National Leadership Training
By Madison Lyda
On Feb. 27-28, two students from the Cameron University Department of Business in Accounting were two of only ten students nationwide selected to attend the annual National Leadership Training (NLT) in Washington DC sponsored by The Association of Government Accountants (AGA).
To be selected, students went through a rigorous application process that included a series of essays with the topics ranging from what it means to be a government leader, what kind of person is needed to fill these roles and why millennials aren’t looking to the government sector for job opportunities anymore.
Applicants must meet the GPA requirements, be ajuniors or seniors and have multiple letters of recommendation. Faculty advisor Professor Bernadette Lonzanida led the students through the application process and during the trip.
2019 NLT participant and senior Accounting major Savoy King said she has to thank Professor Lonzanida for driving all of the students in her department and campus to apply for the small and the big things in life because she believes cameron students are just as capable as larger schools.
“Mrs. Lonzanida is our biggest cheerleader for the department and our school about how anyone from Cameron can compete with any school and that we really do get a top notch education here, especially here in the accounting department,” she said. “Being able to be selected against some of the biggest schools like Auburn and OU and to be selected really shows you, we can do anything.”
The students’ travel and trip expenses was sponsored by the department of Business in response to the achievement.
NLT is an event that provides fulltime undergraduate students with an opportunity to be mentored by and engage with some of the nation’s top leaders in government financial management.
Students have the opportunity to work right along-side experts with real experience working in a government and business critical environment, network with a broad range of leaders in the nation who have devoted their lives to public service and advancing the government’s accountability and hear from fellow young professionals in their field who have chosen a career in public service.
The students connected and met with potential employers, both from the corporate and governmental sectors of their major.
2019 NLT participent and senior Accounting major Ann Patterson said the training she attended gave her meaningful connections she can use in her search for jobs.
“At first it’s just like ‘Yay I get to go,’ and then it’s ‘Oh, wow, I actually got picked and selected,’ but the impact wasn’t fully understood until you go there and you talk to all of these people and you realize that all of these people, you’re networking with, and then a leader of a major company says to you ‘Drop my name when you go to apply for a job,” she said. “That means a lot because networking in this field is so important and to have those recommendations is incredibly meaningful.”
Upon arriving for the training, each student is assigned a mentor who will teach the students the ropes to the job and help the student socialize and network with bigwigs in government positions.
For their mentors, Kings’ assigned mentor was Tammie Johnson from the department of Treasury in Washington and Pattersons’ assigned mentor was Gerry Boaz from the Tennessee State Auditor’s office.
Both Cameron representative students King and Patterson were able to connect and network with a fellow Cameron alumni, Rosario Torres, who graduated with a Masters in Business Administration in 2013 and now works for the U.S. House of Representatives as the Inspector General.
Torres talked one-on-one with King and Patterson after the training and took them on a private tour of the U.S. Capitol and the Library of Congress.
In addition, both Cameron students and their advisor accepted an invite to attend the Rotunda Red Carpet reception, a private event held for government officials and only fifty outside invites.
The reception was a formal social gathering where the students were able to hold conversations with even more prestigious officials to gain insight and advice for their future careers.
Professor Bernadette Lonzanida, the faculty advisor of Cameron University’s Accounting Club and advisor for the trip, said she felt it was important for the students to meet these prestigious officials to understand that they’re people too – and just like them.
“We usually invite those people as guest speakers, and in school, you may hear them from afar, but these two [King and Patterson] were rubbing elbows with them,” she said. “They got to see how down to earth they are, and how willing they are to meet with them and that even though they are CEOs and partners of companies, they want to know them.”
The National LEadership Training event is open to all students interested in working in public service or accounting. Students interested in participating in the NLT can contact Professor Bernadette Lonzanida at bernadel@cameron. edu or the Department of Businessat business@ cameron.edu for more information.