Co-op Time Capsule
In late winter and early spring of 2020, the world was flipped upside-down with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the University of Cincinnati and other institutions around the country shifted to virtual learning, students with co-op or internship duties were forced to defer, pivot or adjust — and quickly.
The field of accounting was one of many types of businesses deemed essential. Two former Lindner accounting students were kind enough to wind the clock back two years and recall their pandemic-altered cooperative education experiences.
Angela Liu, BBA, BS ’22
Liu, an accounting and business analytics double major, was a core tax services intern with BDO at onset of the pandemic. “My main duty was to assist with the preparation of tax returns and extensions for individuals and S corporations,” Liu said. “Once the COVID-19 pandemic started ramping up, an additional task I took on was compiling information on pandemic-related tax relief.”
When UC shifted to online learning, Liu moved back home to Northeast Ohio, and not long after, BDO transitioned to a work-from-home setting.
“Unfortunately, the virtual working environment made it more difficult to connect with co-workers and build on the relationships established back in the office,” Liu said. “We continued to use instant messaging and email to communicate like we did in the office, as well as the occasional Skype or phone call, but the sudden absence of face-to-face interaction made a palpable impact.”
Liu graduated this past spring and is spending the summer preparing for the CPA exam. In the fall, she will begin her career as an assurance associate with PwC in their Cleveland office.
Brenna Aurand, BBA ’21
As a tax intern with Deloitte’s business tax services department during the 2020 spring semester, Aurand prepared work papers and tax returns for clients. “I had the opportunity to work on multiple entities and meet a lot of great people,” said Aurand, an accounting major.
However, once the pandemic struck, Aurand went from sitting in conference rooms to participating in Zoom calls in the blink of an eye. “The tax deadline got pushed from April 15th to July, so all of the sudden there was not as much work to do,” Aurand said. “The thing that made it initially hard to start working from home was that everyone in my family was also home working, so it was often hard to find a quiet space to work or take calls.”
Aurand’s first internship in summer 2019 with Cohen & Company as a PCS tax intern was quite a different experience, even if her job duties were similar. “I got to experience more of the office life, go to happy hours and have review meetings in person,” Aurand said. “It was also easier to get to know people and ask questions.”
Aurand, who recently passed the CPA exam, graduated in 2021 and works in Deloitte’s Cleveland office as a tax consultant.