It’s all about who you know—junior Elizabeth Benson can attest to that! Being born into a family of Central alums has its perks. Central gear is never lacking, and there’s always room for more Dutch pride! Benson’s four aunts and uncles attended Central, and her younger sister Emily ’15 calls Central home (oh, and a few other family friends and relatives, too).
“I heard about Central growing up all the time,” Benson says. “And when I visited I fell in love with the campus and the people.”
The Urbandale native is big on pushing her limits, and she did just that in the spring of 2012 when she studied abroad in Bangor, Wales. She joined a campus ministries group, as well as the local hiking club, where she trekked around the mountains of Snowdonia National Park.
“Going to Wales definitely made me more independent,” recalls Benson. “You don’t realize how independent you have to be until you’re there. I became more mature, making more decisions on my own.”
The experience gave her the confidence to pursue an internship in Des Moines. As an accounting major and non-for-profit minor, Benson was looking to find something in accounting, and her Central connections paid off. Kelly Frett ’98, the daughter of one of her mother’s friends, heard Benson was looking for an accounting internship and found her a contact at the Iowa Health Foundation on the Iowa Methodist Medical Center campus. Administrative jobs in the health sector, such as accounting, are growing, but Benson says she sometimes forgets she works for a hospital.
“I do a lot of different jobs they need,” she says. “I do accounts receivable, accounts payable and a lot of deposits. With three gift shops, I have to deal with the money and get it to the bank. Every single donation that comes to the hospital goes through us, so getting it into the computer system in the right fund—it’s a lot of inputting information.
Interning three times a week for six hours a day, Benson is getting a lot of great experience that she hopes to use after graduating. Not only is she learning a lot and boosting her resume, she is realizing how much she loves her major. Accounting classes are notoriously difficult. In some, Benson didn’t always understand every principle, but working in the real world has given her the opportunity to learn on the job.
“I learned the foundation of what I needed at Central,” Benson says. “Now I can take those principles into a future career.”
And those career options are bright. Benson is looking into accounting jobs in the area before transitioning to a nonprofit company. Eventually Benson sees herself working for a nonprofit in Africa, but until then, she will continue networking and finding her niche in the business world.
“Professors have helped me network, and that will give me at great start in my future career,” she says. “Central has helped me become more mature and given me the opportunities to succeed and the tools to do so.”