There’s No Wrong Number
Accounting major Yolanda Rosebraugh returns to school for a new career
By Liz MacDonald
If Yolanda Rosebraugh’s experience has taught her anything, it’s that there is more than one way to do college. Many students do it right after high school, but that didn’t work so well for her. “I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to. And I was a terrible student,” she said.
So she dropped out of UCSC, and pursued other directions with her life – working as a naturalist at the Monterey County Outdoor School and working in various office jobs. When she and her husband had children, Rosebraugh stayed home with them.
Once the kids got a little older, Rosebraugh returned to school to earn her early childhood education credential at Cabrillo College. After that, she became involved in her children’s schools, first as a preschool teacher, and later by working in the school office.
Over the years, Rosebraugh went on to earn five associate’s degrees at Cabrillo. After the early childhood program, she took coursework in business, accounting, Spanish, and liberal arts/ sociology.
It was the accounting class that truly altered Rosebraugh’s course. “My professor told me, ‘You’re good at this. Ever thought about being an accountant?’” Rosebraugh said. “I told him never. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. I didn’t have the confidence to consider myself eligible. “But I kept thinking about it.”
Eventually Rosebraugh realized this was the path she wanted to pursue. She transferred to CSU Monterey Bay as a full-time student to complete her bachelor’s degree and prepare for the CPA exam.
At first she worried about her ability to keep up. But she found her professors encouraging and her classmates receptive. In the evenings, homework time became a family activity. “[My kids] are very encouraging to me.They say I work harder than they thought possible,” she said. Rosebraugh’s daughter, now 19 and attending college, and her son, 16 and completing high school, gained a better idea of what to expect from college, and that it’s never too late to learn.
Outside of class, Rosebraugh is active in the business club and accounting society, and participated in the VITA United Way tax assistance program, volunteering to prepare tax returns for low-income families in the local area. She also hopes to become more involved in the Black Students United club.
“There aren’t many women or people of color in accounting. I’d like to see that change,” she said. “I’m going to be doing a job I like and providing for my family. I hope more students of color and women consider this career.”
Next semester, Rosebraugh looks forward to completing an internship with Ryan & McDonald, an accounting firm based in Salinas.
“I’m glad to be living in a time where I have another chance. To know what I want to study, what career I want, and be able to comeback and do it now. I’m a better student, and I’m ready to do the work.”