University Park, IL,
15:54 PM

Award-Winning program reminds students anything is possible

Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program Scholars

Two Governors State University (GovState) Accounting students from the College of Business (COB) are even more determined to pursue their goals after completing the award-winning Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program, an experience that reminded them that the sky is the limit when following their passion.

A Governors State University Accounting student posing for a photoThese words were particularly impactful for Atanda Williams (pictured left), one of two GovState students in the program’s 12th and largest cohort of 41 scholars, who now join the ranks of 338 alumni to complete the highly competitive program.

“I took those words to heart and will continue not only my educational journey to the furthest of my abilities, but also in my career to accomplish any and every certification I can,” said Atanda.

Named for a trailblazing South Side Chicagoan who became the first Black female CPA in the United States in 1943, the Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program seeks to prepare promising Illinois-based racial and ethnic minority college students with the skills needed to earn their first accounting positions and pursue the certified public accountant (CPA) credential.

The three-day, virtual program featured motivational speeches and insightful panel discussions, resume and LinkedIn profile advice, interview coaching, and opportunities to network with other accounting students and professionals.

A headshot of Governors State University Accounting student“It was inspiring to speak with accomplished people within the accounting community!” said Gregory Collins (pictured right), another GovState student who completed the program this year. “I am so much more focused on my career goals and have made so many connections. I even received a few internship offers because of the mock interviews and conversations,” he said.

Atanda was similarly in awe of the people she got to meet.

“It was a complete honor to meet Lester McKeever who worked alongside Mary T. Washington,” said Atanda. “To hear him tell his story of how his career seemed over before it even started and the obstacles he went through to get where he is today was very inspirational.”

Not only did the scholars get a chance to engage with accounting professionals, they also each received a $500 scholarship to help with their educational expenses.

Thinking back on this experience, Atanda is grateful to Professor Michael Trendell for pushing her to apply and honored to have been selected to join the program out of thousands of applicants. “This accomplishment means a lot to me, I’m still over the moon and must pinch myself sometimes to make sure I wasn’t dreaming,” she said.

“I have to say that I’m proud of myself for never giving up no matter what life threw at me!” said Atanda.

Gregory shares these sentiments, feeling honored to be selected and now a proud alumnus of the program. “It means the world to me. I sincerely want to thank my professor, Michael Trendell, for encouraging me to apply for the program,” he said.