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Runner speeds through accounting degree in three years

February 13, 2017
KOKOMO, Ind. — Hannah High crosses the finish line to an accounting degree in personal record time, graduating from Indiana University Kokomo in three years while also competing on the cross country team.

Her coach, Jason VanAlstine, who is also assistant dean of the School of Business, helped with the schedule planning that made it possible for her to complete her degree earlier than the usual four years.

“Coach VanAlstine has been a really good influence on my life. He’s the real reason I’m graduating in three years,” Hannah said. “I don’t think I could have done it if he hadn’t helped me plan my classes.”

Hannah came to IU Kokomo with a head start, transferring in 24 credits earned through dual credit classes she took at Kokomo High School. As a first-semester student, she was only two classes short of being a sophomore.

“At first, I didn’t realize how much those credits would mean to me,” she said. “I thought I might graduate one semester early, but as my coach and I looked at my schedule, we realized I could earn my degree in three years.”

In addition to excelling in the classroom and consistently earning dean’s list honors, she was named a 2016 Daktronic-NAIA Scholar-Athlete, which recognizes student athletes who maintain a 3.5 or higher grade point average. She’s also a two-time conference scholar-athlete.

Hannah took her first class on campus the summer before her freshman year, and then enrolled in 12 credit hours her first semester, while also competing in cross country. Since then, she’s consistently taken 15 credits per semester, and also taken one summer class each year.

Attending a campus career fair also put her ahead of the pack upon graduation. Hannah interviewed with a representative from the Indiana State Board of Accounts about a spring semester internship, and while that didn’t work out, she was instead offered a full-time job that begins shortly after she graduates.

“It’s really comforting to have a plan in place for my future,” she said, adding that she plans to earn a master’s degree in accounting, and also become a Certified Public Accountant.

Hannah enjoys accounting because of its organization.

“Accounting is very structured, and there are certain ways to do everything,” she said. “That really clicks with the way my brain works. I like the organization.”

She’s receiving on-the-job experience during her final semester at IU Kokomo as an intern in the Howard County Auditor’s office. She assists staff in entering mortgage exemptions and paying bills, among other duties.

On campus, being a member of the cross country team provided her with an additional support system.

“I’m not sure I would have made as many friends if I hadn’t been on the team,” she said. “I became really close to my teammates. I learned to schedule my time to balance practices with studying and classes, and I was able to study on the bus when we traveled to meets.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana

Last updated: 02/16/2017