The last word.

Author:Amato, Neil
Position:CPA teacher and marathoner

I grew up in a small town: Fayetteville, Tenn. What you grow up with, you assume is normal. Many people expected young women to be nurses or teachers. My parents always said you can do anything you want to. I think I was encouraged more than most young women my age.

I explored some majors that I thought would be good for law school. Accounting was one of them. After the first few classes, I just fell in love with accounting. Law school fell off the radar screen pretty soon.

I got into teaching accidentally. I was working in internal audit for a bank and had just gotten married. My husband was a high school assistant principal and also taught history one night a week at a community college. He called one day and said that the college was desperate for someone to teach accounting.

The college administrators knew he had married an accountant. I told them I only had a CPA and a bachelor's degree. They said a CPA was good enough. I did it to help them out, but I really enjoyed it. They asked me to finish out the other quarters and to come back the next year. I began to enjoy that job more than the bank job. I decided that I probably wanted to pursue an academic career, so I went back to get a master's degree and later a doctoral degree.

I've been teaching at Middle Tennessee State for 24 years. I was on the AICPA board of examiners when the CPA exam became computerized, and now I serve on that board again. Many things have changed. I also served a three-year term on the AICPA board of directors. We all see our own pocket of accounting, so it was good to see an overview of all aspects of the profession.

I didn't start running until my late 20s. I was the unathletic one in the family. I got started when I went back to Middle Tennessee State for my master's. I ran 3 miles three days a week and thought that was enough for anybody

In 2008, I made it a goal to do a half-marathon (13.1 miles) in every state. I had mainly done the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville to that point. I loved to travel and I loved to run, and you see the...

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