Kennesaw State accounting graduate takes non-traditional path to success

KENNESAW, Ga. | Jul 26, 2021

Amanda Soriano
Amanda Soriano

Amanda Soriano has not taken the conventional route to earning her bachelor’s degree, but her determination and involvement have helped forge her path to success at Kennesaw State University and beyond.

Soriano, a mother of three, is graduating this month from the Michael J. Coles College of Business with a degree in accounting, officially completing her undergraduate studies more than a decade after she graduated from high school. Soriano’s interest in KSU was sparked after she and her family moved to Kennesaw and she continually received informational flyers from the school in the mail. After three years, Soriano took the plunge and applied to the University, and the rest is history.

“I knew I wanted to go back to finish school, and getting those flyers all the time reminded me that I could still do it,” Soriano said. “When I took a tour of the campus, that was it. I knew this was home.”

Although Soriano had planned to “get in and get out” while working toward her degree, she quickly realized that she wanted more out of her college experience, even as a non-traditional student. Soriano joined numerous organizations at Kennesaw State, including Beta Alpha Psi, a national honor society for accounting, finance and information systems students, and Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society for students in the top 10% of their undergraduate class.

Soriano developed her leadership skills as a Flight Academy Student Ambassador and was recognized as a top student, being selected for KSU Journey Honors College. She was also part of the Coles Scholars Program, a highly selective organization that allows students to build leadership and teamwork skills. She also completed three internships while working on her degree to explore the different sectors of accounting.

“I think many non-traditional students think that since they’re not 18 years old anymore, they don’t want to get involved in things around campus,” Soriano said. “I feel like everyone can make time to do something that they’re passionate about, and getting involved was my biggest takeaway from my time at KSU.”

Soriano’s academic and professional achievements were bolstered with her success at the Aprio 2020 Case Competition in November, where she and another KSU accounting student won first place and were awarded $14,000. Competitors, split into teams, were presented with a fictitious Atlanta-based events company and had to design a plan to transition employees into returning to work during the pandemic. Tasks included designing a logo for the company, presenting to a panel and answering questions about the transition plan. Soriano’s success in the project solidified to her that she was on the right path with her major.

“I am so proud of all that Amanda has accomplished during her undergraduate career at KSU,” said Stacy Campbell, executive director of the Coles Scholars Program and professor of management who encouraged Soriano to enter the competition. “Nothing stopped her, not even a global pandemic. I know Amanda is going to crush her next challenges, and I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her from here.”

In the fall, Soriano will enroll in KSU’s Master of Accounting program, which she hopes will one day allow her to take on a leadership role at a company. Like with her undergraduate studies, Soriano hopes to draw upon her own ambition, as well as the memory of her late grandmother, who dreamed of becoming a teacher but never had the opportunity.

“Because of her, one of the things that was most important to me was finding where I fit and then trying to excel in whatever it was that I chose to do,” said Soriano. “I have an obligation to do anything that is presented to me to the best of my ability. Going back and finishing my degree helped prove to my daughters and myself that it’s never too late to do anything.”

– Josh Milton

Photos by Jason Getz

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit