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Stewart chosen to be part of selective accounting internship program

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College’s Jeren Stewart will soon be expanding his already burgeoning network of professional contacts.

Only months removed from a Fulbright experience in Scotland, the junior from Peoria, Ill., will soon leave for Chicago to participate in the Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program.

Held Jan. 3-5, the all-expenses-paid program is made available for up to 25 African-American and other underrepresented minority college sophomores, juniors or seniors interested in accounting careers. The program is named after the first African-American woman who was a certified public accountant.

The program’s goal is to prepare students for the accounting profession through practical training, resources and mentors. At the end of the program, some of the top employers and accounting firms in the Chicago area interview the students for paid internships.

“The Mary T. Washington Wylie program will give me a chance to gain insight into the accounting world from highly accredited business professionals, as well as having a shot at an internship that could potentially help me start a career,” said Stewart, an accounting and business major who learned about the program through Monmouth accounting professor Judy Peterson. “Being a minority student, it’s great to have something like that to help us out.”

The Scotland connection

The last Monmouth student to be selected from Illinois college students to participate in the program was Airaseem Perdomo in 2017. Shortly after the program, she left for a semester abroad in Scotland.

Stewart completed his Scotland experience in August, attending the three-week Fulbright Scotland Summer Institute on Technology, Innovation and Creativity. Hosted by the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde, the academic and cultural program for U.S. college students is one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs in the world.

“The opportunity to form a network of new contacts was a big part of the trip,” he said. “Even having the other students who were there with me as contacts – it’s going to open up a lot of doors for me.”

Similarly, Stewart hopes to pick the brains of the accounting students he’ll meet in Chicago.

“I’m kind of new to an accounting background, so getting their insights, as well as talking to the mentors who will be there, is going to be really beneficial,” he said.

Today, Perdomo is an accountant/auditor for GW & Associates in Hillside, Ill., where she’s done a number of audits for school districts and villages. Her future plan is to sit for the CPA exam.

“The Wylie program is a great opportunity that helped me understand that pursuing the path to a CPA has great opportunities,” she said.
Building a career

Stewart is eager to apply their advice and insights into his journey, and he said the experience will also help him with his work in the College’s Wackerle Career and Leadership Center.

“Bringing some of that information back from some of the top employers will be beneficial to helping with all our students,” he said.

Stewart hopes to keep acquiring business savvy, with the goal of flipping houses and working in real estate. He said the Wylie program dovetails neatly with his other experiences.

“I think my future plans are falling into place pretty well,” he said. “Fulbright allowed me to witness some astounding interior design and architectural concepts, and also immersed me in an environment where things like innovation and the creative arts are embedded in their culture. ... Simply put, Scotland has provided me the visual, Chicago is offering me the practical and Monmouth presented me the opportunities. So my future plans are still possible, it’s just up to me to capitalize.”

Also vice president of the Associated Students of Monmouth College, a participant in a mentoring group for youth and a member of the Fighting Scots football team, Stewart is taking advantage of all that Monmouth has to offer, both on and off campus.
“Jeren is one of the best writers I have had in my accounting classes,” said Peterson. “This young man has so much talent – he even sings. I look forward to a very bright future for Jeren.”

“I’m just grateful for all the opportunities that God has given me, and the fruits I’ve been experiencing from following Jesus Christ,” said Stewart.