The Meat of the Job


You may not celebrate Easter with a can of SPAM, but Abigail Sparks ’12 is certainly celebrating the ham-in-a-can product this spring. As a tax accountant for Hormel Foods, the maker of SPAM, loves the company and her job, which she started right after graduation.

Sparks was initially drawn to Central College because of its beautiful scenery and small size, which allowed for personal connections with classmates and professors. “Coming from a small town, I wanted to still have that close personal relationship with the professors,” she remembers.

During her time at Central, this mathematics and accounting major was incredibly active. She was a member of the community band, president of the Economics, Accounting and Management Club, a Resident Advisor for two years and treasurer for the McKee Hall Council. She also had a few internships, one of which was at the HSBC Bank in London, England.

While in London, Sparks says she first developed a real taste for the working world and became even more excited about her chosen field and career opportunities. Aside from her active life at Central, Sparks recalls sitting peacefully by the pond and going for long walks around town as some of her favorite memories of Central.

Sparks attributes her love for accounting and mathematics to a high school teacher and advisor who she admired and respected. Her passion for accounting would eventually lead her to a career as a tax accountant at Hormel Foods, following her internship there.

At Hormel, Sparks is in charge of anything relating to sales and use Tax. Primarily, this includes reviewing invoices daily to determine if sales tax was paid on exempt items. She spends the majority of her day working with different auditors, plants and vendors and keeping up to date on different state tax-exempt policies. Her job can be very hectic and difficult at times, depending on the time of year, but it’s the fast-paced, ever-changing environment that keeps her excited about her work.

The people and the opportunities that Central provided for Sparks allowed her to express her interests and strengths in new and exciting ways. Due to her experiences at Central College, she was able to learn more about herself and what she loved. Between the relationships with professors, the groups and activities she was a part of, the professional internships that helped her find a job and meeting lifelong friends and her future husband Kirby Rock ’12, Central was the perfect fit for her.  


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