Alumni Stories – MacKenzie Huntsman | South Hills School of Business & Technology
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Alumni Stories – MacKenzie Huntsman

South Hills alumna MacKenzie Huntsman is shown at the Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce, her place of employment.

South Hills alumna MacKenzie Huntsman is shown at the Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce, her place of employment.

 
“I think some people believe that office jobs are boring and that all you do is sit behind a desk. That’s the furthest thing from the truth. For me, every day is different. Also, you don’t have to go to a 4-year college or university to have a successful career.”
 
Q: Describe your current role and your duties and responsibilities.

MacKenzie Huntsman: I started out my career as the Office Manager at Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce about 6 years ago. I’ve learned so much during my time here. I’m currently the Program Director. For me, every single day is different, and I enjoy the diversity my job brings.

My responsibilities include:

  • Event planning for educational seminars, gala events, membership luncheons, and special events
  • Supporting 300+ Chamber members
  • Creation and publication of the Chamber newsletter, marketing materials, and advertisements
  • Updating the website and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Accounts payable/receivables and other accounting duties using QuickBooks®
  • Budgeting
  • Supporting Chamber committees such as Leadership Huntingdon County, the Education Committee, and the Board of Directors
  • Photography
  • Public relations – writing press releases, etc.
  • Direct mailing/bulk mailing campaigns
  • Purchasing office supplies

One of the favorite parts of my job is event planning. I love it! Over the years I’ve probably planned hundreds of events. My networking skills really come in handy. I work closely with many people and businesses to make our events a success. There are many details involved in event planning, and you have to be on top of things. I stay organized with checklists and often use Excel spreadsheets and Google Docs to help me to keep things on track. It’s very rewarding when you see things come together in the end.

Q: Do you have any professional highlights you’d like to discuss? Accomplishments, achievements, favorite projects?

MacKenzie: I just earned my “Five Years of Service” Award at the Chamber, and I’m proud of that. I was also named as one of Pennsylvania Business Central's 2018 “Foremost under 40” list. Also, I'm the Secretary of the Huntingdon County Women's Club and a member of the Shaver's Creek Grange.

Q: Why did you choose South Hills?

MacKenzie: I chose South Hills because of their excellent reputation and the success of their graduates. I’d been interested in pursuing a career in business since my days at Southern Huntingdon High School. I took classes in business and found that I had an interest in accounting. I was looking for a place to continue my education, and I chose South Hills and the AP program. I liked how the program was held during the day and had a set schedule which allowed me to work part-time while going to school.

Q: What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside the classroom — you learned at South Hills?

MacKenzie: I’ve used everything I learned at South Hills every day in my job. From my computer skills to my communication skills to networking skills to accounting skills…all of it was relevant.

For example, I use software skills I developed at South Hills Microsoft® Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe® InDesign, QuickBooks®, and more.

 
 
Q: Do you have any favorite South Hills classes or instructors?

MacKenzie: I really enjoyed my instructors and several of the staff members at the school. I particularly enjoyed Business Law. The relationships I built during my time at South Hills have extended well beyond my graduation. I am still involved with the AP program and serve on the Program Advisory Committee (PAC) along with other administrative professionals. We provide support and input to help the program grow and make suggestions about curriculum changes to keep the courses current and relevant. Barb Seeger, the AP Program Coordinator, was one of my favorite instructors and we have a great relationship to this day. In fact, Barb was recently recognized by the Huntingdon Chamber of Commerce as the Teacher of the Year.

Q: Every South Hills Specialized Associate Degree program includes a mandatory internship. Where did you do your South Hills Internship?

MacKenzie: My internship was in the Accounting Department at the Fulton County Medical Center. I really enjoyed my time there and was able to put the skills I’d learned in my classes to work on the job. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any open positions for me to apply for; however, I found a position with my current employer the day before I graduated from South Hills, so I believe things worked out exactly as they were supposed to.

Q: What advice do you have for current or prospective students?

MacKenzie: I think some people believe that office jobs are boring and that all you do is sit behind a desk. That’s the furthest thing from the truth. For me, every day is different.

Also, you don’t have to go to a 4-year college or university to have a successful career. Associate degree programs can prepare you for many jobs and are an option worth considering. From my experience, job offers were not hard to come by with South Hills education.

It’s important to keep learning and developing your skills. I am fortunate to have access to several educational programs through the Chamber, so I’ve been able to attend sessions to learn a wide range of topics, from Human Resources to cyber safety to public speaking.

Q: What is a “secret to success” from your point of view?

MacKenzie: I would say it’s important to BE KIND! If you are kind to other people, that goes a long way. I learned that making personal connections and building relationships is important. Your network is one of the most important resources for success, no matter what job you’re in. I consider South Hills faculty and staff to be an important part of my network and my education is part of what has made me successful.

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Kari Lynn Schlegel

March 4, 1992—December 15, 2016

Kari Schlegel was born in March 1992 and graduated from South Hills in September 2012.

The Kari Lynn Schlegel Memorial Gallery is named in memory of Kari Schlegel, a lifelong Bellefonte resident and 2012 graduate of the Graphic Arts program at South Hills.

Kari was often the exclamation point in any story about the Class of 2012. Her effervescent good mood, enthusiasm, and seemingly endless supply of optimism and positive spirit was infusive, lighting up the classroom.

Kari (right) is shown with her beloved sister, Mindy.

Her classmates still laugh at the memory of Kari wearing her bunny slippers on the Graphic Arts field trip to New York City. Groan-worthy puns and jokes? Kari had a volume of them. She delighted in sharing stories and photos of her four beloved cats as well as trivia and tales of Harry Potter and Disney World. She was a rare combination of innocence, maturity, trust, and hope. She was filled with a joy of life and an unconditional love for her friends, her family, her pets… and people she just met. That was Kari Schlegel.

Kari dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow for the South Hills “BooFest” Halloween party in 2012.

She loved her school, even coming back to audit several GA classes after graduating. Kari also particularly enjoyed returning to South Hills every summer to perform as part of the Music Picnic Series with the Bellefonte Community Band.

Kari died December 15, 2016, in a tragic automobile accident. It’s a loss everyone who knew her still feels. In the end, Kari truly lived her life with passion and joy, treating others as she wanted to be treated: with love, compassion, and respect.