Athens State celebrated graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, and College of Education programs today during the Fall 2023 Commencement ceremonies. A separate ceremony was held for each respective college, with receptions held for the graduates and their families afterwards.
During the College of Business’ commencement ceremony, Kaitlyn Johnson became the youngest graduate in the past 30 years to receive a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Johnson, from Jasper, Alabama, is just 19 years old. As an upper-division university, the average age of an undergraduate student at Athens State is 29 years old, making it very rare to have 19-year-old graduates.
Through her fast-tracked homeschool experience to earning the required amount of college credit hours at Bevill State Community College, Johnson was able to transfer to Athens State in 2020. In high school, Johnson knew that she was interested in business so she set out to find a university that was accredited, online, and offered cutting-edge instruction.
“Athens State fit every descriptor of what I was looking for,” said Johnson. “What made it even better was having the opportunity to come to campus for occasional student events.”
During her time at Athens State, Johnson served as the Treasurer of the Accounting Club and as a member in Delta Mu Delta and the National Society of Leadership and Success. “Involvement in student organizations placed me in front of future employers through industry tours and career fairs,” said Johnson. “I was able to hear directly from prospective employers to learn about their work, company, and what they expect from new hires.”
Johnson said the Accounting Program at Athens State prepared her for the workforce through teaching the importance of creating a streamlined workflow in order to meet deadlines. She shared that cost accounting and business policy courses along with advanced instruction in QuickBooks were among the most beneficial aspects of the accounting program. Her professor, Emily Corzine, left a lasting impact through guiding her to choose which avenue of accounting she is most interested in and wants to pursue professionally.
“I have always been organized and good with numbers, so accounting was the perfect fit for me,” Johnson shared. “I am most interested in the management and business side of it. You can do so many things with an accounting degree. Out of everything, I loved the business side the most and can see myself doing it for the duration of my career.”
Johnson hopes to begin graduate school at Athens State in the near future. Upon completing her master’s degree, she is interested in becoming a financial advisor and one day serving as the Chief Financial Officer of a company. She wants to use her skills to help businesses succeed and create accounting systems that will keep projects on time and on budget.
“Kaitlyn Johnson has served actively as a student officer for the IMA Student Chapter/Accounting Club for the past two years,” said Emily Corzine, Associate Professor of Accounting. “She has attended board meetings, industry tours, and career events, helped lead club meetings, spearheaded community service activities, and formulated shirt designs for the IMA Student Leadership Conference t-shirt design competition. Kaitlyn is an excellent student and has a great attitude. We earnestly appreciate her leadership in service to the Accounting Club, and we are so proud of her!”