Ginal Patel is wrapping up her St. Francis College career prepared to embark on a professional goal she has held since a high school.
The Queens native – daughter of immigrants from India and the first in her family born in the United States – became enamored with accounting as part of the virtual enterprise program at the Academy of Finance and Enterprise in Long Island City.
St. Francis College selected Ginal to be a McGuire Scholar, providing her need- and merit-based "last dollar" funding that closes the gap between total tuition and any other financial support she received.
As she completes her final semester at St. Francis, Ginal reflected on her time at St. Francis College and what is coming next for her.
You're a McGuire scholar. How did find first find out about that?
I received a call from Thomas Flood [SFC Vice President for Advancement] around August [before the start of my freshman year]. He told me and I wasn't really expecting it because it was almost time for school to start. I was really happy that I was getting an additional scholarship.
Why so happy about it?
I was really happy to get the additional scholarship because it meant loans wouldn't have to be taken out. [The scholarship program] also gives a stipend, so I was really happy about that as well because I know that college textbooks cost a lot of money.
What makes St. Francis College special to you?
What I really love about St. Francis College is that a one on one connection that we have with the professors. I don't think a lot of colleges have that. It's very nice to not just be a name on an attendance sheet. The professors really know you.
Is there a professor that stands out?
The professor who had a really big impact on my life is Dr. Louis D'Elia from the Accounting Department. Intermediate [Accounting] is one of the hardest classes that you take. It usually either makes or breaks an accounting student. I took him as my professor for Intermediate and really liked it. The way he teaches – his passion for accounting -- really encouraged me to pursue a career in accounting. He had a really big hand in the internship that I got at National Grid. I've been working as a year-round intern there for about two and a half years and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.
What's been so great about your National Grid experience?
I used to be really shy. My manager, Jason Attard, SFC class of 2006, helped me become more open and more confident in the work that I do. I was given the opportunity to lead the capital overhead budgeting process. I was the one doing all the calculations and really getting in the weeds of it. My manager gave me opportunities to present in front of resource planning teams.
You're finishing up your St. Francis College career with remote instruction because COVID-19. How's that been?
It's been pretty well. So many professors give live [online] lectures. It really helped me to understand the material. I'm glad that they're not just posting stuff [online] and expecting us to learn on our own. They're really going above and beyond, my accounting class especially. My professor, Dr. Nogara, is actually putting his voice on the lectures and doing Zoom sessions, which really helped me digest the material because some of this stuff is very complex. It really helps when the professor walks you through it.
What role did your family play in your success at St. Francis College?
My family has been continuously supportive and helped me throughout my educational journey. They have a huge hand in all my success, accomplishment, and who I am today.
What are your post-graduation plans?
In November  I accepted a job offer at [accounting firm] PKF O'Connor Davies. I will be starting in November , so I knew a year in advance.
I asked for a gap between college and my start date because I want to study for my CPA exam.