Pamplin College of Business 2017 Outstanding Senior Joseph Mills, of Princeton, West Virginia, is not only an exceptional student, he has managed to be one while taking on a smorgasbord of leadership roles and volunteer activities.
His work has touched the lives of students across Virginia Tech and beyond — experiences that have in turn broadened and enriched his education.
A double major in accounting and information systems and finance, Mills has been a resident advisor at the Honors Residential Commons of East Ambler Johnston since August 2015. His responsibilities include student engagement, mental health monitoring, and crisis management and response.
He has put his accounting and finance knowledge to work, helping the board of Virginia Tech Services Inc., which manages the university’s bookstores, to review the organization’s operations, including financials, audit concerns, disposition of surplus funds, charitable fund allocation, and employee management.
His business and logistics skills were also applied in volunteer work for the Appalachian Studies Association. Working on a team of faculty and students since last fall to plan the association’s annual conference this spring, Mills drafted most of the external communications, including contracts and agreements with vendors. He helped negotiate attendee parking with the university and create and manage transportation routes.
His other volunteer activities have included working on community projects in Floyd, Virginia, with Honors students during one spring break; being a camp counselor for foster children and children from abusive homes in southern West Virginia; and working with engineering students to design and prototype a renewable energy device for use in Nepal.
Mills, who has an overall GPA of 3.95, has tutored Virginia Tech athletes and assisted the Hokie Handbook committee. In his sophomore year, he chaired a student conduct committee of the university’s Office of Student Conduct, which handled more than 40 non-academic conduct cases.
His resumé has also been bolstered by summer internships at an accounting firm and a bank. At Cherry Bekaert in Richmond, Virginia, last summer, Mills worked on audits, prepared individual tax returns, assisted with clients, and completed marketing projects. At First Community Bank in Bluefield, Virginia, he accumulated work experience in accounting, legal, risk, and finance areas.
Jason Malone, an assistant professor of practice in the finance department who teaches the Legal and Ethical Environment of Business course, asked Mills to provide feedback on the pedagogical approach used in the class.
Mills not only did this, “but also volunteered to help out with some research concerning the legal doctrine of derivative immunity,” Malone said. “Joseph’s individual initiative and motivation made him a valuable contributor on both projects.”
It may surprise no one that Mills is a recipient of multiple scholarships: the John W. Fox Jr. Memorial Scholarship, the Wells Fargo Leadership Development Scholarship, the VSCPA Educational Fund Scholarship, the Kwan Soon Lee Scholarship, and the Sam and Janie Bowling Scholarship.
Mills has accepted a full-time job offer with Cherry Bekaert, starting with the firm’s Roanoke, Virginia, office in January 2018 in the tax service line.
Meanwhile, he has lined up a six-month internship with the Virginia Tech Student Affairs Business Planning Office, where he will work after graduation in May.
He will also be preparing to take all four sections of the CPA exam this fall. “My long-term career plans are to pursue any opportunities that allow me to continue to challenge myself and to grow intellectually and interpersonally.”