Joanna and her family faced financial challenges as she was growing up in Skokie, Illinois. Their circumstances and the fact that her parents never had the option of going to college, motivated her and her older sister to pursue a higher education and “use it passionately.” Although the cost of tuition remains high and continues to rise, she says, “…higher education is and will always be a priority that I will work hard for.”
She is now entering her senior year as a Finance major at DePaul University, where she has excelled academically, making the Dean’s List each quarter. As a freshman, she participated in DePaul MedLife, an organization whose goal is to improve the access of low-income community members to medicine and education. She has also served at soup kitchens and fundraisers for low-income communities.
In keeping with her major, she is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, a national scholastic and professional society for accounting and finance students, and intends to use the opportunities afforded by the organization to further her personal and professional development. She has also completed an Engagement Financial Advisory Internship with Deloitte, a global, “Big 4” accounting firm.
In October 2019, Joanna was one of 118 Scholars invited to attend HSF’s annual Finance Conference, an event that exposes HSF Scholars interested in the field, to specialized industry knowledge and career opportunities in finance, including commercial banking, investment banking, asset management, private equity, and other finance-related fields. The conference also connects Scholars to a lifelong network. “To me, being part of the HSF network means opportunity,” she says, “I am given the chance to participate in events that will further develop my skills and my knowledge, learn about careers that are available to me, and connect with students and professionals with whom I may not have otherwise been able to connect.”
After completing her bachelor’s degree, she intends to earn certification as a chartered financial analyst (CFA), a challenging, multi-step process, but one that will open doors to the investment industry.
Her advice to students looking ahead to college: “They should pursue their passion at a university or college that they are comfortable with. A lot of individuals stress about attending a college with a higher status and the perfect location where the opportunities are, and while those could be great advantages, a university is what the student makes it.”