When Kimberly Chao transferred to UMass Lowell at the start of her junior year, she wasn’t only changing schools, she was also switching majors. Originally studying biology with plans for a health care career, Chao wasn’t sure where her path would lead.
Chao adjusted to her new environment quickly. As she settled in, she decided to pursue a business degree. By her second semester on campus, she joined the Honors College, got a job as an accounting intern in the Office of Student Affairs and immersed herself in numerous student organizations.
“I’ve had a great experience at UMass Lowell. The professors are so supportive. The guidance I’ve gotten has made such a difference,” says Chao.
With dual concentrations in accounting and finance, Chao discovered she can still pursue her long-standing interest in health care. For her honors thesis she researched health care outcomes in the United States compared to those in other countries. She connected with Assist. Prof. Asil Oztekin, who has deep expertise in health care informatics and decision analysis, to serve as her thesis adviser. Her goal is to get the paper published in a research journal.
“The leadership and direction in the Honors College have been amazing. The students are all focused on the same goal. They want to make the most of their time here,” says Chao. “I have really been able to push myself.”
In addition to her academic success, Chao developed leadership skills through her involvement with student activities. She served as president of the Accounting Society, organizing volunteer teams for a Habitat for Humanity site in Lowell and arranging guest speakers from industry to visit campus. She was vice president of the Finance Society and the Student Managed Fund and was head of committees for Omicron Delta Kappa, the national college leadership honor society, and the campus chapter of Tau Sigma, a national honor society for transfer students.
“My days are so packed but it’s all worth it,” says Chao. “I’ve gotten something out of every class and activity.”
The summer before her senior year, Chao worked as an audit intern at Feeley & Driscoll, a public accounting firm in Boston. She accepted a full-time job with the firm and is set to begin after graduation. She plans to prepare for the certified public accounting exam.
“I’m so excited. I’m ready for the career opportunities that come my way,” she says.