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Future accountant serves in reserves

Hao “Jerry” Chen, an accounting major, held after-school jobs at tax firms while attending a business-oriented high school in New York City. He’ll be an intern at Ernst & Young this summer and hopes to line up a job there after he graduates in December.

But this soft-spoken 21-year-old has more on his plate than exams and a job search.

He is also Lance Cpl. Chen, a “warehouse man” in the Marine Reserves in charge of issuing gear.

“I signed my contract on my 18th birthday,” Chen recalled proudly. He was still in high school at the time.

That commitment meant that Chen spent part of his second semester freshman year at boot camp. In 2005, he traveled to Norway for additional training.

The biggest challenge so far has been time management, he said. Preparing for a big test while attending one of his monthly training sessions with the reserves can be a strain.

Chen and his family moved to the United States when he was 4. He spoke three dialects of Chinese at home, but only recently has felt confident in his English skills. He credits Vanessa Young, senior associate director of the Educational Opportunity Program, with helping him succeed at Binghamton. He even wrote to her from boot camp.

“What impressed me the most about Jerry is he handles his responsibilities well,” Young said. “He’s extremely committed. I’ve never worked with a student who has been so level-headed. I admire him.”

Chen is an active member in Pi Delta Psi, a cultural fraternity on campus. He has been the group’s community service chairman and its fundraising chairman, helping to get students involved in blood drives and Relay for Life. He is also a member of the Chi Alpha Epsilon national honor society.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08