In concert with the New York State Society of CPAs, every summer SUNY Oswego hosts the Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) program for minority high school students around the region. The residential four-day program showcases opportunities and builds skills for the world of business.

“It’s for minority high school students in different areas around the state,” said Stephanie Doctor, the NextGen program administrator for the NYSSCPA. “We actually have five programs that are running this week, and it’s just to introduce them to the profession and show them all the opportunities that are made available to them through accounting.

Shevori Gene, a student from Liverpool, appreciated that it also gives a preview of what to expect in college.

“It’s like a really full experience and I like it because we’ve been able to stay in dorms,” Gene said. “We have a campus tour to see what it’s all about, we get to eat in dining rooms and then obviously we have the professional speakers and workshops.”

Heather Losi, a visiting assistant professor at SUNY Oswego who co-coordinates the on-campus program, said COAP offers many different facets for participants.

“We have a lot of speakers from Oswego that come and talk about college prep,” Losi said. “We have community and other CPA leaders coming in. They had sessions on entrepreneurship, they’re getting a session on interviewing techniques and get to experience mock interviews this afternoon.”

For participant Alexandria Williams of Syracuse, the program provides opportunities to better prepare for her future.

“I really wanted to learn how to get better job opportunities, how to present myself in interviews, how to better my resume and I wanted to learn more about the accounting profession,” Williams said.

“It’s a great opportunity to interact with older students,” Losi said. “When you are around the group, they’ve got a great energy. Each one of these students are accomplished in their own right. They’re good students.”

Caitlyn Zimmerman, a current MBA/accounting major at Oswego who is a member of accounting and finance student honor society Beta Alpha Psi, sees COAP as a way to give back and help students find their futures.

“I’m an accounting major and I’m always looking for ways to get more involved, so I thought this was a great opportunity, especially since it’s through NYSSCPA,” Zimmerman said. “So what I’m doing is making sure they’re staying on task and getting engaged in all the presentations that are being held here this week.”

“We try and use this as an opportunity to show that there are people that are like you in this profession,” “We don’t shy away from making sure that their presence should be known as well.”

“We had an etiquette lunch which is something that’s important … that’s important in the business world too,” Gene said. “It’s not just about what you’re learning in school. … I think they do a good job of encompassing all of that.”

“I think the hope is that we have planted a seed,” Losi said.

Gene would say that effort has succeeded.

“I think it’s just really broadened my scope of view and made me more interested in different things,” he said.