Senior Profile: Grace Hounsou

Photo courtesy of Grace Hounsou.Photo courtesy of Grace Hounsou.

What is your preferred name?

Grace

What is your major and minor?

Business Administration and Accounting Economics with a minor in French

What are some of the jobs you held while at McDaniel?

I worked in the Foreign Language lab, the Payroll office, and I did VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) during the spring semesters.

What organizations were you a part of at McDaniel? What positions did you hold?

For Global Bridge, I was a member of the advisory board. In Africa’s Legacy and French Club, I was a regular member.

Did you enjoy your time at McDaniel? How?

I absolutely loved my time at McDaniel. Choosing to transfer to McDaniel is the best decision I have ever made when it comes to my college journey. Transferring to a new school can be challenging and nerve-racking because you left your old school for some reasons. The last thing you want is to encounter those same reasons, but I felt just at home the second I visited McDaniel. During our orientation, just listening to people and talking to them, I overcame all the fears that I had, made lifelong friends and gained the self confidence I needed to finish my college journey.  

I was fortunate enough to spend my last semester of college in Budapest. It has been an experience like no other, and that might not have been possible if I never transferred here. Every one of my professors had listened to me and comforted me when I thought there was no way I could get through their classes. I received a tremendous amount of support from my peers and everyone at McDaniel in general. My college experience has been filled with learning, discovering and growing.

Who do you think is/was your best mentor(s)?

I have two mentors: the first one is professor Duvall in the Business and Economics department. I aspire to be like her one day. I started developing a hard-working mentality because of all her accomplishments in just the short amount of time she has been living. She is a great professor, not just because she knows her materials so well, but also because she will encourage you to try harder than you ever thought you could. Her persistence in making sure her students succeed is beyond amazing, and she is a wonderful person outside of her work zone.
The second is Dr. McNichols in the language department. She is like a second mother to me. I could go to her about anything and she will know exactly what to say to make me feel better. I never had her as a professor, but she was the head of Global Bridge, and she would make everyone feel welcomed and valued. She is a great person all around. 

What is your best memory at McDaniel? 

I don’t have a single memory but my best memory at McDaniel would be my friends. The relationships I built here are some that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I will forever be grateful for the love and support I received right off the bat. I loved our little road trips, our midnight runs to McDonald’s or Taco Bell and all the crazy adventures. 

What were some of the challenges you encountered and how did you overcome them?

Paying for college wasn’t easy. I had to take a lot of loans out and even after that, I spent every day of all my summers working so I could pay the rest of tuition and personal needs. I am also a first generation student, and my siblings look up to me more than anyone. In order for them to succeed, I had to succeed, and that can be a lot on you, but I got through it with the help of my friends and all the mentors I have in life. 

What are your plans for after graduation?

I am currently interning at a small CPA [certified public accounting] firm in Baltimore – Gross Mendelsohn & Associates – which just turned into a full-time job, and I will officially start on April 23rd. While working, I will be studying for the CPA and hopefully after I pass all four parts, I will go back to school for a master’s in taxation.

What advice can you give to those not graduating?

Work hard, even harder than you ever thought you could. Take that internship that doesn’t pay, ask for help when you need it, because there will always be that one person who will be willing to drop everything to help you. Don’t let anyone tell you you have to graduate in four years, do that extra semester or year if you have to. But in the mist of all that, don’t forget to let go and have an insane amount of fun – before you know it, you will be graduating. Do things that scare you, go out of your way to make someone’s day and don’t forget: college is “supposed” to be the best years of your life – no matter how long it takes you to get that degree.

Is there anything else you want to share with the McDaniel community?

I know not a lot of people know McDaniel as a school, but it is a good school if you know how to look for help and who to go to. Your professor will help you find your way if you are a good student and always trying. Take classes outside of your comfort zone because you never know how that class or that professor might shape your view of the world – after all, that’s the best part of going to a liberal arts school, right?