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Accounting Careers Become New Goal for High School Mentorship Program

Published: Mar 1, 2013
The Beta Alpha Psi students are formalizing their mentorship program with Immokalee and have reached out the UT Entrepreneurs who will offer a presentation on entrepreneurship to the high school in March.
The Beta Alpha Psi students are formalizing their mentorship program with Immokalee and have reached out the UT Entrepreneurs who will offer a presentation on entrepreneurship to the high school in March.
Feedback on the early February presentation was abundant in praise. The high school students were engaged during the entire presentation, asked thoughtful questions at the end and have been seeking out more information on careers in this field they didn’t know existed.
Feedback on the early February presentation was abundant in praise. The high school students were engaged during the entire presentation, asked thoughtful questions at the end and have been seeking out more information on careers in this field they didn’t know existed.
From left Nikki Mandl ’14, Thomas Tolar ’13, Dave Wistocki ’13 and Alix Beltz ’14 gave the first presentation in early February. They hope to return in March or April.
From left Nikki Mandl ’14, Thomas Tolar ’13, Dave Wistocki ’13 and Alix Beltz ’14 gave the first presentation in early February. They hope to return in March or April.
While the Beta Alpha Psi students weren’t sure how their presentation to students at Immokalee High School on careers in the financial industry would be received, they finished the day knowing this was the start of something great.

“I was thinking of how and when we can get the students to come and visit UT’s campus,” said Nikki Mandl ’14 on the almost three-hour drive back to UT.

A group of four students from UT’s international accounting honors society — Mandl, Alix Beltz ’14, Dave Wistocki ’13 and Thomas Tolar ’13 — had given a presentation at this Title I high school with a large number of economically disadvantaged students as part of the after-school enrichment program led by the Alliance of Educational Leaders. The UT students had connected with the school through Wistocki, who met an instructor with the alliance during a visit back home in Naples.

Wistocki said that Beta Alpha Psi was looking for a sustainable community project for two reasons. One, they needed a project on which to base their competitive speech for the Feb. 22 Beta Alpha Psi regional conference, which required them to develop a presentation and sustainable plan for recruiting minorities into accounting, finance or information systems careers. Two, they were looking for a good match for a club philanthropy.

Reaching the students at Immokalee is a personal matter for Joshua D’Amico ’13, president of UT’s Beta Alpha Psi. D’Amico grew up with a single mom, an immigrant from Nicaragua. He moved close to 30 times in his childhood to different places throughout South Florida. His older sister lived with them on occasion. He said it’s a miracle he learned to speak English.

D’Amico found himself on the wrong path in middle school, getting involved with the wrong group of friends. In high school he found mentors who turned his life around.

“Ultimately, it was my educators there who impacted my life,” said D’Amico, the first in his family to go to college. “I want to instill that sense of knowing your potential and knowing you can always do better for those students in Immokalee.”

Feedback on the early February presentation was abundant in praise. The high school students were engaged during the entire presentation, asked thoughtful questions at the end and have been seeking out more information on careers in this field they didn’t know existed.

Pat Riley, executive director of the Alliance of Educational Leaders, sent an email to the presenters the week after their visit.

“As you are aware, Immokalee is an isolated area and students lack the resources to travel to learn about career opportunities that might both motivate and suit them. Your group did that for them,” she wrote. “Judging from feedback received, the success of the visit is unquestioned. Everyone is looking forward to your return in March.”

The Beta Alpha Psi students are formalizing their mentorship program with Immokalee and have reached out the UT Entrepreneurs who will offer a presentation on entrepreneurship to the high school in March. The Beta Alpha Psi students will return again at least once, and are planning a UT visit for the high school students.

“Growing up, I had several young adults who invested in my life, and I don't think I would be the person I am today if I didn't receive their love and guidance,” said Mandl.

“Each of us saw how big of an impact we made on the students, and it was a fantastic feeling,” said Beltz. “I cannot wait to visit these students again.”

Have a story idea? Contact Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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