Olivia Audia admits that her career plans are "up in the air right now."
Like most May accounting graduates, she's interested in starting a professional position. But she is moving to Portland, Ore., soon, and this summer has been an in-between time for her—perfect for earning a graduate certificate in WVU's Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation program.
"My preference would be to start an audit training program at a medium- to large-size accounting firm, but because I am moving across the country to Portland, my ideal first job will be put on hold," she said, "but I sincerely plan on looking for a career in forensic accounting. It is a career I aspire to after this program."
Audia, who came to WVU from Millbrook, N.Y., said the FAFI program has been a good choice for her in three ways. It has been a productive use of her time before the move to the West Coast, it will provide her with the required 150 hours of college credits to sit for her CPA exam, and it opens up a new horizon of career possibilities.
"As my college career was winding down, I was unsure of my plans, so I needed to create more options for myself," she recalled. "I was only 12 credits away from the CPA credit-hour requirement, and I had no idea what I had hoped for my future in the accounting field. I enrolled in the FAFI program because I knew it would show me a different side to the career of an accountant, and I would be able to fulfill my CPA requirements without another year of higher education."
Audia was a clerical assistant at an accounting firm in Morgantown and last summer was an intern for a securities firm in New York City. She was chairperson of her sorority's community service committee, a member of the WVU Student Government Association and also Greek Woman of the Month in February 2010. She participated in Adventure West Virginia in 2007, picked up a lot of interest in rock climbing, skiing, hiking and white water rafting and was a leader in 2009. These are all activities she plans to pursue in the Portland area.
"The FAFI program has been everything I had hoped it would be and more," she said. "It has been the most fun six weeks of accounting classes I have ever experienced. Before I enrolled in this program, I was unclear of what direction I would take, if any, in the accounting field. Through the guidance of my professors and members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, I have been able to develop more specific goals for my future as an accountant and a fraud investigator. I have really enjoyed this program and I am excited to pursue career options as a forensics accountant."
Audia's high school was small, only 70 students graduated in her class, and she decided to attend WVU because she has relatives in the state. Her grandfather had settled here, coming from Italy to work in the coal industry near Clarksburg during the 1920s.
"I have family down here that I would have never known existed had I not come to WVU for four years," she said. Her grandfather left for New York later and established an Audia line there. "I am still surprised by the number of Audias in the Morgantown area alone. I actually started school at WVU with my fifth cousin, who lived down the hall from me in Lincoln Hall. When we graduated, our party was like a big family reunion! Family that we never would have known of before four years ago!
Audia said she "had a perfect college experience at WVU," and is optimistic about a career on the West Coast—one she has been prepared for by faculty at the College of Business and Economics.