Mauricio Chacon
Mauricio Chacon
Courtesy of Mauricio Chacon

As a senior preparing to graduate in December of 2022 with his bachelor of science in accounting, Mauricio Chacon knows he’s gotten a top-notch education while at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System. The Oneonta, Alabama, native says he was drawn to UAH because of its high return on investment (ROI) and its location in the fastest-growing city in Alabama. These stats, coupled with opportunities for internships and the scholarships Chacon received as the result of a donor’s planned gift, make Chacon confident that he made the right choice.

Chacon will be the first in his immediate family to graduate from a university, an achievement for which Chacon is proud. A cousin who attended UAH inspired him to look into attending. “She got her master’s in cybersecurity,” Chacon shares. “She told me she got a job right out of college, and my goal is to find a job. I’m really happy I chose UAH.”

While Chacon says his parents planned and saved so they could help him afford college, he recognizes that the opportunities he’s been given would not have been possible without the scholarship support he’s received. “Being awarded the W. L. and Lucille Howard Memorial Scholarship makes me proud because it recognizes the long hours I put into something I am so passionate about,” Chacon shares.

The W. L. and Lucille Howard Memorial Scholarship was established in 1984. W. L. Howard, who had a long career in banking, was an active and ardent supporter of UAH in its early days. The scholarship provides support to an undergraduate student, with preference to students majoring in Finance.

“This scholarship motivated me to stay at UAH and continue my education,” Chacon says. Scholarships, he adds, “are more than just sums of money to help pay for school. They are a message that someone is recognizing your efforts.”

That recognition, Chacon affirms, encourages students to put forth their best effort to achieve their goals. Chacon has his own goals, and those start with being enrolled in the Joint Undergraduate Master’s Program (JUMP), which allows undergraduate students to study at the graduate level during their senior year and reduce the time it takes to get a graduate degree. Once he graduates, Chacon plans to sit for the CPA exam. Chacon says Dr. Milton Shen, a professor in accounting, inspired him to continue his education and sit for the exam. “Dr. Shen motivated me to study, work hard and reach the pinnacle in the field of accounting,” Chacon says. “I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to be taught and mentored by someone like him.”

Dr. Shen believes Chacon is the kind of student who will use his UAH education to succeed: “The Chinese Confucian philosopher Mencius said, ‘Teaching and nourishing talented individuals is a supreme delight for educators.’ Indeed, it has been a pleasure to oversee Mauricio's exceptional academic performance and achievement in the fields of accounting and information systems. His dedication, detail orientation and superior time management skills are exactly what the accounting profession needs.”

In addition to spending 40-50 hours a week going to class and studying, Chacon was recently elected secretary of Beta Alpha Psi, an honor organization for financial students and professionals. Chacon takes notes and serves as a liaison with professors, and he is excited to continue the organization’s participation in UAH’s Big Event, the university’s annual day of community service in Huntsville. Chacon notes the importance of joining the organization and contributing to its success, especially since he was unable to do so during the pandemic.

Also vital to his growth and experience, Chacon says, is the access to internships with prestigious accounting firms in the area. In the spring of 2022, he interned with Hill, Fogg and Associates, a local CPA firm in Huntsville, where he gained a better understanding of individual and small business taxation. This past summer, Chacon interned at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), where he learned about industrial accounting, and this fall, he will serve as an Audit Intern with the Government Accountability Office. Chacon says the UAH Career Fair helped him secure his first internship by giving him the chance to meet representatives and set up an interview.

Chacon’s current ambitions include winning Accounting Student of the Year and finding a job with one of the “Big 4” companies (Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) once he completes his degree and passes the CPA exam. After graduation, Chacon has yet another internship, this time with PwC to work on taxes for bigger companies. “I love taxes,” Chacon enthuses. “It’s my calling.”

All of this hard work is worth it, Chacon states, to achieve his dream, and the support of a planned gift scholarship has made that possible. “I enjoy working and studying, and the recognition of the Howard Memorial Scholarship inspires me to keep working and studying. I’m so lucky to have been given this opportunity.”

Please contact the Office of Development if you’d like to learn more about how to make your planned gift.

CONTACT US | University of Alabama Huntsville Foundation—Planned Giving



Dr. Jason Greene

Jenn Memolo