Financial and managerial accounting
A single comment was instrumental in Kevin Stokes’ success at The University of Findlay: “You will never know how much you can get done until you have to do it.”
Accounting professor Douglas Asbury, whom Stokes considers his mentor, spoke these words to Stokes after the self-described “awkward shy kid in the corner” switched majors from Japanese to accounting and Asbury became one of Stokes’ academic advisers. Stokes soon was involved in Theta Chi fraternity, Greek Council and Student Government Association (SGA) while completing 18 credit hours a semester and maintaining a high G.P.A.
Stokes later added an additional major in economics and completed two internships: one with New York Life near New York City and another with Thomas & Ridge CPAs in Findlay. As an upperclassman, Stokes added tutoring to his list of activities, and says that he enjoys helping people understanding accounting and economics.
Stokes originally joined Theta Chi for the social benefits but quickly learned the value of the leadership opportunities available within the organization. “I really have to credit Theta Chi with a lot of my ‘blooming’ … ” said Stokes. “Joining the fraternity … helped bring me out of my shell.”
While active in the fraternity, Stokes held the positions of alumni relations chair, assistant treasurer, social committee member and marshal, who coordinates new member education and is part of an executive committee to oversee the organization.
His involvement with Theta Chi spurred Stokes’ involvement with Greek life and SGA. “I identified with the fraternity … I wanted to make sure other people could enjoy that, too,” he said. “We wanted to put ourselves out there in a positive light,” which he could accomplish by being a positive representative on campus.
While Stokes was building Theta Chi’s reputation, he also was building his own, making valuable contacts within the University. “I’ve asked most of the faculty for advice several times during my undergraduate experience,” said Stokes. “Most professors are easily accessible and are the bearers of a wealth of useful information in and out of the classroom.”
In addition to Asbury, Stokes cited professors Jeremiah Young and Maria Gamba and Paul Sears, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business, and others as faculty members who were instrumental in his success.
Those same connections helped Stokes land the internship at New York Life. Stokes was able to make contact, through e-mail, with a former UF student with whom Asbury had kept in contact, and Stokes eventually was chosen as one of only 100 college students from a pool of approximately 600 for the 2009 summer program.
Stokes says the experience was one of the best of his four years as a college student. The company divided the interns into teams of 12 and assigned each the task of developing an idea to increase New York Life’s business or decrease internal costs using electronic communication. At the end of 12 weeks, each team presented its proposal to company executives. “Not only could you work hard and develop something you were proud of, but you also were able to show it off to people you’d never dream of speaking to as a college student,” he said.
After graduation in May, Stokes plans to become a CPA and entered law school in fall of 2011.