If you had told Smiljka Gavranovic 10 years ago that she would attend college and graduate with an accountancy degree, she would not have believed it. "I didn't expect to go to college," Smiljka says. "But I love a challenge and I love learning."
Born in Croatia, the 41-year-old moved to the United States in 1999 with her husband and two small girls. "We were looking for a better life," she says. After receiving an associate degree from a junior college, Smiljka thought about going further with her studies. "I wasn't sure we could afford it, but I knew an education had a big return on investment," she says.
Smiljka learned of the David and Diane Graf Scholarship in NIU's College of Business and applied. Based on her work ethic and commitment to education, she was awarded the scholarship in 2010. "It was a sign I was doing the right thing," she says. In December, she will graduate with an accountancy degree and is hoping to work at a public accounting firm. "I understand how much it means that other people care," she says. "I'm hoping that I can help others."
Northern Illinois University has designated the NIU Foundation as the charitable organization to receive and manage all gifts on its behalf.
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