Sunday, July 1, 2012

Kishma N. Allen – 2009

Kishma Allen
In 1996, I graduated as an honor student from the BVI High School and was very eager to attend college, but there were no funds to do so. Not knowing about financial aid, I spent many years trying to figure out how to pay for my education. As time passed, the chances became slimmer as other responsibilities, such as parenting took priority. In 2003, I was very frustrated and dissatisfied with my life and was determined to further my education. Later that year, I signed up at UVI with all the money I had ($800) and my then four year old son.

I started attending part-time and used every penny that I had to make it happen. However, part-time enrollment was taking too long for me to obtain my degree, so I decided to attend full-time while working full-time. This was not easy. As a matter of fact, I often thought about either quitting school or quitting my job, but I didn’t.

During my time at UVI, I came across some remarkable professors. To this day, I am extremely grateful for Professors, C. Wyatt, V. Thomas, R. Caldwell, A. Donald, S. Simmons, Dr. Parris and Dr. Esdaille. These professors saw my potential and pushed me from being an ordinary student to an extraordinary student.

I remember the days when I thought that Mr. Wyatt and Mr. Thomas were picking on me. Yet, I finished at the top of their classes. I remember crying as Dr. Parris’ red ink covered my paper so much that I couldn’t see any of my blue ink. I remember emailing, instant messaging and calling Dr. Esdaille and Mr. Caldwell early mornings, late nights and on weekends, just to make sure I did my best. They were always there for me. Thanks to Ms. Simmons, I’ve been to Paris and Atlanta. I attended several National Leadership Conferences and received scholarships and national recognition from Deloitte, the National Association of Black Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Ms. Donald eased my mental load by playing tag with my son in between classes. As small as this may seem, it meant a lot to me.

Taken during the UVI Accounting Association's 2008 trip 
to Paris. Kishma is the second person from the left in
the front row. Next to her is Professor Sharon Simmonds.
In 2009, I graduated magma cum laude with my BA in Accounting. Today, I hold a prestigious job and I am an entrepreneur. I participate in the annual Carnival Food Fair with my noticeably different tarts and dumb breads. I am also a published author. I published the motivational book It’s Your Vision: Can You Make It Happen? My book has been used in several workshops and mentoring programs across the United States. The back cover of my book features a review received from Dr. David Hall, the current President of UVI, while the inside features comments and reviews of many outstanding locals who have dedicated themselves to the betterment of our community. I am also a motivational speaker who believes in giving back to the community - the same community that helped to shape my destiny. 

Ms. Kishma Allen is a published author and well-known baker and is currently employed at International Capital and Management in St. Thomas as a Service Excellence Analyst.

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