Grant Enables Students to Intern with State

Two Accounting students completed internships at the Office of the State Auditor as part of a grant from the National Institute of Justice.
Monday, October 3, 2011

Two Rider University Accounting students recently completed summer internships, gaining real-world experience as auditors at the New Jersey Office of the State Auditor from June 6 through August 22. Michael Blake ’12 and Paola Lopez ’12 were able to apply the skills they have learned in class through a National Institute of Justice grant obtained by the Center for Business Forensics.

During his internship, Blake worked in the Division of Pensions and the Office of Management and Budget. There, he examined balance sheets and cash flow statements, and conducted interviews of witnesses. In addition, Blake received career advice and tips for taking the CPA exam from his three mentors, all professionals relatively new to the field.

“It definitely was a team environment. I felt like I was part of the group and part of the process,” Blake said. “It was a great learning experience.”

At Rider, Blake serves as treasurer for the Student Government Association and president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and is a member of the club lacrosse team. Blake, who participated in last year’s mock fraud case, the IRS Adrian Project, said he would like to pursue a career for the state or the federal government. “My goal is to work for the FBI,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lopez was assigned to work in the Office of Unemployment Insurance Services for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Through the internship, she became familiar with unemployment laws and had access to data to conduct queries.

“I was doing entry-level accounting work, and never treated as an intern. I felt like I was part of the auditing team,” said Lopez, who is also interested in working for the state. “I know I definitely want to go into a career in auditing.”

At Rider, Lopez is the secretary of the Rider chapter of the Institute of Management Accounting (IMA) and has participated in the IMA competition for Rider. She also serves as a teacher’s assistant for one of Dr. Evelyn McDowell’s Accounting courses and an Accounting tutor. She is an active member of the Accounting Society. Lopez also has previous experience working on tax returns for clients of H&R Block.

“These internships represent what our grant is all about,” said Dr. William Amadio, director of the Center for Business Forensics and professor of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management. “The students got invaluable experience, and the state got some help with its busy workload. It was a win for all of us.”

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