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Blugold follows winding path to find her major, future career

| Judy Berthiaume

Photo caption: Linnea Vesely came to UW-Eau Claire with an interest in accounting but also took the time to explore other potential career paths. She will graduate in May 2024 with majors in accounting and finance and a minor in psychology. She credits UW-Eau Claire with giving her opportunities to find the path that was best for her.

As a Blugold, Linnea Vesely has learned many things that will help her be successful in her future career and life, including that sometimes it’s OK to take a detour.

After enjoying accounting in high school, Vesely came to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire convinced it was the right major for her. Then she changed her mind — again and again — before circling back to accounting.

“My path to my major was an adventure,” says Vesely, of Rice Lake. “I started in accounting but changed directions. I switched my major five times before settling back into accounting, though with finance and psychology additions.”

Vesely, who will graduate in May 2024 with majors in accounting and finance and a minor in psychology, says UW-Eau Claire gave her the support and opportunities she needed to find her own path, even with its many twists and turns.

While her professors are wonderful, Vesely credits Katy Rand, senior coordinator of student leadership in Activities, Involvement and Leadership, with “shaping me into the student and individual I am today.”

Rand was Vesely’s mentor her freshman year, and the two still are connected. “Katy has been spectacular in supporting me through anything and everything,” Vesely says. “Having someone on campus who I trust with everything makes my time here even better.”

Vesely says the “best thing” about UW-Eau Claire is its many student-focused events, activities and organizations, which get all Blugolds — including new freshmen — involved in the campus.

“It’s great UWEC cares about making campus feel like a home away from home,” Vesely says. “The effort the university puts into events, programs and professional development is incredible.”

Among the experiences Vesely says were especially meaningful was an immersion program in Hawaii, where she learned about the state’s native culture and history.

Vesely says another valuable experience was being on an accounting team that won first-place in the Deloitte Audit Case Competition. The competition exposed her to the audit side of accounting, which she says will help her decide on future paths within the accounting field.

Deloitte competition winners 2022

“Networking with Deloitte partners and managers also was extremely beneficial since I’ll be in an audit program this summer, which could lead to a full-time position,” Vesely says.

As an intern with UW-Eau Claire’s Small Business Development Center, Vesely helped create financial projections for business owners who were seeking financing.

“It was my first job applying what I learned in classes to the real world,” Vesely says. “I learned about broader business concepts that aren’t taught in classes. My favorite part was learning about businesses in different industries, from trucking to bakeries.”

Vesely says several other internships gave her “real-world experiences that helped me find my passions.” Doing “real client work made me more confident because it reassured me that I can do the work and that I enjoy it,” she says.

Wherever her career takes her, Vesely is confident she’ll be successful.

“UWEC is preparing me for success by emphasizing high-impact practices like study abroad, internships and research,” Vesely says.