From Lost Hills to Corporate America: A first-generation scholar finds early success

Maribel Juarez shares how The Wonderful Company and the Resnicks continue to play a role in her life

Meet Maribel Juarez, an alumna of the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior tax associate at Ernst & Young (EY), one of the nation’s Big Four accounting firms. We had the opportunity to sit down with Maribel to discuss the impact Wonderful Education has had on her, both academically and personally.

Here’s her story:

TWC: How did your journey with Wonderful Education begin?

MJ: I became involved with Wonderful Education through my participation in the Lost Hills Youth Club, where I served as one of the founding members. During my time, I had the opportunity to meet with several Wonderful executives. Recognizing the importance of supporting the next generation of leaders, the Resnicks established the Lost Hills Scholarship. Thanks to this scholarship, I gained access to Wonderful Coaches who helped me navigate the entire college application and decision process, leading to my college scholarship.

TWC: Did you encounter academic challenges during your journey, and if so, how did you overcome those challenges?

MJ: Through Wonderful Education, I had the privilege of receiving guidance from dedicated Wonderful Coaches who supported both my academic pursuits and my career development. They were always available for any assistance I needed as I navigated problems. They’d direct me toward additional scholarship opportunities, which proved invaluable, especially considering my status as a first-generation DACA recipient. Without the scholarship opportunities and the additional resources provided, I would have faced significant challenges on my educational journey.

It is very well known within my community that the Resnicks and The Wonderful Company have reshaped, reformed, and reinvented Lost Hills.

Maribel Juarez

TWC: Can you share a challenge you faced?

MJ: I was in my third year of college and was required to graduate with a certain number of credits to pursue an accounting career. I was short a couple of credits and had to take a course over the summer, since it wasn’t offered at UC Berkeley. My coaches helped me understand where the course was being offered at other schools and where I should enroll. I ended up enrolling in a community college in the Bay Area for that summer. That was the most stressful part of undergrad, since I was about to graduate, but I’m grateful that they helped me overcome it.  

TWC: Can you share insights into your early professional experiences, including how you sought real-world exposure?

MJ: Wonderful Education opened the doors for my first three internships. The summer before going to college, I was an assistant at the Wonderful Preschool in Lost Hills, and the following summer I helped lead the local fitness camp at Lost Hills Park, which led to my third internship working directly with the director of wellness at the Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds plant.

These internship experiences shaped me into a young professional and exposed me to a wide range of skills, which helped me land an internship with the firm I work for now, EY. I am profoundly grateful for all the support I received from Wonderful and the Resnicks.

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