Emily Ortega is busy. But it’s the good kind of busy. The Flagler College senior is studying not just for her final year’s courses, but also for the professional CPA exam, in preparation for the job that’s waiting for her after graduation: as a staff accountant in the Jacksonville Assurances Services Practice of the international accounting firm Ernst & Young.
And while it may not be every day that a college senior lines up a professional career before she even dons a cap and gown, Emily says it’s not impossible, if you follow some good advice: “Give your best effort now, so that you can ensure your future success,” she said. “Take school seriously.”
Emily has clearly taken her own credos to heart. A native of Clearwater, she arrived at Flagler and buckled down immediately. Her hard work paid off, and she soon found herself the recipient of Flagler’s Distinguished Student Award. Then she doubled up her senior year studies with a busy—but very valuable—accounting internship to better prepare her for her chosen career.
“I’ve learned that when opportunities arise to network with people in your desired field, take them,” she said. “Learning from people already in your field can teach you a lot, and it may provide more opportunities for your specific career goals.”
She reports that her decision to attend Flagler was a major factor in charting the course of her professional future. “Flagler is preparing me for my career by giving me all the tools I need to learn and grow. As an accounting major, I feel like I was given a specific course that I needed to follow to create a future as a CPA. I have to say that the accounting department could not have done a better job of helping me set my future in motion.”
Of course, Emily hasn’t stayed so busy that she doesn’t enjoy the rest of what Flagler has to offer. “I love the location in downtown St. Augustine,” she said. “This is a really fun, beautiful place to go to school.”