While balancing books and sports, Josh Kariya not only earned a double bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance at Southern Utah University, he is also this year’s valedictorian for the School of Business, finishing with a 4.0 GPA.
Kariya completed his degrees in December 2015 and has been working at Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators in Salt Lake City as an investment analyst.
Recruited from Kaysville’s Davis High by SUU to play football, a wrist injury cut Kariya’s gridiron career short after two years as a Thunderbird linebacker. While leaving the team was disappointing, Kariya believes it gave him an opportunity to focus on his academics and credits most of his success to his SUU professors.
“Bruce Haslem and Steve Evans were both great finance professors and motivators for me,” Kariya said. “They really push students to understand the material and be prepared for class discussions. I really appreciated how they placed the responsibility to learn on us because I believe it helped me grasp the material better and prepared me to work in the field of finance.”
During his time at SUU, Kariya was also able to gain experience through an internship with the Leavitt Group in Cedar City from June 2014 to May 2015.
With a full load of school and working part-time at the Leavitt Group, Kariya turned to his support system in order to help him maintain his high GPA and push him through school.
“My friends and family have provided me with a support system that has been invaluable to me,” he said. “My wife helped talk me through a couple of advanced accounting subjects, and I’ve made several life-long friends in Cedar City that have been a family away from home for me.”
When Kariya looks back on his time at SUU, some of his favorite experiences involve late night study groups.
“We would be studying in the lab until the early morning, trying to glean the last little bit of information from our materials,” Kariya said. “We would end up sending Professor Haslem a long list of questions and we would always have a response in our inbox a few minutes later.”
“He was always at the top of every class he was in,” Haslem said. “He has a tremendous work ethic and was able to balance athletics, academic excellence and great leadership in the finance club. His enthusiasm was infectious and I know he is willing to give back. I have no doubt that he will stay involved with SUU and continue to be a building block in our future success.”
As for Kariya’s future plans, he is anticipating working at Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators and attending graduate school in the next few years.