Shanley K headshot

Building a Community of Support on the Track and in the Classroom

Orange spirit is what initially drew Shanley Koekemoer ’23 M.S. to Syracuse University. As a student-athlete and graduate student at the Whitman School, she has already embraced the power of teamwork and community in her first semester.

Koekemoer was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, where she grew up in a family that was passionate about running.

At age 18, she moved to the United States to become a student-athlete at Campbell University in North Carolina.

Koekemoer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics and knew she wasn’t done with her collegiate career. While she was searching for graduate programs on the NCAA athlete transfer portal, she came across Syracuse University and connected with the Women’s Track and Field assistant coach Tito Medrano ’13 (FALK), who later introduced her to coach Brien Bell. She also had a connection to the accounting program through one of her undergraduate professors, David Baglia ’88 MBA, department of accounting and finance chair at Campbell University, who highly recommended the full-time master’s in accounting program from personal experience as an alumnus. As Koekemoer learned more about Syracuse athletics and the program, she knew the decision was an easy one.

She says, “I’ve learned more about teamwork at Syracuse than ever before. With a small team at Campbell University, I used to run alone a lot, but now I’m running with my Syracuse teammates every day, and we’re helping each other during workouts. Working together to collaborate and get a sense of what helps other people can really help the team. What helps you helps everyone.”

That sense of collaboration also extends to the classroom, as Koekemoer works toward her goal of being employed by one of the Big Four after graduation next spring.

“I never quite understood the vast amount of people in the industry and the extent to which the work of accountants is relied upon until I began my classes here at Whitman,” she says. “I appreciate how much everyone works together in this program. The support from my teammates, coach, classmates and professors is unbelievable.”

Kimmy Kimball