Monday, November 8, 2021

The University of Iowa’s strengths in accounting, writing, and athletics provided Stephanie Herzog the perfect place to succeed as a student, creative writer, and Hawkeye golfer.

Some people are good with words. Some people are good with numbers. Stephanie Herzog (BBA21) manages to be good at both.

“I’m not sure how,” she says. “I started to write when I was 6 or 7, and I started to like math at about that time too.”

Herzog graduated in May 2021 and, in line with her varied interests, earned a degree in accounting and a Certificate in Writing while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.

She doesn’t see it as a very big deal that she likes to do both. After all, why limit yourself to just one set of squiggly lines or the other? Why not expand your horizons as far as you can?

So which does she enjoy working with more?

"It depends on what kind of mood I’m in,” Herzog says. “If I’m feeling ambitious, then numbers hit the spot. I love numbers and I love problem-solving, and I get a lot of satisfaction when everything balances
at the end. But if I need a creative outlet, then writing is something I focus on. I get so much enjoyment out of both.”

Growing up in Red Wing, Minn., Herzog considered careers in writing and math, eventually settling on math—accounting in particular. The career opportunities were more appealing, she says, and writing gave her an emotional and creative outlet she didn’t want to lose by turning it into a job.

She looked closely at Iowa because of its renowned accounting and writing programs, but what clinched it was a recruiting visit to campus for the women’s golf team. The place just seemed to fit, she says, so when Coach Megan Menzel offered her a spot on the team, she jumped at it.

“Stephanie was an outstanding student-athlete and elevated our team’s work ethic on and off the course.” -Coach Menzel

Herzog started writing mostly short stories and novels—she’s self-published two volumes of short fiction on Amazon—but a class in creative nonfiction prompted her to begin working on a memoir of her golf career. She took as many writing and language classes as she could, including an etymology class that traced the evolution of classical Greek and Latin words into English.

An honors student in accounting, Herzog wrote a thesis comparing certain components of accounting standards used in the United States and those used internationally. Her adviser, Carlson KPMG Professor of Accounting Cristi Gleason, was impressed with Herzog’s scholarly inquisitiveness and intellectual curiosity.

Stephanie Herzog on the golf course.

“She started her thesis work with a really strong belief that the U.S. should move to the international standards,” says Gleason, who is also department executive officer for the Department of Accounting. “But the evidence she collected strongly suggested an answer that she didn’t expect. She is a true scholar and wants to know the answer. It was great to watch her learn through the data and change her own mind.”

“I am also impressed with how well she has navigated a COVID year,” Gleason says. “She worked on her thesis, classes, and golf with a great level of organization and effort.”

Though Herzog had opportunities to golf at other schools, she picked Iowa specifically because she knew she would not be among the top players and would have to push herself to get playing time.

“I was able to get into the starting lineup about 75% of the time and outperformed what I thought I could do,” she says. Unfortunately, her last two years were a struggle, as her junior year season was shortened by COVID-19, which she would eventually contract herself, and a thumb injury sidelined her for her senior year.

Coach Menzel says Herzog has been a model student-athlete for the Hawkeyes and was a role model for her teammates.

“Stephanie was an outstanding student-athlete and elevated our team’s work ethic on and off the course,” says Menzel. “She improved each year as a player and played a huge leadership role on our team with time management and inspiring others to excel and appreciate their academic opportunities at Iowa. Stephanie will always be remembered for her ability to find fairways and to beat the course with her gritty short game.” 

Herzog spent the summer after graduation taking her CPA exams and working as an official with the Minnesota PGA. She now works as an assurance associate at Deloitte’s office in Minneapolis and is researching and compiling information for her golf memoir.


This article appeared in the 2021 issue of Iowa Ledger and on the University of Iowa website.