Ellen Dee ’22, Alexandria, Minn.
Major: Accounting

Please tell us about yourself.

I am currently a junior at Concordia, majoring in accounting with a concentration in public accounting. I’m from Alexandria, Minn., and I currently work as a student ambassador at the Office of Admission.

Why did you choose Concordia?

I decided to attend Concordia because it was the only college I could see myself at while visiting campus. I did tour other campuses during my junior and senior years of high school, but Concordia left a more positive impression. While walking around, I saw that students throughout campus seemed very engaged and the campus had a positive community atmosphere. My older brother also attended Concordia and enjoyed his time here, so I think that influenced my decision.

How did you decide on your major?

I began my first year of college very unsure about the specific major I wanted to pursue. I initially took a variety of classes and quickly realized that some were not for me. In the spring of my freshman year, I decided to enroll in an introductory accounting course. The material really clicked with me and I became interested in the topics discussed in class. My instructor for the course, Professor Lindemann, positively impacted my decision to continue pursuing accounting in the Offutt School of Business.

What has been your favorite course so far and why?

My favorite courses so far have been financial, managerial, and tax accounting. After completing the coursework, I felt confident I had gained a solid foundation in the various core accounting concepts. The accounting professors presented materials very effectively and expanded our knowledge through group projects, interactive activities, and discussion.

Please tell us about your Pivotal Experience in Applied Knowledge (PEAK) and how you learned about that opportunity.

My PEAK consisted of four nights volunteering with my classmates to help individuals with their tax returns through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Once we completed the returns, Professor Twedt reviewed them for accuracy and we were able to process the taxpayer's return. I initially learned about this PEAK through my Tax Accounting II course. Professor Twedt introduced the idea to the class, and I realized it would be an excellent opportunity to gain hands-on experience and help individuals in the community complete their returns.

What motivated you to participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program?

What motivated me most to participate in VITA was the experience I would gain using the tax software and working with taxpayers. Participating in this PEAK opportunity provided me with valuable insight into this segment of the accounting profession.

What are you most proud of from your experience in the VITA program?

Being able to say that I have filed tax returns confidently, helped solve taxpayer conflict, and learned valuable new information regarding tax preparation.

What challenges did you face during your PEAK?

One of the biggest challenges I faced during this experience was working with TaxSlayer software for the first time. While the class had access to various practice labs for the software, performing the tax preparation in person presented a more challenging situation.

How did that experience prepare you for your career goals?

This PEAK experience provided me with a valuable understanding of working with taxpayers and preparing tax returns. The opportunity to work with individuals in a real-world setting is always invaluable. This was especially true this year with all of the challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are your interests outside of academics?

I like spending time with family and friends. I especially enjoy summertime spent boating on the lakes and camping. Traveling and shopping are some of my other favorite activities.

What do you enjoy about living in the Fargo-Moorhead area?

I enjoy the variety of stores and restaurants that are in the Fargo-Moorhead area. It has a small town feel yet has many of the shopping, eating, and entertainment amenities enjoyed by larger metro areas.

What do you value most about your Cobber experience?

The guidance I’ve received from my professors and my relationships with classmates and faculty on campus.

What advice would you give to a student considering Concordia?

Students considering Concordia should be conscious of the credit load they take during their first semester. The college transition does take time, regardless of how prepared you think you are. It is better to set yourself up for success rather than feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Also, remember to save time for some fun with friends.