Alexis Garza

Alexis Garza

Alexis Garza is a first-generation accountancy graduate student from Genoa, IL

Hometown: Genoa, IL

Year: Expected graduation: 2024

Major: Master of Accountancy

What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I received scholarships from NIU and outside NIU. From NIU I received the Northern Academic Scholarship, Huskie Advantage Grant, David and Linda Nelson Scholarship, Jim and Linda Young Endowed Scholarship (twice), Rockford Promise, Accounting Scholarship and an Honors Scholarship. Outside NIU I received the Veteran of Foreign War Scholarship, Hoover Hoegn Scholarship and Lorene Brown Scholarship. The last two I have been receiving since I started going to NIU as well as beginning the master’s program. I received all of these from my performance in school. The scholarships have allowed me to not have to worry about college debt. I am allowed to focus all my time on school.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
If we are talking from around ages 5-6, I wanted to be a mermaid. When I hit middle school and into part of high school, I wanted to be a patisserie (a pastry chef). In the last two years of high school I was between engineering and accounting for a future career. I am pursuing what I decided on in my later high school years, but not what I wanted when I was a kid. 

What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
My major was accountancy with a minor in economics. I’m currently working on my Master of Accountancy degree. I decided on this path because I love math. I always wanted to go into a field that had some sort of math focus. 

What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
Something that I have found pleasant at NIU was all the resources available to help me academically. This included tutoring services, the writing center and teachers’ office hours. 

How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
I have connected with other students though my classes. Last semester I was in a data analytics class for accounting, and a group of us sat around each other. We made a group chat where we asked each other for help. In my forensic accounting class, we had a long-running group project. I have one of the members from that group in my grad classes now, and we already talked about working together again. 

Are you involved in any student organizations, mentoring programs or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
Some organizations that I have been involved in were the K-pop club (I was a vice president and co-founder), the Economics Student Association and the Student Accounting Society, and now I am a mentor for the accountancy department to freshmen. These organizations have allowed to me connect with different students from different places. It also allowed me to have many friendships throughout my time at NIU.

What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
Some of the resources that NIU that have helped me the most have been the writing center and the counselors in the accountancy department. The writing center helped me out so much with the capstone I did last semester. They were one of the reasons I kept on going with my capstone project. In the accounting department, Angela is one of the nicest counselors out there, so remember to go and see her at least once a semester. 

What Honors Program opportunities or support have helped you get closer to your academic or career goals so far?
The best opportunity I can think of that the University Honors Program gave me was the accounting undergraduate capstone I did last semester. It helped showed me what I would be doing in the graduate program. We do a capstone at the end of the graduate program. So, it is nice to already have some experience at it. 

What do you enjoy the most about the Honors Program?
What I enjoy most about the honors program is being an ambassador for them this year, as well as being able to pick my classes first.

Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
There is a tie between two professors who would be my favorite. They are Matt Pickard and Mark Mellon of the accounting department. Mr. Pickard taught a data analytics class and Mr. Mellon taught intermediate cost management. They were both so kind when I went to their office hours for help with the coursework. I was in both their office hours all the time. 

How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
I have benefitted from attending class regularly by getting information that isn’t in the notes or slides, as well as other examples. Also, you can ask the professor questions that you have, because you are not the only one who has that question. 

Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus would be the cafe in the library. I was drawn to it because it was in the heart of campus, and it was my go-to for a muffin and a smoothie. Off campus it would have to be Portillo’s. Every year, my close friends from high school and I would take one day from Thanksgiving break and have a “family” Thanksgiving there.

What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
I would advise students to go to NIU Academic Works to search for scholarships. There are many general ones that you can apply for. It never hurts you to apply, and it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. 

Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
When coming to college something that I had to learn differently was navigating a larger area. I am from a small town and driving in to NIU was a battle itself at the beginning. I also had to get used to the fact that classes were going to be different from the high school setting, in terms of class size and length. It took a bit of adjusting, but I was able to navigate NIU with ease.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
When I need to relax or recharge, there are a couple things that I do. One of my go-to activities is video games. Right now, I play either Genshin Impact or Dead by Daylight. I also like to crochet; I’ve been working on a blanket for about a year now. And I love to watch a good horror movie or show. If I’m in a mood for a movie, the classic “Halloween” is my go-to. For shows, it would be “Hannibal” or “Stranger Things.”

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