Cassidy Bagwell is not shy about her career aspirations.
She wants to work in corporate accounting, earn her professional certifications and, later, teach at the university level.
First, however, she will make the commencement address for her fellow Tarleton State University College of Business Administration graduates in exercises at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The outstanding undergraduate student in accounting, finance and economics carries a perfect 4.0 GPA, has completed the prestigious honors program and has graced the Dean’s List every semester on campus. But finding her accounting niche was almost by accident.
Growing up in tiny Callisburg in Cooke County, she competed in University Interscholastic League math academic events.
“They basically needed a body to take an exam and I took it,” she said. “I did well and I liked it. I kept going, I worked hard and wound up going to state in accounting my senior year.”
She hasn’t looked back.
Besides making consistently stellar grades at Tarleton, she was a supplemental instruction leader for two years and a tutor for accounting and finance students.
“I would hold sessions after hours, going over the material and helping them,” she said. “I’ve always had a passion for teaching. I really wanted to go into a specific field first, but I’d like to be a professor later on.”
In fact, the time sharing her gift with other students was her favorite part of her collegiate experience.
“To this day,” she said, “I see some of them around town who say, ‘I never would have gotten through accounting without your help.’ Seeing them and how they’ve done, knowing I helped them reach their goals — that was a great part of being at Tarleton.”
Growing up in Callisburg, a town with a “school, a car wash and a community center,” was key in her decision to go to college in Stephenville. “Tarleton was a lot like growing up in my hometown. It was a small, tight-knit community. Being able to learn in that environment, I was able to transfer the work ethic I was taught to Tarleton.”
As a senior, she served as president of the Accounting Society, as well as secretary of the Finance Society.
Her speech will implore graduates to overcome their fears.
“It’s not about just being smart, “she said. “I actually have seven siblings. I’m the first one in the family to finish college. I didn’t grow up in an academic household. It was about where I wanted to be, and I had to do my very best to get there, to be successful.
“Every single step I took was scary. Everyone is scared. No one is unstoppable to the point they don’t know fear. Being able to push through is really being successful.”