The future is adding up nicely for Beatriz Capener, an accounting major at Utah Valley University. The first-generation student firmly believes in the value of education and keeps that in mind as she keeps on track to graduation.
Originally from California, she and her husband moved to Utah shortly after they got married.
She wanted to establish residency before pursuing her higher education, so she worked for a while. When Capener began attending UVU, she transferred credits from a junior college. She was majoring in personal financial planning.
“I got a job working for a pest control company, in their billing department,” she said. “I did basic accounting things. As I was working there I realized I really enjoyed doing accounting. I liked the critical-thinking aspect of it. Everything has to be clear and straightforward.”
She found support and encouragement from the Women’s Success Center on campus.
“I have been a member since the fall of 2018, the very first semester I came to UVU,” she said. “They have kept me informed about available resources and I try to do all the drop-in activities that I can, whenever they fit my schedule.”
She and her husband, Lars, became parents near the end of the last semester and she said the Women’s Success Center has helped connect them to community resources.
The couple’s future is still largely undetermined as Lars is also attending school at BYU to become a chemical engineer. Both are on track to graduate in the spring of 2021.
“It is exciting,” Capener said. “I don’t know where we will be in the future or what opportunities will be available at that point. I would love to continue and get my master’s degree as well as a CPA certificate.”
Their determination to complete their education shows in the advice she would give to a woman who may be struggling to continue her schooling.
“I would tell her to continue on,” she said. “One way to keep going is to network and talk to everybody. Investigate things. It is worth it to finish.”
Her attitude about education came from her parents.
“Education is such an invaluable thing, the most you can have in your life,” she said. “My parents told me,‘You can lose everything, but you always have your education.’”
Capener said she would like to begin her professional life doing accounting in a public field in order to gain experience.
“It would be great to eventually be working at a company in which I can help mentor or teach incoming accountants,” she said.
While the Capeners are committed to obtaining their education, their journey has not been without challenges. One of their challenges is common to many students, whether married or single — finances.
“Paying for our education has been a big thing,” she said. “Both of us are going to school. Paying for living while getting our education is hard, too. The time we have available to work is very limited. We are learning to live very simply.”
Another challenge has been finding the information they need about procedures that are related to their classes and schedules.
“Obtaining knowledge is big,” she said. “I made a lot of accounting decisions on my own. It took a while to switch over. I didn’t know what resources were out there or who to talk to in order to speed up the process.”
She thanked her parents and family for their encouragement and examples.
“My parents didn’t graduate from high school,” she said. “My father didn’t finish elementary school. I am (the) first generation to go to college, but the importance of education was instilled in me when I was very young. We can always have education and raise ourselves from the ground up.”
She has two sisters who provided examples to her with their pursuit of higher education.
“Watching them go through the same things has helped me,” she said. “The encouragement from them has kept me going.”
“Education is possible for anyone,” she said. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”
Women like Capener are encouraged to take advantage of the Women’s Success Center. The center offers women the support and resources they need to complete their degree and gain the confidence, opportunity and knowledge that come with a diploma. UVU is dedicated to providing higher education opportunities to all who seek them, especially to women. Further information is available at http://uvu.edu/wsc.