Portrait of Halle Haines


Name: Halle Haines 
Hometown: Hastings, Minn. 
Major: Business administration management
Position: Revenue tax specialist for the state of Minnesota

When Halle Haines enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls three years ago, she decided to major in education. 

That choice made sense. Growing up in Hastings, Minn., Haines had worked jobs in daycare and as a nanny. She loved spending time with children. 

“It seemed like being an education major was what I was supposed to do. It’s all I knew,” Haines recalled. 

Haines enrolled in an education class during her first semester. While she enjoyed her coursework, something didn’t feel quite right, she said. 

“I love kids and all that, but something wasn't clicking in the program,” Haines said. “I knew I had to find something else that was a better fit for me.”

Haines examined UWRF’s other programs she thought she might be interested in. She spoke with campus staff to solicit ideas of what offerings might be the best fit for her. Ultimately, she chose business administration management as her major. 

That major proved to be a good fit. The management part of her major gave her the broad background she desired, providing her with a wider variety of job options after graduation. 

In fact, Haines’ diligent work in her new major landed her a job before her upcoming May 6 graduation after only three years at UWRF. Since January, she has worked helping audit taxes for the Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR). 

Haines did so well in that position that the DOR offered her a full-time job auditing the taxes of small businesses across the state. She accepted the offer and will begin in that position in June. 

“Having a job already, it does feel good, definitely,” Haines said. “A year ago, I was already stressing about what I was going to do and what was going to happen for me after school. Then I got this job. It makes me feel relaxed and it allows me to be able to look at graduation and be excited and not stressed about having to find a job. I can take it in and enjoy it.”

When asked about her roadmap to job finding success, Haines mentioned her willingness to find an area of study that best fit her and her “learning to get comfortable putting myself out there.” She found her job by attending a Career Fair at UWRF. 

“Talk to people and get more involved,” Haines said when asked about her advice to young UWRF students. “When I did that, it opened my eyes to a whole variety of things. Looking back, I wish I would have taken the Career Fair side of it all more seriously, and sooner. There are so many resources to help you on this campus. You just have to be willing to make use of them.” 

A first-generation college student, Haines credits UWRF’s Student Support Services Office (SSS) with helping her succeed and learn to become more involved. Through SSS, she attended leadership conferences and other events at which she made connections that furthered her studies and career. She especially credits SSS Director Karen Smolarek “with bringing me out of my shell and helping me see who I could be.”

Haines took summer and J-Term classes to be able to graduate in three years. She said she hopes someday to combine her love of business and education in a job working as a supervisor in some capacity for the Minnesota Department of Education. In the meantime, she said she’s excited to begin her new job. 

“This whole auditing thing is not even close to what I thought I would be doing,” Haines said. “It just goes to show that you can’t be afraid to try new things, to go after opportunities. When I look at where I was three years ago and where I am now, I’m very proud of where I am today.”