Faculty Spotlight - Jennifer Cainas

Though many of her students think of Cainas Cookies as a real company, accounting professor Jennifer Cainas does not own her own cookie business. It's actually a made up business Cainas uses as an analogy in her classes. Likening accounting to cookies is one of the ways Cainas breaks down the complex subject for undergraduate students.

"It makes it very easy to explain accounting," said Cainas. "The raw materials are like the butter, sugar, flour, and salt. The work in process is like dumping the ingredients into the bowl, and the finished goods are the baked cookies."

Cainas, who earned both a bachelor's and master's degree in accounting from USF, worked at a variety of insurance and financial services companies, but the itch to teach led her back to her alma mater. In 2005, she joined USF Polytechnic's faculty. Now a part of USF Tampa, she teaches with some of the same faculty she took classes from back when she was a student.

Cainas serves as an advisor to Beta Alpha Psi, an international honors organization for accounting and finance students. The organization, which boasts a membership of 100 students at USF, sponsors a myriad of student-focused workshops and events such as a speaker series, community service events, fundraising activities, and leadership conferences.

USF's chapter has been awarded superior status for 36 years straight – the longest of any chapter worldwide. It has also been honored as one of only eight chapters to receive the KPMG Gold Chapter Award both years it has been offered.