By: Deanna Mayer, CPA, CFO, MSBO Board Member, Director of Finance and Human Resources, Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD
When did you know that you wanted to go into school business? Did you work at your local school as a student intern, student teacher assistant (for those of us old enough that this was allowed when we were in school), or at the university/college you attended? I was a student teacher assistant in high school and university student worker for a semester in the accounting office. Those were both exceptional experiences that started my love for education. I learned that we can make the lives of young people better.
According to the Webster’s Dictionary the definition of an intern is, “an advanced student or graduate usually in a professional field gaining supervised practical experience.”
The Eastern Upper Peninsula ISD has a long-standing partnership with the local university and local school district career center to help facilitate “supervised practical experience.”
We provide students with a variety of experiences in the areas of business/accounting, technology, general education, REMC, and special education. It is a win-win situation for us and for students. Our business/accounting interns not only help us scan documents for electronic storage, but also, process accounts payable, process payroll-including ORS reconciliations, reconcile balance sheets, create invoices, prepare/enter journal entries, process bank reconciliations, and help with year-end/audit preparation. They develop skills that further their careers and they gain experience that they can include on their resume.
Having a student worker is not without challenges. We are all super busy with our day to day schedule and taking the time to work with someone is an investment that, if done correctly, can pay off in the long run. The students work alongside professionals in various areas who take them “under their wing” and show them all they know. A few years back, we converted our finance software. Our intern jumped right into the trenches with us and turned out to be a huge asset on the conversion! A few years later, we were able to hire her.
Students are eager learners. They want to expand their knowledge base as much as possible. They are often shy and lack confidence. It is super exciting to watch them come out of their shell and gain the confidence that will help them become successful upon graduation.
Watching students take the knowledge and theory they have learned sitting in the classroom and apply it to real work situations is very rewarding. I encourage all of you to find a way to mentor and help make a difference in the next generation.