MAC Student Turns Professor
Sometimes you have to travel down a few wrong trails before starting on the path that leads to where you belong. At least that was Dr. Jennifer McCallen’s experience during her time at NC State.
She started at the university as an undergraduate with a plan to pursue veterinary medicine and spent a few semesters switching majors trying to find a discipline that fit her knowledge, skills and interests. It wasn’t until the end of her junior year that she found her way to the Poole College of Management, where she discovered a passion for a new industry: accounting.
“The faculty at Poole College of Management was so helpful trying to get me caught up to speed – helping me find internships and encouraging me to pursue my master’s in accounting,” McCallen says. Additionally, as part of NC State’s Honors Program, she was required to complete a research project. She credits accounting professors like Dr. Joe Brazel for taking her under their wing.
After getting her undergraduate degree in accounting, McCallen joined the Jenkins MAC program. She continued to feel supported and encouraged not just by her fellow classmates, but also from the faculty. “The structure of the Jenkins MAC program is designed to foster relations with not just your peers, but the faculty,” she says.
In fact, it was one of her accounting professors who initially planted the seed for McCallen to pursue her doctorate and consider a career in higher education.
“After graduating from the MAC program, I worked for several years at Deloitte in their auditing group, but I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do forever,” McCallen says. “I remembered talking to Dr. Brazel about working as an accounting professor, so I reached out to him and some of the other faculty members at Poole to determine if that could be my next step.”
McCallen decided to leave Deloitte and, once again, enter the classroom. She graduated with her doctorate in accounting from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2018 and then took a position at the J.M. Tull School of Accounting at the University of Georgia – where she currently works as an assistant professor.
Her new position allows her to combine two of her greatest interests – research and mentoring students.
“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the practice while focusing on my research interests, while also getting to develop relationships with my students,” McCallen says. “If I could have the influence on even one student that my professors had on me, I’d leave my career fulfilled.”