Class of 2018: Accounting student makes the most of opportunities for leadership and service
“Knowledge and skills are essential, but it is equally imperative to develop yourself as a leader, teammate, and friend. This is the most important lesson I learned as a student in the Pamplin College of Business,” said Helena Snow, of Chester, Virginia, who will graduate from Virginia Tech on Dec. 14 with a Bachelor of Science in accounting and information systems.
Her undergraduate experience shows that she took that lesson to heart.
Snow has served as president of the Dean’s Advisory Board of Students since January 2018. The group provides Dean Robert Sumichrast with student insights in areas like college experience, academic curriculum, and career development. In her role, Snow has set agendas, facilitated meetings, and led a few projects to enhance the college’s relationship with its students.
During her tenure, the board compiled a list of suggested changes by major to the curriculum check sheets; invited guest speakers to provide insight on campus operations; and hosted Dean’s Office Hours, initiated as a result of a survey by the board, to provide an outlet for students to meet and share ideas with him.
“I was fortunate to have the unparalleled opportunity of helping to enhance the experience of current and future Hokies in the Pamplin College of Business,” Snow said.
Snow also served a year as executive chair of Beta Alpha Psi, assisting the organization’spresident by setting up and attending meetings and organizing workshops.
“Hearing directly from professionals in companies like KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, E&Y, Grant Thornton, Dixon Hughes Goodman, CapitalOne, Keiter, Baker Tilly, and RSM was invaluable,” said Snow.
A recipient of the Jasper R. and Allyn G. Eanes Scholarship and the Joseph Alfred Deans Parrish Memorial Scholarship, Snow chose Pamplin for its highly ranked accounting program and its innovation, entrepreneurship, technology, and research programs.
She discovered the benefits of being part of the Virginia Tech community. “There is so much to gain from others’ insights and so much joy in being surrounded by people who are in the same boat as you. Whether they are fellow students or co-workers, it is exhilarating to work in a positive group dynamic to achieve your goals.”
From the start, Snow said, Pamplin provided many resources and opportunities to engage with employers.
“When I transferred into Pamplin from John Tyler Community College, I immediately got involved with the Pamplin Undergraduate Mentoring Program. The second meeting I attended was about resumés. I had no idea how to prepare for a career fair, but after I volunteered to read a slide out loud in front of about 100 people, the PwC representative invited me for coffee.”
Little did she know then that she would go on to win first place in the PwC Challenge Case Competition in 2017 and receive a summer internship offer from the firm.
Snow’s work experience includes internships in audit and tax at Keiter and in accounting at Southern States Cooperative.
Snow was initially drawn to Virginia Tech by the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).
As a member of Beta Alpha Psi, she participated in numerous activities, including Relay4Life, the Big Event, and tutoring college freshmen. She has also helped impoverished inner-city children through programs at her church in Richmond. Three times since 2013, Snow has travelled to Central America to assist with urban ministry.
“I believe that I cannot take full credit for my successes. I have been blessed with a great community in Blacksburg and more. Helping those in need is my way of giving back for all that I have been given,” she said.
Next semester, Snow will begin a master’s program in accounting and information systems at Pamplin. Her goal is to obtain a CPA license and possibly pursue a Ph.D. or a full-time position in the tax practice of a public accounting firm.
“Either route will allow me to continue my learning, expand my professional opportunities, and grow as leader toward my long-term goal of heading up a nonprofit organization,” she said.
Written by Barbara Micale