As one who has financed her college education in part, Caitlyn Hayes has persisted to get her money’s worth.
Since enrolling at Purdue University Calumet in the fall of 2010, the now 24-year-old Hammond native, Griffith resident and one of five siblings has kept busy—on and off campus.
Besides her course work, she has held part-time jobs, participated in internships and engaged in a lengthy list of campus organizations and activities. “My planner is my life,” she said.
Job in hand
She also has the peace of mind knowing that after she graduates from Purdue Calumet and its College of Business Saturday (5/7), a full time job awaits her with the national accounting, consulting and technology firm, Crowe Horwath LLP.
The three Commencement Exercises scheduled at the Hammond campus this weekend represent Purdue Calumet’s final graduations before the campus becomes part of the recently-approved Purdue University Northwest this fall with Purdue’s North Central campus in Westville.
“I started as an education major, but during my sophomore year, I went to a Finance and Accounting Club program on campus—I think for the free pizza more than anything,” she said.
“As it turned out, the speaker was interesting, I asked a question about banking, and Ed Furticella (club advisor and department head) approached me after the program. Long story short, I wound up changing my major to accounting and couldn’t be happier.”
Finance and Accounting Club president
Hayes also wound up joining the Finance and Accounting Club, serving as its president this academic year. Additionally on campus, she became active in the Women in Business student organization and the Student Government Association, for which she revamped the compensation stipend process as chief financial officer.
What’s more, she completed a project for the College of Business and has served the International Programs Office as an English language program mentor for several international students. She and her fiancé, Purdue Calumet engineering student Daniel Rodriguez Jr., also have a wedding to plan.
“I’ve always been active,” she said. “In high school at Griffith, I played three sports and was on the Dance Team.
Her background also includes learning to play the piano and flute and riding horses.
Encouraged to get involved on campus
“My mom believed in exposing me to a lot of opportunities,” she said. “When I came to Purdue Calumet, I thought I would take care of my academic work and kind of stay in the background, but my fiancé encouraged me to get involved.”
His nudging, she acknowledged, is just what she needed.
“Serving as president of the Finance and Accounting Club pulled all my different traits together—organization, teamwork and communication,” Hayes said. “With 160 members, 60 of whom regularly attend our meetings, I’m proud of the fact that we received this year’s Student Organization of the Year award on campus.”
For her efforts overseeing club fundraisers, community service initiatives, scholarship fundraising, assistance at campus open houses and making high school visits with other club members, she was named PNW Calumet’s 2015-16 Student Leader of the Year.
Committed to excellence
“As president, Caity worked hard to make sure all of her leadership team members fulfilled their roles in the organization,” Purdue Northwest Calumet Campus Student Organization Administrator Amanda Champlin said. “She is sincerely committed to excelling in whatever she does.”
Accounting Department Head Furticella called Hayes, “one of our best. She is an excellent leader, a team player and caring individual, and she has consistently demonstrated leadership qualities in the classroom, as a club officer and as a university representative.”
With two of her siblings attending Purdue Calumet as well, she has made good on a family commitment to use income from her part-time jobs to help pay for her Purdue education.
“Growing up in a big family, I understand the challenges,” she said. “This my identity. I love school, working hard and being organized. I also would advise anyone going to college to get involved. You may not realize the benefits at the time, but you will.”