Graduate Ambassador at Portland State University
Program: Master of Taxation
Graduation Year: 2019
I studied marine biology and entomology at UC Berkeley and briefly worked as a journalist after college before launching a career as a criminal investigator for many years. I've always volunteered for community groups, nonprofit fundraisers, schools, and now PSU. After a severe car accident (I was the victim), I had to quit work to fully recover and decided to study accounting and taxation, followed by passing the Oregon state tax exam to become a licensed tax preparer. Fortunately, PSU launched its Masters in Taxation program, and I'm part of the first group of students. Currently, I'm mentoring teens with the United Negro College Fund's Portfolio Project, and so far, my students have received scholarships to cover half to full tuition to colleges in Oregon, Midwest and back East. I'm also a parent to a teen, who plays various team sports and is studying Arabic in school. I've visited 45 states so far, including 3 trips to Alaska, which is breathtaking.
Accessible, inclusive, and engaging -- that's my trifecta description of PSU. The professors are sharp and insightful, and my cohorts are interesting with varied backgrounds. Most of the Masters in Taxation students are accountants or just graduated with an accounting degree. I wish I were on campus more often to try the various food carts and to attend campus events. The staff at the offices of scholarships, computer labs, library, and financial aid are quite friendly and helpful. A downtown campus is ideal, as I live by OHSU and can walk to PSU. This online graduate program is unique, and I'm happy to answer your queries about working, taking courses, applying for internships/jobs, along with juggling parenthood and a social life (less active during tax season).
After graduation, I plan on working either with an accounting firm as a licensed tax preparer or venture into government as a revenue auditor. Also, to embrace and better understand the array of changes from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Perhaps after more experience, I'll be involved with tax litigation and be part of a legal tax team to marry my investigation background and my degree. To continue with honing my skills, I'll continue with accounting courses, perhaps sitting for the CPA exams someday.
Do come on campus to visit and participate with a campus tour. The Business School and ambassadors welcome you and hope to answer any questions. Talk with a professor, academic advisor or admissions officer. Most professors mentor students, so that is key to your engagement and success.