By Roger Lee Osborne/Who’s that editor

Almost a year ago Eastern’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda had almost dwindled away, according to chapter President T.J. Phillips.Phillips, 22, a senior finance major from Taylormill, remembers watching the number of active members decrease each year he has been at the university.

“My freshman year it was ok, my sophomore year it began to slip, and my junior year it was almost gone,” Phillips said. “Of the 20 active members we had this year, I recruited 16 of them. This has been an amazing year for Phi Beta Lambda.”

On April 2-3, Eastern’s Phi Beta Lambda traveled to Louisville to participate in the Kentucky Professional Business Leaders state leadership conference.

The chapter and its members brought back 15 awards. The one Phillips is proudest of is “most outstanding chapter in Kentucky Phi Beta Lambda.”

“This year revitalizing Phi Beta Lambda to the best in the state, I mean that was an amazing feeling,” he said. “Our goal was to become the best in the state.”

Phillips recalled being overly excited about the first-place win in which only five of the 27 included Kentucky chapters are recognized.

“The state executive secretary for PBL handed out the awards for best chapter; when she said, ‘first place EKU,’ I hugged her I was just so happy,” he said.

The organization is judged on points received based on service activities, professional development activities, fund-raisers and recruitment. The school with the most points, along with meeting deadlines, receives the award.

Phi Beta Lambda is a student organization in which anyone on campus interested in business can take part, Phillips said.

“We are trying to prepare the students so when they go out into the business world they at least have some idea of what may go on,” he said.

Phillips won awards in three different categories at the conference, including a first-place win in finance.

The finance competition called for him to take a 100-question multiple-choice exam.

“The test covered everything from your principle courses to stuff I won’t even see until later in the semester,” Phillips said. “If I had taken this in class I would have been sweating thinking I was going to fail. Finance is not an easy subject.”

Phillips became interested in business while in high school, where he was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America for four years and became president during his senior year.

“In 10th grade I took an accounting course and really liked it,” he said. “I came down to Eastern and became a finance major. The rest is history as they say.”

Phillips cited Accounting Finance and Information Systems Chair Jessica Frazier with being an inspiration and aiding in his decision to major in finance.

“She saw I was really good at math and encouraged me to do something like finance,” he said. “I like math and I really like business. Finance is a nice combination of both because you do a lot of business aspects and then finance has a lot of mathematics.

“Throw some economics into the mix and, boom, you’ve got finance,” he added

Phillips works as an instructor for a Math 095 lab where he enjoys helping others to understand the subject.

“One of the greatest experiences is being able to teach students who may not have the strongest math skills and may not even want to be there, but still helping them to succeed in math. It is a very important skill to have, not only in my field,” he said.

Phillips plans to do his graduate work at Northern Kentucky University and says if he needs more business education in his life he may go back and get his doctorate in the subject.

“I hope to get into some work in the financial industry sector, and if I still want more I plan on attending the University of Kentucky to get a doctorate in finance and then come back to teach. I could see myself teaching at Eastern,” he said.

Holding numerous positions in student organizations, including the Honors Programs senior class representative, Phillips finds time to watch his favorite show, “American Idol.”

“I do an online review of ‘American Idol,'” Phillips said. “I watch meticulously and then post reviews about the contestants. I am one of the biggest fans out there.”

Reach Roger Lee at roger_osborne2@eku.edu