Douglas Burnett remembers seeing a poster hanging outside his high school’s guidance office highlighting the Accounting Careers Awareness and Preparation (ACAP) program. Then a senior, Burnett was equal parts interested and curious about the venerable program.
What Burnett got from the ACAP-Ohio experience was a 360-degree view of accounting and business, as well as valuable personal, professional and career development skills. He was one of 41 high school students or recent graduates from across the state to participate in the 2019 ACAP-Ohio program at Fisher.
Highlights of the week-long program included workshops on public speaking, interviewing, networking, ethics, accounting and a college fair, among others.
But for Burnett, who is headed to Morehouse College in the fall, seeing the support of minority business education from the companies and organizations associated with ACAP-Ohio was powerful.
“To have accounting firms and companies accept us and embrace us was great to see, because they don’t have to take time of their days to do anything for us,” he said. “It was impactful that they were willing to show us their worlds and be kind and gracious to us. I really felt appreciated and recognized.”
“This is an experience I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else.”
Mariyah Moore quickly learned that ACAP-Ohio was more than just a peek into the field of accounting. The variety of events, coupled with the opportunity to meet, work with and become friends with other ACAP-Ohio students was valuable.
“I’ve learned more than accounting. I’ve learned etiquette, communication and interviewing skills, different people and different cultures,” said Moore. “I like how we’re all from different backgrounds and we’re able to work in groups on projects and learning sessions.”
“This is a great opportunity to get serious about your future self.”
For 22 of the past 24 years, ACAP-Ohio has been a signature program at Fisher, providing underrepresented students from across the state with an opportunity to learn about careers in business. ACAP-Ohio is presented by the Ohio Society of CPAs, the Ohio CPA Foundation, the Columbus Professional Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and hosted by Fisher College of Business and its Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services and Corporate and Community Outreach (ODISSCCO).
“Our ACAP-Ohio program is recognized by NABA as one of premier programs in the country,” said David Harrison, senior director of ODISSCCO.
While at the recent NABA National Conference held in Las Vegas, Harrison shared highlights of the ACAP program, its solid framework and structure, and several strategies used in sustaining sponsorship
“Fisher was commended for its steadfast commitment to NABA and the ACAP-Ohio program over the years,” Harrison said.
This year’s event culminated with a closing ceremony where 11 students received scholarships for use at the college or university they choose. Kennedy Harper and Marcus Mendez-Gibson each received $500 from Fisher. Both will attend Ohio State next year.
For Moore, who earned a scholarship from Plante Moran and has narrowed her college choices to Ohio State, Ohio University and Cleveland State, ACAP-Ohio’s supportive environment helped clarify her focus on a future career in accounting.
“Before coming here, I wasn’t sure what I was going to major in, but now, I want to study accounting. I needed that help and that push from ACAP,” she said. “Everyone in the program made us feel like we are important. You don’t always feel that way as a high school student.”