When Serena Yeh first attended college at San Francisco State University, she was a young immigrant from Taiwan navigating English as a Second Language. Her father had recently passed away and, as the oldest child, she worked part-time jobs to help provide for her family. In the face of these life challenges, Serena couldn’t maintain a high GPA and complete her degree.
Years later, Serena was widowed with two young children. She enjoyed working in the accounting field but the salary she earned barely covered her family’s basic expenses. When she spoke to hiring managers, they explained that to advance in her career she would need a college degree and eventually a CPA credential. She wanted to go back to school, but higher education seemed an impossible dream for someone in her situation.
“GGU opened its doors to me,” said Serena. “GGU gave me the opportunity to complete my bachelor’s and earn my master’s degree. I was offered a scholarship and received financial aid.”
Serena received a Phanstiel Fellowship made possible by a generous gift from Louise Phanstiel ’85 and Howard Phanstiel.
“The Phanstiel Fellowship helped me so much because I’m an immigrant and a single mom,” said Serena. “Whatever I earn I give to my family, so I don’t have much savings. GGU does their best to help students who need financial support.”
Serena completed a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 2021 and is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Accounting Data & Analytics with a concentration in CPA applied accounting. She plans to graduate summer 2023.
“This is my second chance at higher education,” explained Serena. “I chose to go back to school; I’m not doing this for anyone else. My command of English is much improved and now I have a good GPA. I enjoy studying at GGU because of the small class environment, my excellent professors, and because my program is online which has made it possible for me to fulfill my higher education dream while working full-time.”
Currently, Serena is the president of GGU’s new student chapter of Ascend, the non-profit, Pan-Asian organization for business professionals. Additionally, she serves as the president of the Accounting & Tax Club.
“I have the obligation to keep these organizations moving forward,” commented Serena. “I am inviting accounting firms to come to GGU and provide opportunities to our students. Almost every week we have activities in these organizations. GGU opened that door, and this is how I can pay back GGU in a small way. In the future, I hope to contribute more. I think GGU is a great school that helps a lot of people.”
Serena’s GGU education has already helped her advance professionally. A few weeks ago, she started working in a new position at Deloitte as an audit insurance associate.
“Since coming to GGU and studying accounting, I applied to Deloitte and KPMG and they both gave me offers. It’s amazing. If I hadn’t come to GGU I would never have had the opportunity to work at one of the best accounting firms, and that was one of my goals. I’m so thankful to GGU.”