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Jane Akowuah

Jane Akowuah says she stayed motivated to finish her bachelor’s degree at UT Dallas by keeping a chart of her courses on a wall at home and checking them off as she completed them. That visual bolstered her, and she finished her degree in accounting and management information systems in December.

As a mother of three who worked full time in addition to being a full time student, Akowuah needed extra motivation. She finished her degree after transferring from Richland Community College in 2010.

“Any time I felt tired, I could look and see what I’ve already accomplished,” she said. “It was a challenge, but thank God, I did it.”

With her children now 22, 19 and 12, Akowuah is pursuing an MBA with concentrations in accounting and internal audit.

She works part time as an accountant at PDF Solutions, where she earlier completed an internship. She loves the troubleshooting that comes with her job, and the certainty that accounting principles can fix any problem she runs across.

“I’m looking for solutions, looking for the little things and figuring out what is wrong. The moment you figure out what’s wrong, you apply the basic principles of accounting and that’s it,” she said.

Because scholarship funds enabled her to be a full-time undergraduate, Akowuah felt she wanted to give back to the UT Dallas community. She has volunteered with the University’s Transfer Student Services, helping others who were new to campus.

“The things I went through are helping someone else,” she said.

“I tell transfer students that there is nothing to be afraid of. If you take the first step, your professors will help you through. You can go to them even without a question, and tell them your story, and you’ll get advice and direction.”

She also encourages new transfer students to aim high academically, and to anticipate putting in more time on course projects. She set a goal of maintaining an A in all of her accounting classes.

“You need dedication. You have to stay focused. You have to know what you want and then do it. If that’s your aim, it’s not difficult to do,” she said.