Kameryn recently completed 2 years at Austin Community College where he was a member of the Honors Society and president of the Accounting Club. He plans to continue his academic career at Texas A&M University as a finance major. His interest in finance was inspired by his hands-on experience helping his single mom with her dog grooming business. Before even completing high school, Kameryn was handling all the financial transactions and managing payroll for his mom. This led to a passion for and desire to help small businesses as his ultimate career goal.
Sophia is a first generation Vietnamese American. She witnessed her immigrant parents’ cultural and financial struggles. This led to her decision to major in accounting—she is attracted to the job security and flexibility of the accounting field. Her studies have allowed her to help her parents with tax returns and she looks forward to being able to help others. Sophia is maintaining a 4.0 GPA while working to cover the full costs of her education on her own; she even helps her parents with their expenses. After becoming a CPA, Sophia would like to earn the CFE (certified fraud examiner) and CMA (certified management accountant) certifications.
Monika is beginning her graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania after earning a BS from Notre Dame. Her focus will be in entrepreneurship and financial services. She has created financial literacy programs for high school students in New Jersey and in her family’s native Egypt. The goal is to educate those who do not have access to financial tools so that they may understand how to grow wealth and accumulate assets. Her mother was a doctor in Egypt who brought her 3 children to America. Since her medical degree was not recognized in the U.S., she had to take a job at a fast-food restaurant to provide for her family. This experience inspires Monika to use her education to create transformative change.
Mason is a sophomore at Texas A&M University where he is majoring in financial planning and maintains a 4.0 GPA. He grew up in a single parent household with his mother cleaning houses to support the family. He witnessed how easy it is not to save and create financial goals for yourself. With this experience and background, Mason’s objective is to start his own financial planning firm and serve poverty-stricken communities.
A senior at the University of Texas, El Paso, Maria is majoring in finance with the goal of finding global economic and social solutions to create financial security. Maria was born and raised in Juarez, Mexico, and came to the U.S. determined to make the most of the opportunities available. Her parents had financial struggles and had to declare bankruptcy despite working more than 40 hours a week. She wants to help others become financially literate and avoid the consequences of poor money management.
Mackenzie is working toward a masters degree in finance at Emory. Upon graduation, she wants to work for a firm to gain experience and financial security. She also plans to sit for the CFP and CFA Level 1 exams. Eventually, she would like to start her own financial counseling/planning practice, specializing in wealth management and working with communities in Atlanta that historically have been excluded from building wealth. Through the AmeriCorps Service group, Mackenzie provides financial aid and scholarship counseling to seniors at Atlanta Public Schools. She is the coauthor of an article published in the Journal of Economic Insight.
Vanessa is a junior at Baylor University where she maintains a 4.0 GPA while working for Cornerstone Financial and studying for her Series 65 exam. She was inspired to pursue a career in financial services by her mom who works as a financial advisor helping border patrol agents with retirement planning. Vanessa says her mom, a single parent raising 5 children, instilled the value of education from an early age with the two B rule, that is, Vanessa was not allowed to get more than two B’s on her report card. She has a goal of helping her peers with their finances. She reports many of her high school classmates went right to work after graduation and have good paying jobs, but have no idea how to plan for retirement or manage finances. She is also motivated to help people with student loan financing, so that more of her contemporaries can consider a college education without going into debt.
Nathan is a junior at George Fox University studying personal financial planning. While working on his degree, he is serving as economic model team lead on a project with the engineering departments at his school and the University of Southern California to use aquaculture and agriculture to create a sustainable opportunity for the island of Lesvos, Greece. While he enjoys this project, his main focus is earning his CFP and becoming a fee-based individual financial planner. He works three jobs while taking 18 credits in order to graduate and begin his financial services career without incurring too much debt.
David is a senior at the University of Connecticut. He started his academic career as a physics major, but after taking a basic accounting course he was hooked on financial services. He finds it fascinating that the tax code can be used to minimize tax exposure. He had an internship at Deloitte this past summer and is in an accelerated program to obtain both his BS and MS in accounting at UConn. He has been a volunteer with the UConn VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program where he worked with low to moderate-income individuals, the elderly, and limited English speakers to complete their taxes. He looks forward to a long and successful career making the “world a better place” and having financial stability so that he can support his mom when she can no longer work.
Jasmine is a junior accounting major at Culver-Stockton College. She hopes to earn her master’s degree, and ultimately become a CPA and CMA (certified management accountant) and start her own practice. Jasmine loves numbers and is motivated to succeed by her experience watching her mother living paycheck to paycheck after her father died when she was only 10 years old. Since then, she has had to work and help support her family. She helps her mom with her finances and wants to help others who struggle financially.
Juliana, a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, is professional vice president of the 200-member Hispanic Business Student Association with responsibility for hosting over 40 professional development events. She is also the mentorship chair and chair of the professional development committee at HBSA. She has interned at KPMG and at PWC. She likes finance because she wants a career with hard skills. She is a first generation American and the oldest of five children. Both parents are blue collar laborers and instilled in her that education is the most important way to success and financial stability.
Brendee is a single mother of four, studying full-time at Idaho State University, and working part-time. Her interest in finance came after obtaining a 26 percent APR credit card right out of high school and quickly incurring unmanageable debt. Ultimately, she cut up the credit card, paid her debt, and began her journey toward understanding finance, including budgeting, investing, and real estate. She then started college, the first in a family to attend, but put it on hold to raise her kids and allow her spouse’s education to take priority. Shortly after her husband graduated and after 18 years of marriage, she separated, resumed college, and earned an associate degree cum laude 14 months later. After graduation, she hopes to earn the CFP designation and start her own practice.