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Alejandra Cruz Rossil

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For Alejandra Cruz Rossil, her teenage life was a little bumpy. When she came to California from Guatemala at the age of 13 with her mother and four siblings, no one in her family spoke much English. Her mother was out working night and day to support her family and Cruz Rossil spent her days all by herself.

She attended St. Gertrude School in Bell Gardens from 7th to 8th grade. Not being able to communicate well with her classmates in English, Cruz Rossil didn’t find herself fitting in. However, she was blessed to have great teachers who were very supportive of her—that was when school became a comfortable place for her.

Cruz Rossil soon started getting involved in volunteer activities such as youth mentoring programs and summer camps, where she was convinced that she was moving in a better direction.

After she graduated St. Joseph High school in Lakewood, she had no intention of going to college. Instead she set her mind to join the Air Force. Just a few days before she was leaving for boot camp, her father, who had never been in her life until then, told her to come back to Guatemala and live there. She listened to him and agreed to move to Guatemala. During the two years she lived there by herself she re-discovered her identity and refreshed her Spanish skills. Above all, living there as an older teenager gave her a different perspective—to be more independent.

It was when she turned 20 that she realized she should do something for her life. She came back to California and attended Pasadena City College for a semester while she worked full-time as a real estate agent in Pasadena. Naturally a hard worker, she did very well in real estate. However, soon she found the real estate business unappealing and decided to move to Cerritos and focus on school.

When she started at Cerritos College, she was a general business major. It was her second semester when her economics class professor Dr. Solomon Namala encouraged her to go the Economics Club meetings where she met some peers who were also undecided on which business field to go into. She also met fellow students from the Accounting Club and found her niche in numbers. She declared an accounting major, joined the Accounting Club and became actively involved in it – she even served as the club’s director of publicity last semester. In addition to the business clubs, she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa.

The Accounting Club advisor was Professor Peter Moloney. She started taking classes from him and Professor Debra Schmidt, and loved both instructors. “They push you over the limit,” says Cruz Rossil. “They generally like to help people. Even in a personal level they are there for you. When your grade fails, they will ask you what happened or if anything is going on with health and try to help you.”

When she had personal problems, she almost stopped going to school. That was when Moloney stepped in and persuaded her, “No, you’ve got great potential, you are going to stay in school. Now I would worry about this week’s homework if I were you!”

“Instead of being nice, he pushed me!” laughs Cruz Rossil. “But he is truly a great inspiration to me.”

As an accounting major, she has earned a GPA of 3.5. She also won the Chugh Firm Scholarship for which she was nominated by Moloney. The scholarship was established by the managing partner of The Chugh Firm Navneet Chugh, an attorney-at-law and CPA, to support promising accounting students. Chugh is also a member of the Cerritos College Foundation Board of Directors.

In addition to The Chugh Firm Scholarship, she received the California Society of CPAs Scholarship, Silver Falcon Award and American Association of University Women Honorable Mention.

Another great accomplishment of hers must be the two-year internship she landed in the audit division of Ernst & Young, one of the world’s leading accounting firms. The honor is that she is the first-ever community college student to be hired as an intern with the firm. The company is even offering her a paid summer training in Florida next year. “I’m so thrilled, I can’t wait start working there,” says Cruz Rossil in excitement.

She has plans to transfer to USC where she will pursue both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting. Her career goal is to become a partner at Ernst & Young and rise high in the firm. She also wants to come back to the college and give back to the community by volunteering and mentoring. “I definitely want to come back to the Accounting Club and speak to the students about my internship,” she says.

The Accounting Club students sure will have much to learn from the promising accountant.