Kamirah Decker, a senior at Eastern New Mexico University, plans to graduate next spring with a bachelor's degree in business administration in accounting and finance.
The women's basketball team member discusses her plans for further education and a career in accounting.
Why did you choose your field of study?
I ultimately chose an accounting degree for two reasons; the first being I can apply to anything I want to do later in life, whether that be working for the IRS on the government side, working as controller or CFO at a successful company, or even just to open my own business with a better foundation and more resources to be a success, not to mention all of the knowledge I have gained throughout my academic career, as well.
My second reason for choosing an accounting degree is because it is important for me to be able to understand money, finances, budgeting, taxes, etc. because I want to be able to not only build my own wealth for my family and myself, but I also want to be able to teach others about financial literacy and how to budget, how to save for bigger purchases and, most importantly, how to do their own taxes and set up retirement funds.
What do you hope to pursue as a career?
I do plan on continuing my education by complimenting my BBA in Accounting with either a Master of Accounting (MAcc) or a Master of Science in Taxation (MST). Then, I will be able to sit for my CPA certification if I choose to.
I honestly do not what sector of accounting I want to work in first because my original plan was to work with the IRS or within the government's Taxation and Revenue Department, but I also enjoy the corporate path towards controller or possibly even CFO. Regardless of where I end up in my career, I know I want to be able to continue learning and educating myself so that I can share the information and continue to encourage more people to educate themselves about money, finances, budgets and more.
What other dreams do you have?
I have a few dreams and goals for myself. I want to own my business/brand. I don't know exactly what yet, but I know I want to have my own business so that I can be in control of my own schedule and workload, but also still be able to provide for my family down the road by contributing my part to building generational wealth.
I also have a few dreams within my career field, like opening my own tax service that caters towards low-income individuals, couples, families and small business owners so that when tax season rolls around, they are not stressed out because my services would not only help them complete their taxes, but also educate them throughout the process so that they know what it is they are doing, and what they can expect so that it becomes easier for more people to do their own taxes, or at least understand them.
The last dream I have is a pretty big one and my newest one… I want to either write my own textbook about the foundations of financial literacy and teach a class for financial literacy at all levels, K through college, so that the generations to come now know how to budget, how financing works, saving for larger purchases (cars, apartments and college) and then also have a course that can cater towards those who want more education in understanding retirement funds, purchasing homes, running businesses and saving for your child's college.
I want to be able to create a "school subject," you could say, because it's time we start sharing information on how money works so that living paycheck to paycheck becomes a thing of the past.
Why did you choose to attend ENMU?
Besides having a competitive basketball team and conference, I really enjoyed that I would have professors that could work with me and my schedule because, being an athlete, you have to work even harder in classes because once the season starts, you get pretty busy, pretty fast. Having professors that are easy to communicate with and are willing to work with my unique schedule has been incredibly helpful while I have been at Eastern.
Which professors have helped mentor you?
During my time at Eastern, I have had numerous professors help me be successful throughout my academic career. Big thank you to Dr. Corey Cole, Professor Cheryl LaCounte, Dr. Debra Stone, Professor Kimberly Potters and Professor Yetta Massey. Of course, there are more, but I just wanted to give a shout-out to them!
What has been your favorite class at Eastern?
My favorite courses I have taken at ENMU would have to ACCT 371 – Income Tax Accounting: Individual with Dr. Stone because even though the class was very difficult, Dr. Stone had no problem teaching and even re-teaching material that was harder to understand. This class also gave me the best in-depth view of what I could potentially be doing once I start my career and gave me a way better understanding of how to understand and do my own taxes.
The second class I really enjoyed at Eastern was BUS 305- Small Business & Entrepreneurship with Professor LaCounte because it is like the perfect crash course for how to start your own small business, problems you could encounter and pretty much everything you could think for your own business.
What advice would you give to students who are interested in your field of study?
My advice would be to get involved with other accounting majors, your professors and even local CPAs or accountants because there are so many ways you can apply your accounting degree than you can imagine.
By networking with those around you, it could lead to an internship, knowledge of more resources, possible mentor/mentee opportunities and really just providing yourself the best shot at success.
Also, please pay attention in your introduction classes, because if you don't, you are just making it harder for yourself; learn, don't memorize!
Which activities are you involved in at ENMU?
Outside of the classroom, a majority of my time is spent at Greyhound Arena. I am number 35 on the women's basketball program at Eastern and have been since my freshman year. Besides actually playing basketball, I help my dad, a coach, with his travel and club teams, whether it is with practice, fundraising, tournaments, etc.
Where is your favorite place on the ENMU campus?
Especially after not being able to play last season due to COVID-19, I would have to say Greyhound Arena has been my favorite place to go.
However, the Golden Student Success Center is also a favorite because I know as soon as I walk in, I will get some homework and assignments done; something about seeing other students working and being productive makes it easier for me to want to get some work done too. You'll be surprised how much work you can actually get done in a study room or even a bean bag chair. Plus, Einstein Bros. Bagels has really good food and drink options.
Which academic honors have you had at Eastern?
While at ENMU, I have made the dean's list twice (Spring 2021 and Fall 2019), along with maintaining both academic and athletic scholarships. I received the Marty Gambrel Memorial Scholarship and the Hanrahan Family Scholarship, along with the basic freshman academic and lottery scholarships and athletic scholarships.
What is your favorite part about being a Greyhound?
I'm biased, but game days have to be my favorite part, whether its football, volleyball, my own game, softball, track meet, etc. Game days give a special energy on campus; it gets you excited and gives you something to look forward to.
Tell us about your family and background.
I was born and raised in Sacramento, California, but I have family all over the United States. Once I turned 11/12, my mom received a job promotion in Albuquerque, and we moved to New Mexico. Besides my mom and dad, I have two younger brothers (one is in middle school and the other is a freshman in college) and one older sister.
My mom has worked for Verizon for the last 20 years; her current position is the Senior HR Manager. She runs two small businesses of her own. My dad does a little bit of everything. He is a high school teacher, football coach, basketball coach, personal trainer and more.
I don't have a spouse or children, but I do live with my girlfriend and then have plans to move after graduation.
What are your hobbies?
I like to bake; it's a hobby I developed from baking with my grandparents. I also am really interested in graphic design and digital media. I've always wanted to get into photography but figured I would have more time to learn towards the end of my degree.
I really enjoy traveling and road trips. I would say I try to go on 3-4 trips a month, just to explore and see something different than what I see on a normal day.
My other hobbies include being on the court getting some shots up and lifting weight in the gym.
And then, of course, spending time with my family and girlfriend whenever I get the chance.
Kamirah with her family in Hawaii. (L-R) Front: Her younger brother Kamren and Kamirah's girlfriend, Shantel Allen. Back: Kamirah's mother, Terri, Kamirah's father, Kabana, Kamirah and her younger brother Kayden. Her older sister, Jazmoné, is not pictured.