Student Spotlight: Angel Kearns
Angel Kearns has a lot on her plate. She’s a wife, mother of four and a grandmother. She maintains a home, family, job and near-perfect grade point average.
Kearns is pursuing College of DuPage’s 3+1 Management degree program with a focus in Accounting from Benedictine University. Her biggest challenge so far: balancing class, work and family schedules.
“I have great kids, a great husband, and they’ve all stepped up. My bosses were awesome, too. I’m very fortunate that a lot of people are behind me,” she said.
Her moment of truth came in 2010, when Kearns looked ahead and couldn’t see working as a server for the next 20 years. She imagined the physical demands, for one, would be too taxing. Hoping to boost her earning power, Kearns came to COD to explore her options.
Kearns met with Angela Nackovic, Adult Admissions representative, who helped her with everything from deciding the best career path to securing scholarships to cover a good portion of the expenses, and Andrea Liedtke, Adult Fast Track coordinator, who helped her draft a master plan for the next four years.
“Angela and Andrea gave me all the tools I needed to keep going,” she said. “If you seek out the right people and the right avenues, the help is amazing.”
The first semester was the hardest for the quiet, shy Kearns, who wondered how she would fit in.
“Fortunately, I took speech with Marco Benassi. He just opened up my world,” she said. “I realized I need to present myself in class and not just hide in the back corner. I need to make myself known, open up and participate more so that I have a good networking system when I'm done. And who knows, maybe that 20-year-old kid in my class could be my boss in five years.”
For now, Kearns is proud of how far she has come. In 2013 she was hired at a local, family-owned accounting firm and was able to give up her restaurant job. In fall 2014, she began the Benedictine portion of her degree – making the Dean’s list each semester – and plans to graduate in December 2015.
She is starting the IRS Enrolled Agent program to become a licensed tax preparer, which will give her the same advantages that a CPA or tax attorney has when it comes to doing the best for her clients. In the next five years, Kearns hopes to be running her own tax company.
“None of this would be possible without the dedication College of DuPage has for its students,” she said. “I feel smarter. I dress better. I feel like a better person. I'm going to contribute something. This experience has taught me that I'm stronger than I thought. Coming in, I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this. It has made me a better, stronger woman and a role model for my children.”
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