Kara Hess-Hover loves using logic to solve problems – and helping her fellow Hornets do the same.
In the Business Lab, the Business Administration major – who is on track for a stellar 4.0 GPA – tutors her peers in a variety of business-related subjects. You could say that business smarts run in the family; her grandfather taught accounting at the college years ago and her mother is an alumna, who went on to earn her bachelor’s in the accounting field.
“When you grow up with a family who analyzes things, you learn to think with that mindset. I like to use logic and solve problems,” said Kara, who plans to graduate at the end of the Fall 2018 semester and transfer to Binghamton University.
Her long-term goals: To earn an MBA, with specialization in accounting, and become a certified public accountant (CPA).
Unlike many of her peers, Kara is also the mother of two young children – a road in life that could have deferred her educational dreams. Despite the obstacles, she made sure to graduate high school on time and start her college career during her second pregnancy. Two weeks after the birth, she was back in class and hitting the books.
“If you stop, you’re not going back,” she said of her choice to continue her education.
Making connections, finding support
Juggling academics with family life and job obligations can be a complicated dance for many students. Kara not only makes it work, but she has opted for the academically challenging Honors Program, stays involved in campus life and has even studied abroad in London, England.
Time management is a must, but even with laser-sharp focus, Kara will sometimes double-book herself – and make the tough choices on what to accomplish and what to lay aside. During class time, her children attend Mom’s House, which provides childcare for single parents pursuing their educational dreams. Her family, friends and faith community also provided a helping hand and encouragement when needed.
“I have a huge family and I go to a huge church. I have tons of friends who are always there to support me on my way,” she said. “That what you need when you have children and are going to school; you need that support.”
Take the London and Literature international course she attended with her SUNY Broome classmates. Her mother noted Kara’s interest in the class and encouraged her to take it. During the class’ eight-day stay in England, her mother took vacation time herself to take care of Kara’s young children.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Kara reflected.
As a Student Ambassador, she is a familiar face on campus, and also active in the Business Club and Alpha Beta Gamma (ABG) Business Honor Society. ABG has given her the opportunity to travel to conferences and network with students from across the United States. Last spring’s conference was held in Jekyll Island, Georgia, and students had the opportunity to eat dinner in the very room where the Federal Reserve took shape, she said.
“I enjoy being part of ABG; they’re really doing stuff this semester,” she said. “It’s cool to see it grow and how people can connect.”
Tutoring furthers her connection with fellow students, and also gives her the opportunity to keep her own skills and knowledge sharp.
The Honors Program, with its rigorous coursework, has given her the opportunity to explore new areas. Honors students must conduct a capstone project – culminating in a research paper and presentation – in partnership with a professor. Kara is working with Psychology Professor Jesse Boring on a project involving psychopathy in the business world.
“He’s really energetic and he guides you to the resources you need,” she said. “I don’t typically do research papers for my studies; he has helped me and guided me.”
Her project idea, curiously enough, came by way of the London trip. En route, she picked up a copy of Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, which sparked her fascination with the subject matter. Psychopaths lack empathy, although high-performing psychopaths can mimic more-typical human responses and even exhibit charisma useful in the business world – hence the project.
When it came time to choose a college, SUNY Broome was the one that made sense for Kara; going away wasn’t an option due to her family situation. Affordability and an easy transfer path to Binghamton University were major pluses.
Life can be a whirl of activities and obligations, but going to college was very much worth it – and not just in terms of career trajectory.
“I made a lot of new friends. People here are awesome,” she said. “You realize there is a bigger world out there.”