Three’s a charm for a triple-major senior

Angelo Gargaro

Senior Kelly Jernigan is triple majoring. She’s getting her B.A. in international relations, B.S. in German translation, BBA in accounting and a minor in international business. Leslie L. Cusano | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Kent State will soon say goodbye to one of its triple-major students — a rarity for any college.

Kelly Jernigan, who majors in German translation, international relations and accounting, will graduate in December. She also has a minor in international business.

She came to Kent State from Nashville, Tenn., in 2002 with a full four-year scholarship, and at that time she said she was the only triple major at the university.

In only 11 semesters, she will have finished all her requirements to successfully graduate with three degrees.

Her focus is accounting, and she said it was her most difficult subject at Kent State.

“The teaching styles are different,” Jernigan said. “In the College of Arts and Sciences, they use a lot of handouts, a lot of on-the-board writing, books, pictures and visuals — and I am very visual. Whereas in the business college, they will lecture all day.”

She also has a part-time job at Lytkowski and Company, an accounting firm in Cleveland. She said she hopes to have a full-time job there after graduation.

In addition, Jernigan became engaged to her boyfriend, Kent State graduate Matt Koteles, in March . They met in spring of 2003 — their freshman year at Kent State. Jernigan may be busy tackling three degrees, but she said she still has time for her fianc‚.

“She would come with me a lot when I went home to my parents on the weekends,” Koteles said in an e-mail interview. “We (got) to spend time together there as well, even if she had work to do, which she would take there to work on.”

Jernigan said her day starts at 6 a.m., and when she’s done with all her classes, studying and job, it’s about 11 p.m. She also said that even when she’s stuck in traffic, she will pull out her notes and look over them.

“Basically, if you take those architecture students who say they have no time, multiply that by three,” Jernigan said when describing how busy her schedule is. “A lot of it is balancing.”

Jernigan will graduate with 195 credit hours, and 18 of those hours are part of the college level exam program, or CLEP. According to Kent State’s Web site, CLEP is a test students can take to earn college credits for knowledge they already have.

Jernigan said there were times when the work seemed too much, but it was the support she received throughout the years that kept her going.

“My family supported me over the summers over the phone all the time,” Jernigan said. “They told me, ‘whatever you want to do, just go for it.'”

Her fianc‚ also played a crucial role in her success. Jernigan said he took over the chores around their house. He even helped with some of her homework.

“I do my best to encourage her when she occasionally gets frustrated,” Koteles said.

Koteles can plan on seeing much more of her when she graduates. Jernigan will live in Cleveland to continue her career in accounting. She has studied abroad in Geneva and also was part of a program in Switzerland, in which she stayed just two weeks shy of a full calendar year.

“I was literally there all year,” Jernigan said. “So I have pretty much gotten my fill of traveling around.”

With her graduation fast approaching, Jernigan wanted to leave some advice for those students struggling with classes.

“Don’t give up, and keep working on it,” Jernigan said. “You know what you want to do, and don’t let anyone tell you no.”

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Angelo Gargaro at [email protected].