Inspiration

Randy Paape
Assistant Professor of Accounting

Lynn was not one of my normal students.   She had scored in the top one percent on the SATs and came from a privileged family.  All indicators would be that she would be a very successful by now, but yet, at 26, she was in my intermediate accounting class, starting the process of changing her career from cutting hair to accounting.  At 19, she got involved in too much partying and made some poor decisions, and now she was trying to get her life back on track.

I have high expectations for all of my students.  I always try to inspire my students to reach for the stars.  In my class, Lynn excelled.  Though she entered the class unsure of her ability, she quickly set herself above her peers.  Lynn had a desire to succeed and embraced the challenges I put in front of her.  I quickly saw that she needed extra challenges, and I pushed her to perform above expectations.  At times I think she thought I was picking on her, but soon she was in my office asking for career advice.  Another instructor and I quickly convinced Lynn not to just settle for any accounting position, but to shoot for some of the more prestigious positions in the profession, which Lynn quickly embraced.

I never had Lynn as a student again, but I continued to advise her.  Lynn went on to win the Sells Award, which is an award for scoring in the top 3 percent in the nation on the CPA exam.  She also landed one of those prestigious positions, and today is considered one of the top five accountants in an organization that employs hundreds of accountants.

Last year, I ran into Lynn at an open house.  When she saw me enter, she quickly stood up and called me over to introduce me to her husband.  She said, “I want to introduce you to the person that is the reason I am who I am today.  He is the one that pushed me to achieve what I have achieved.”  For a teacher, this is the award which makes all the hard work worth it.  Though I know I am not the reason she is where she is today, it is nice to know that I helped provide the inspiration that gave her the motivation that helped lead to her success.