The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is pleased to announce Joyce Chung, an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has been awarded Beta Alpha Psi’s Medal of Inspiration Award.
The award, sponsored by the AICPA, is given to a Beta Alpha Psi student member who has experienced extreme hardships and demonstrated an unusually high level of success despite that adversity. The award, which was presented during the Beta Alpha Psi virtual annual meeting, includes a $5,000 cash stipend.
Chung is an active member of Beta Alpha Psi, having served as her chapters mentorship chair and was recently elected as Vice President of Operations. She just completed one internship, accepted an offer for another internship with a Fortune 500 Bank and intends to earn her CPA certification after she graduates in May 2021.
“Joyce’s academic success despite challenges growing up is what makes her a fitting recipient of this award,” said Amy Merletti, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Senior Manager of Academic and Student Engagement.
Chung was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. two months later. Her mother passed away from breast cancer when Chung was 10 years old. At an age when most children spend their day playing with their friends and enjoying school, Chung had to take charge of household responsibilities, including cooking, cleaning and raising her three younger brothers.
Her father remarried but her step-mother passed away from brain cancer when Chung was 15, pushing her back in the role of caring for her family. As a result, Chung struggled through high school and had a hard time fitting in and feeling accepted.
Chung enrolled at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which allowed her to commute from home. However, the challenge of attending college while working to help her father with the bills and taking care of her younger brothers took a toll on her. As a result, Chung, took a two-year break from school to focus on her mental health.
She planned to move to Raleigh and attend North Carolina State University to complete her college education, but her father was diagnosed with colon cancer and soon passed away. At 23 years old, Chung officially became the head of the family and the legal guardian of her younger brothers.
While working full time, Joyce took a personality test and found that she was a good fit for accounting. She re-enrolled at University of North Carolina at Charlotte and soon after joined Beta Alpha Psi. She continues to live with her three younger brothers as their primary caregiver.
“Joyce has been selfless in every aspect of her life. Her story is a testament that hard work, determination and kindness in the face of adversity can overcome long odds,” said Merletti. “The AICPA is proud to sponsor this award and wishes Joyce much success on her path to complete her education and become a CPA.”