Flores Counts Her Gains and Credits Her Losses

Flores Counts Her Gains and Credits Her Losses

Contact: Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations

Flores Counts Her Gains and Credits Her Losses

MOUNT OLIVE, NC – Laura Michelle Flores has faced many obstacles in her 21 years.  Yet, every challenge and every setback has only seemed to motivate the quiet and reserved accounting student.  The only daughter of emigrant parents, Flores was born in Galveston, Texas, raised in Houston, Texas and then moved to North Carolina.

Times were tough during Flores’ childhood.  “When my parents and I moved to North Carolina, we struggled,” Flores recalled.  “My parents had to scrimp on certain things.  In fact, I remember not have living room furniture for two years.”

Gradually circumstances improved for Flores and her family.  Her father found a good job as a roofer in Wilmington, and her mother found a job closer to their home in Wallace.”

“I did not know a word of English until I was 10 years old,” Flores admits. “I struggled greatly.  Then I surrounded myself with English speaking students and began to quickly pick-up the language.  I’m proud of myself, because being bilingual has given me more opportunities than I could have ever imagined.”

Flores graduated from Wallace-Rose Hill High School in 2020.  During her senior year, she distinctly recalls expressing her desire to become an accountant to one of her high school teachers.  “My teacher told me to choose another field.  She thought accounting would be too difficult for me.”

Undiscouraged and maybe even more determined than ever, Flores applied and was accepted to the University of Mount Olive.  She enrolled in the fall of 2020.

“My biggest motivation has always been my parents. They did not have a chance to receive an education themselves, and I decided to choose a career that would not only benefit my future, but the future of my parents as well. I want to be able to help my dad with his business. I want to make their life easier and I strive daily to make them proud.”

Fast forward to 2023.  “It has been a big year for us! My parents achieved the great accomplishment of becoming U.S. citizens.  And, I found a job that I have been looking forward to having since I started college.”

With the help of UMO Accounting Professor Ryan Douglas, Flores landed an internship with Earney & Company, L.L.P, an accounting firm located in the Mayfaire area of Wilmington, NC. The knowledge and skills she has learned from Professor Douglas and Professor Waylon Woodall have helped Flores excel at the internship.  Creating balance sheets, completing profit and loss analysis, using QuickBooks, reconciling bank accounts, processing payroll, and factoring sales taxes are all skills she has learned at UMO and is putting to practice daily during her three-month internship.

“With this new experience, I am learning to talk to clients and administrators more confidently.  I am also improving my social skills to expand my network. Every day my coworkers are slowly, but surely teaching me more about the entire process from start to finish.  I can’t wait to apply everything I have learned at UMO and through my internship into my future career.”

Flores is on track to graduate in December with her bachelor of science degree in accounting.  Earney & Company, L.L.C. has been so pleased with her performance that they have hired her to begin fulltime employment on September 1.

“I will complete this last semester of classes online while working fulltime,” she said.

Flores hopes she can reconnect with her high school teacher one day so that she can tell her that not only has she succeeded in the field of accounting, but she is graduating in three years, working in a well-respected firm near the coast, and soon becoming a first-time homeowner.

“One of the greatest opportunities I have had since working in an accounting firm is that I can now afford a small home for my parents, and that has been my goal since high school,” she beamed.

“My take-away from this experience is, you never stop learning and you never let the words of someone else discourage you from pursuing your dreams.”

After taking a year off from schoolwork, Flores plans to apply for her master’s degree and ultimately earn her CPA certification.  “Gaining my CPA will open even more doors of opportunity for me.  Who knows, maybe one day I will move to another state to see more of our great country.”

As for celebrating this major milestone, Flores and her family plan to spend two weeks in her father’s home country of El Salvador.

“I have always aspired for a bright future for myself.  Thanks to the encouragement of my parents and the wonderful professors at the University of Mount Olive, I am slowly getting there,” Flores said.  “I am very happy with my decision to major in accounting.  I could not be more happy with the direction my life is taking.”


The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University is sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.