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Elizabeth’s Journey into Accounting and Project Management

A writing prompt sparked Elizabeth McCormick’s path to a future filled with hard work, a strong career, and organizing others to give.

Elizabeth McCormick smiling with her diploma in front of a Golden Gopher statue

For Elizabeth McCormick, an assignment in ninth grade English class got her worried and sparked a passion for finding who she was and what she wanted to be. As part of an autobiography writing exercise, students were asked to write about their passion. Instead of having an easy answer, Elizabeth started thinking about what her passion was or what it could be. “I really wanted to find what my passion was and at the time thought I needed to find one single thing,” said Elizabeth. 

In tenth grade, Elizabeth joined the Burnsville High School (BHS) chapter of DECA, an organization that aims to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management with clubs and competitions for high school students. She felt an instant connection and got more involved by becoming an officer in eleventh grade, doing recruitment efforts, running meetings, and planning for logistics and events. One event unexpectedly became a spark of passion, organizing blood drives. “I was never interested in healthcare and was pretty squeamish around blood and needles so I didn’t actually donate but I loved running and organizing the blood drives.”

Finding herself in exploration mode, Elizabeth wanted to learn more about different types of jobs and careers that were out there connected to what she was learning about in DECA and other organizations. She approached College and Career Specialist Marcia Sexton about the option to shadow different jobs and careers in the community and since there wasn’t a club already established, she started one!

“We set up a handful of different local shadowing opportunities at city hall, with mall management, at companies like Bosch and at Firefly Credit Union,” said Elizabeth. “Organizing that really fostered a sense of entrepreneurship in me knowing that even if you don’t see the club listed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t go do something that you’re interested in. As a woman and especially then as a teenager, there are parts of the world that can feel off limits, but I was never told no, just given the option to pursue an alternative.”

In the classroom, Elizabeth took several AP classes and College in the Schools classes, really diving in during her sophomore year. By the time she graduated in 2018, she had 51 college credits, all earned at BHS for free. She took that energy into her time at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, where she graduated in December of 2020, just two and a half years after high school graduation. 

Elizabeth started at global accounting company KPMG in 2021 and officially became a Certified Public Accountant in January of 2023. She enjoys her work as an accountant where she can work on project management with lots of autonomy. She also plans to keep being involved in organizing, and since she has gotten over her fear of needles, actively participating in blood drives.

“It’s important to always have a plan, whether it’s the forever plan or the today plan. Don’t just set yourself on one path, I originally majored in Management Information Systems, which was not a good fit for me, and if I would have picked that one path as my identity, I would have missed out on a lot of opportunities.”

-Elizabeth McCormick

2000

Elizabeth was born in raised in Burnsville.

Elementary School

Elizabeth had a mix of attending District 191 schools and homeschooling.

Middle School

Transitioning away from homeschooling, Elizabeth gets involved with soccer and drama club.

7th Grade

While at Metcalf, Elizabeth realized she needed to work on skills like organization and self-advocacy and started a mission to “master school.”

10th & 11th Grade

Elizabeth joins the BHS chapter of DECA in 10th grade, finding an immediate connection. In 11th grade, Elizabeth got more involved with DECA and also starts a new club dedicated to organizing job shadowing opportunities for students.

Two students smiling while wearing their DECA jackets

12th Grade

Elizabeth ends up tasked with organizing blood drives at BHS, sparking a passion for project management and organization for service. She is later named Blood Drive Coordinator of the Year!

Three students standing in a hallway next to a mascot of blood for a blood drive

2018

Elizabeth graduates from BHS with 51 college credits to her name.

2020

After working hard and taking summer classes, Elizabeth graduates from the University of Minnesota and the Carlson School of Management with a degree in Accounting and Finance.

Elizabeth McCormick smiling with her diploma in front of a Golden Gopher statue

2021

Elizabeth begins working for major accounting firm KPMG.

2023

Upon finishing all of her requirements, Elizabeth is officially a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).