Major: Accounting and mathematics
Hometown: Murray, Kentucky
High school: Murray High School
Charlie Graves, a double major in accounting and mathematics, is one such student. Throughout his time at Murray State, Graves has taken full advantage of the opportunities afforded to him at the University through the department of accounting and the University’s band and music programs. Whether he is earning his place as first-chair saxophone or interning with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Graves has continued to push himself, eager to obtain a dream that is within reach. This is his story.
Activities and Organizations
I have been involved in the Murray State Jazz Band and Racer Band, as well as Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Euclidean Math Club and various honor societies, including Omicron Delta Kappa, Beta Alpha Psi, Gamma Beta Sigma and Alpha Mu Gamma. Additionally, I have volunteered with Campus Lights, All Campus Sing, the VITA income tax assistance program and the Language Showcase hosted by the department of global languages and theatre arts.
If any, what scholarships have you received?
I have received a number of scholarships during my time at Murray State. The most notable among them are Murray State’s Trustee Scholarship, as well as a scholarship from the Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Max G. Carman Euclidean Mathematics Club Senior Scholarship.
What do you want to do after graduation?
After graduating, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in mathematics at Murray State while also sitting for the CPA exam. After completing both my degree and the CPA exam, I would like to work in a career where I can utilize both my math and accounting degrees.
You participated in an internship with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) over the summer, correct? Can you give me an overview of that experience?
I spent my summer working at the FDIC as a bank examiner in the Risk Management Services Division. I worked with a team of experienced examiners to complete safety and soundness exams — tests of the banks’ financial situation — for banks in Western Kentucky. We spent two weeks at each bank interviewing management, reviewing bank documents and confirming internal calculations as a part of preparing the exam report.
Why did you decide to attend Murray State?
I chose Murray State because I felt that the University was large enough to provide me with a sufficient number of academic opportunities but still small enough that I would be more than just an ID number or a face in a lecture hall.
Who is your favorite professor and why?
My favorite professor is Dr. Crystal Coel, who taught my honors public speaking course in the spring of 2016. I have always struggled with public speaking, but Dr. Coel’s tutoring gave me confidence when speaking in front of others that I never could have imagined I’d have now. She taught me how to make speech writing into a methodical, logical process, where before it had seemed like the words were pulled from thin air. It is the profound impact that Dr. Coel has had on both my academic and personal development that makes her my favorite professor.
What is your favorite tradition at Murray State?
My favorite Murray State tradition is the running of Racer One at the football games after Murray State scores a touchdown. It’s my favorite because seeing Racer One go around the track, especially from the band seating, isn’t something you see at most universities.
What is something you’ve accomplished at Murray State that you’re most proud to have done?
I’m most proud of making first-chair tenor saxophone in the Jazz Band this semester. I’ve been part of the Jazz Band since I first came to Murray State in the fall of 2013 and have had the opportunity to play second chair to several incredibly talented first-chair saxophonists. This semester, however, I decided that, since this may be my last year in the jazz program, I would not settle for just doing well enough in my audition to make the band. I decided I wanted more this semester and, with the dedicated guidance of two friends, I was able to make enough improvements in my playing to secure the first-chair spot.
What opportunities have you been afforded at Murray State?
The best opportunity I’ve been afforded has been the opportunity to network with professionals in my field. Being able to build my network of contacts has been immensely helpful in creating further opportunities for jobs and internships. I have also been afforded the opportunity to make lasting connections with my peers. It is with my peers that I have had some of my most enlightening, informative, helpful and interesting discussions.
Murray State has also afforded me the opportunity to develop hands-on skills relating to the material I’ve learned in my courses. Participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, in particular, has helped develop such skills by allowing me to file real tax returns for students and members of the community. This opportunity to serve the community was built on the knowledge I gained in my tax courses, but resulted in a real-world benefit to the volunteers and clients.
What do you think sets Murray State apart from other universities?
I think Murray State is set apart from other universities in the level of preparation and exposure undergraduate students are given to the professional world. In particular, the accounting honor society and the department of accounting are both very proactive in informing students about opportunities for jobs, internships and professional networking. On a broader scale, Murray State’s faculty across the disciplines are known for the individual attention given to students — whether it’s providing tutoring, guiding academic choices or developing leadership skills.