Profiles: Olga Fish
Business/Accounting Instructor, College of Alameda
HER EXPERIENCE IS ADDING UP
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at GGU?
I had several reasons to pursue a MAc at GGU. First, GGU is a highly reputable university among accountants, and my mentor, Anna Beavers, the chair of the Business Department at Laney College, attended GGU. Second, the MAc program offers CPA exam review classes for credit, which is important to me because I plan to become a CPA. Furthermore, with two young children and a part-time job, I require high-quality education and the flexibility of online instruction.
How are your degrees helping you in your current business?
I hold several degrees: A BS in mathematics, an MA in sociology and an MA in Russian studies, and am now working toward the MAc. Because I was initially trained to think in mathematical terms, I can grasp accounting concepts relatively easy. My advanced degrees in sociology and Russian studies broaden my ability to think in social-scientific terms and also help me relate to people. I seek to help people learn accounting as part of their effort to improve their lives through education.
What is your current job title? What are your main responsibilities?
For the past three years I have worked as a tutor of accounting at Laney College. I share my knowledge of and passion for accounting with people from every conceivable background, which I find deeply satisfying. I help students of financial, managerial and cost accounting with homework problems and theoretical questions, as well as helping them prepare for midterm and final exams.
What do you enjoy about your work? What are your goals for the future?
Nothing inspires me more than my students. I tutor young single mothers who are struggling to make ends meet, a grandmother in her 40s, students who are the first in their family to attend college, and recent immigrants struggling with English language and cultural adjustment (as I did myself just a few years ago). Each is determined to forge a better life through the study of accounting, and my job is to help every one of them succeed. My goals for the future are to become a knowledgeable professional accountant, pass the CPA exams and share my expertise with community college students.
Is there a problem with the world that you are interested in helping to solve?
My supreme commitment is to help students comprehend accounting concepts and carry them into practice, be it by starting a small business, obtaining a job in a large firm or simply improving personal money-management skills and strategies. I believe that education can change people's standard of living and even boost their self-esteem.
What are a few of your proudest accomplishments?
My proudest accomplishments are my two sons. I'm very blessed to have two wonderful boys who are my biggest boosters. Another major accomplishment is that being a mother didn't stop me from returning to school and launching a new professional life.
Please tell us a little about yourself, your family, pets, and/or any special interests you have, or hobbies or activities you pursue in your free time.
I am an immigrant. I came to the United States when I was 27 years old from my native Uzbekistan. My English was poor and I faced high cultural and language barriers. Even though my husband supported me, it was not easy to learn how to communicate in English, to drive a car, to raise children and not to lose myself in domestic chores. All the stereotypes about America that I had developed by watching Hollywood movies back in Uzbekistan were shattered after my arrival in the States. Yet, I always believed in education, and once I realized that I have a passion for accounting and helping people in the community overcome challenges that are similar to those I confronted, I experienced a new sense of fulfillment. When I have free time, I love to read. My grandparents and parents always read different genres of literature and I inherited this love, which I hope to pass on to my children.
What advice can you give current students to help them succeed in the business world or in their personal lives?
When you face hardship, remember that everyone is fighting a battle, even those who appear to have it easy, and never give up. Remember that you're worth every bit of your own effort.