KINGSTON, R.I. – May 1, 2017 – A self-described former shy girl, Cassie “CeCe” Jacob can trace her transformation to extrovert to a single moment.
It was four years ago. Then a University of Rhode Island freshman, Jacob stopped to look at a chalk outline of a person on the asphalt outside of Hope Commons.
“It was an ad to apply to be a tour guide. Tour guiding is where my heart is. It gave me the courage and the confidence to be who I am now.”
“Now” is days shy of graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Chinese and accounting. “Now” is anticipating a paid internship, Jacob’s second, with international accounting firm PWC, which she’ll begin in June. Jacob was so successful in her first internship, campus recruitment for PWC, that she was invited to apply again. Most such internships culminate in a job offer.
As a campus tour guide, Jacob made a point of telling prospective students that opportunities abound at URI.
“I always say at the end of tours and during orientation that you can be who you want to be here. It’s a clean slate. Don’t hold yourself back. Go for anything that you’re interested in,” the Suffern, N.Y. native said. “I’ve surprised myself over these four years in how I’ve grown and acquired the ability, courage and competence to do so.”
For this honors student, not holding back has meant taking three opportunities to study abroad (China, Nepal and the Dominican Republic), managing the campus radio station, being hospitality coordinator of the Student Entertainment Committee, holding a leadership role in new student orientations, and joining the National Association of Black Accountants, where, in her sophomore year, she and fellow URI students took second in a business plan competition that led to her initial contact with PWC.
“My favorite thing about URI is that you can have a very diverse education. These experiences have diversified the way I think and act. It’s all about opportunity,” Jacob says. “That’s what took me from the person I was to the person I am now.
Your experience here can be as special and unique as you want it to be.”
As May 21, commencement day, nears, Jacob feels excitement and trepidation, which tell her she is exactly on track.
“It reminds me not to be stagnant. There’s always a start and an end to things. I don’t want to be comfortable. I want to push myself and to look for the next challenge.
“There’s not going to be a chalk outline on the floor telling me what to do next.”