Keira NewtonJust weeks before Kiera Newton was all set to attend UC Berkeley, there was a fortunate turn of events. She discovered Saint Mary’s College. Her dental hygienist suggested Saint Mary’s and she soon found herself learning what it meant to be a Gael — and loving it.

Kiera transferred from Diablo Valley Community College as a sophomore and by her junior year she was already embracing the Gael experience, taking advantage of all the College had to offer.  She attended every workshop and mock interview session offered at the Career Center, where they helped her achieve her goal — to work at Ernst &Young. She was among a group of top accounting students selected to interview for internships at the prestigious accounting firm and she got one. 

Now Kiera has a secure position waiting for her at Ernst &Young after graduation in spring 2012. Her internship gave her the preparation she wanted so that she would be fully prepared to enter the work force. Working for one of the top companies in the nation was nerve racking at first, Kiera said, but the experience proved to be “fun, fast-paced and amazing. “

Kiera is the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree , a source of great pride for her friends and family.  She says she could not have accomplished this goal without the support of Saint Mary’s staff and what set her apart as an intern — her positive attitude and the fact that she was “not afraid to work hard.”

Kiera defines success as a feeling of accomplishment, while at Diablo Valley Community College she worked at WellPoint, a healthcare company where she developed a software program that the company still uses today. But Kiera wanted to advance in her career; more than anything she wanted to earn her degree.

The close-knit community at Saint Mary’s College allowed Kiera to flourish. She found it surprising when professors remembered her name. They “give students confidence and show interest,” says Kiera, whose story demonstrates not only the power of setting goals, but also the importance of having a support system. And while she faced many obstacles, she looked for the support she needed, found resources and never lost sight of one day holding a diploma in her hands.

 

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