Mission of Thanks

Key players in Jennifer Lischak's summer accounting internship with Teal, Becker & Chiaramonte (TBC), left to right, Bob Lazar, director of business development at TBC, Bill Roller, School of Business director of development, Lischak, and Joel Davis, director of the Student Financial Center and Veteran Services. With Jennifer is daughter Eva, 7. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 8, 2016) — Jennifer Lischak is having a very rewarding summer, boosted by a trio of UAlbany alumni who champion military veterans and other non-traditional students.

Lischak, an accounting major, served more than nine years with the U.S. Marine Corps as a Spanish linguist supporting counter-narcotics efforts and an analyst working with counter-terrorism missions. She was deployed in both Ramadi and Fallujah in Iraq in 2004, and at Guantanamo Bay in 2007. She later worked for the Boeing Company as a government contractor in Washington, D.C., before moving with her husband and two children to this area in 2015.

She’s now serving a summer accounting internship with Teal, Becker & Chiaramonte (TBC), the area’s largest public accounting firm. Working with TBC accountants on client projects, she’s helped conduct audits, review financial statements and complete tax preparations. Along the way, she’s gained knowledge of multiple software applications pertinent to her field.

“Aside from the on-the-job training and experience, the people I am working with at TBC are great,” she said. “They treat all of the interns as a part of the team and it has been a great environment to work in. I would absolutely love to do another internship here over the summer or during tax season.”

ReserveAid winner Lischak

Jennifer Lischak at work in the TBC offices. (Photo courtesy of TBC) 

Financially, the experience might not have been possible without ReserveAid, a non-profit organization that since 2006 has helped pay household expenses (including rent or mortgage) in support of Reservists and National Guard members currently deployed in the Global War on Terror or recently returned from deployment. In Lischak’s case, ReserveAid is financing her paid internship.

Her association with ReserveAid began when the organization’s founder, Lucas Detor, executive managing director of CarVal Investors in Hopkins, Minn., a former Reservist and a 1994 UAlbany graduate in accounting, contacted the University with a mind toward expanding ReserveAid’s reach into college internships. This brought him into contact with Bill Roller ’80, ’82 MA, director of development in the School of Business, and Joel Davis, director of the Student Financial Center and Veterans Services.

Roller had become interested in ReserveAid and the service it provided to veterans trying to reacclimate to the job market. “Bill helped me to see the best way of handling how to provide students with the internships,” said Detor. “Through working with him and Joel Davis, a process was established to reach out to military people at UAlbany.”

ReserveAid provided the University at Albany Foundation with $25,000 to aid UAlbany’s reservists and guardsmen. The Office of Career and Professional Development began promoting ReserveAid to the campus’s more than 300 student military veterans, matching their majors with internship opportunities in the community. Once these were determined, Roller and others contacted business people who might be able to fill internships with ReserveAid candidates.

Knowing Lischak’s field was accounting, Roller immediately thought of Bob Lazar, TBC’s director of business development. Lazar received his MS at UAlbany in 1977, is chair of the School of Business Advisory Council, has taught classes for the School as an adjunct — and, to boot, is a former Marine.

“Moreover, Bob is a true believer in the non-traditional student, confirmed by the fact he created a scholarship at UAlbany for students who work full time and go to school part time,” said Roller. “Through him, TBC said they’d love to have Jennifer as an intern.”

Lazar said he believed Lischak’s background and abilities offered “a great opportunity for TBC to bring on an additional intern and for a local UAlbany veteran to gain meaningful work experience.”

Lischak expressed gratitude for the opportunity Lazar has provided her and also for the academic preparation she’s received at the University, where she began taking classes in Fall 2015, going full time this past spring.

“I feel I have a solid understanding of what I have learned so far, and that has been instrumental to a successful internship,” she said. “I have no doubt I will be prepared to start a successful career once I graduate.”

Detor called the progress made at TBC by Lischak, as the very first ReserveAid-supported intern from UAlbany, “just great news.” Lazar is equally pleased, adding, “I’m proud that TBC can support local veterans in this special way and hope more businesses can do the same.”

UAlbany is eager to assist. Career Services is now in the process of reaching out to each of the veterans on campus, trying to match them up with companies that would be great fits. “The first success was with Jennifer and TBC,” said Roller, “but there will be many more to come.”

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