For Las Vegas native Katelyn Yoakum, excellent study habits and ambition were part of her life well before enrolling at Southern Utah University. The newly named SUU valedictorian was not only an exceptional student before attending the university, but she was also valedictorian of Shadow Ridge High School.Katelyn came to SUU after her mother recommended the college for its small, personalized classes and caring community. When selecting a major, Katelyn realized that a finance major was the best choice for her.
“I really love math, and my mom thought I would love business and finance,” said Katelyn. “I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but my mom always picks the best things for me.”
As a finance major, Katelyn received multiple awards including: SUU’s Outstanding Junior in Finance, Dean’s List Fall 2014 and 2015 and Dean’s List Spring 2015 and 2016. Away from classes and studying, she has worked at SUU as a library circulation aide and honors statistics teacher’s aide. Currently, she works as a credit service intern with State Bank of Southern Utah.
Katelyn will be graduating SUU in three years, rather than the general four. Her early graduation is a result of exceptional grades, well-disciplined time management and work ethic.
“I’ve always had a strong work ethic, but I came to college not expecting to get a 4.0 GPA or valedictorian,” said Katelyn. “I just wanted to do the best I could. I have a planner and constantly check things off each day. I’m also a big text book reader. I will read a textbook two or three times before a test.”
When it comes to mentors, Katelyn says her biggest supports have been Bruce Haslem, associate professor of finance, and Stephen Evans, professor of finance. Katelyn said Professor Evans always has encouraging words to build her up before major tests and assignments, and Professor Haslem has been a great guidance for interviews and future endeavors.
As for her exciting future, Katelyn obtained a job as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, an American multinational finance company. She interviewed the first week of spring semester, and was notified immediately of her future position.
Katelyn’s advice for future and current students includes focusing on time management and the “three S’s” – study, sleep and socialize. She also said she would encourage future students to pick SUU for it’s amazing class sizes, mentorships and spirit of the community.
“Having SUU’s finance department accepting me for who I am has impacted me tremendously,” said Katelyn. “I feel that I am apart of the finance program, and I feel that I am apart of SUU. I’ve always felt included."