Katie Kenny: The 'Happy Accident' Pays Off

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What started as a "happy accident" for Katie Kenny now looks like a sure thing. Her appetite for management has been whetted.

Katie Kenny, '16Katie Kenny describes her decision to attend UW Tacoma as a “happy accident.” Kenny took college classes in high school as part of the Running Start program. The Tenino native earned her associate’s degree and high school diploma at the same time.

The 20-year-old thought about taking a break from school. By the time she changed her mind most college application deadlines had come and gone. Kenny’s mother noted UW Tacoma’s application window was still open.

Kenny’s “happy accident” paid off. The business major graduates from UW Tacoma in June. “I want to get into a management role and actually have an impact on a company at a higher level,” said Kenny.

Kenny had already settled on business as a major when she took a course taught by Dr. Jill Purdy. The 300-level course in management provided a sense of direction for Kenny. “That class kind of whetted my appetite for management,” said Kenny. “I like having some level of control in how things turn out.”

Purdy’s class honed Kenny’s ability to work with groups of people from a diverse set of backgrounds. This skill is something she continued to develop both in her role as a campus tour guide and as the Center for Service and Leadership’s local events coordinator. It served her in good stead during a stint on the campus’s student technology fee committee, and as part of a team developing a voice-recognition-technology start-up called VESPAR, which was selected to compete in the first round of the 2016 UW Business Plan Competition.

So, what’s next? Kenny is going to take a few weeks off before venturing into the nonprofit world. That decision was very intentional.

Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / June 2, 2016
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or johnbjr@uw.edu