Cynthia Calderón, a tax senior at CohnReznick in Hartford, was one of three featured panelists in the CPA/SEA’s December 7 “Panel Discussion on Understanding Barriers for Minority Students in Accounting.”
Cynthia, who serves as the co-chair of the CTCPA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative, shared her story with CPA society executives to open their eyes toward the struggles and challenges facing minority accounting students in their quest toward becoming a CPA.
After coming to the United States from Ecuador with her family at the age of five, Cynthia watched her family work cleaning houses. Her mother told her that she wanted more for her daughter – that she would someday have a career. Cynthia remembers taking home economics and cooking classes (where she burned everything!) in high school, and being floored when a female lawyer came to speak to her class. “I told my mom ‘She looks like me,’” she recalled. “Representation matters.”
While the CPA Exam questions are difficult enough already, Cynthia has found particular challenges in the fact that English is not her first language. She needs to spend time translating the questions before she can begin processing and working through them. When she first started sitting for Exam sections, she found herself running out of time. “Failing is part of the process,” Cynthia said; she shares her struggles with the CPA Exam in order to encourage others not to give up.
Interested in hearing Cynthia's story and thoughts from the panelists on scholarships, recruitment, company culture, and more? Watch the full video.