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2014 CHCI-Tyson Scholar

Hometown: St. Anthony, Idaho

School: Idaho State University

Major: B.A., Accounting and Finance

Maria Azucena Luna is a first-generation Mexican-American undergraduate at Idaho State University. She is pursuing a double major in accounting and finance. Born and raised in southeast Idaho, Maria grew up watching the struggles of her parents as they worked on the farms. At age thirteen, she was allowed to work in the annual spud harvest and she did so alongside her father until the age of nineteen. It was from this experience and the lessons taught by her parents that she saw the opportunities provided to her and inspired her to pursue a higher education.

Maria is a strong believer in the importance of giving back to her community, and she believes that the best way to advance in life is to help one another. During fall 2013, Maria completed a study abroad semester in Valencia, Spain, where she studied business management. While on the exchange, she participated in a language exchange program where she was able to help students with their English skills while gaining knowledge of several other languages. Maria is also active on her campus and has held executive positions in several student organizations including the Hispanic Awareness Leadership Organization and Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. Maria is also proud to share she is one of the founders of the first Latina sorority on campus, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc. It is through these organizations that she has taken on leadership roles by participating in community service events and implementing mentorship initiatives with high school students.

Apart from her academics and on-campus activities, Maria has also been involved in her community in various ways. She has volunteered with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offering free tax services to low-income individuals and the Idaho Hispanic Caucus Institute for Research & Education by working with its Latino Vote Project.

As a 2014 CHCI Tyson Foods Scholar-Intern, Maria completed an internship at Tyson Foods Headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas. She took a giant leap in her career by gaining invaluable skills in accounting while working for a multinational company. Her experiences at Tyson Foods strengthen her leadership skills and better prepared her for a career in accounting. In 2016 CHCI has continued to support her as she recently learned she was accepted for the Spring 2016 Congressional Internship program. As a CHCI Intern, Maria hopes to strengthen her knowledge of the legislative process, and grow as a leader and professional.

All these opportunities have pushed Maria to lead by example and motivate her to believe and achieve her highest potential. After receiving her degree in May 2016, her plan is to finish a Masters of Accounting program, which will assist her in taking the Certified Public Accountant exam. Maria appreciates all the support and opportunities that CHCI has provided to her. It is because of CHCI that Maria has been able to move forward and continue her education. She hopes to use the knowledge gained from her experiences to give back and motivate young students to pursue higher education while encouraging them to be active advocates for their communities.