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Leading in the Classroom
Alysa Smith, Eller Accounting ’13

By Kelsey Wagner
Eller Marketing ’12

Though Alysa Smith just began her first semester in Eller’s professional program, she has racked up a list of accomplishments that rivals the most active of graduating seniors. Smith has just been awarded the Junior Achievement Outstanding Star Award.

Alysa Smith, Eller Accounting '13, takes a break from volunteering in the classroom to enjoy the sea.

Alysa Smith, Eller Accounting ’13, takes a break from volunteering in the classroom to enjoy the sea.

Her job as Eller Spirit Day coordinator is to plan and manage volunteer Spirit Days, when 50 to 60 Eller students teach elementary students about financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Smith recruits all the volunteers, assigns them to classrooms, and monitors them throughout the day to make sure that everyone is learning and having fun. On top of that, Smith said, “I also volunteer in classrooms on the side; last year I volunteered in six classrooms, more than anyone has ever done in one year! I love reaching out to kids and seeing their faces light up when you talk about human versus natural resources and all the other fun stuff we learn about.”

Before Smith was involved in Junior Achievement, she was your typical freshman, indecisive about her major. “I changed my major four or five times before finally deciding on pre-business,” she said. “Then I changed my mind a couple more times because I couldn’t decide between finance, management, and accounting.”

After being inspired by her prerequisite business classes, she went the accounting route. From there she found her way into Junior Achievement, which she says has been her most satisfying role yet. “I love coordinating Eller Spirit Days; it’s a great feeling to see Eller students teach at-risk elementary kids about the importance of business and entrepreneurial skills. My work with Junior Achievement reminds me every day that we are more than just business people: we are leaders and role models, even if we don’t always know who we’re making an impression on.”

Smith says she has no intention of leaving Junior Achievement behind when she graduates, and hopes to continue with the organization well into her career. As far as career goals, she said, “Ultimately I want to reach out to others and inspire through my actions. I’m not sure yet what that venue will be, but whatever path I end up taking, I know I’ll make the most of it!”

Learn more about leadership and involvement opportunities for Eller undergraduate students.