Accounting major and studio art minor Kaitlin Wheeler graduates in May, but she’s already lined up a job in the city of her choice, Nashville. Poised and prepared, Wheeler admits she didn’t realize all of the benefits of being at Transylvania until she understood just how competitive she was in the workforce—thanks to a combination of education, opportunities and real-world experience.
“Transy prepares you so much,” Wheeler explains. “Employers look at your transcript and your experience, but they also want to know that you can communicate with all kinds of people.”
Originally from Bowling Green, Kentucky, Wheeler came to Transy to play volleyball on an art scholarship, but she says she stayed for the friendships she made and the close relationships with her professors. As president of her sorority, Wheeler has been active on campus and in Lexington. Also, she’s become comfortable collaborating with people from many backgrounds.
“Transy really does make you stand out,” Wheeler notes, “because you’ve done all these different things. My art minor was brought up in every interview I had.” Time management, problem solving, analytical thinking, learning how to network and thriving in an internship also played a role in Wheeler’s success as a job candidate.
With the help of her academic adviser, Wheeler secured a paid internship, initially for credit, with local accounting firm, Enderle & Romans PLLC. She quickly progressed from bookkeeping to the tax work she loves.
“It’s exciting to be learning new things and working with individuals and businesses,” Wheeler explains. She’s also been happy to discover how people are helped by her work. She likes that sense of service. “I didn’t realize that about accounting at first.”
As her senior year approached, Wheeler began to focus seriously on life after college. She received help from Career Development staff on her resume and practice interviews. Then, realizing how much she wanted to be guided by someone in her future field, she asked Transy’s mentoring program, 100 Doors to Success, to pair her with an established professional in accounting.
Through Faith Crump, a 2002 Transy alum, Wheeler gained access to a treasure trove of experience and support—from practical advice on what to wear to interviews to understanding the types of questions she should expect and how to approach the answers.
“Faith has been the best mentor I could’ve asked for,” Wheeler notes. “We immediately clicked, and I have received so much guidance from her through my senior year.” By sharing her knowledge, encouragement and networking, Crump gave Wheeler confidence as well as an introduction to Crowe LLP.
“Through one of her connections in Nashville,” Wheeler says, “I was able to land a job there. I am so thankful for her support and insight.”
Ultimately, Wheeler received multiple job offers, but was thrilled to accept Crowe’s offer. After graduation, she will spend the summer studying for the CPA exam and then begin work in October.
She’s excited and nervous, but she feels prepared. “You need 150 hours to sit for the CPA,” Wheeler notes. “At Transy you log those hours as an undergraduate.” She is able to enter the workforce without a master’s degree.
Wheeler knows the support system she developed at Transy will continue long after she leaves campus, including that of her mentor. “I know our relationship will go on after I graduate,” she says. “It feels good to have someone else in your corner. When you need advice, you know she’s there.” And Wheeler is grateful for Crump’s role in her future.
“Without Faith,” she notes, “I wouldn’t be at Crowe in Nashville. That’s where I wanted to be.”