Student Spotlights

Sarah Doucette

Sarah Doucette (Class of 2014)

Fun Fact:
Sarah ran the Buffalo half marathon in May 2010, placing 808 out of 2516 runners. After college she plans on running the Disney marathon.

How did you choose Niagara University?

After looking at several options, I decided that NU was the best one. One thing that made a large impact on my decision was that I received the best financial aid package from Niagara. I was also able to be a walk-on for the Division 1 cross country team. I was captain of my cross country team in high school and it was important to me that I could continue with cross country.

How did you get involved with the study abroad trip to Rome, Italy?

It started out as an independent study with Dr. Sherri Brown, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies that focused on “The Social World of Paul”. The study abroad tour was meant to experience first-hand some of the aspects of this topic. The trip was organized through St. Bonaventure University but included four Niagara University students. We spent one week in Rome and got to see iconic places such as the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Vatican and Pompeii. It was really interesting to see the incredible mix of old buildings and modern day cities. I would definitely recommend a study abroad trip to everyone that has the chance; I wish I could have stayed longer.

Volunteer work is something that seems very important to students of Niagara. Can you explain how you became involved with the Buffalo Burrito Project?

The Buffalo Burrito project is something that was started about two years ago by Deborah Tyler, a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in North Tonawanda. The purpose of the project is to help homeless people and people in poverty in Buffalo. Every other Tuesday evening, year round, we make burritos and coffee and distribute them to people on the street and in shelters. There is a group of us ranging from three to ten people that participate including several of my family members.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is another activity you are involved with. Can you describe your experience with that?

The VITA program allows students to prepare and file federal and state tax returns free of charge for low-income tax payers in the community. I started participating in this program in high school and have continued working with it at NU. This year I will be reviewing returns and helping to head the program with Jim Ingham, Assistant Professor of Accounting.  I have found that participating in the program gave me a good background for some of my accounting classes and also is a good way to gain experience prior to doing an internship. Prof. Ingham advised, “Beta Alpha Psi and our Accounting Society play key roles in the VITA program, providing organization and leadership for the 70+ students participating in the service and has allowed the program to grow to one of the largest in the country.   I look forward to working with Sarah in her pivotal role of guiding the program to another successful year.”

The VITA program seems very valuable to Accounting majors. What other opportunities would you recommend that students get involved with?

I am currently president of Beta Alpha Psi, the international honor society for Accounting and Finance majors. I have been involved with BAP since my sophomore year and it is a great way to get involved as it provides opportunities to connect with NU alums and accounting professionals at technical events. For instance, I recently attended an Institute of Management Accountant (IMA) dinner meeting in October and the speaker, Marc Matla from Homeland Security, spoke about careers in fraud. He stressed the importance of having an accounting and fraud background and getting the opportunity to listen to someone who can provide insight into this career, is really helpful to me or anyone interested in a career in forensic accounting.

So what are your future plans?

My dream job would be as a forensic accountant with the FBI or CIA. I think by differentiating myself with a minor in fraud examination and economic crime in addition to a degree in Accounting, this will be very helpful and I am lucky that Niagara offers these options as many schools do not.