The Illinois CPA Society announced the 10th class of the highly competitive Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program for 2022. Elgin Community College student Adriel Gahol has been accepted as one of 29 scholars from across the state. “At first, I did not realize how big this program was, but my mindset was to take every opportunity that was presented, so I signed up,” said Gahol. “Luckily, with my hard work ethic and relentless pursuit to finish my accounting degree, it paid off.”
The Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program is an award-winning program dedicated to launching African American and other racial/ethnic minority college students into the accounting profession. The program provides access to training, resources, and mentors. At the end of the program, employers interview the students for various paid internships that could lead to full-time jobs.
Gahol was first introduced to the scholarship by David Packard, associate professor of accounting. As a sophomore at ECC pursuing an associate in arts, Gahol was ready to take his interest in accounting to the next level. “To be included in this program was an honor because it is for a selective audience that is serious about accounting as a profession,” said Gahol. Gahol received resume advice, interview coaching, LinkedIn profile development, access to mentors, networking events, and virtual interviews with well-known accounting employers throughout the three-day program.
“By joining the program, I connected with many professors, individuals, and recruiters,” said Gahol. “It opened a lot of opportunities for me to receive offers to start interning with companies during the summer and winter.” To apply for the scholarship, students must be of a racial/ethnic minority, enrolled in an Illinois college as a sophomore or above, hold a 3.0/4.0 GPA, and be interested in majoring in accounting. Although Gahol quickly checked each box, he knew he was applying for a competitive program against other applicants with his same passion for accounting, making his acceptance all the more gratifying. “The scholars of the program are very smart and have the drive and work ethic to pursue an accounting degree,” said Gahol. “To pursue this degree isn’t just a ‘go to school every day and learn something new’ mentality. You need to want it more than anything else.”
After finishing at ECC, Gahol plans to transfer to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in accountancy and work to pass his CPA exam. After completing his education, Gahol intends to pursue a career working for one of the “Big Four” accounting firms such as Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, or PwC, and eventually use the experience learned from the “Big Four” to open his own business.