DSU: You’re at an internship with Ernst & Young now, preparing for a full-time position with Vanguard. How’d you get into the field?
ERIKA: One thing that definitely helped was the size of the accounting program at DSU. Our graduating accounting class was only about 15 students, so we were a little bit more close-knit. Since we were all from different areas, we had a wide variety of networks and contacts to share. Additionally, we were all also members of the Accounting and Finance Club. Every year the club attended the National Association of Black Accountants’ Eastern Region Student Conference. We would spend time prepping our resumes, send them in and then Fortune 500 companies and the Big Four accounting firms would sign up to interview us. It was an incredible opportunity, and that’s how I received my position at Vanguard.
DSU: How did your time in the College of Business prepare you for your position?
ERIKA: Well, in addition to the opportunities I had through the Accounting and Finance Club, I got a lot out of my classes. There are state-of-the-art new facilities for the College of Business, including a couple of Bloomberg Terminals that kept us involved and interested in the stock market. Again, the small class size was great in that it helped me build a personal relationship with my professors and classmates alike. My ability to interact with people from all walks of life is one of the great things I took away from Del State, and one of my biggest assets on the job.
DSU: What else were you involved in on campus?
ERIKA: I was Miss Delaware State University my senior year, which got me really involved in the Student Government Association. We were the voice of the students and worked to improve life on campus. It was a big responsibility, but a great experience! I was also a resident assistant my sophomore and junior years and a D’Elegance dancer with the Approaching Storm Marching Band throughout school.
DSU: What was your time in the band like?
ERIKA: The band is awesome. When you hear the drum line, you say, okay I’m about to dance. They really add so much power and life to the event. Whatever event they’re at, it’s an amazing turnout. Being in a band I gained a lot of discipline; it was a lot of hard work and it really brings out your true character -- especially regarding commitment. I learned to be accountable to people other than myself. Everyone in the band is a family, and even when you leave, you’re still considered band family. It’s really a great experience learning and getting to know other people. And then even for students who haven’t played an instrument before, there’s still room for them. They can try out and, if they’re able to catch on, the section leaders really take them under their wing and make sure everyone has a great experience.