Photo caption: Blue Ridge Community College student Kina Howell pictured in the Transylvania County Campus Student Lounge.

#BlueRidgeGrad: Kina Howell

Featured photo: Blue Ridge Community College student Kina Howell pictured in the Transylvania County Campus Student Lounge.

Emily Gill
Marketing and Communications Dept.

Like many high school graduates, Kina Howell began college still wondering what she wanted to pursue professionally but felt she had to attend a four-year university.

After spending a year at a four-year university, Howell decided to take a break from school and figure out what she wanted to do. While considering her future plans, Howell served as an essential worker throughout the pandemic.

Howell’s friends and acquaintances spoke highly of Blue Ridge Community College, so she enrolled at the Transylvania County Campus. Howell was still unsure about her exact path but was certain she wanted to return to school to fulfill her potential.

While at Blue Ridge, Howell discovered a passion for finances and accounting.

“I always liked learning about how to manage your own money. My grandmother taught me how to do taxes,” Howell said. “I grew up around impulsive buyers so I wanted to learn how to budget and be more financially independent.”

Howell’s interest sparked in a class with instructor Ashley Larach.

“Blue Ridge has amazing instructors, and they helped me figure out a path of what I want to take. I really appreciated being able to be interactive with my professors.” Howell said. “Larach has kind of a similar story to me, too, so that helped me connect with her better.”

Now Howell will receive an Associate of Arts with the Class of 2022 this December. She plans to get a Bachelor’s Degree in finance and one day earn a certified public accountant license. Most of all, she wants to give back to her community and help people succeed financially.

Looking back on her path thus far, Howell believes strongly in taking the time to think clearly about educational plans.

“It’s not really a race. I used to have this idea that I was behind because everyone I knew was graduating from college,” Howell said. “Go at your own pace. Do the things that you like to do. Feel free to learn new skills.”

The Accounting and Finance Associate Degree is part of Blue Ridge’s Business and Business Training program, which offers more than 30 opportunities for degrees, diplomas and certificates. Information regarding the Business program is available at