Senior business management major Chelsea Cox ’15 had déjà vu last fall in Financial Reporting 1. The material was intimately familiar, as Cox took the class as a junior, but she was in the classroom again—privy to the same material—as a mentor this time, not a student. As a Supplemental Instruction (SI) leader, Cox, 22, is now using her knowledge and ability to direct struggling students so they might better grasp the material.
Cox earns money as she guides, supports, and motivates students—and takes the fear out of the lesson—because her position was funded by a generous donation of $1,700 from the Holyoke accounting firm of Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. The firm’s gift was later matched with state funds, and this allowed Cox to continue as an SI leader in the current semester for the Financial Reporting 2 class.
“I know the material exceptionally well. I wanted to give back what I had learned,” says Cox, noting that the opportunity to serve as an SI leader twice a week outside the classroom helps her as much as it does the students she leads. “I am getting leadership experience, which will help me in my career.”
Unlike a traditional teacher-student role, Cox participates in activities with students and monitors them as they feed off each other and brainstorm answers. She also shares study tips, emphasizes the important pieces, and breaks down lectures into more manageable bites.
“They understand that the material is hard, and they struggle with it,” says Cox, who has a full course load in addition to serving as an SI. “But when you’re there to support and guide them, it really motivates them to study more and do well.”
Hillary Sackett, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics and business management, chose Cox for the SI position because “she is bright, motivated, open to feedback, and tries to improve on what she does.”
The internship gave Cox an introduction to Meyers Brothers Kalicka, and leaders there also chose her from a field of more than 100 students to work part-time at the firm through an internship that began last summer and continues this spring semester. In this position, Cox is paired with employees and handles tasks that a first-year entry-level accountant would take on, such as analyzing account balances and asking questions about clients’ businesses and processes.
John Veit, senior marketing associate and firm recruiter at Meyers, says she has “real depth and drive.” Howard Cheney, a partner in charge of the Audit and Accounting department, says Cox is getting an opportunity to apply her classroom learning in the real world.
Cox plans to earn a master’s in accounting at Westfield State after graduation while simultaneously working as an entry-level accountant.