Joe Yates has spent the past four years taking advantage of everything Kennesaw State University has to offer, and excelling at it all.
The Coles College of Business finance major will graduate next week with an impressive resume that includes his election as homecoming king, membership to the business honor society Beta Gamma Sigma and fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, role with the campus ministry, A-Sun All-Academic Honors athlete and member of the first graduating class of Coles Scholars.
“It can be hard to balance all the different things I’m involved with,” said Yates. “But, my Dad always said if you’re going to do something, give it your all.”
Raised in Douglasville, Georgia, Yates was initially drawn to Kennesaw State University by the track program. He has been a member of the team since his freshman year, training with Andy Eggerth, director of track & field and cross-country.
“I’ve spent a few hours a day, at least five days a week for the past four years with Andy,” said Yates. “ I look up to him and he pushes me to do well athletically, but always put school first.”
His focus on both academics and athletics paid off when he was recently named Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year for men’s track and field by the Atlantic Sun Conference. He finished second in the heptathlon and third in the pole vault at the A-Sun Championships.
The same impressive 3.8 GPA that earned him recognition by the A-Sun Conference helped Yates land a spot in the first cohort of Coles College Scholars. The scholars program gives exceptional business students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through a multi-year minor that includes international studies, community engagement and business mentorship.
The first group of scholars began their journey in 2014, and will graduate this May.
“The scholars program has given me some great opportunities,” said Yates. “We’ve been able to network with the business community and also learn from each other along the way.”
Among the opportunities was a team consulting project, and a sales internship with BCA Hospitality that Yates will turn into a full-time career after graduation.
As he looks back on the past four years, and toward the future, Yates knows he made the right decision to come to Kennesaw State University.
“I’m a people person,” said Yates. “I like being around others and getting everything I can from an experience. Everyone: God, coaches, faculty, family and my peers have helped me to achieve these goals. I wouldn't be who I am or where I am today without them.”