An Elkins High School senior has a unique opportunity to learn by shadowing a local certified public accountant.
Through Diversified Cooperative Training at the Randolph Technical Center, Jennifer Daniels works with the city treasurer for Elkins.
Jennifer said she found out she wanted to be an accountant completely by mistake.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Jennifer Daniels, right, observes the day-to-day financial working of the city of Elkins with Treasurer Lisa Daniels-Smith. The senior at Elkins High School plans to attend Fairmont State University to major in accounting.
"I had room for a filler class, so I decided to take accounting from Christina Waybright," she said. "She was such a great instructor, and through that class I found out this is what I want to do."
City of Elkins Treasurer Lisa Daniels-Smith, who is Jennifer's aunt, said this is the first time she knows of that the city has used an on-the-job-training student from the Randolph Technical Center.
Working in the Elkins City Treasurer's Office offers Jennifer lots of opportunities.
"I get to see budget revisions, daily transfers and observe the budget process," she said. "This semester, I was able to see the city set the levy rates, which only happens once a year."
Daniels-Smith said the training instructor, John Daniels, also Jennifer's father, called to see if the city would be interested in taking on an intern, and it has been a great experience.
"We have the desire to help educate students and welcome the opportunity to provide them with hands-on experience," she said.
"Jennifer gets to see all of the financial statements and how cash coming in and going out affects the overall budget," Daniels-Smith continued. "As an instructor at Davis & Elkins College and Fairmont State, I know most college classes teach about accounting in for-profit businesses. Jennifer now has worked with a municipality, and we have a different set of rules as a nonprofit. This is a unique experience for Jennifer to have before starting college."
Jennifer said she used her on-the-job experience with the city of Elkins for her Future Business Leaders of America competition. She competed on the state level in electronic career portfolio, and will travel to Anaheim, Calif., to compete at the National FBLA Competition.
"For this contest, I included a job description and examples of work I had completed for the city and in class," Jennifer said. "The competition involves creating an electronic resume on steroids."
Jennifer said she was in the top three in the state competition.
"I was on stage with another member of my class and a guy," Jennifer said. "When they called the name of my classmate, I thought good - I can still go to the national competition when I come in second. To my surprise, they called his name, leaving me as the top winner in the state. I was thrilled. The work with the city of Elkins was the main part of my portfolio."
Jennifer said the competition at Nationals, set for June 22 to 25, will be tough.
"When we go through the first part, we set up Twitter accounts," Jennifer said. "They post the top 10 finalists that will compete, and then make awards to the top three."
FBLA advisor Denise Stalnaker said she is very proud of Jennifer.
"Jennifer has put a lot of time into putting her portfolio together into a professional presentation," Stalnaker said. "Her experience at the city, along with her hard work on her class work, weighed very heavy on her success."
Jennifer said she is very thankful for the experience of working for the city.
"Working here gives me the drive to do more," Jennifer said. "Following graduation, I plan to attend Fairmont State and major in accounting. I hope to be a CPA. Where that will take me, I have no idea, but (I) am looking forward to the challenge."