Downtown Chicago!

Greetings from the Windy City!

I’m writing from a friend’s couch in downtown Chicago, enjoying the warmth of the indoors. This weekend, I am away from dear Austin to attend a three-day-long writing conference hosted by AWP. It’s going really well. And when not sitting in on panels entitled “Beyond Pulp – The Futuristic and Fantastic as Literary Fiction” and “Wilderness Writing: Theory and Practice,” I’m working on some Excel assignments for my ITAC (Information Technology Accounting Control) class, where we complete tutorials, create our own macros, and use conditional formatting to perform data analysis. I’m also wrapping up a work paper for an internal audit project which has my audit team working closely with the Office of the City Auditor (OCA). It’s a great, though at the moment overwhelming, combination of all sorts of activity.

I can speak a little further about my ITAC assignment in that it’s proving amazingly useful towards the work I’m currently doing for my internship at Greenlights. I am working with our donor database and trying to get good data from our archives to provide the development director with information. Learning about conditional formatting (IF functions and whatnot) and macros has really helped me finesse my approach to data analysis. I’m hoping by the end of the internship to produce a macros for the organization that sorts out information about our donors that will be really valuable for planning.

In other news, I heard back from Norwalk and am really happy to report that I’ll be working with the Government Accounting Standards Board for a year long stint starting in January 2013. I’m really excited about the work which involves one of my favorite things to do: a lot of writing. I’ll be doing research on governmental accounting hot topics (i.e. pension reporting – which is the GASB’s top priority right now) and formulating papers and presentations that put these issues into perspective. So happy, most of all, to see my interests merging. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

Before I drift off to sleep, I just want to mention some great highlights about the city of Chicago, which I dig. I know of at least one MPA student who will be working in public accounting here in the Fall.  The Art Institute of Chicago holds a fantastic and not-to-be-missed collection of art including work by some of my favorites (Joseph Cornell, Gerhard Richter, and Chuck Close to name a few). Also, the Chicago Field Museum houses the largest and most complete skeleton of the T-Rex ever discovered. Apparently, there are night tours that end with spreading out your sleeping bag on the museum floor and dreaming next to some pretty awesome exhibits. I bet you can guess where I’ll be headed tomorrow!

Finally, I realize that my career interests and goals aren’t the usual, that is: my desire for a deep writing life and an accounting life and to be fulfilled in both circles. It’s a challenging balance to keep, I think, but ultimately satisfying if everything goes as planned. I just want to throw this out there: If anyone reading this has had (is having) a similar experience, I’d love to hear about it! I really would! Also, if you have any questions about my own time here at UT, don’t hesitate to ask. Take care!