This outstanding Huntsville military mom of 2 will soon be a CPA


Gabriela Hughes and family at Ditto landing—she's a Huntsville military mom
Family is everything to Gabriela Hughes. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

Gabriela Hughes knows what it means to give back. Along with serving her country in the army for four years, she makes sacrifices for her family every day.

That’s why she was thrilled to receive her own unexpected gift—a substantial scholarship to study her Master of Accountancy (MAcc) at The University of North Alabama. Read on to learn more about Hughes’s journey and insider tips for saving on your studies.

Hughes found the secret to moving up in her Huntsville career. (Ben Johnson / Hville Blast)

The University of North Alabama’s Military Heroes Scholarship at a glance:

  • Offered to:
    • Any active duty member or veteran of the U.S. Military
    • Current members of the National Guard or Reserves
    • And/or the spouses of the above individuals
  •  Students must enroll in one of the following to qualify:
    • A bachelor’s degree
    • Graduate program (online or on campus)
    • Certificate
    • Micro-credential
  • The scholarship is need-based
  • Award: 33% off tuition

You can apply the Military Heroes scholarship to any UNA Sanders COBT bachelor’s degree or graduate program—apply today.

Four years in the army

Gabriela holding up photo from her military days
Hughes reminiscing about her military days. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

In 2002, Hughes began serving in the U.S. army as an Automated Logistical Specialist, also known as a 92A. She was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas—one of the largest military installations in the world. She served for four years, including one tour in Iraq.

While in the military, she met her husband, and within a few years, she became pregnant with her first son. After becoming a mom, Hughes decided to step down from the military to dedicate more time to raising her son.

Unexpected scholarship help

Gabriela studying
The Military Heroes scholarship has been a game changer for Hughes. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast).

After years of investing in her family, Hughes decided to further her education by studying the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) at UNA.

When she received the email about the Military Heroes Scholarship, she at first thought it was only for first-year students and didn’t think she would qualify. But within hours, the UNA Sanders COBT office told her she qualified for the scholarship.

Knowing that she could save 33% on tuition was a game changer for her.

“I had always wanted to go back to school but was waiting for the right moment financially—the Military Heroes scholarship confirmed that I was on the right track.”

Gabriela Hughes, MAcc student + Military Heroes scholarship recipient

Flexible + supportive MAcc program

Family throwing football together
Hughes has time to invest in her family because of UNA’s flexible MAcc. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

When Hughes isn’t working her full-time job as an Accounting Director or studying to complete her MAcc, you can find her with her family going on evening walks, watching movies or grabbing ice cream.

She’s been so grateful for the flexibility of UNA’s MAcc—she can take classes online or in person.

“The professors have been so approachable and helpful. They understand that most of us are working full-time and have families, so they’re very flexible when it comes to planning. They let us know about assignments in advance so we have plenty of time to complete them.”

Gabriela Hughes, MAcc student + Military Heroes scholarship recipient

Living in the Huntsville area

Living in the Huntsville area, Hughes also loves having the option to complete her classes online or visit the campus in person.

“It has made a big difference for me to attend UNA since it’s a local school everyone knows—not just some online college stationed across the country. I am confident my degree from UNA will help me move up in my Huntsville career.”

Gabriela Hughes, MAcc student + Military Heroes scholarship recipient

Reaching career goals

Gabriela and her husband
The future is bright for this Huntsville military mom. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

After saying for years that the time wasn’t right to go back to school, Hughes is so glad she enrolled in UNA’s MAcc.

“I had to stop looking for excuses and just go for it. I have always loved accounting, so the MAcc has been the perfect program for me. It’s helping me reach my goals of becoming a CPA.”

Gabriela Hughes, MAcc student + Military Heroes scholarship recipient

If you’re interested in UNA’s business degrees and graduate programs, apply for the Military Heroes scholarship today.

Sponsored by:

North Alabama - Sanders College of Business and Technology
Lacey Spear
Lacey Spear
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