The Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration will honor two accounting graduates on Saturday, June 17 at the 2017 commencement ceremony: Julia Rodriguez Fuentes, the Outstanding Graduate Student, and Jordan Gallinger, the Outstanding Undergraduate Student.
The ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario. Parking is $5 in lots A, B, C and D.
At only 22 years old, Adelanto resident Julia Rodriguez Fuentes is ready to graduate with her master of science degree in administration with the goal of becoming a certified public accountant. Although she is graduating with her master’s at a young age, these opportunities were not readily available to close family members like her grandmother — the person who has influenced her the most.
“Growing up in a poor neighborhood, my grandma, Odilia, was only able to attend school up to the third grade,” said Fuentes. “She started working at an early age in a farm and tried to learn as much as she could even though she was not going to school.”
Fuentes’s grandmother was eventually abandoned by her husband and left to raise their children alone. Despite her setbacks, Odilia worked hard for her household and was able to send her children to a university. She then immigrated to the United States from Mexico and, despite her age, attended school to learn English.
“My grandma never had the opportunity to go to school when she was young, but that never stopped her from reaching her goals,” said Fuentes. “Her story has taught me that despite the obstacles and challenges in life, any goal we set for ourselves can be reached.”
Like her grandmother, Fuentes has also conquered adversities. Halfway through college, she was suddenly left financially responsible for her household. As a full-time student with no job, she considered dropping out of school.
“I was scared because I did not know how I could support my family and I did not want to stop going to school,” confessed Fuentes.
Luckily, she landed a part-time job and earned several scholarships to help cover her tuition costs.
“This was difficult, but it did not affect my grades as I continued to earn a 4.0 each quarter,” said Fuentes. “This was the hardest year of my life, but somehow me and my family were blessed and were able to get through it.”
Fuentes overcame her hardships and continued to excel in school. Besides keeping up to date with new accounting standards, Fuentes completed numerous research projects, which included cross listing on foreign stock exchanges, accounting for foreign currency transactions, accounting for leases, securitization of receivables, impairment losses, and other tax and audit topics.
She credits much of her educational success to her mentor John Jin, CSUSB accounting and finance professor.
“Dr. John Jin has encouraged and advised me during my years at CSUSB,” said Fuentes. “He is one of the reasons I stayed in school to get a master’s degree, and he has always motivated me to eventually become a CPA,” Fuentes said. "He has helped me so much and inspired me to not settle, but to set high goals for myself.”
After completing her MSA program, Fuentes wants to obtain CPA and CMA certification. She then plans to return to school to acquire a Ph.D. in education leadership.
Like Fuentes, Jordan Gallinger wants to become a certified public accountant. The Barstow resident, who will be graduating with his bachelor’s in administration with concentrations in accounting, public administration and financial planning, will be joining the international firm PricewaterhouseCoopers at its Los Angeles office as a tax associate with plans to work toward passing the CPA exam and becoming a licensed CPA.
Gallinger, who also plans to pursue a master’s degree in either business administration or applied statistics, said he originally chose the accounting field “thinking I would do more of a financial planner type role to help people manage their money. Only once I started doing it did I truly realize the depth of the field and opportunities available.”
Gallinger credits his father as his inspiration.
“He was able to raise me and my sister while going to school to pursue his own passion. That had a big effect,” Gallinger said.
He also had a number of mentors on campus that helped him.
“Marci Daniels – the prior director of the Veterans Success Center and now the director of SSD (Services to Students with Disabilities) has helped me grow tremendously professionally. Dr. (Taewon) Yang, Dr. (David) Senteney, and countless other faculty within the accounting/finance and public administration departments have also helped mentor me and guide me on the path that I am today,” Gallinger said.
On campus he is most proud of the two years he worked at the Veterans Success Center as a student assistant.
“I had the ability to do work in one of the highest rated Veterans Centers in the entire nation that directly assisted in the success of my fellow veterans and was able to witness them firsthand achieve their goals,” Gallinger said.
All of the commencement ceremonies at Citizens Business Bank Arena will be webcast live on the Creative Media Services webcast page.
For more information about the June 2017 graduations, visit the CSUSB Commencement website or contact the Office of Special Events and Guest Services at (909) 537-7360.
For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.