The Road to Trinidad

Hey everyone! My name is David Hornyak and over this spring break I will be heading to Matelot, Trinidad through my Global Service Learning Organizations class. I am very much looking forward traveling down to Trinidad and helping the local community work towards their goal of sustainable ecotourism.

I am originally from Allentown, PA, which is about a four-and-a-half-hour drive east of Pittsburgh. I come from a pretty small family, with only one sister, who actually also attends the University of Pittsburgh. What initially attracted me to the University of Pittsburgh, compared to other universities, was the incredible campus, the ample job opportunities available in the city, the international opportunities, and the school ranking, which has only risen to greater heights over the past four years. At the end of the day, Pitt was clearly the best option for me.

I am a senior accounting and business information systems major and am in the Certificate Program for Leaderships and Ethics (CPLE). After graduation in April, I will be enrolling in the Masters of Accounting program here at Pitt, with an anticipated graduation date of April 2019.

My career path has kept pretty steady since I enrolled at Pitt, always knowing that I wanting to focus on accounting and end up working for a Big Four Accounting firm. After graduating undergrad in April, I will get my first major experience with a Big Four Accounting firm, as I am interning with EY in their Assurance practice. I have done numerous leadership conferences with EY and am really looking forward to finally having a working experience at the firm. Over the past three years though, I have had the opportunity to work three very different internships. After my freshman year I had the opportunity to work in a small engineering firm in my hometown, where I was tasked with creating a new central database for the company to store crucial financial information. This experience truly gave me a look into the life of a programmer, and really sparked my interest in business information systems, leading me to add my second major the coming fall. After my sophomore year I worked as a planning and controlling intern for B. Braun, which is a German pharmaceutical and medical device company. This experience really gave me my first in-depth look into many of the accounting topics I am now learning in school. Lastly is my last internship which I started last March and will be working until the end of this semester, with Matthews International Corporation as an internal audit intern. At Matthews I was able to get a first look into the world of audit, which will be the focus of my internship this summer at EY, and hopefully my first job as well.

This trip to Trinidad will be my second study abroad experience through Pitt, and I am hoping it is just as great as my first. My first abroad experience with Pitt came after my freshman year, when I did the Plus 3 trip to China. This trip involved traveling to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, and was an incredible experience. On this trip we were able to hear lectures, tour companies, create a product pitch, and see a lot of what the country had to offer, specifically surrounding cell phone supply chain and manufacturing. This experience has probably been the highlight of my experience at Pitt, and I hope to get just as much out of this experience in Matelot.

As I mentioned above, this study abroad experience in Trinidad is all part of a Global Service Learning Organizations class that I am taking throughout this semester. This class captures the idea of service learning, which surrounds engaging students in meaningful service that is integrated with learning objectives. What initially attracted me to this class, and similarly to the other classes I have taken in the Certificate Program for Leaderships and Ethics, is the large client-centric projects each semester. In past classes in the CPLE the teams I have been a part of have been able to develop a social documentary on food recovery, create a pitch for sustainable food trucks in the city of Pittsburgh, as well as work with our current client, Amizade, on developing a new program for one of their Washington D.C. partners. Working first hand with these clients and on these project teams has helped me develop greatly, and this experience in Trinidad seemed like a perfect way to cap off my undergraduate career at Pitt.

As mentioned, the main aspect that drew me to this class was the intensive project which we will work on throughout the semester. The service project that my group has been tasked with is in conjunction with a local Pittsburgh organization, Amizade. Amizade is a fair-trade learning organization and are leaders in responsible global service learning. Amizade have partnered with a plethora of organizations around the globe, one of which being DORCAS Women’s Group in Matelot, Trinidad. Throughout this semester we will be working with Amizade and DORCAS Women’s Group to help in the initial steps in readying the Matelot community for ecotourism.

Through this experience I hope to greatly help the Matelot community and also gain a lot personally. Firstly, I just want to truly put as much effort into this project as possible and try to make this program as successful as possible. This project is unlike most others in any business school. Through this project we have the opportunity to dramatically change the lives of the individuals living in Matelot. By adding an additional revenue stream from ecotourism, Matelot can begin to develop a sufficient economy, allowing for the community to grow to new heights. Additionally, I hope to get an even better grasp of what it means to work on a more global scale. With business becoming ever more global, it is crucial to gain international experience and work with individuals from around the globe, helping me become a more well-rounded student, business professional, and individual.

Overall, I am thoroughly looking forward to this experience, and developing a plan to help create a sustainable ecotourism program for the Matelot community.