Getting Involved at Emporia State is Key for Clark
Jennifer Clark is a planner and person of action.
She began planning to enroll at Emporia State University when she was a sophomore at Cherryvale High School. Clark was a person of action when her plans didn't unfold quite as expected. After high school graduation, her father was ill and by commuting to Independence Community College, she could save on living costs.
So she set up a plan of two years at Independence and then a transfer to Emporia State. That was her goal and she had not lost focus of that.
"I am the youngest of five children," Clark points out, "and the first to get any kind of college degree. I had made several visits to Emporia State and I fell in love with the campus. When I found out that Emporia State was one of only two schools in the state with a flat rate tuition that was very important to me.”
"The community was another big reason for choosing Emporia State. I love it in Emporia. I just immediately fell in love with it. Emporia is so friendly and welcoming."
There have been no disappointments or regrets from her Emporia State University experience. Well, maybe one small problem.
"I did get a little homesick at first," she says.
But she put together another plan and says that small problem evaporated. Her action was to get involved. And the floodgates of action exploded.
Clark is a senator in the Associated Student Government (ASG), as well as serving on two of its committees. She is a member of Phi Beta Lambda, a natural progression from her high school membership in Future Business Leaders of America. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Society, the nation's oldest academic honor society and helped restart the society on campus. Clark is treasurer for her sorority Alpha Sigma Alpha and a member of the Morse Hall Activity Council (MAC). She also plans on joining Beta Alpha Psi the International Honorary Organization for Financial Information Professionals.
The university president's office is likely where Clark can be found when not in class, studying, or at one of her many organizational meetings. She got a job in Dr. Michael Shonrock's office and it has turned out to be a highlight experience.
"Actually, I met Dr. Shonrock at an All-USA Academic Conference," Clark says. She was named to the All-Kansas Academic Team and was a nominee for All-USA team in 2011 while attending Independence Community College. "His enthusiasm was 120 percent more than anyone."
After working in his Plumb Hall office, she may want to increase that percentage.
"All of us student workers really hate to use the paper shredder. It is so noisy. But Dr. Shonrock came in while we were shredding a bunch of papers and he started singing "Shredding, shredding, shredding. It really lightened the mood. He is such a blessing to work with and that makes it great to go to work every day."
Clark's time spent in the classrooms seems equally blessed.
She left Independence Community College with associated degrees in Arts and Spanish and Liberal Arts and Science. At Emporia State, as a junior, Clark is an accounting major with a minor in Spanish. She learned the value of a second language while working in the Wal-Mart Vision Center at Independence.
"I was the only one there that could speak Spanish, so I was called in a lot to translate between staff and customers, she says."
That experience fits with a new plan she has. Travel and refine her Spanish language skills. This summer Clark will travel in the Study Abroad program available at Emporia State. Her particular group will be led by Professor of Spanish Dr. Luisa Perez and will spend a month in Costa Rico. During that time Clark will live with a family, which should allow her get a better understanding of the culture to go with her language skills.
"It is difficult to learn a language formerly when you are not in an environment where everyone is speaking that language,” she explains. "You can really become fluent when you are immersed."
Don't think this is the only plan she has laid out for herself. She intends to take a semester off next spring to do an internship offered to her by BKD LLP, an audit services and accounting firm located in Wichita. Then it will be back to the books at Emporia State in the fall of 2014.
Clark plans to pick up her Certified Public Accounting (CPA), find a job, and of course, do more traveling.
Her final thoughts about her experience at Emporia State so far happened when helping out with the Panhellenic Association at a Breast Cancer Awareness event. Clark recalls that a woman walked up to the table and she gave this random person her spill.
"She then gave me her spill," says Clark. "She was a breast cancer survivor and turned out to be a faculty member at Emporia State. She was so personal and open about her experiences. That is what I tell others, it's about the close experiences you can have at Emporia State and in the community. That is what you find here. Emporia is like a big family."
Clark's only expression of hesitancy when asked about Emporia State University was when asked to identify her favorite memory at school. After serious contemplation she answers.
"Every day is a new day and a new memory."