We had the opportunity to talk with scholarship recipient and Alaska resident Luke Fulp about his experiences as he completes the Certificate Program in Accounting. We hope you gain some inspiration in Luke's online educational journey.
How did you hear about our accounting certificate?
I discovered the accounting certificate program more than a decade ago when I was working at UC Berkeley. When I decided to further my education in accounting, UC Berkeley Extension was the first place I looked.
Can you give us a bit of a career arc?
My career track has been centered on government finance and, more specifically, supporting Alaska’s public schools. I am a certified school business official, responsible for financial and other non-academic operations in Alaska’s second-largest school district.
In addition to my career in Alaska, I spent two years working in the business office for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at UC Berkeley. (Go Bears!)
I believe the accounting profession brings with it a responsibility to protect the public’s interests. Timely and accurate financial reporting supports business activities, economic growth and essential services in our communities and schools. In my current capacity as a school business official, I am grateful for the opportunity to support a positive learning environment for students while inspiring public confidence in our financial operations.
You've already been invested in a finance and business career. What prompted you to sign up for the accounting certificate?
The CPA credential is widely recognized in my field, so now that I’ve completed the program, I plan to sit for the exam.
In addition to advancing career opportunities with this credential, I hope to use my skills to serve others through volunteer activities in my church and community. This may be in the form of tax preparation services or supporting nonprofits with financial reporting requirements.
What effect will this scholarship have on you and your career?
This scholarship will be used to help offset the costs of my eighth and final course in the certificate.
What was your overall experience like in the program?
I enjoyed the program and the flexibility it allowed me as I continued working full time. UC Berkeley Extension’s online learning-management system, Canvas, was ideal for planning, organizing and completing coursework.
How were your interactions with other online students?
Participating in an online forum requires students to take more time formulating responses, defending positions and expressing ideas, which results in higher-quality discussions and more thoughtful debate.
Beyond discussion assignments, I’ve had fellow students connect with me on LinkedIn. It was also not uncommon to see a few familiar faces (or student profile pictures) at the start of each course as I worked my way through the program.
Did you have a favorite instructor?
Dr. Martha Doran was my favorite instructor. She was extremely organized and responsive, provided constructive feedback on assignments and maintained a presence in the class by sending periodic emails or posting announcements.
In one of her last emails to me, she said, “Please keep me posted on your future adventures in accounting. It is a great field and you have lots to offer!” Her comment helped me to stay motivated and complete the remaining courses.
As it turns out, accounting is a great fit for online learning.
Can you compare your online education with more traditional forms of education?
Initially, I was a little apprehensive about how accounting content could be successfully delivered online. However, I quickly found that the publishing companies had made major advancements in their supplementary software packages.
The assignments and quizzes provide immediate scoring, which supported an engaging and rigorous learning environment. Students were also required to pass a proctored final exam, which ensured the university’s academic standards were being met. As it turns out, accounting is a great fit for online learning.
Do you have any techniques to share on time management?
I have a family and I work full time, so my wife supported me throughout the program, and finishing became a shared goal. I could not have done it without her.
In terms of time management, I would encourage students to use the calendar function in Canvas and stick to any pre-set deadlines. To find success in the program, it is important to set aside enough time each week to complete the assigned reading, homework and quizzes. It is not easy—you just have to make it a priority.
Is there something that you'd like to share with anyone who is thinking of starting the program?
When it comes to completing the program, it can feel overwhelming at times. To stay motivated, develop smaller goals so you can monitor your progress and celebrate milestones along the way.