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Oklahoma State University

Accounting student and McNair Scholar ready for life's next stage

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Accounting major Chealsea Fernandez graduates this spring as a McNair Scholar after working as a student researcher for associate professor Angela Spencer. She'll spend this fall working for Walt Disney World before returning to OSU to begin her master's in accounting.

A few years ago, when professional sports teams won the Super Bowl or the World Series, a star player would be asked in the tumultuous aftermath what they were going to do now. Of course, it was an advertisement and their response would be, “I’m going to Disney World!” Oklahoma State University graduating senior Chealsea Fernandez could be asked the same thing, only she is spending time post-graduation in a paid internship at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

Fernandez will receive her bachelor’s degree in accounting during the Spears School of Business’ commencement ceremony May 11 before spending a couple of months relaxing at home in Vancouver, Washington. Then it’s off to Orlando where she will work as an intern in the Disney College Program, which allows college students to work for one of the company’s parks, live on property and take career-development classes while there.

“The Disney College Program is a way for Disney to recruit potential employees and for those being recruited to get a feel for what working for Disney is really like behind the scenes,” Fernandez said.

This won’t be the first time Fernandez has visited Disney World, and not on vacation. This winter she was part of an annual Study Abroad trip organized by accounting associate professor Angela Spencer and clinical assistant professor Alyssa Vowell, who take students to Disney to tour the company’s accounting and finance offices, meet company leaders and OSU alumni working for Disney and experience how one of the country’s most successful and creative corporations operates.

Fernandez, a McNair Scholar, also works for Spencer on a research project. The OSU McNair Scholars program is a federally funded scholarship that assists first-generation, low-income or underrepresented racial and ethnic students interested in pursuing a graduate education. Fernandez will return to OSU in 2020 to begin work on her master’s in accounting.

McNair Scholars work with faculty mentors on research projects and Fernandez is assisting Spencer with a study of the new Accounting Standard Codification 842, which is a requirement for how companies display leases on their balance sheets. Fernandez is collecting information about company implementation of the new standard by reviewing publicly available company information.

“One of the interesting things about this standard is that many firms have struggled to adopt it because they did not have systems in place to readily provide adequate details on their leasing arrangements,” Spencer said. “Chealsea’s role has primarily been to review firm 10-Ks and 10-Qs to gather information about the adoption process, which has been a challenging exercise. Chealsea has done a fantastic job of critically analyzing the information available.”

“It has been a great experience working with Dr. Spencer,” Fernandez said. “Working with her has allowed me to learn to work closely with faculty in a way I have never had the opportunity to do before.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Joiner | 405-744-2700 |

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