Distinguished: Kate Armstrong is Outstanding Graduating Senior

December 19, 2013

As a toddler in New Jersey, Kate Armstrong would get excited when her parents took her to the local toy store. Once inside, she would stand in the aisles, eyes large, and look at the thousands of products in complete awe. Where were all these toys made? How did they get here? And how did the store decide which toys to sell?

The fascination for Kate, the toddler, was business. And though she also enjoyed typical age-appropriate activities (and dreamed of being a professional athlete), her inquisitiveness centered on business fundamentals.

“The business world just fascinates me,” says Kate, who graduated from the W. P. Carey School of Business in December 2013 with a B.S.in accountancy and supply chain management. Kate was also the recipient of W. P. Carey’s Outstanding Graduating Senior Award.

“I just love being a student, love learning and I really love W. P. Carey,” says Kate. “I could go on forever about W. P. Carey.”

Her resume reflects this trifecta of love.

Kate’s honors thesis project involved the complex world of international accounting standards. Working alongside W. P. Carey professor Steven F. Orpurt, Kate contributed to surveys and analyses focused on the direct method of cash flow statements. Her research specifically examined the benefits of the direct method for the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and will be included in Orpurt’s commissioned work with IASB.

Beyond the walls of the classroom, Kate developed leadership skills while at ASU. She was part of the Canon Leadership Program, the Supply Chain Management Association and the Sun Devil Snow Club. She was also a member of the Beta Tau chapter of Beta Alpha Psi honors business fraternity.

One of her favorite experiences was being a welcome coordinator in the ASU Welcome Leaders Program. Kate shared her experiences with new students, managed projects, created marketing campaigns and helped other emerging student leaders develop their skills.

Kate also volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club of America, and with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), which helps low income families complete their tax returns free of charge. “I helped out at this program one year -- it was really cool,” she said. At the same time she balanced internships and externships, including two stints with KPMG.

“The opportunities at W. P. Carey are amazing,” says Kate. “You can’t possibly pursue every opportunity that W. P. Carey presents because there are just so many.”

Kate accomplished all this while earning a 4.0 GPA and graduating with honors from Barrett, The Honors College.

Thankful and grateful

Kate has experienced great academic and personal success while at ASU, but she insists it is not her doing alone. “I have my family to thank for any of my successes,” says Kate.

She explains that she finds her inspiration from many of her family members. Her extended family works in business and encouraged her to major in accounting. Kate is inspired by her mother who has been a math teacher for more than 30 years and answered Kate’s endless questions about supply and demand. She is inspired by her father who was a history teacher turned academic guidance counselor and who gave her a passion for learning. One of her greatest inspirations is her grandfather.

Young Kate would often visit him at his office. There was a sign behind his desk that read, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” That enduring message has inspired Kate though the years.

“I believe that hard work and the results that come from that labor are what make us lucky,” says Kate. “My parents are the hardest working people I know. I watched them as they turned their hard work into success and just what happy people they choose to be. It has inspired me to live my life the same way. My parents and family really shaped me into who I am.”

Where to now?

The East Coast girl has found her stride in Arizona where she has taken her love for long distance running and outdoor sports to the desert terrain.

“I love Arizona because you can get a little bit of everything here,” says Kate who runs everyday, but also enjoys hiking, biking, camping and weekend snowboarding trips to Flagstaff.

Kate will be staying in Arizona and at W. P. Carey where she will be pursuing a master’s degree in accountancy after another six-month internship with KPMG.

“I take every chance I can get to expand my education,” says Kate. “I want to take what I love and learn even more about it.”