Nov 14

Class or an Investigation?

Hi Everyone!

The Forensic Accounting program has been living up to its reputation to say the least.  While the semester has been passing by extremely quickly, it is fascinating what we have done.  Whether its learning how to handle an investigation or hearing from an individual who had first-hand experiences with uncovering one of the largest frauds in recent history it has been great!

First off, let me describe the scene.  The students walk into class and see about ten IRS Criminal Investigators standing in the front of the room.  Mind you that we knew they were going to be there before hand so it was not a complete shock.  The IRS agents then walked us through a mock-investigation of someone committing a tax fraud.  This investigation started with the students questioning an informant, requesting information such as bank records and tax returns, and even digging through actual trash to find papers thrown away by the suspect that could be used as evidence!  With much help from the Agents, we were able to gather evidence on the suspect that could be used in court.  Also, after the investigation was over, the Agents stayed with us and answered any questions we had regarding IRS Criminal Investigation.  The questions spanned from dealing with the investigation to what a career with the IRS is like.

Walking into a room full of federal agents hasn’t been the only exciting part of the Forensic Accounting program.  In one of our classes we listened to an individual who had first-hand experiences with uncovering the Adelphia fraud.  Specifically the individual was hired by and worked directly for Tim Rigas who was the CFO of Adelphia Communications Corporation.  The speaker talked of how he was hired about six months prior to the fraud being First-hand Expeirence of A Frauddiscovered and then how he spent years working with auditors and investigators in discovering exactly what his former bosses were doing with investors’ funds.  The speaker stressed the importance of ethics in the accounting profession and supporting work with proper accounting standards.  Such practices helped to keep the speaker out of trouble as he was following proper laws and regulations.  Hearing form someone who had such great experience was an eye-opening experience.  The moral of the story was always support your work and be sure to document something if it seems incorrect.  Both of which helped to keep the speaker out of prison.  In other words, the investigators were able to see that he was following the rules and was not participating in the fraud because of his supporting work.

The past two weeks in the Forensic Accounting program have been packed to say the least!  The lessons and experiences the students have had are unique to the program and teach great lessons.  I am excited to see what is up next!

Nov 14

HarborCenter Opening Night

On October 31, At about 5:00, I stepped off of the elevator foot on the seventh floor of the HarborCenter, Buffalo’s new state of the art hockey facility, which now serves home to the Canisius College Golden Griffins Men’s Hockey Team. As I walked into the new facility, I was amazed at what I saw. I did not know where to start with my exploring, so I decided to take a lap around the main rink to check things out. I have been to many rinks in my lifetime, but this experience was different. Aside from NHL arenas, no other facility that I have been too was this state of the art. It is the little amenities that make the HarborCenter superior, and even the floor that you walk on going around the rink is soft and feels good on your feet. The lighting of the arena is incredible, and I can imagine as a player, it must feel like they are under the lights on Yankee Stadium for a night game.

By the time I arrived, the Harborcup, a tournament for teams with player 18 and under was wrapping up. I can’t imagine the feeling that these players had playing at this brand new facility for the first time, I was jealous. As the game got over, the ice crew began to prepare the ice for the main event- Canisius vs. Ohio State.
Fans began to pile into the arena early, looking to grab a good seat for the game. The student section filled up quickly, and it being Halloween, filled with many unique and festive costumes. The atmosphere during warm-ups and during the pregame ceremony was incredible, as thefans, families, and players were eager to take part in the inaugural game.

As far as the game is concerned, it could not have started out better for Canisius. The Griffs netted two goals in the first 1:49 seconds of the game. I would have to say that the electricity of the crowd and the atmosphere had a little something to do with the fast start. The game would end in a 3-3 tie, but it is a night that the players, coaches, fans, and families will never forget.

The opening of the HarborCenter represents a new sense of optimism in the hockey community in Buffalo. The plan is to attract the top players nationally and around the world to come to Buffalo and develop before they play at a higher level. With a facility like the HarborCenter, I see this coming a reality in the very near future

Nov 13

Off To NYC With Accounting Society

In the words of Marnie Michaels..

As the semester gets busier, you find more and more accounting students studying in the library.  It’s not all homework and tests for accounting students!  Last month, Canisius College’s Accounting Society ventured to New York City for a very exciting day trip!

Accounting Society is the undergraduate club on campus that offers professional and fun activities for the accounting undergraduates.  As a graduate accounting student, you are also welcome to attend the club events!  I am one of the MBAPA Representatives on the club’s executive board, so I get to help make these fun club activities possible!

About 20 students traveled to NYC with Professor Patricia Johnson, the club’s faculty advisor.  While it was mainly Seniors in the undergraduate program, there was a few Juniors and even some MSF and MBAPA students!

