When Rachael Sarson was a student at Purdue University North Central, she was a member of several campus organizations intended to develop and enhance student leadership skills. Since her 2009 graduation, she has put her skills to work in the local community.
A Portage High School graduate, Sarson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business, with a concentration in Accounting. Today she is a Certified Public Accountant with Craighead, Lange, & Hough Certified Public Accountants of Michigan City. A senior accountant, she specializes in audit and attest services and corporate tax preparation for small to mid-size clients.
Sarson puts her Purdue degree to work every day.
“PNC was the perfect campus to learn in a small, community environment,” she explained. “I had access to excellent professors and a network of student peers to help me learn, grow and prepare for my career. Staying local let me work while earning my degree, so I could pay for my education and graduate with no debt. I received a prestigious Purdue degree that opened many doors for career opportunities.”
She offers a simple explanation as to why she decided to pursue a career as an accountant, “I understood debits and credits. I knew there were numerous opportunities in the field.”
But she is quick to thank PNC faculty members who helped her fulfill her career aspirations.
“Donna Whitten (associate professor of Business – Accounting) and Thomas Hotels (continuing lecturer in Accounting) are fantastic professors,” she said. “They taught me numerous things in the classroom and inspired me to strive to become a CPA.”
At PNC Sarson was a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Society, Dean’s Leadership Group and the Business Leaders of Tomorrow.
Students are selected for the Chancellor’s Leadership Seminar based on their record of academic achievement, their leadership involvement in school and community activities and their potential for participation and leadership in PNC extracurricular activities.
After spending a semester participating in Chancellor’s Leadership Seminar activities, students become part of the Dean’s Leadership Group and take on a various projects that benefit the PNC campus and surrounding communities.
The Business Leaders of Tomorrow concentrate on enhancing club members’ career opportunities.
“PNC gave me the foundation and experience for a limitless career. I received a world-class education at an affordable price. Since commencement, I passed the Certified Public Accountants exams and became licensed in Indiana and Illinois. I have a challenging and rewarding career and it all started in a classroom at PNC.”
Sarson devotes much of her time and energy to her community activities as well. She’s been involved with the Portage Township YMCA as a Finance Committee member; the Emerge South Shore Young Professionals Group, the Porter County Community Foundation and volunteers to participate in Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS) campus presentations.
In December, 2013, she earned the Emerging Leaders Award from the Indiana CPA Society, becoming one of only three recipients to be presented with the award this year. Recipients are nominated by others and have made significant contributions to the overall success of their employer.
Since joining Craighead, Lange, & Hough in 2010, Sarson has been a part of many projects that have contributed to the accomplishments and growth of the firm. These achievements include transitioning to a paperless engagement system and the standardization of the firm’s new hire training program.
She was named to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Leadership Academy – Class of 2012, one of 36 CPAs chosen from across the country to learn leadership theory and strategic planning techniques, develop tools for handling complex management challenges and discuss the most important issues facing the profession today.
As a member of the Indiana CPA Society Emerging Leaders Alliance, she was nominated for the INCPAS Emerging Leaders Award. She was a member of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy Class of 2011 and serves on the PNC College of Business Advisory Board.
As she speaks about her professional accomplishments, Sarson continues to cite how her PNC experience helps her today.
“PNC prepared me perfectly for my career. I had a campus experience with small classes, close interaction with professors and students at a local campus community. I now work at a local public account firm, I work in an office with close interaction with my co-workers and partners and I work with closely with small-midsize local clients. I was very prepared for my profession.”
Her advice to other students is simple, “Enjoy college. Work hard, learn from your professors, make friends, network and dream big.”