Johnson Transfer Scholar Christopher Gonzalez: Exemplifying an Attitude of Gratitude
First-generation student Christopher Gonzalez didn’t have much growing up. His parents taught him the importance of carefully managed finances. During tax season, Christopher would accompany his mom to file her taxes, and he astutely observed how a good certified public accountant (CPA) could help families save money.
With keen interest, Christopher realized that the CPA knew what to write off and how to make the most of his family’s tax return. “At the time, every dollar mattered,” Christopher explained. “The CPA not only assisted my mom with her filing, but also with money managing advice in general. I felt like one day, I could also help another family and return the good will.”
After Christopher graduated with his Associate of Arts degree and a 4.0 GPA, he was accepted to the very first cohort of Florida Atlantic University’s Johnson Transfer Scholars Program. The program aims to improve the retention, matriculation, graduation and career readiness of first-generation transfer students, and eliminate gaps in degree completion.
Christopher was truly grateful to have been selected as a scholar, which enabled him to pursue his education full-time. “It was an honor to have been chosen,” expressed Christopher. “I knew there were a limited number of opportunities for the scholarship, so I am thankful for this opportunity, and I hope to pay it forward in the future.”
Not only did the Johnson Transfer Scholars program help Christopher meet his financial needs, but it also highlighted the amazing support structures and opportunities at FAU. He said the program pushed him out of his comfort zone and encouraged him to take full advantage of the resources available to him. All Johnson Transfer Scholars are immersed in a culture of firstgeneration community-based programming, high-touch academic and success coaching, and targeted programs that increase their overall employability upon graduation.
A stellar honors student, Christopher is also a member of FAU’s College of Business Accounting Scholars Program, which is designed to prepare highly motivated students for careers as professional accountants. Outside of the classroom, students participate in peer mentoring and professional development activities that provide valuable networking opportunities.
Now a senior on the Dean’s List, Christopher is set to graduate with his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting in December 2023. After graduation, Christopher plans to pursue a fellowship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the same prestigious firm he will complete his internship with this summer.
Christopher wants other first-generation students to know that it’s important to keep moving forward on their academic journeys. “Regardless of how hard things might be, as long as you are taking a step forward — big or small — you are still moving forward,” said Christopher. “Don’t be scared to ask for help. If things seem hard or you feel alone, there will always be people to help you on your path if you make yourself open to it.”
To learn more about how Florida Atlantic is supporting bright scholars like Christopher and others, as well as how Transcend Tomorrow: The Campaign for Florida Atlantic University is working to provide scholarships to propel access to higher education, address the growing need to train more health care workers, and create a healthier environment, visit transcendtomorrow.fau.edu.
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