Public Relations Associate
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
From June 28 to 30, Wilmington University hosted DROP-IN (Delaware Resources on Professions-Accounting), a three-day accounting camp designed for Delaware high school students who have shown outstanding talent for the subject. Sixteen students, all entering their junior or senior year, were chosen from high schools across the state to participate in the program, which was sponsored by the Delaware Society of Certified Public Accountants (DSCPA) in conjunction with Delaware business Grotto Pizza. DROP-IN included morning workshops and afternoon trips to introduce students to the field of accounting along with the different options available to students for pursuing further education in the subject.
Each day, students met at Wilmington University's New Castle campus to work on an accounting case study inspired by Grotto Pizza and devised by accounting professors from the University of Delaware and Wilmington University. The case study presented students with scenarios that encouraged them to work together to "crunch numbers" as "junior accountants" in the same way that professional accountants working for a business like Grotto Pizza would do in the business world. Inspiring some healthy competition, groups of four students were assigned different aspects of this case study to focus on, and mornings at DROP-IN were dedicated to allowing groups time to prepare presentations to give to "management," a team of judges comprised of Barry Crozier, CPA, Managing Partner at Belfint, Lyons, & Shuman, Susuan Kiser, CPA, Vice President at JPMorgan Chase, and Stephanie DeLuca, CPA, Master at Sidlow & Associates, picked the winning team during a ceremony on Wednesday. The students were then honored at an awards dinner later than night, each receiving a certificate of completion.
When not juggling figures and statistics, DROP-IN students traveled throughout the state to visit professional firms and school accounting programs. During the three-day camp, students toured the campuses of Delaware Technical and Community College, Goldey-Beacom College, University of Delaware, and Wilmington University, all schools that have established accounting or business programs. Students also visited several local practicing CPA firms, granting them the chance to see first-hand what a working CPA (Certified Public Account) encounters day-to-day in the profession.
Karen Smith, chair of the Business Program at Del. Tech's Owens Campus and one of the directors of DROP-IN said of the program, "It's been great to see the students get some real world experience...The students have asked some very good questions and are interested in a range of accounting--forensic accounting, business accounting, and more." One of those students was Taran Kaur, a student from Paul M. Hodgson Vocational Technical High School in Newark. DROP-IN gave Kaur a chance to think about her plans for education after graduation. "It has been nice touring the school you are interested in before you apply," she said. DROP-IN also helped Kaur become more familiar with the different options for professions within the accounting field. "This experience has taught me the difference between being a public accountant versus being a private accountant," she said. "I think I'd prefer to be a public accountant; it gives you the option to work with more people and have more variety."
At the program's end, Sally Stokes, CPA and Coordinator of the Accounting Program at Wilmington University, summed up the experience by saying, "The DROP-IN camp was a unique opportunity for students to work under CPA guidance...At the recognition dinner, the judges commended the students for their problem-solving abilities and presentation skills." This was the first year for DROP-IN in Delaware, but if the response to the program is any indication for future success, then this should not be its last.
Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 - New Castle, DE