“I picked accounting because I saw an opportunity to help” says a modest Andy Gramajo, Junior at Dominican University. Maybe this isn’t why most Accounting students choose this path, but Andy is very aware of the value of financial planning and budgeting, and what a gift these skills can be--especially to struggling families.
From a local family of five, Andy helps finance his education by working as a bank teller for West America Bank in Ignacio and as a customer specialist at Best Buy in San Rafael. Recently, his father was laid off so Andy picked up extra shifts to compensate for the lost income. In hopes of lessoning the financial burden of his education on his family, Andy recently applied for a San Francisco Chapter of CalCPA scholarship. The scholarship recognizes excellence in accounting and encourages students to pursue CPA licensure and careers in accounting.
Most working, full time students would defer volunteering until after graduation, but Andy believes that providing his accounting skills is a priority. Andy is the first generation of his Guatemalan family to go to college and he is using his experience to benefit not only his family, but his community. In his scholarship essay to CalCPA, Andy explained his appreciation for accounting, saying “I believe giving back to the community is something we must all do and that’s why I picked accounting because I saw an opportunity to help out the people who have trouble documenting expense and revenues for their business.”
Andy was not always interested in accounting and notes that he worried that “accounting was a boring and pointless career. I had low expectations for accounting, but once I was in the class my opinion changed.”
Andy quickly realized how useful accounting can be when he decided to volunteer his skills at the Canal Alliance where he helped prepare taxes. “By applying my basic knowledge of what I had learned in financial accounting that semester I was able to create big tax refunds for the self-proprietors who were going to pay a lot for filling their taxes,” he reflects, “I made a big difference in their lives.”
Supporting Andy in his pursuit of the CalCPA scholarship were Accounting are professors Professors Elizabeth Capener and Maria Bullen. With recommendations and support from Capener and Bullen, Andy submitted his application and waited while he was considered alongside hundreds of Northern California students for the scholarship.
When he was notified that he would be a recipient of the scholarship, Andy asked his professors to accompany him to the CalCPA event in San Francisco on November 20 at which Bay Area scholarship recipients were recognized with a certificate and check. Andy was in a select group of worthy students selected by CalCPA for the scholarship honor. Other scholarship winners included students from Golden Gate University and San Francisco State University.
Dr. Bullen says proudly, “As an accounting professor aware of Andy’s noteworthy and varied talents and skills, I am happy that he has chosen concentrations in Accounting and Finance, and I am fortunate to have Andy as a student.”
We would like to congratulate Andy on his scholarship and his excellence in his undergraduate studies, and commend him for his unwavering commitment to supporting his community. Dominican University strives to educate and prepare students to be “ethical leaders and socially responsible global citizens who incorporate the Dominican values of study, reflection, community, and service into their lives.” As busy as he is with school, work, and volunteering, Andy has also found time to actively engage on campus and in the community. He is a member of the Dominican Accounting and Finance Association and participates in Dominican’s intramural soccer team. Somehow Andy also finds time to volunteer every other Thursday at Health Hub distributing food to low income families. What an incredible representation of Dominican values in action.