News from the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy

An Accounting Future

The 2021 ASAP participants were (from left) Genea Washington (Terry, MS); Janai Ivy (Southaven, MS); Claudia Wilkinson (Gonzales, LA); Joshua Collum (Tupelo, MS); Maya Jones (Olive Branch, MS); Kaitlyn Moody (Olive Branch, MS); Addison Lawrence (Pope, MS); Kay Davidson (Gulfport, MS) and Sarah Kargauer (Bartlett, TN).

The Adkerson School of Accountancy’s ASAP Camp recently brought nine rising high school seniors to campus. ASAP, or Accelerating Students into the Accounting Profession, began several years ago to develop interest in accounting and provide insight into its potential career opportunities.

During the three-day camp, participants took part in a Shark Tank-style competition that began with accounting and research lessons by faculty members and included presentations and an awards ceremony. They learned about Mississippi State and college in general by touring campus, staying in a dorm and hearing advice about college study habits, admissions and scholarships. They heard from faculty about the career possibilities offered by an accounting degree and later from practitioners, when they were generously hosted for lunch and a firm tour by HORNE at its Ridgeland, MS, headquarters. Exposure to business skills came in the form of a networking session, lunch with ASAC faculty, an etiquette dinner and a discussion on making a first impression.

Alumnus Don Whitmire, who with wife Peggy recently endowed ASAP, emphasized the value of this type of program.

“When I was in high school, there was an elective bookkeeping class that covered the mechanics of double-entry bookkeeping and touched on the principles of accounting, which was a first exposure for me,” he shares. “I understand such courses have become much harder to find, especially in smaller school systems in the more rural parts of Mississippi, with the result being that high school students have little or no exposure to accounting careers. …The School of Accountancy faculty came up with the idea of offering a summer camp on the State campus that would introduce high school students to accounting, hopefully leading these students to consider accounting as a major at MSU and, ultimately, a career.”

ASAC Academic Coordinator Trina Pollan directed ASAP, and several current MSU accounting students served as counselors.

“The ASAP camp provides a fantastic experience for understanding the path into the field of accounting,” says Ryan Bergman, one of three 2021 counselors who had attended ASAP as a high school student. “Having once been a member of the camp, it really helped shape my point of view as to what my future would look like pursuing the major at Mississippi State. This time around, I did not expect to be as impressed as I found I was. For any young adult who is questioning what they want to do for the rest of their lives, ASAP camp speaks directly to them, showing exactly what their future could be.”