Kaitlyn Yarka

Class Year

’18

Hometown

Chicago, Illinois

Major(s)

Accounting and Finance

When Kaitlyn Yarka ’18 arrived at Carthage, she hadn’t yet decided on a major. She knew she wanted to do something related to business, but she wasn’t sure which field — accounting, finance, management, or marketing — to choose. So she signed up for the course Financial Accounting (ACC 2010). There, she found her niche and decided to become an accounting major.

“The Carthage Accounting and Finance Department balances pushing students to their greatest potential with creating a nurturing learning environment,” she says. “At Carthage students can graduate with a degree in accounting as well as have enough credits to sit for the CPA exam in four years.”

When she was a kid, she thought she’d become a chef, or maybe a pharmacist or an opera singer. Now? She’s on track to work for a big four public accounting firm.

“Carthage is so much more than a school,” she says. “It is a home where people greet you on your way to class and truly care about your success in school and in life.”

“Carthage is so much more than a school. It is a home where people greet you on your way to class and truly care about your success in school and in life.”

Kaitlyn Yarka, ’18

Career goal

“I hope to obtain my CPA and work for a big four public accounting firm.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

Professor Julie Dawson, as both a teacher and an advisor, has made me love being an accounting major, and confident in my decision to pursue accounting.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage so far has been Financial Accounting (ACC 2010). As my first accounting class, it helped me find my niche.”

Campus involvement

“I am now the director of finance, previously the director of business consulting, for Enactus. In addition, I am vice president of recruitment for Alpha Chi Omega. This year, I am one of the head student ambassadors for the Office of Admissions. In my collegiate experience, I have also been a member of Colleges Against Cancer, the Student Alumni Association, Pi Sigma Epsilon, and am Volunteer Income Tax Assistance certified.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class at Carthage so far has been Principles of Computer Science I (CSC 1110) because I stepped outside of my comfort zone. Although not a required course for my path, I decided to take the class because of a vacancy in my schedule. Being completely new to computer science, it was one of the most challenging and rewarding classes I have ever taken.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“The summer after freshman year, I interned for a fire safety equipment company in the south suburbs of Chicago in their accounting department. It was an eye-opening opportunity to experience accounting out of the classroom and sparked my interest to pursue it as a career.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“As part of Enactus, a business organization on campus, I have had the honor to attend their national business competition. My sophomore year as a presenter, I helped the Enactus team become Great Lakes Regional Champions as well as compete at nationals in St. Louis. This past summer, I was also blessed with the opportunity to attend the national convention for my sorority Alpha Chi Omega.”

Scholarships

“I received the highest Academic Honors Scholarship as well as an endowed scholarship from Carthage. Getting both of these scholarships has made it possible for me to attend Carthage and have best undergraduate collegiate experience I ever could have imagined.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“Some of my fondest Carthage memories have been both big excursions as well as simple moments. Whether it be running down the beach to the Kenosha Lighthouse with my friends or going on amazing trips through on campus organizations, my Carthage memories accumulate more by the day.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the patio right outside the Science Center because I can get work done with an absolutely breathtaking view.”

Biggest surprise so far

“My biggest surprise so far has been how close I have grown to everyone around me. The people you meet in college impact your life in a whole new way. They shape you into the adult you are becoming and help build you into the person you want to be.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“Eight-year-old Kaitlyn was caught between becoming a chef, pharmacist, and an opera singer so I believe she would be pretty shocked to see where we are now. I think her reaction would be, ‘I know we like numbers, but I didn’t think we liked them that much.’”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“A piece of advice I have for students considering an accounting major is that it is a challenging degree, but incredibly worth all the work because of the rewarding opportunities and experiences.”