NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Members of Stephen F. Austin State University's professional business student organization, Phi Beta Lambda, won 13 first-place awards in various competitions during the recent 2016 PBL State Leadership Conference in Dallas.
In addition to their record-breaking number of awards, 13 students qualified for the annual National Leadership Conference in multiple events, which Henry Dunn, PBL faculty adviser and lecturer of general business at SFA, said is the university's largest qualifying group in the organization's history.
"This accomplishment is phenomenal. Each year we have competed, we have qualified for nationals. And, every year we have attended nationals, we have brought home at least one top-10 award," Dunn said.
During the State Leadership Conference, students compete in events that test their business knowledge and skills. These competitive events include objective tests and/or performance-based activities.
Kristi Clifford, SFA junior business communications and corporate education major with a minor in economics, placed first in organizational behavior and leadership at the state conference.
"I was so happy to place," Clifford said. "Going to nationals is such a fun experience for the chapter. We had 13 first-place awards, so it really shows that when you attend SFA, you're getting a quality education, and that means so much."
During the conference, Clifford also was elected Texas PBL president for the 2016-17 academic year.
"This organization has given so much to me, and I can't wait to give back," she said.
The SFA PBL chapter also was awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations for outstanding community service. The SFA chapter performed more than 500 hours of community service last year. Additionally, the chapter received the 2015-16 National Action Awareness Award.
Dunn also was named the Texas PBL Adviser of the Year.
"I was totally surprised because I don't do this for personal accolades. To me, this recognition is a testament not of my abilities or work, but to the accomplishments of this chapter and its members," Dunn said.
To date, organization members have qualified for 66 events at the national level. Nationals will be held June 24 through 27 in Atlanta, Georgia.
"This is one reason we are affiliated with Phi Beta Lambda. It gives students an opportunity to not only showcase their talents on a national scale, but also to travel," Dunn said. "Many of these students have never been on an airplane or traveled to locations like Anaheim, California; Nashville, Tennessee; or Chicago, Illinois."
The national conference has an average of 1,500 to 2,000 students compete from schools throughout the United States.
Pictured, front row, from left, are Becca Miller, senior economics and international business major, first place in both economic analysis and decision-making and job interview; John Cohen, sophomore accounting major, on the first-place team for business law and third place in accounting principles; Jason Cuadra, senior finance major, first place in financial analysis and decision-making; Alejandra Ibarra, sophomore marketing major, second place in both macroeconomics and microeconomics; Bertha Vega, junior general business major, second place in marketing concepts and third place in retail management; Kierra Taylor, junior international business major, third place in management concepts; Marci Cook, senior accounting major, first place in contemporary sports issues and third in computer concepts; and John Edling, senior management major, first place in both management concepts and impromptu speaking.
Pictured, back row, from left, are Daniel Walker, senior human resource management major, on the first-place team for business law; Kristi Clifford, junior business communication and corporate education major, first place organizational behavior and leadership; Fil Escobedo, junior international business major, on the first-place team for business law; Michael Kugler, junior accounting major, first place in financial concepts and second in public speaking; and Bryce Booker, senior general business major, first place in both personal finance and entrepreneurship concepts.