“I never thought of myself as a natural leader,” said Megan Johnson. “I was always content to be a follower. My experiences here at Union have challenged me, through different classes, on-campus associations and internships, to step up and lead. It grew on me and became something I naturally want to do.”
The senior from Florida originally planned to follow her mom’s example into healthcare, but Johnson switched her major to business administration with emphases in finance and accounting when she realized medicine wasn’t for her. “I did business because my dad did, and then I slowly grew to respect it,” she said. “Now, I actually enjoy it.”
Johnson practices for her career both in and out of the classroom. “As part of a tax class with Professor Graves last year, I got certified in filing taxes,” she said. “Then every Sunday for a month, we went to the community center here in Lincoln and helped people file their taxes.” This opportunity was part of the IRS’ VITA program, which connects volunteers with tax-filing skills to underserved individuals who could use assistance. “It was cool to get out there and guide people through their taxes, especially since it was the first time Union was able to do this since COVID,” said Johnson.
Every Union business major is required to complete one internship, but Johnson went above and beyond. She applied her finance skills to two very different jobs: an internship at the Lincoln office of U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, and an internship in finance and management at AdventHealth in Florida.
At Sasse’s office, Johnson answered calls from the senator’s constituents across Nebraska, as well as creating biweekly reports on the Senate Committee on Finance. “I got lucky,” she said. “All the other interns wanted to do reports on the Judiciary Committee that the senator sat on. I was the only intern there who was interested in finance, so I got assigned to watch the hearings and report back to the office. It was a helpful experience, and it was interesting to apply what I learned in class to my reports. The committee talked a lot about the IRS, and I had just taken a tax class, so I had a lot of background knowledge I was able to share.”
At AdventHealth, Johnson sampled several different kinds of finance. “I rotated through different accounting and budgeting teams. I also worked on audits for the hospital. While I was there, they made a switch in their medical reporting systems, which was a really big deal. For a week, I was getting up at 4 a.m. to go in. It was a lot of work, but a really valuable learning experience.”
For the last three years, Johnson has been putting her new-found business and leadership skills into practice as a student senator. “I’ve really liked being a senator,” she said. “I’ve been able to connect with my constituents and voice their concerns and what they want to see change on campus. I also spent a year as SA financial vice president, so I was able to see both sides of the budget: presenting it to the Senate when I was VP and approving it as a senator.”
Not only has Johnson’s time at Union been busy with student leadership, classes and work, but she’s also been on several Warriors sports teams. “I’ve done volleyball, basketball and golf here. Sports is one of my refreshers I use to reset from the stresses of school. I’d tell incoming freshmen that they need to find a medium to rest and refresh with to keep their lives balanced.
“I think the thing I’ll miss most about college is having similar schedules with my friends. I made some of my closest friends here at Union, and some of my favorite memories are the different trips and experiences I was able to have with them. I’ll definitely miss the flexibility of scheduling that lets us all hang out in one spot together.”
After graduation, Johnson will be returning to AdventHealth, this time as a finance resident. “By this time next year, I’ll be rotating through the different teams. I’m also planning on getting my CPA and my MBA while I’m there. I’m excited! It’ll be super fun.”
by Annika Cambigue, senior communication and English major