 

Accounting Students at AICPA

We flew in very early to the city on Friday morning, as we were expected at Ernst and Young for breakfast.  At Ernst and Young, we learned about careers at their company and met with recent Canisius College accounting alumni who work there.  Then, we navigated through the busy streets of NYC to the News Corp building to  learn about the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).  The AICPA is the governing body for private, non-profit, and government auditing and ethical standards, as well as being the developer of the CPA exam.  After AICPA, we ventured over to IFAC, or the International Federation of Accountants.  IFAC is the international standards board for assurance, audit, education, ethics, and public sector accounting.

MBAPAs at IFAC!

Ernst and Young at Night

After such a jam-packed morning and afternoon, we got to go explore the city.  My group visited Rockefeller Center and Central Park! For it being only my second time visiting the city, those places were a must-see!  Following our tourist time, we all met back up for some dinner at John’s Pizzeria.  Finally, it was jet-setting back home to Buffalo!

Rockefeller Center

Central Park

Such a whirl-wind of a trip!  As a graduate student, it was great to visit the organizations that make the accounting world tick.  I also loved getting a glimpse of a Big 4 Firm located in a metropolitan area, which has a completely different working environment from the firms in Buffalo.  I totally recommend, as a graduate student, to take advantage of professional and fun activities provided by Canisius College!

 

Completely off topic, but here is a video of what happens when Corgi puppies go to college!

:-)

Corgi Puppies College Takeover

 

Nov 12

Kairos Retreat!!

Hello Everybody,

It has been awhile since my last post and I deeply apologize. Grad School has been keeping me extremely busy and I absolutely love my grad program. I cannot wait to start my first position after I receive my master’s degree because this has been so rewarding for me so far. Anyway, over the weekend I attended the Kairos Retreat with campus ministry of Canisius College and this was the best experience of my life! It was a perfect opportunity to relax, reflect on your life, share stories with other people, and get a chance to relate as well. If any of you see signs for this retreat, I would suggest you to attend because it is a life-changing and transformative experience that you will never forget. I cannot reveal too much about Kairos because it is ONE BIG SECRET! Kairos gives you the chance to make relationships, life long friends, find out who you are, and what you are meant to do with your life!

The Kairos retreat is an experience like no other that happens over a weekend. The next  retreat will be in February and March of 2015. I highly encourage students to go because it is the time to reflect and share your thoughts with other people. The best part of the Kairos experience is the bonds and friendships you make in just a matter of 2 days and how supportive they will be to you in the future.  I promise you that this retreat will make you stronger as a person when it is over.

 

Nov 11

Wait, I didn’t learn this in graduate school…

Hi all,

BOY, has it been a LONG, yet exciting week! As I have mentioned previously, in addition to my school counseling internship, I am a substitute teacher. I am constantly dealing with the disrespect of students in the classroom. I handle situations accordingly and because of my experiences in the classroom, I am able to confidently deal with students. HOWEVER, this week both in teaching and counseling, I was given two situations that I managed, but was challenged by.

On Wednesday, I was in a session with a student, my supervisor, and a classroom teacher. The student became angry and was swearing, blaming all staff in the session for an academic issue she was having. She was continuously looking at ME and raising her voice at ME. I finally had to explain to her that she was acting inappropriately to myself, the teacher, and my supervisor. I was very direct with her in a way that shocked every one in the room. I explained to her that I was not going to tolerate her talking to me the way she was and that she was blaming others for her own issues and she was not receptive of the support she was being provided. As uneasy as I was with this session, I was told that I had done a great job handling the unexpected situation. After the session, I had a hard time calming down. I had never been put in a situation like that as counselor. As a counselor, we are to be nurturing and therapeutic to students. But I knew that being directive to this student was appropriate and necessary. I DIDN’T LEARN THIS IN GRADUATE SCHOOL! I am however glad that I learned it in internship!

On Thursday, I worked in a 3rd grade special education classroom. SHOULD have been a piece of cake. But was NOT. I was asked to “take a walk” with an angry student. Alright. As I walk into the hall with this boy, he begins to yell, swear, and make mean comments to a passing teacher. He then runs into the main office and begins to throw objects on the floor, rip papers, and hit computers. This behavior continued throughout the day. As a substitute teacher, only having worked with this student briefly once before. I had NO idea what to do. I instantly referred back to my experience working with children with disabilities but without knowing this child, I really couldn’t do anything except try to maintain safety for those around him and seek assistance from those around me. While this situation was not ideal, a great deal of collaboration and teamwork made this manageable for everyone involved.

I was CHALLENGED this week, but I grew professionally. In the classroom or as a school counselor, I am going to be given challenging students in various situations and sometimes being directive is okay.

Many lessons were learned this week. HOWEVER. It’s Friday. Time to “relax” and write research papers!

Be well, Griffs!

Nov 06

Halloween!

Hello Again,

In costume for work- I'm Minnie Mouse!

