GFOA Scholarship Spotlight: Kalina Mendez

Kalina received the Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship in 2021.

Photo of Kalina Mendez

Kalina Mendez has served as supervisor of finance for the Waukegan Park District in Waukegan, Illinois, since September 2017 and has been with the park district since January 2015. Kalina holds both an AS degree in Business Administration and a BBA degree from Robert Morris University. She is seeking an MS in Accounting and Financial Management from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management and will graduate in May 2022. Upon graduation, Kalina will sit for the Certified Public Accountant Exam with the goal of a promotion to a manager role within the Waukegan Park District or another local government entity.

Q & A with Kalina

Where and what are you currently studying? Why did you choose this?

I am currently enrolled at DeVry’s Keller Graduate School of Management and I am working towards my Master’s Degree in Accounting and Financial Management.  I chose this program because it includes prep courses for the Certified Public Accountant Certification, which I have always aspired to acquire.

What government are you working or hoping to work at in the future?

I have worked for my local Park District for six years and I love it.  I look forward to staying in the Park and Recreation world.  It is very rewarding to work within your community so I plan to stay as long as I can.

What are your future career goals?

After receiving my Master’s Degree in Accounting and Financial Management, I plan to sit for my CPA exam if I can’t take the different CPA exam sections immediately after the correlated prep course.  Upon graduation, I look forward to moving into a management role within my local park district.  

Which GFOA scholarship did you receive this year, and how will GFOA's scholarship help you achieve those goals?

I am the proud recipient of one of the two, Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarships. This scholarship will help me immensely with my tuition considering I am still paying towards my Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees. Aside from the financial factor, the Scholarship’s three-year GFOA membership, three complimentary trainings, and invite to the Virtual Conference in July 2021 will provide me with significant opportunities for continued professional growth through trainings and networking.