In 1999, with hopes of better lives for her young children, Maria Alvarez Haro left her small hometown in Mexico for the United States. At the time, her son Felix was three years old and her son Jaime was nine months. She left everything behind, including her family, so her children would have access to good education and better opportunities.
Maria wanted to live in a smaller town and not a city, so they moved to Elkhart, Indiana, where her brother-in-law lived. A few years after they moved, Maria’s third son, German, was born. Maria raised her family in Elkhart and has lived there ever since.
“Felix, Jaime and German have always been very close. That unity allowed them to have similar interests, including the pursuit of accounting,” Maria explained.
As the oldest, Felix felt a lot of responsibility growing up. He knew his brothers looked up to him, so he made sure to do the right thing at all times.
"Felix influenced my decision to participate in the Scholars program. He knew it was an opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and gain valuable knowledge about the CPA profession. He benefitted from the program and he knew it would help both German and I as well."
“I worked hard at everything I did, in and out of school, such as playing soccer or an instrument or constant involvement in community service, so my brothers could see that through hard work, anything is possible,” Felix said. “I was the first to experience hardships and make mistakes along the way. My brothers learned from me so they wouldn’t make similar mistakes.”
Felix’s interest in accounting in high school led him to the INCPAS Scholars program, which introduces students to the CPA profession by pairing them with practicing CPA mentors, touring CPA firms and businesses that employ CPAs. Students also participate in monthly events to immerse themselves in the profession.
It’s no surprise that Felix’s younger brothers looked up to him and applied to the Scholars program as well.
“Felix influenced my decision to participate in the Scholars program,” Jaime shared. “He knew it was an opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and gain valuable knowledge about the CPA profession. He benefitted from the program and he knew it would help both German and I as well.”
In fact, all three of Maria’s children have participated in the INCPAS Scholars program. Felix successfully completed the program in 2015 and attends Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business; Jaime completed the program in 2016 and attends IU Bloomington; and German is a current Scholar and a senior
at Elkhart Memorial High School.
“We frequently see siblings in the Scholars program,” explained Ali Paul, CAE, director of diversity and outreach for the Indiana CPA Society. “As the older siblings head to college, the younger siblings see how prepared for success they are. They are thriving on campus and incredibly focused on reaching their academic and professional goals. The younger siblings see their older brother or sister as a role model and follow his or her example by getting involved in the Scholars program.”
"The younger siblings see their older brother or sister as a role model and follow his or her example by getting involved in the Scholars program."
As the youngest, German watched his two older brothers complete the Scholars program and realized he had an interest in accounting too. He decided to follow in their footsteps and became the third sibling to apply for the program.
“I probably would not have known what a CPA was if it weren’t for Felix and Jaime,” German said. “They showed me what the profession entails, and how to make the most of the program.”
Maria said their participation in the Scholars program helped them meet accounting professionals who cleared up any doubts they had about their future and affirmed their interest in accounting as a career.
“The younger siblings get a firsthand look at the impact the program has in influencing their older brother or sister’s decision to major in accounting,” Paul shared. “Scholars alumni are always working to help others, often their siblings, to see the value of the program and are instrumental in encouraging their siblings active and enthusiastic participation in the program.”
ABOUT INCPAS SCHOLARS
INCPAS Scholars is an award-winning, free program that encourages students to consider becoming a CPA. The only program of its kind, INCPAS Scholars introduces students to the profession by pairing them with practicing CPAs, touring CPA firms and businesses that employ CPAs, and participating in events to immerse them in the profession. Support the Scholars.