By: Benjamin Rickert, Marketing & Communications Dept.
Featured Photo: Accounting student Jessica Reigle works on her laptop at Blue Ridge Community College.
BREVARD, N.C. – When Jessica Reigle saw a roadside billboard for Blue Ridge Community College a few years ago in Transylvania County, she made a decision that changed the course of her life and career.
Reigle was ready to re-enter the workforce after raising her children, but found the process daunting. She was interested in the accounting field, but needed training and credentials beyond her past in retail distribution. Blue Ridge’s sign gave her the inspiration she needed to set up a meeting with a college advisor who challenged her to pursue her career dreams.
“I was originally thinking of just taking a class in QuickBooks, but an advisor encouraged me to go all the way,” she said. “I’m so glad she did.”
After earning scholarships toward an associate’s degree, Reigle now serves as a remote accounting intern for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aircraft Certification Service. She was chosen as one of 150 interns from over 3,000 nationwide applicants as part of the FAA’s Minority Serving Institution program. In her role, she supports the financial side of the FAA’s work to approve and ensure the safety of new aircraft technologies. Her team also ensures that public funds are properly handled.
Reigle graduates this spring, and her internship ends in June with the possibility of renewal. She then plans to transfer her Blue Ridge credits to Fayetteville State University to pursue a four-year accounting degree, followed by a master’s degree. This plan will open countless doors for Reigle within the FAA and the accounting profession. Her ultimate goal is to become a certified public accountant (CPA) and work in auditing.
“Let’s say the FAA is looking at a new type of aircraft technology,” she explained. “We’ll need to build that process from the ground up, so you’re going to need a CPA with an understanding of the management and legal side of accounting to be a voice and partner within that project.”
While Reigle’s career journey is still young, she is thrilled to be employed in a field she loves with many possibilities ahead. She is also glad she paused to read Blue Ridge Community College’s sign inviting her to apply.
“It’s emotional when I think, ‘how did I get here?’ she said. “I knew I wanted to become an accountant, but I never thought I would be affecting the safety of the national airspace along the way.”
The Accounting and Finance Program at Blue Ridge Community College is designed to provide students with the knowledge and the skills necessary for employment and growth in the accounting profession. Students can build on their associate’s degree by transferring to a four-year university or college. Blue Ridge maintains articulation agreements specific to its Associate in Applied Science Accounting and Finance degree with UNC-Asheville, Western Carolina University, Fayetteville State University, Mars Hill University, Gardner-Webb University, Western Governor’s University and Lees McRae College.
Those interested in curriculum or continuing-education accounting courses may find more information on the Blue Ridge Community College website, www.blueridge.edu, or by calling either 828-883-2520 (Transylvania County) or 828-694-1700 (Henderson County).