Our Stories

Reaching Her Dreams by Testing Her Limits

For Alyssa Durant, new environment also meant new opportunities

Alyssa Durant
Assurance Staff, EY

Vanderbilt MAcc 2017

The summer before her senior year in college, Alyssa Durant helped build a school in Nicaragua. She says the service trip was “an eye-opening and rewarding experience, and I felt out of my comfort zone the entire time. But it was one of the most meaningful experiences I’d had.”

As she reflected on it all, Alyssa began applying the lessons of that trip to her life and future career. “I realized I had to start testing my limits in order to accomplish things I dreamed of but didn’t think I was capable of.” With that in mind, even though she had the opportunity to continue her education at Florida State, where she already knew the accounting faculty and had many friends, she says she decided “to challenge myself in a new environment with new, unique opportunities.”

Once she attended an open house event in Nashville, she knew Vanderbilt was where she wanted to be. “The close-knit community was a big factor,” Alyssa says. “And I knew that Vanderbilt’s partnership with the Big Four firms would provide opportunities to develop new networking skills and secure an internship.”

Alyssa loved the program so much that she became one of its ambassadors, regularly participating at the monthly open houses for prospective students. And she fell so in love with Nashville that she stayed on after graduation, landing a job at EY. (She particularly loves exploring Nashville’s coffee shops; among her favorites are Crema – “they have the best lattés” – and The Well, where profits go toward building wells in impoverished communities.

“The Owen experience has helped me shape my future by shaping me,” she says. “I have seen myself grow into a more professional, confident and poised version of myself."



Fun Fact: A dancer since she was three years old, Alyssa was a member of the Seminole Dance Force dance team at Florida State.

“I have seen myself grow into a more professional, confident and poised version of myself.”