School of Business speaker urges students to seek opportunities given

Senior school of business commencement speaker Kelly Pfaff.

After taking advantage of opportunities at SIUE, senior economics and finance major Kelly Pfaff, of Sandwich, Illinois, now boasts an internship at Boeing, and was named the School of Business undergraduate commencement speaker.

Pfaff said she believes it’s important for students to experience as much outside the classroom as they can.

“If you’re truly interested in what you’re studying, I think you would find external opportunities to learn more about it because it genuinely interests you and it’s not something that the professors have the time or resources to do in class,” Pfaff said. “It helps you to get a more broad and comprehensive view of what you’re studying.”

One learning experience Pfaff participated in was going to the federal reserve with other students and instructor of economics Mary Anne Pettit. Pettit said she uses her connections with the federal reserve to allow students to experience jobs offered there along with presentations, and Pfaff’s participation in these activities shows the type of student she is.

“It says what we all know about Kelly which is she has a passion for the discipline, she’s interested, she’s smart and she’s a good example for all the students,” Pettit said. Pfaff also was a supplemental instructor last school year for a business math class.

According to the coordinator for the supplemental instructor program Rhonda Vonnahmen, being an SI leader not only demonstrates the leader’s proficiency in the subject, but also requires many other skills.

“You have to know the materials and you have to have good communication skills, you have to have a relationship with the students, you have to create an atmosphere in the sessions that’s friendly and so that students feel comfortable answering and asking questions,” Vonnahmen said.

Pfaff is interning at Boeing, a connection she made at the Dean’s Society Dinner. Currently, she is working on the financial control’s team for the F22 fighter jet and before she helped develop robots to do simple, manual tasks for the company. She also interned for Schlafly brewery.

Pfaff said her internships have also allowed her to see what the actual workplace is like.

“I think that it’s important to engage in things that pertain to what you’re studying outside the classroom because even though the classroom is there to kind of prepare you in a way for what it is you’re going to be doing, a classroom is nothing like a job,” Pfaff said. “That’s one thing, too, that I’ve learned at Bowing: that the classroom is there to teach you skills, but those skills are not exactly what you’re going to be doing at your job.


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