Connections

Accounting Students Head to Alaska for Spring BreakAccounting Students Head to Alaska for Spring Break
Four School of Business students will spend their Spring Break in the cold and snow instead of sun and sand, providing free tax help.

From March 6-16, MBA students Svetlana Svetlichnaya and Brett Snyder, along with seniors Joseph Mooney and Lenny Brown, will be participating in the Volunteer Tax & Loan Program (VTLP), sponsored by the Alaska Business Development Center.  They will be accompanied by Accounting Lecturer, Mary Bouchard.

The program assists rural Alaskans who don’t otherwise have access to services due to low income, language barriers and geographic location to get help preparing their state and federal income tax returns and handling disputes with the IRS, while the students gain valuable experience.

Ithaca College is one of only six institutions to take part in the program; the others are the University of Alaska Anchorage, Montana State University, New York University and University of Montana, and University of Washington.

"I am extremely excited and grateful to have this opportunity to represent the Ithaca College School of Business and head to Alaska to assist the Alaska Business Development Center in offering tax services to rural Alaskans." said Joe Mooney.  "I am really looking forward to seeing Alaska for the first time, as well as gaining valuable experience in the preparation of Federal tax returns."

Mary Ellen Zuckerman, Dean, School of Business, said that “this is just another example of how business students go above and beyond traditional classroom settings and gain valuable real-world experience to help them succeed in their career path.”

The VTLP serves regions of Alaska — from the Aleutians to the North Slope to the Yukon Delta — where populations are typically less than 300 people per village, professional tax assistance is limited or not available at all and the only means of transportation into the community is via small aircraft.

The volunteers travel in groups of two to four students and one supervisor who is in charge of logistics, education and assisting with any complications in the field. The teams often work from 8:30 in the morning until after midnight, with residents sometimes waiting eight or nine hours in line to get their taxes done.


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