Students Help Community While Learning Tricks of the Trade

Photo of SUNY Plattsburgh student Mat MaloneySUNY Plattsburgh senior John Roslak may be one of the few people to have ever called doing taxes fun.

"I had so much fun because every tax return I prepared was so different," said Roslak of his time with the AARP Tax-Aide Internship program. "I was able to learn everything so quickly."

Roslak, Mat Maloney (pictured left) and the other student interns have been introduced to the program by Marcia LaPierre, a volunteer, who visits Income Tax I classes to talk about the opportunity.

LaPierre explains to them how the AARP Tax-Aide Internship provides students the opportunity to prepare and e-file tax returns for Plattsburgh residents. In order to participate, students must have completed the basic income tax class and at least be enrolled in Income Tax II. Also, they must pass an exam created by the IRS.

A Way to Give Back

Students gain hands-on experience in the program, but that's not all. They also get the chance to volunteer their time to help the community.

Each year more and more residents take advantage of this tax prep service. Last year alone, volunteers to the program filed approximately 2,500 tax returns, and SUNY Plattsburgh students account for around half of those volunteers.

In fact, according to LaPierre, Plattsburgh's AARP Tax-Aide program is the largest of its kind in New York state for a city this size.

A Step in the Right Direction

Dr. Mohamed Gaber, chair of the accounting department, believes this internship could be the reason students get job interviews after graduation.

Not only does the internship give them the skills and real world experience employers want, it gives them the confidence to work and communicate with the public in a professional setting, according to Gaber.

Alumni of the internship seem to agree with Gaber.

"Overall, the Tax Aide Internship experience was an amazing opportunity. It was way different than what we study in the classroom," said Damandeep Singh, an alumnus who participated in the program in the spring of 2007 and 2008. "I felt like I was actually accomplishing something, and, after internship ended, I honestly felt more ready for the real world.

This internship is one of many real-world opportunities offered at SUNY Plattsburgh, and graduates like Singh highly recommend these experiences.

"No matter paid or unpaid, it's essential to do an internship during undergraduate work," said Singh. "It gives you an opportunity to organize yourself. Also, it makes it much easier to talk at a job interview."

Contact Information

For more information about the AARP Tax Aide internship, contact, please contact:

Dr. Mohamed Gaber
Office: Redcay 140
Phone: (518) 564-4198
E-mail: mohamed.gaber@plattsburgh.edu