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Designed for Action: Accounting Classes Create a Foundation for Internship

May 16, 2023
Photo of Shae Melendez by the fountain.

Written by: Emma Simpson '23

At York College, students aren’t just reading textbooks and listening to lectures. They’re working on community projects, solving real-world problems, and using their education to effect change. In Designed for Action, we meet the students who are making an impact outside of the classroom.

Shae Melendez, an Accounting major who graduated in May 2023, completed an internship with RKL LLP, the largest accounting and consulting firm in South Central Pennsylvania. As a tax prep intern, he worked on tax returns for several different businesses as well as personal returns.

Although Shae was an intern, he completed work like every other accountant. He says, “Basically, I got the raw information from the client, and I filled out the tax return from start to finish using several software programs. Then I sent it off to a staff member or senior accountant for detailed review.” He continues, “This system is for accountability, as RKL takes great pride in their services, so each return gets checked several times by my coworkers to ensure that everything is correct for clients.”

Shae enjoyed this experience. “At orientation, I was excited to put the lessons that I had learned in class into hands-on work.” Every job has its challenges, and internships are no exception. Shae says, “I thought I would breeze right through it. I was, instead, met with a huge learning curve on my first day. But, as time went on and I worked through more and more returns, I felt myself improving, and this learning curve that once felt insurmountable quickly became the most enjoyable part of my experience.”

Classes at York College provide students with opportunities to practice the skills they will need in their careers. Shae says one class in particular that assisted him with his internship was Taxonomy with Assistant Professor Richard Butler. This class focused mainly on personal federal taxes. However, he says, “The elements of income and expenses and the basics feel the same, so it was helpful to have had exposure to it.”

Shae also took several classes focused on computer science, which helped him develop the patience to grind through a difficult problem. His experience at YCP allowed him to find a “sweet spot in between working hard to find a solution by myself and asking for help when I needed it” and gave him the needed experience to pass the CPA exam.

RLL offered Shae a full-time position, and he will start as an audit associate in September.