College of Business > News & Events > New DePaul Boot Camp Introduces Students of Color to Accounting Concepts and Careers
By Robin Florzak | Photos by Kathy Hillegonds /
July 26, 2022 /
Posted in: College and Schools, Faculty /
A group of incoming DePaul freshmen had different reasons for enrolling in a new accounting boot camp for students of color hosted by the
DePaul School of Accountancy & MIS (SOAMIS) this summer. But they all emerged from the program with one thing in common: more confidence about beginning their studies at DePaul this fall.
Imanii Hernandez enrolled in the July 11 boot camp to explore potential majors and career paths. “I’m undecided right now and I went to this workshop to see what direction I want to take.” Completing the program gave her a better understanding of what it would be like to become an accountant, she says. “I had the perception that people in accounting are behind computers all day, human calculators basically, but I realized that it’s way more social. It’s all about connections and interpreting numbers for clients. That was pretty enlightening.”
For Luis Rivera, who has already chosen to major in accountancy, the goal was to become better prepared for his introductory accounting courses. “I previously had taken an accounting course and I didn’t remember everything,” he says. “Now that my knowledge has been refreshed, I feel way more confident about entering class.”
Hernandez and Rivera were among 22 students who participated in the boot camp led by DePaul accountancy faculty members
Christine Gimbar, Deni Cikurel and Kirsten Fanning. The one-day program introduced students to careers in accounting and reviewed basic accounting concepts that will aid students enrolled in introductory accounting classes. Participants also met practitioners and DePaul accounting students of color, who discussed the paths that led them to the accounting profession.
Gimbar and her colleagues successfully applied for a grant from PwC, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms, to fund the boot camp with “the goal of enhancing diversity and inclusion in accounting,” she says.
“Many DePaul students enter the Driehaus College of Business lacking a familiarity with accounting and might be intimidated by the subject,” Gimbar says that she and her colleagues shared in their grant application. “Further, the required introductory accounting classes (ACC 101 and ACC 102) can be difficult and discouraging. This may be especially prevalent in students of color, who are less likely to have been offered accounting courses in high school. We would like to increase the number of students of color who select accounting as a major and retain them in our programs.”
Gimbar says the chance to talk to practitioners of color, including PwC partner Jamal Douglas, at the boot camp was particularly impactful for participants. “He encouraged them to take advantage of all that college has to offer, and to use the resources provided at DePaul.”
In addition to covering accounting concepts and career opportunities, the boot camp featured peer discussions, games and a campus tour that introduced the incoming students to each other and college life. For example, during a “common ground” break-out session, students were encouraged to chat about things they had in common, such as whether they were the first in their families to attend college and what types of summer jobs they held.
Miguel Diaz, who will major in finance, says he enjoyed the opportunity to “get to know more people, get to know the school a little bit better, and get a feel of how it will be to be in college.” He left the workshop “with a better understanding of what to expect as a college student and the atmosphere of what it’s like to be in a lecture. It was a different experience than being in high school.”
Likewise, Holly Elliott, who is considering a double major in sports business and accountancy, says she appreciated learning more about her future classmates as well as accounting. “I enjoyed meeting new people,” Elliott says. “I got a couple of people’s names and I hope to see them in class in the fall.”