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Kierra's activities: Varsity track & field (NCAA DIII All-American, two-time CCIW champion), Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, OSL Tech Team, accounting tutor, intramural sports, Delta Chi Theta sorority

Kierra Smith

"Kierra has been very busy with two majors (accounting and political science), an All-American track career, and internships with Deere and Deloitte — global leaders in the fields of agribusiness and public accounting, respectively. Kierra is one of our “go to” students to represent our department at recruiting events because of everything she has accomplished during her time at Augie. Keep an eye on Kierra — she'll make it big wherever she ends up. I am very glad to have had the chance to work with her these past four years."

— Dr. John Delaney, associate professor, accounting

Kierra Smith

Majors: Accounting and political science (pre-law)

Internships: Prairie State Legal Services (legal intern; Rock Island, Ill.), John Deere (internal audit; Moline, Ill.), Deloitte & Touche LLP (external audit; Chicago)

Post-grad plans: I will begin sitting for the CPA exam this summer, and start working full-time in August as an auditor with Deloitte in Chicago.

Why did you choose to attend Augustana?
I chose to attend Augustana because I wanted to continue my athletic career, I enjoyed the personal connections I made right away with my admissions counselor, and I wanted to go somewhere where I could make an impact. 

Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
Not exactly... I hated running and told myself that if this track thing didn’t work out in college, I was going to pick up on Quidditch. Now, my experience with track has been a major part of my time here at Augustana. Likewise, I knew nothing about accounting as an incoming freshman and only had my sights set on going to law school. That has changed as well, and though I still would like to obtain my law degree at some point, I am thrilled to be starting as an auditor with one of the top public accounting firms in country! 

Who helped you get to where you are now?
I have had many people help me throughout my journey at Augustana. My professors in both accounting and political science have amplified my educational experience through their influence and support. Particularly Dr. Delaney, who opened my eyes to all of the opportunities available in accounting, the career field that I am now going into. Dr. Dehnel, served as my political science advisor, and I took the bulk of my poli sci classes with him. He served as a great resource while I completed my Senior Inquiry project. Dr. Weissburg was a huge inspiration to me in my studies. He sparked my interest in public policy and helped me during my Senior Inquiry project by believing in my abilities and encouraging me to explore a topic to depths that I had never before. Athletically, the strong personal relationships that I have built with all of my coaches and teammates have facilitated a trusting and encouraging environment, which has allowed me to achieve my goals.

A peak experience?
I have been fortunate to have more than one peak experience. Each of my internships was a peak experience for me academically. Those are where I gained my most valuable knowledge through working with others and serving those organizations. With track, I had a very pivotal experience when our 4x400m team qualified for nationals. I was the lone freshman on a team with three graduating seniors and that experience really set the tone for the remainder of my college years. Helping those girls achieve their goals instilled in me a motivation and focus that I would not have gained through any other experience. I had them to look up to as great leaders, and they each taught me valuable lessons that I have continued to carry with me on and off the track.

What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
The biggest surprise to me is how my outlook for the future has evolved. Like many young adults, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but I have come to find that every new experience inspires me to make a difference. Before, I was an avid planner. Now, I accept inevitable change and keep my horizons open for new opportunities because I know the most important decisions of my life have yet to be made.

How did you use your Augie Choice?
I used my Augie Choice to help with expenses while I interned over the summer. 

What will you miss the most?
Seeing my roommates, friends and teammates every day. We are all going in different directions, but I am excited to see what great things they will accomplish in the future!

Advice for the Class of 2018?
It is never too early to start seeking out opportunities that will set you up for success in the future. While you pursue your passions, seize any opportunity you can to better yourself and the local/global community.