Kate Armstrong: Outstanding student

December 19, 2013

Kate Armstrong (B.S. Accountancy, Supply Chain Management ’14) can remember going to the toy store in her New Jersey home town and being in awe of the thousands of products for sale. She wondered where the toys made, how they got there and how the store decided which toys to sell.

Armstrong’s fascination with business started at that early age, and when it was time for college she came to the W. P. Carey School of Business and Barrett, the Honors College to major in accountancy and supply chain management. At her December 2013 graduation she addressed her classmates as the Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior. Following an internship at KPMG, this fall she enrolled in the Master of Accountancy program.

“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.”

Scholarship and leadership

For her honors thesis project, Armstrong worked alongside W. P. Carey clinical assistant professor Steven F. Orpurt and associate professor Steve Hillegeist to explore how Australian based security analysts use of direct method statement of cash flow information. Her project contributed to a larger report that Orpurt presented to the International Association for Accounting Education & Research in London this spring. The Phoenix office of KPMG, where Armstrong interned, sponsored her trip to London for the presentation.

Outside of class, Armstrong excelled as a leader in the Canon Leadership Program and several other student groups. She participated in the Barrett Mentoring Program and was a welcome coordinator in the Welcome Leader Program. She also volunteered with the Tempe Tax Project and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

One of her favorite experiences was being a welcome coordinator in the ASU Welcome Leader 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 Clubs of America and with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), which helps low income families complete their tax returns free of charge. 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.

Thankful and grateful

Kate 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.

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,” a message Armstrong remembers.

“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 every day, 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.”