Bean said accounting is a rewarding profession that will always be in demand.
“As long as public companies need auditors and people need to get their taxes done, I think there will be lots of opportunities for students who are going into the field,” she said. “The opportunities are limitless.”
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