Monday, March 14, 2005

An AST Success Story

By Melanie Cain

In the spring of 2004, Rebecca Alberts went into the Applied Study office and inquired about possible internships for the upcoming summer. Rebecca was a junior majoring in Accountancy and was looking for an accounting internship in the medical field. About two weeks after her visit, she received an email from the AST office notifying her that just such an internship was available in the Springfield area.

The internship was being offered by Healthcare Network Associates, an affiliate of the Memorial Health System. They were looking for an intern to fill in for the senior financial analyst, who was out for the summer on maternity leave. The intern’s main duty would be to prepare the monthly financial reports for the HCNA accounting department, with various other tasks assigned along the way. Rebecca applied right away, went through the interview process, and was hired.

Rebecca speaks very highly of her AST. Not only was she able to gain “real” accounting experience, but she also learned much more, especially with the help of her supervisor, Becky Berberet. Rebecca commented, “Whenever she could, Becky would bring me along to financial meetings, clinic visits, etc. I met many new people, including the doctors I was doing accounting work for.” Rebecca added that she enjoyed the opportunity to experience the job from a director’s view rather than starting at the bottom, doing menial tasks.

After her AST ended, Rebecca was asked to come back during winter break to work as extra help for the Memorial Medical Center accounting department, dealing mainly with accounts payable. The arrangement was that if a regular staff member was overloaded with work, Rebecca was there to help.

About two weeks into the 2005 spring semester, Rebecca got a call from Michael Mueller in general accounting at Memorial asking if she would like to temporarily fill a vacant position until the department could hire a permanent replacement. Rebecca agreed and ended up getting some great experience preparing accounts receivable reconciliations.

While Rebecca was working at this temporary position, she unexpectedly received a call from Memorial’s director of decision support, Mike Hoyle. An opening for a cost accountant had come up; Hoyle had heard some great things about Rebecca and wanted to encourage her to apply for the job. Since cost accounting was a field she had always hoped to enter, Rebecca was thrilled. A couple weeks and a few interviews later, Rebecca found herself working full time for the Memorial Medical Center accounting department as a cost accountant.

Asked about this chain of events, Rebecca said, “I feel very fortunate for the opportunities I have been given at Memorial. I have been able to work my way up through the accounting departments, and I’ve learned so much in the process. I am very grateful for the wonderful experiences I have gained, all of which began with an AST internship.”

Rebecca earned her bachelor’s degree in Accountancy in the 2004 fall semester and is currently enrolled in UIS’ graduate program. She currently volunteers on the weekends with the Springfield Tax Counseling Project, a local service aimed at assisting low income individuals with their tax returns. She plans to sit for the CPA exam after earning her master’s degree.

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