My name is Katie Sanders, and I am a 2014 graduate of Athens State University. I was able to complete my degree in Accounting from over 2,000 miles away in California due to the wonderful distance learning program. It meant a lot to me to be able to get my degree from home while military orders sent my husband and me so far away. Not only were the distance courses a blessing due to my location, but they allowed me to be able to work a full-time job while finishing my Bachelor’s degree. I enrolled, already having credits from Calhoun and UAH, and was accepted in 2012. These classes were the first I had ever taken from a distance, but the professors always provided an easy to follow syllabus with clear expectations on course requirements. I was even able to order books that I needed from the Athens State Bookstore and had them shipped to my home in California.
Shortly after graduating, we re-located to Fort Worth, TX. That is where I began the search for my professional career and where I ended up being so greatly blessed. After applying for numerous jobs, I was invited to four different companies for job interviews. The first was for a financial position at the Fidelity Investments hub in Westlake, TX. The second was for an analyst position with American Airlines in Fort Worth, TX. The third was for a financial analyst position with Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX. The fourth was for an audit position at Corporate Headquarters for BNSF Railways in Fort Worth, TX. I never imagined that I would get four job offers, but I did! The worst part of it all was the pressure of having to choose one. How many people lose sleep at night over deciding between four different career paths? None of these wonderful opportunities would have been in my reach if it were not for Athens State University. I went into every interview scared to death, thinking to myself, “I’m not qualified enough.” Much to my surprise, I actually walked out of every interview confident in myself and my abilities.
I am writing this very story while sitting at my desk at corporate headquarters (on my lunch, of course) for BNSF Railways, one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America. Did I mention that Warren Buffet owns it? So far, I love my job and the people I have gotten the pleasure of working with. I really appreciate the time and care that Athens State puts into its education programs and its students. They have really given me the tools I need to be successful in life.