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Senior Adam Guck:
Involvement on Campus and in the Community Rewarded with PCAOB Academic Scholarship

Adam Guck received a $10,000 Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Academic Scholarship.  

Adam Guck, a senior majoring in Accounting with a minor in Finance, has the unique distinction of being the first UMD student to receive a $10,000 Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Academic Scholarship.

Tracey Bolen, from the office of Student Advising at the Labovitz School of Business and Economics, submitted Guck’s name and qualifications. “Adam is one of our top accounting students, and he is also very involved in activities throughout campus and around the community,” Bolen said.

In addition to having been a member of the Accounting Club and working at PAVSA (Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault), Guck took part in VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, in which students provide free tax return preparation services to low and moderate-income residents in the Duluth-Superior area. “Adam is just an overall amazing student. We were so happy when he was awarded this very prestigious scholarship,” Bolen said.

Because Guck didn’t apply for the scholarship, it’s easy to understand his reaction when he received the letter from PCAOB announcing that he was a recipient. “I was in total disbelief and didn't know what to think. I read it three times. I had to call to make sure it was legitimate,” he said.

PCAOB is a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors and the public interest by promoting informative, accurate, and independent audit reports. PCAOB was formed following the infamous corporate meltdowns of Enron and WorldCom. The PCAOB scholarship was created from fines imposed upon those companies.

Valuable Experience
While some people may have been tempted to coast through their last year in school knowing that it was paid for, coasting isn’t in Guck’s nature. In addition to classes, he continued to work at PAVSA, where he’s been since October 2011. “I kept my job to help the organization. I’ve learned so much there,” he said.

Guck was hired at PAVSA as an accountant when their current accountant was retiring. He received a three-week crash course from his predecessor then began his duties. He’s found working at a non-profit organization to be extremely rewarding.  “Accountants are so important to a non-profit – where the money comes from, where it’s going. It really makes me feel good that I was able to help PAVSA,” he said.

Because of the PCAOB scholarship, Guck could afford to take a January term class taught by Professor and Head of the Communication Department Michael Sunnafrank in Hawaii that focuses on indigenous cultures. “I was able to meet a man who is an advocate for Hawaiian rights, [to learn] how he is advocating for ancient burial rights,” Guck said. The experience provided him with some insights. “It made me aware of how transferrable my non-profit skills really are. I’d like to sit on a board one day.”

Guck is now training in his replacement at PAVSA as he prepares to graduate from UMD. He’ll begin his career at Honeywell in the Twin Cities where he interned during the summer of 2012.

He was attracted to Honeywell as an employer because of the opportunities he sees there. “Honeywell offers a rotational program: a year and a half in accounting, a year and a half in finance, then operational support. I’ll be able to get a comprehensive view. Ultimately, I’d like to advance into management and run a business within Honeywell,” he said.

Advice to Undergrads
As his UMD career comes to a close, Guck offers up some suggestions for students. “Get involved,” he said. “There are so many things offered. You’ve got to go out and take advantage of them.”

During his UMD career, Guck was a student advisor and worked in the Tutoring Center. He encourages students to utilize GoldPASS, an online database that connect students and alumni with employers, volunteer organizations, and internships across the country. “If you want experience, contact a non-profit and volunteer. They’ll appreciate your help and you’ll learn a lot.”

UMD Those Who Can, Duluth

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, May 2013

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