This accounting major and student athlete from Dallas, TX, is a triple threat when it comes to achieving excellence.
For Jonathan Lester ’19, college success involves managing a triple bottom line: academics, athletics, and volunteerism. When this third-year accounting major from Dallas, TX, isn’t busy balancing spreadsheets, he can be found on the athletic field, practicing his long jump and triple jump, or mentoring kids at the Boys and Girls Club. This commitment to excellence recently garnered him recognition from the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), Greater Hartford Chapter.
Selected for exemplifying the NABA’s mantra of “Lifting As We Climb,” Jonathan received a scholarship in spring 2018 that will help offset tuition costs during his senior year at Elms. If you ask the student athlete what his source of inspiration is, the answer always comes back to one person: his father.
“My dad is someone I look to on the business side of things,” he said. “He taught me to strive to do my best, and that I can do anything I set my mind to.”
These words of wisdom have stayed with Jonathan throughout his college career. Before he transferred to Elms in fall 2017, he spent two years at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, and one year at Pine Manor College in Newton, MA. He ultimately came to Elms because it offered him the best opportunity to contribute his talents as a track and field athlete.
“Jon has been one of the most driven athletes I have had the privilege to work with,” said Amanda Kulas, assistant track and field coach at Elms. “He has a very contagious, positive attitude, and a huge drive for success.”
Becoming a Blazer also gave Jonathan the chance to continue his community outreach. In February 2018, he joined a group of Elms athletes in hosting a Special Olympics event for children with intellectual disabilities from the local community. Over the course of a few basketball games, he felt a deep appreciation for donating his personal time in service to others.
“It was really cool,” he reflected. “It was fun playing in the game and passing everyone the ball. The kids were even fighting for me to play on their team at one point.”
Like most student athletes at Elms, Jonathan approaches his goals with laser-like precision. To prepare for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam after graduation in 2019, he intends to follow the same formula that helped him win the NABA scholarship: methodically studying for tests throughout the week, and breaking his study sessions into manageable segments every night.
If all goes according to plan, he will continue his family’s legacy in business entrepreneurship.
“I want to work for a top public accounting firm initially, and then maybe start my own business someday,” he said.