Putting the count in Accounting
by Nathaniel Miller
Like many young people, Isabella “Bella” Tamez was steadfast in her decision not to follow in her family’s footsteps.
Her stepfather, David Wiechmann, and her grandfather, Ruben Escobedo (B.B.A. ’60), worked as certified public accountants. Her grandfather, and his wife, Veronica Salazar Escobedo, have donated to St. Mary’s University over the years, including helping establish the Escobedo Saint John’s Bible Lecture Series.
Tamez’s mother, Cristina Escobedo (M.P.A. ’97), is also an alumna of St. Mary’s University and worked with human resources for North East Independent School District.
When Tamez was getting close to graduating from Antonian College Preparatory High School in San Antonio, she was already familiar with St. Mary’s because of the lecture series and from attending the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Still, she was sure she wanted to go to school outside of San Antonio.
But as a self-described “sometimes procrastinator,” Tamez knew she would get the best education at St. Mary’s. The 11-to-one student-to-teacher ratio and small class sizes would hold her accountable to herself and her classmates.
Along with the focus on the Catholic and Marianist mission, and an education that served her family well, she decided St. Mary’s was the best and only choice for her.
“I prefer small classes because if I have to decide between being in a huge auditorium with 100 people or a class with 12 people, I’ll take the class of 12,” Tamez said. “I’m glad that I did because it’s such a small community where you can find your place and meet so many people.”
Initially a Marketing major, Tamez excelled in an Accounting class during her sophomore year. She changed her major to Accounting even though it meant delaying her graduation by a year. She walked the stage at Fall Commencement on Dec. 9.
During her time at St. Mary’s, Tamez was able to form relationships with professors that she wouldn’t have been able to do at a larger university. One-on-one connections and networking were essential in her development.
Joining the President’s Ambassadors program helped her get over her social anxiety and pushed her to be more comfortable in new settings. She also had the opportunity to meet with alumni, such as former Chair of the Board of Trustees Michael “Mickey” Schott (B.B.A. ’68).
Tamez also worked closely with Thomas Madison, Ph.D., the Chair of the Department of Accounting, and the Ed Boyle Professor of Accounting, both in taking courses with him and working with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, or VITA. VITA provides free tax filing services to qualifying families.
“Isabella was constantly kind, thoughtful and patient with all of the taxpayers we served, as well as the students and community members who volunteered in our VITA program,” Madison said. “Isabella is the type of person we will all be proud to call an alumna of St. Mary’s University.”
“St. Mary’s is a Catholic and Marianist University, but you meet a lot of different people of different backgrounds and learn how to respect one another.”
Her experience with VITA, along with an internship with Frost Bank, resulted in a job offer upon graduation as a trust officer with the organization.
Her time at the University also helped her grow closer to her faith. During her Capstone seminar, Tamez’s class discussed current events that led to an open discussion about respect for others.
“St. Mary’s is a Catholic and Marianist University, but you meet a lot of different people of different backgrounds and learn how to respect one another,” she said. “I’m really thankful I took these classes because they showed we may have different religions, but we share common goals, and that’s something we can all identify with.”