Last week was Halloween, and it is so fun getting to work with children around holidays!  I work as a nutritionist in the city of Buffalo.  We, of course, like to make work fun, so we dressed up at the office, and so did a lot of the kiddos that came in.  Of course, it is a nutrition office so we handed out stickers and coloring books instead of candy, but all of the little frozen princesses, and incredible hulks loved it!  It makes work so rewarding to see these little things bring happiness to children’s faces.

Now, in Buffalo there was TONS of things to choose from when deciding what to do on Halloween weekend.  People did not let the chilly weather keep them from getting into costume and having fun!  Some friends and I chose to go to the Halloween party at The Connecticut Street Armory.  It is so cool the things you find in your backyard that you had no idea were there!  The Armory is a huge castle like building that was built in the late 1800′s for the 74th Regiment of the New York National Guard.  We were there to dance, check out everyone’s costumes, and have some Halloween treats, but seeing this building was very cool!  I definitely took a good look around, and thought about all of the history that is in that building.

Unfortunately, something I did not get to do on Halloween was eat ANY candy. Not one piece.  I got my wisdom teeth out a few days before Halloween (worst idea EVER), so candy was off limits.  My classes are in full swing right now though, so I got a lot of much needed work done while I was resting up (and not eating candy).

Happy Fall!

Nov 05

Helping

Hi all,
Welcome to part 3 of self harm! I am reading a book for my Self Destructive Behaviors class called “Comes the Darkness Come the Light: A memoir of cutting, healing, and hope” and I am also using a book called “Hope and Healing for Kids Who Cut” to further my knowledge of how to HELP those who cut and self harm in my work as a practicing school counselor.

In these books, I am finding that those who self harm have:

1) Self harmed over a long period time.
-In the memoir I am reading, the woman has what many would consider a great life. She has a husband, children, multiple degrees and is a teacher. BUT as a child she was told not to deal with her emotions. As a result, she started self injuring when she was in 5th grade. She started by hitting herself in the head with a hair brush until she had a headache. That led to hitting her against a wall until she would pass out. Over time, as an adult she was cutting herself immensely. I write this not to give you a summary of the book, but to make more self harm options KNOWN.

2) Self harm along with another mental health issue either to cope or to mask other struggles.
-The woman in the memoir also struggled with an eating disorder caused by her belief that physically she was not good enough. Depression was also present, as well as childhood physical and emotional abuse.

Counselors need to keep these concepts in mind:

Humility- Ask for help! Know your own limitations and know that helping self harming clients will not provide instant gratification.

Authenticity- Be genuine with clients who self harm. Clients (especially young students) are looking for someone to talk to about their self harm. Be honest and show them that you can be trusted as a helping person for them.

Acceptance- Accept the client for what they are. Clients feel that their behavior is socially unacceptable and that others will not accept them because of their behavior.

Gentleness- Tough words and actions can damage a client worse than their physical wounds. Be mindful of what you say to help them.

Oct 29

Getting Started with Forensic Accounting

Hi Everyone!

My name is Jon Corona and I am currently a student in the Forensic Accounting program here at Canisius College.  To avoid repeating information, I will refrain from writing an “about me” section in this post.  Although for those readers who are itching to know more about the author, be sure to check out the about the author section!

This is my first semester as Forensic Accounting student as well as my first semester as being a blogger (so please bear with me!).  This blog will be about my experiences throughout the year as a student in the program and I hope that those who read the posts will learn all that this unique and exciting program has to offer.

To get things started, I figure it is fitting to describe how I got started in the program.  The past four years I have spent here at Canisius as an undergraduate student at Canisius in the Accounting program seeking to fulfill the requirements for the CPA exam and find a career in public accounting.  Canisius’ great success with the CPA exam was one of the reasons that I choose the school.  In fact, last year (2013) graduates taking the exam ranked first in New York State in pass rates!

Learning how to Discover Frauds

What originally grabbed my attention in accounting is the idea of preventing and detecting white-collar crimes.  Fortunately, what I learn in my forensic accounting program is exactly that; the knowledge needed to combat such crimes.  Not only am I learning this specific and in demand skill set, I am also fulfilling CPA exam requirements.  Specifically, the CPA exam has an educational requirement which includes at least 150 credit hours of classes, among other requirements.  As a result, many students looking to eventually earn their CPA license will be enrolled in a five year program at their respective school.  In other words, the classes I am taking as part of the Forensic program are giving me a unique skill set while allowing me to fulfill my educational requirement.  Talk about a “win – win” situation!

Looking forward, my future posts will focus on the many highlights of the program as I attempt to summarize all of the great experiences of a student in Canisius’ Forensic Accounting program.  Feel free to ask any questions you may have!

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Oct 28

GET READY FOR THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!

 

 

“Ebola has struck again!”

