WPCC Alumna Finds Way to Degree and Career


Photo of Sbrina Ball

Sabrina Ball

Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC) alumna Sabrina Ball did not determine her career path immediately after high school graduation.  That discovery happened when she was 25 years old and met an accountant for the first time.  After learning what the accounting profession entailed, she realized that she found her future career.

Ball graduated from WPCC in December 2015 with an associate in applied science (AAS) in accounting. She researched accounting programs at other community colleges but ultimately decided to enroll at Western Piedmont.

“They had the program I wanted; other accountants had recommended it; the course schedule was convenient with my life; and the classes were transferrable,” she explained.

Ball attended WPCC while working two part-time jobs.  In addition, she became pregnant with her son a year into her studies.  Fortunately, she had a strong support system within her family and with her instructors who understood when she was juggling classwork with raising a six month old child.  Ball persevered and graduated as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two year colleges and academic programs.

“I loved my instructors.  They never minded when I asked questions and I was always asking questions; especially in math classes,” she said with a smile.  “They all have their unique way of teaching and were able to make their classes fun.  That was also true when I ventured out into non major classes like English or economics.”

She is currently employed as an accounting associate for Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) in Morganton, N.C., and is grateful to be working at a company that offers such support and resources to its employees.

“I couldn’t have gotten a better position or a stronger trainer.  My manager clearly cares about his people,” she said in reference to Lee Oakes, her supervisor, who has worked with her to develop a 10 year professional growth plan.

Ball is the fourth WPCC accounting graduate to be hired by Packaging Corporation of America in Morganton.  Because of their success with WPCC alumni, the company regularly contacts faculty in WPCC’s accounting program to request interviews with the strongest performing students.

Ball attributes this to the college’s caliber of faculty; recognizing that strong faculty can directly contribute to students’ success.

“I appreciate the fact that I have a really great job and I owe it all to Western Piedmont Community College,” she said.  “There’s no way I would have gotten my position without the connection the College has with employers and in particular the job placement success PCA has had with the accounting program.”

Ball will attend Gardner-Webb University in fall 2016 and begin coursework towards a bachelor of science in accountancy.  The program was recommended by her accounting faculty and she was pleased to find that the majority of her WPCC courses transferred over to the four year university.

For those who are considering furthering their education or trying to determine their career path, Ball suggests taking a look at the WPCC catalog linked from the home page on the College’s website, www.wpcc.edu.

“Take a look at the catalog, read about the different programs of study, and begin to pick out classes that look interesting,” she said.  “I knew what courses I liked, but for a long time I didn’t know that they could lead to a career called accounting.”

Ball also recommends building a good relationship with your advisor.

“I didn’t know that I needed transferrable classes but my advisor did and signed me up for them which saved me time and money in the long run,” she said.  “Explore all your options and have open communication with your advisor.”

Western Piedmont’s accounting curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and the skills necessary for employment and growth in the accounting profession.  In addition to coursework in accounting principles, theories, and practice, students will study business law, finance, management, and economics.  Graduates should qualify for entry-level accounting positions in many types of organizations including accounting firms, small businesses, manufacturing firms, banks, hospitals, school systems, and governmental agencies. With work experience and additional education, an individual may advance in the accounting profession.  For more information about the Accounting program, please contact Tonya Coates, Accounting Instructor at tcoates@wpcc.edu or 828-448-6058.