When Etsuko Yokoyama ’02 (Accounting) arrived at SUNY New Paltz in 2000, she admittedly experienced culture shock as she adjusted to a place so different from her home in Tokyo, Japan. But her experience has evolved into an ongoing international relationship between the College, a major accounting organization, the sixth largest city in the world, and most recently, a gathering of SUNY New Paltz alumni nearly 7,000 miles away.
“When looking at universities, I knew I wanted to study in the United States, but I didn’t have a specific major in mind,” said Yokoyama. “What I did have that narrowed my search quickly, was an aunt living in New Paltz who worked on campus at Jazzman’s Café. My family felt more comfortable sending me to college half-a-world away with some family connection.”
Once she arrived on campus, Yokoyama found her niche in accounting and created a meaningful relationship with her advisor and mentor, School of Business Professor Emerita Sally Schultz ’74 (Anthropology). She was inspired by Schultz’s early accounting career in Manhattan and determined to follow in her footsteps.
After graduation, Yokoyama landed an entry level audit position with Deloitte, a multinational professional services network and one of the “Big Four” accounting organizations in New York City. She has been with the company now for 16 years and worked her way from a junior level audit position to an audit senior manager, overseeing several engagement teams simultaneously.
Most recently, Yokoyama utilized Deloitte’s international mobility program to travel back to Tokyo where she was able to connect with SUNY New Paltz International Recruitment Manager Amanda Stevens. The two discovered a network of several alumni living in the area and were determined to facilitate a gathering this September when they welcomed 38 New Paltz alumni in Tokyo to celebrate their collective New Paltz story.
“Being 7,000 miles away, one might think the connection to the College fades,” said Stevens. “But there was so much joy and excitement in the room as the alumni met old friends, and new. They shared memories of their time in the snow, of restaurants on Main Street, of trips they took together, classes and faculty they shared, and the people they met that made their experience at New Paltz so special.”
In addition to co-hosting the event in Japan, Yokoyama also serves the New Paltz community as a director on the SUNY New Paltz Foundation Board where her unique perspective as a former international student and alumna inspires new ways to reach students from around the world.
For more information on The SUNY New Paltz Foundation Board, visit this link.