Josh Wheeler ‘23 BSBA (Accounting) ‘24 MSA has a story that exemplifies the spirit of resilience, determination and the pursuit of excellence. As a nearly 15-year Paralympian athlete who has won two silver medals with Team USA and a dedicated member of the University of Arizona's Adaptive Athletics rugby team, Wheeler's journey is marked by extraordinary accomplishments on and off the court.
In 2020, following the postponement of the Tokyo Paralympics, Wheeler made the pivotal decision to return to college. He enrolled at the University of Arizona Eller College of Management to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting. His passion for accounting was sparked during an interview with his stepfather—an experienced accountant. This encounter sparked a deep interest in the field, ultimately leading Wheeler to the Online Master of Science in Accounting (OMSA) in the Eller College—a move that has highlighted his commitment to expanding his knowledge. "I enjoyed learning about accounting. At Eller, I was able to expand my knowledge in different areas, not just in accounting, and it helped broaden my experience and further my capabilities" says Wheeler.
Wheeler's immersion into the field of accounting began at the "Meet the Firms" event organized by The Dhaliwal-Reidy School of Accountancy in the Eller College, where he found an ideal match with Regier Carr and Monroe LLP, CPA’s (RCM). This connection resulted in an internship that has paved the way for a promising full-time career post-graduation. Wheeler has also been actively involved in school-wide projects and has generously shared his profound wealth of experience with fellow students, fostering meaningful connections within the Eller community. "Priorities are important...It is key to look at what is important to you in the long run" Wheeler advises students just embarking on their college careers.
As Wheeler lays the foundations for his new career, he also readies himself for his final Paralympic appearance. His determination has pushed him to finish his master’s in accounting just in time to compete one last time with Team USA at the 2024 Paralympics, with his sight set on his first gold medal.
The resilience that characterized Wheeler's athletic career has seamlessly translated into his academic journey. "Being on the USA team took a lot of work, effort and drive on the court and off the court, from training camps, at home and continually working towards being a better athlete. When I went back to school, I was able to take that drive and energy that I put towards being an elite athlete towards what I wanted to accomplish in school" says Wheeler. His ambitious plan to complete the OMSA program prior to the 2024 Paralympics while balancing family life, work and rugby demonstrates an exceptional ability to pursue and accomplish challenging goals.
As he prepares to transition from the rugby court to the accounting firm, Wheeler stands as a testament to the ability to cross boundaries and the power of determination. "A life lesson I learned that was crucial to implement at Eller was time management... In order to be successful at everything I was doing with family life, rugby, and school" Wheeler states as he reflects on his time at Eller. His journey embodies the motivating force of never being too late to pursue one's dreams and the remarkable achievements that await those who are willing to put in the effort.
Josh Wheeler's story exemplifies the extraordinary heights that can be reached through continued dedication and unrelenting ambition.