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THE MAGAZINE OF FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY'S COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
 
Scholarship Eases Financial Burden and Inspires Accounting Students
Argiz Family Eminent Scholarship recipients Alexandra Canas and Alfredo Machado  

Scholarship Eases Financial Burden and Inspires Accounting Students

By Michelle Lopez

Hard work and perseverance paid off for two FIU Business undergraduate students who needed an extra boost to obtain their accounting degrees. Both academic achievers earned the Argiz Family Eminent Scholarship, allowing them to level up their accounting tools and help pay for out-of-state tuition.

The scholarship was established in 2020 by business and civic leader Antonio "Tony" Argiz (BAcc '74) and his wife Concepcion "Conchi" Argiz. It supports undergraduate students who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need in their last two years of school with up to $10,000 each year.

Alexandra Canas (BAcc '23) was struggling in her final year. The math was challenging and despite trying her best, she needed extra help. On top of that, her laptop couldn't keep up with her workload and often crashed.

Hoping for extra financial aid, she applied for the Argiz scholarship and, with two semesters left, received $7,000, allowing her to buy a new laptop and find a tutor to get her through the final semester.

"Receiving the scholarship was one of the biggest accomplishments of my college career," said Canas. "Thank you [Argiz family] for caring about the future generation of accounting and investing in the future of South Florida, which are the students."

In May 2023, Canas graduated magna cum laude. That August she joined Royal Caribbean International as an accounting analyst.

Another scholarship recipient, Alfredo Machado (BAcc '23), an international student from Venezuela, eagerly looked for ways to pay for school.

"Receiving the scholarship was one of the biggest accomplishments of my college career."

– Alexandra Canas

After completing two years at a community college in order to save funds, he transferred to FIU Business at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

"I was working the entire time I was at FIU, even during COVID," said Machado, who would regularly visit the financial aid website and apply for scholarships at every opportunity. "As an international student, you pay a higher tuition rate. It was always in my mind that any extra help I can get was welcomed."

The news of his $10,000 award came after Machado graduated. But the funds were ready to be put to good use because he had paid his way through school with a combination of personal funds and student loans.

The scholarship not only went toward paying back those loans, but also enabled Machado to begin working toward his CPA certification. Today, he is a staff auditor at Caballero Fierman Llerena + Garcia, a Miami-based accounting firm.

"It can get lost, but ‘thank you,'" said Machado. "This money is so important to the recipients; $10,000 may not be a lot of money to some people, but it can change circumstances for others."

"It's good to see people who are going through what we are going through and becoming so successful."

– Alfredo Machado

For Canas and Machado, becoming Argiz Family Eminent Scholars represented more than the dollar amount of the scholarship.

Machado, who highlighted the importance of persistence and a strong work ethic, noted he was inspired after learning more of Argiz' story.

"I would say I relate to him a lot; he came from Cuba when he was 8 [years old]. There's that immigrant story, seeing how far he made it in his career," said Machado. "It's good to see people who are going through what we are going through and becoming so successful."

At lunch with Argiz, Canas and Machado shared their thanks and had the opportunity to learn from someone who has achieved so much in the accounting industry.

"We were able to talk about the current challenges accountants are facing today, like AI," said Canas. "It was amazing because to get ahead in life, you should talk to those that are already above you to understand what path you need to follow."