'Can't miss' prospects often do, but there are some compelling reasons for believing that Marissa Hines won't.
Hines, an accounting major from Due West, just won the Thayer Award, established by the family of Dr. Henry Thayer, for having the highest grade point average of any member of Lander University's fall graduating class. She graduated with a perfect 4.0 average.
In the spring, she will work as an audit intern with Grant Thornton, LLC, of Columbia, having previously participated in Grant Thornton's Impact: Summer Leadership Program.
Next fall, she will begin work on her master of accountancy degree at the University of South Carolina, where she has already been accepted.
In addition to her work with Grant Thornton, she has also worked as a tax season intern with Manley Garvin, LLC, and Cox Accounting Solutions, LLC, both of Greenwood; as a communications intern with the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce; and as a seasonal teller with The Commercial Bank, in Donalds.
However, it was an internship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's International Violent Crimes Unit in Washington, D.C., that opened her eyes to what she wanted to do. That was when she got her "first glimpse of forensic accounting and realized that was my career goal," she said.
Assistant Professor of Business Dr. Kelli Horne's forensic accounting class, which goes into the history of forensic accounting, finding fraud, and forensic accounting jobs, also "impacted my career path and solidified my interest in the field," Hines said.
Horne said she was "not surprised" that Hines graduated at the top of her class. "I am very impressed with Marissa," she said.
Professor of Accounting Dr. Gail Moore, who taught Hines in three classes, said "she is the type of student you enjoy having in class because she can answer questions where appropriate and help her peers where appropriate. She does not wait to be taught, but rather digs deeply into topics to learn everything she can about them."
Moore, who served as Hines's academic advisor and also supervised one of her internships, called her "one of the best students I have ever taught."
In addition to Horne and Moore, Hines also credited College of Business Administrative Specialist Jody Chapman.
"Mrs. Chapman always has her door open to help students like me, and when you need something done, she makes it happen," she said.
One of the keys to being a successful student is having a strong work ethic, according to Hines. Another is having a support system.
"Having those people to push you that extra mile makes a huge difference," she said.