Accounting alum Romaine Haffendon, smiling.


NYU students take an interdisciplinary approach to their education, exploring a diversity of interests in and out of the classroom. When alumnus Romaine Haffenden came to the NYU Stern School of Business as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), he wanted to make the most of his four years—which meant staying busy and giving back. So, he pursued a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree in Business and Accounting while working as a resident assistant, interning, and volunteering with a variety of causes.

Taking the Opportunity

As an HEOP student, Romaine felt a need to give back to others throughout his time at NYU. HEOP provides financial and academic support for traditionally underserved, low-income New York students. Besides HEOP, NYU’s college Opportunity Programs include the Science Technology Engineering and Math Program (STEM). In addition, precollege students can apply to the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP).

To give back during his time at NYU, Romaine tutored young refugees from war-torn countries, helped lead criminal justice workshops for teenage inmates on Rikers Island, and volunteered with a Holocaust survivor. Further, as a resident assistant (RA), he provided support for over 30 NYU students. His favorite memory? Organizing a free dinner at IHOP. “The other RA and I named it ‘Pancakes and Feelings,’” Romaine explains. “It was a chance for the residents to talk to each other, bond, and vent about their current problems. I provided advice when I could.”

Crunching Numbers

When Romaine wasn’t doling out words of wisdom to younger students, he was preparing to enter the field of forensic accounting. Over his four years at NYU, he built up quite a body of knowledge. This allowed him to graduate with a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree and pursue his CPA license that summer. With those credentials, and his minor in Public Policy and Management, Romaine landed an internship with the US Department of Justice. Ultimately, he hopes to join the department’s forensic accounting squad. After that, he dreams of rising in the ranks to become a special agent for the FBI.

Going Forward

After graduating in 2017, Romaine put his forensic accounting skills to good use at EY, where he’s been working as a senior forensic technology consultant. Looking back, what would he tell prospective Opportunity Program students like himself? “I want to encourage everyone to take advantage of everything that comes their way, dream big, and see where an NYU education can lead them.”