In other words, time for Humans Vs. Zombies!

 

Graduate school is not just about classes and studying.  There is still time for fun!  Next week, Canisius will be hosting their FIRST EVER game of Humans Vs. Zombies (Or Griffs Vs. Zombies, since we are the Golden Griffins!)  sponsored by Student Programming Board!

It will be a week-long event taking place on campus, with missions being held at various times each day.  The object of the game is to be the last human to survive the zombie invasion and make it to the extraction point, like many of those zombie movies and video games.  For the Canisius game, we will be playing in the main campus area, including parts of the tunnels and residence halls.  The out of bounds will be in areas where administration is working and across street towards Lyons hall (we don’t want players getting hurt by cars or tackling non-playing faculty).  The humans are trying to not get tagged by the zombies, and can “freeze” the zombies by throwing a sock or stress ball at them.  No Nerf guns or swords are allowed in the Canisius version as to promote campus safety.  If you’re currently a Canisius student, I highly suggest you to sign up on the website!

Griffs Vs Zombies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weapons (Nerf Guns) Drop!

 

I’m going to be helping as one of the game’s moderators this semester.  So it will be lots of fun!  Last year, I started the Humans Vs. Zombies game at D’Youville College, where I did my post-baccalaureate studies in biology.  I founded the Math and Natural Sciences Club on their campus, and the HVZ game was sponsored by the club and the Math and Natural Sciences Department.  I was invited back to help with their game that my club’s predecessors held last night for the D’Youville students.

 

 

Human Tackled By Zombies!!

Humans Teaming Up!

Running From Zombie

Frozen Zombie

Ebola attacks again!

D'Youville HvZ Players

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The D’Youville game was a bit different because they still have not gained permission to have it on campus.  The game was held at their new soccer field near their campus and had over 60 students play!  The style of the game was more like a version of the childhood game called Manhunt, with the last survivor winning the game.  The humans wore bright orange streamers on their arms that had to be pulled off as a “zombie bite”.  The games started with a “patient zero” original zombie and the theme was an Ebola outbreak that has hit the D’Youville students.  They could defend themselves from the zombies by hitting them with Nerf gun bullets (Nerf guns supplied by the club).  This game was great fun for all of the science majors because it modeled the spread of a communicable disease and how an epidemic would spread from the first reported outbreak.  Of course, in real life you wouldn’t want to shoot someone affected by Ebola because coming in contact with their blood could infect you.

Human Vs. Zombies has been gaining popularity throughout the country as a game hosted on many college campuses with each having a unique version to the game.  Even as a graduate student, it is fun to be able to play games like this on campus and I highly recommend it! Especially if you’re an avid Zombie movie and The Walking Dead fan!

PS: Here’s a funny zombie video!

Key and Peele: Bad Zombie Actors

 

Oct 28

“The Good”

Hi all,
Welcome to the second part of what I’m going to call my “self harm series!” I am doing this in order to increase my own knowledge about self harm and to create awareness.

When I was in 8th grade, I was introduced to this concept of “cutting.” There was a popular young adult book out at the time called “Cut” which I read and enjoyed. But since then, I knew the issue of cutting and self harm existed, but I was very naive to many things. I think up until this semester, I never understood WHY people self-harmed. I had never seen it in the many students I’ve worked with until now. NOW I see it as a whole other piece to mental health.

I know I mentioned this last week, but I just wanted to reiterate this again. Young men self harm too! In my recent work at my internship, I am seeing this daily. We just assume that girls are the only ones. But this is not the case.

To people who self harm, there is “good” in their choice to self harm.

1) They are able to express their feelings and emotional pain that they are unable to express with words.
2) It is a way for them to have control over their body because they feel that they cannot control anything else.
3) Self harm is a way for them to feel something. Instead of feeling nothing.
4) They receive a sense of relief and they feel less anxious.

While to people who self harm, these are “benefits,” counselors, caring friends and family want those who self harm to express their emotions and cope in a more healthy, less harmful way. Encouraging people to go to a trusted friend to “talk” and express their feelings is a great first step. Journaling, exercise, meditation, spending time with family and friends, and going outside are all ways to encourage those who self harm to express their feelings healthily.

On the flip side…

Relief from self harm is short lived and feelings of shame and guilt are possible. People struggle with keeping their self harm a secret and often feel isolated and lonely. Self harm (cutting, burning) can be severely damaging and life threatening to the body. Those who cut could hit a nerve and cause serious damage. Suicide, depression, and substance use could follow behaviors of self harm. Self harm can be ADDICTING. People enjoy the feeling of release that they get. Just like many enjoy the release of exercise. It’s the SAME for those who self harm.

While this topic is everything but happy and uplifting, I leave you with this. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Seek help from a loved one. Help those in need. Be thankful.

Go Griffs!

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