UNM Rainforest Innovations

cox, tanielaUNM Rainforest Innovations hires student interns each semester to assist in supporting technology transfer and catalyzing economic development at the University of New Mexico. The internship program, which has now trained over a hundred UNM students, teaches students excellent professional skills and a better understanding of the intersection of business, science, and law.

Our featured intern this month is Taniela Cox who joined UNM Rainforest Innovations in April 2022 as an Accounting Intern. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship in 2020 from UNM and is currently working on a Master’s in Accounting.

As the Accounting Intern, Taniela provides general accounting support to the Accounting Manager and Accounting Coordinator. “Some of my responsibilities are updating spreadsheets when we receive income or pay inventors, entering invoices into QuickBooks, and covering the front desk sometimes. I love working in an environment that promotes cooperation and teamwork over competition, that is one big thing I appreciate about UNMRI.”

Taniela hopes to graduate in fall 2022 or spring 2023 and is interested in trying audit or tax accounting after graduate school. “I enjoy helping people and I’m already getting tax questions from friends and family.”

Growing up, Taniela spent part of his time in Albuquerque and the rest in Fiji. “It was a wonderful experience to grow up around my mother’s side of the family out there and I’m glad I picked up the Fijian language. My family traveled a lot growing up, so I went to online school until college. My love of business and accounting was definitely sparked by my father. He would relate a lot of our discussions to business concepts, and I’ve helped in one way or another in our family business for years now.”

When Taniela isn’t busy with work and school, he enjoys spending time gardening and playing video games. “I’ve been enjoying gardening a lot since I got into it over the pandemic, I’ve been able to grow more tomatoes than I know what to do with, a variety of flowers, and I just started growing blueberries. I use it as a way to get away from electronics for a little while. I also love playing video games with my friends, it’s been a great way for me to keep in contact with friends that live all over the states for years.”

When asked what’s been the most valuable thing he has learned so far at UNMRI, he replied: “I learned that it’s important to push your limits and try new things. Before applying, I wasn’t sure if I could handle graduate school and an internship but I’m happy I went for it anyway. Working is also another confirmation that helping others whenever you can is always a great way to go through life.”

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