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Summer High School Program Leads Edic to Accounting Career Path

Student in First Discover Accounting Program Set to Graduate with Her MPA
Summer High School Program Leads Edic to Accounting Career Path
Harley Edic first explored careers in accounting and business at a free high school program called Discover Accounting offered at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln each summer. Now a Master of Professional Accountancy student, she plans to graduate in May prepared to sit for the CPA exam and confident about her chosen career path.

A Master of Professional Accountancy student, Harley Edic first explored careers in accounting during the inaugural Discover Accounting high school summer program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The free program enabled her to see a future in the field through Nebraska's top-ranked accounting program and jumpstarted her interest in working at a Big Four firm.

Discover Accounting Group Photo
Harley Edic (fourth from left) returned to Discover Accounting to serve as a mentor for high school juniors and seniors exploring career pathways in accounting and business.

"I heard about Discover Accounting from Lori Anderson-Stowe, my high school accounting teacher, who shared it with the class and encouraged everyone to attend as it was a really good opportunity. I wanted to learn more about the accounting profession and the opportunities at Nebraska, while getting to explore campus," said Edic, who graduated from Lincoln East High School in Lincoln, Nebraska.

As part of Discover Accounting, she and her peers compared day-to-day realities of auditors and public accountants and met professionals at accounting firms to discuss careers and tour. She also heard from current students who completed various internship and work experiences.

"Just getting to sit and talk to college students in an informal environment at Discover Accounting was extremely helpful and insightful. I returned as a mentor because I wanted to provide the attendees with the same experience," she said.

Edic credits the connections she made during the two-and-a-half days of the summer program as a special benefit. Jill Trucke, associate professor of practice in accountancy, contacted Edic when she started as an accounting major at Nebraska.

"Meeting different professors and professionals at various firms is an extremely valuable experience and sets students up to be successful in college before they even start," she said. "Professor Trucke reached out to me in my first semester to say hello and asked how I was adjusting to college. I knew if I had questions about anything with classes or internships, I knew I had someone I could ask for advice."

Trucke, who coordinates the Discover Accounting program each year, said it has been a "thrill" to see Edic thrive at the College of Business. Her academic success allowed her to serve as a tutor for accounting classes and a research assistant for Biyu Wu, associate professor of accountancy.

By getting involved with student organizations like Beta Alpha Psi and Delta Sigma Pi and participating in case competitions like the Deloitte Audit Innovation Campus Challenge, she was selected by the Nebraska Business Student Advisory Board as the Nebraska Business Student of the Month in March 2021.

"Harley became our first Nebraska graduate who attended the very first Discover Accounting as a rising high school senior. It gave her an overview of what's possible studying accounting at Nebraska, and she took advantage of so many of these opportunities," said Trucke. "She not only achieved the university's highest academic recognition of graduating as a Chancellor's Scholar for achieving a 4.0 GPA as an undergraduate, she also consistently strived to help lift others up by serving as a tutor and now as a teaching assistant in the MPA program."

Edic presenting in front of a class.
Now completing her Master of Professional Accountancy degree, Harley Edic serves as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate accounting class. Her past experience as a tutor and research assistant enable her to excel in the role.

At Discover Accounting, Edic first heard about Nebraska's split semester internship program, which allows students to complete a busy audit or tax season internship and stay enrolled as a full-time student. The distinctive program allowed her to complete three internships as an undergraduate student without delaying her graduation in 2022.

"Because I knew about this program when I started college at Nebraska, I could plan out my classes strategically. This allowed me to complete a busy season internship at Deloitte and study abroad in Spain for a semester during my senior year."

Edic benefited from the professional development the School of Accountancy provided starting her first year of college as firms select interns and hire for jobs early. She also updated her resume and LinkedIn profile and sharpened her skills with a practice interview through the college's Professional Enhancement Program.

"I felt prepared when it came time to start looking for internships, and I knew I needed to apply early since firms hire interns years in advance. One of the internships led to me accepting a full-time job with a firm in Minneapolis after I finish the MPA program," she said. "My accounting professors did a great job preparing me to succeed at those internships. Now that I am preparing to take the CPA exam, I realize what a solid knowledge base I have and how well my professors taught the material."

Edic plans to graduate with her Master of Professional Accountancy degree this May before starting to work as a financial services assurance associate at EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young.

One of three free summer high school programs offered by the College of Business, Discover Accounting will be hosted May 31-June 2. Students need to apply by Saturday, April 8.

Teachers, counselors and alumni are also encouraged to nominate one or more students who would benefit from attending Discover Accounting by Friday, March 31.

Published: February 6, 2023