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New Program Brings Accounting Students to the Auditor’s Office

Mississippi has great universities. They do an incredible job of educating students. But the state has not done a great job of keeping those students here after graduation. Congress released a study a few years ago that showed Mississippi is one of the worst five states for “brain drain,” or the loss of talented young people.

My own story involved leaving the state, too. I grew up in rural Mississippi and loved my childhood. After graduating from a Mississippi university, though, I left. I worked on the East Coast, studied in England, and then earned my law degree from Harvard in Massachusetts.

After that, I felt the pull to return home. My travels helped me realize Mississippi is a special place. My family is here. I wanted to raise my kids here. And, importantly, I wanted to give back to a state that had given me so much.

Some of my friends—and many other young people—take a different road. Once they leave, they’re gone for good. They leave for many different reasons: the allure of a new place, the chance to be in a big city with lots of stuff to do, great job prospects, etc.

For my part, I’ve traveled the state these last three years telling young people why they should stay in Mississippi. You can stay and remain connected to your family and community. Mississippi has a lower cost of living than any other state, so your money goes further when you’re buying a house or planning a vacation. With some exceptions, you can steer clear of the problems you often see in cities, like rampant crime or spending your life in a car commuting.

And to provide young accounting students with another reason to stay, my office just launched a new program called the “Stay in the ‘Sip Fellowship.” The idea is simple: we need talented new auditors to work at the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor, so if you’re in college and earning your degree in accounting, my office will pay for up to three years of your university costs. You, in return, agree to come work for me for at least two years.

Last year, the inaugural six Stay in the ‘Sip fellows started their summer internships in my office. At the end of the summer, I sat down with each of them to talk about their time in the State Auditor’s office. From the departments of Transportation to Education, these fellows were conducting audits and interviews that will eventually be compiled into the Single Audit report, one of our largest audits.

This is critical work. It ensures that taxpayer dollars are spent legally. Our Single Audit work in previous years uncovered the largest public fraud scheme in state history. If that sounds interesting to you, give the Office of the State Auditor a look, and ask about our Stay in the ‘Sip Fellowship.

Each of our fellows has a different goal for their career. Faith wants to attend law school and become a federal prosecutor. Cooper is now in school for a master’s degree that we are paying for, but he is able to attend classes and have real-world experience in exactly what the classes are teaching.

The Stay in the ‘Sip Fellowship is a way to get your college paid for and a guaranteed job after school. It is also a way to do exciting work that you could not get anywhere else. If you’d like to learn more about the Stay in the ‘Sip Fellowship, visit

Shad White is the 42nd State Auditor of Mississippi

This article was originally posted on college newspapers.