Outstanding Islander Graduate Linnea Balderson ’23 Reflects on Personal Growth in Achieving Accounting Degree

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For Outstanding Islander Graduate Linnea Balderson ’23, the decision to attend Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi led to the discovery of a second home. From her very first campus event, the Island Day prospective student showcase, the warmth and authenticity of the campus community struck a chord with her. 

“I was looking for a supportive atmosphere where I could explore, grow, and thrive,” Balderson, a Corpus Christi native, said. “The location was also a plus, with the beautiful drive to campus by the water. It also allowed me to live at home with my mother, whom I share a close bond with.” 

Selected as the Fall 2023 College of Business Outstanding Islander Graduate Balderson will walk across the commencement stage on Saturday, Dec. 16, where she will receive her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, with minors in Management Information Systems (MISY) and Management. 

Balderson found the supportive environment of the Island University, along with intimate class sizes, and commitment to personal and professional growth to be the perfect backdrop for her academic journey. Balderson, who is from a single-parent household, initially worried about her financial security and was resolute in applying for scholarships and work placements. 

“I’ve been fortunate to receive multiple scholarships, including the TAMU-CC Presidential Scholarship, the Celika Storm Endowed Scholarship in Business, the John Buckley Endowed Scholarship in Accounting, the Rally Credit Union Annual Scholarship, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Scholarship, among many others,” Balderson said. “The generosity of my scholarship donors has been pivotal in my achievements and has inspired me to lend my support to future students. Knowing that someone cared enough about my education to provide this financial support has served as a motivating force.”  

Pursuing a degree in accounting marked a significant pivot for Balderson, who initially planned to undertake science classes.  

“I had always been good at managing my own money, and surprisingly, I discovered an inherent talent for accounting,” she said. “I found joy in the challenge of piecing together financial information, much like solving a complex jigsaw puzzle, another one of my favorite hobbies.” 

Balderson has maintained a 4.0 GPA during her studies and has been on the Dean’s List since 2020.  

Balderson has tried to pay forward the supportive atmosphere that she has benefitted from at the Island University through a range of extracurricular activities. She served as the recruitment and retention coordinator for the Student Alumni Association, contributed as a student office assistant in the Office of Student Engagement and Success, was the president of the Student Accounting Society. She also spent time as a student worker at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI). Balderson said the collaborative atmosphere at HRI left a lasting impression. 

“It was at HRI that I discovered I could bridge the gap between my original passion for science and my newfound interest in accounting,” she said. “This opportunity provided me with invaluable hands-on experience and a deep understanding of accounting. The opportunity to collaborate with such exceptional people working towards a common goal made my time at HRI truly memorable.” 

For her supervisor at HRI, Associate Director Carmen Osier, Balderson exemplified exactly the caliber of student worker that the institute hopes to cultivate. 

“Linnea’s efforts have left an indelible mark, serving as a guiding light for the next generation of student workers,” Osier said. “She has proved herself to be a successful TAMU-CC student and has a bright accounting future ahead of her. I was glad to mentor her.” 

In the face of challenges, including self-doubt and the loss of her grandfather, grandmother, and uncle during her time as a student, Balderson has stood resilient and determined to achieve her academic goals. 

“It would have been so easy to give into my grief, sink to rock bottom, and stop doing my schoolwork altogether, but I know that’s not what any of them would have wanted me to do,” Balderson said. “All of them had always encouraged me to do my best, especially in school. Giving up would have done everyone a disservice.” 

Balderson considers her transformation from a shy and apprehensive student to a self-assured self-advocate to be nothing short of remarkable.  

“With guidance from mentors and professors, I stepped out of my comfort zone,” Balderson said. “I became more involved, made friends, and passionately pursued my interests while excelling academically. I’ve embraced risk-taking and willingly placed myself in uncomfortable situations to facilitate learning. Instead of fearing questions and failure, I now view them as valuable learning experiences. Despite starting with only a few connections, I now leave with a strong support network by my side.” 

Looking ahead, Balderson plans to gain practical experience, pursue a Masters in Accounting (MAcc), and achieve her Certified Public Accounting title. 

“The accounting field allows me the stability and flexibility to work in and explore many different areas and industries,” she shared.