Student Spotlight - Jessica Liles

The accounting major says USF helped her find her niche.

Jessica Liles

Not many students would use the words "fell in love with" to describe their accounting courses, but senior Jessica Liles does.

Liles, who came to USF planning to study architecture, originally took on business as a double major. But when she took a principles of accounting class with Jennifer Cainas, she was hooked.

"I liked that it was a challenge," she said. "It wasn't something I was going to fly by in and get an easy A, but I actually was doing well in it."

Liles enjoyed that as an accountant, she could help companies improve their systems. She felt like she could make a difference.

"It's like a logic puzzle, and you have to figure out where all the pieces go," she said. "I like that whole problem-solving component to it."

In addition to accounting, Liles is also passionate about the College of Business as a whole. A first-generation student, she is involved in the Corporate Mentor Program, where she was paired with a vice president at Raymond James Financial, Salit Naggy-Todd.

Liles is also the president of USF's Future Business Leaders of America chapter. In FBLA, she said she enhanced the skills she learned in the College of Business, such as interviewing skills and professional etiquette. In fact, she placed first in the state FBLA job interviewing competition.

It's the skills and knowledge Liles has gained at USF that she says have made her successful in the professional arena, as well. She has interned at DeBartolo Holdings, and hopes to work as a public accountant for one of the "Big Four" accounting firms after graduation.

She said her advice to students just starting in the College of Business would be to take advantage of all the opportunities they are offered.

"Don't be afraid to ask questions," she said. "Don't be afraid to get involved. You might not know where you're going, but this school will help you find your niche. It will help you get where you need to be."