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DECA students are top finishers at international conference in Texas

May 23, 2024

Four Northwood DECA students placed among the top 10 in the world in their respective events at the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference in Austin, Texas.

“Year in and year out, Northwood continues to show the world how we are preparing future business leaders for success through our achievements on an international stage through DECA,” stated Advisor Patrick McElgunn, who also serves as the director of the NU Idea Center in downtown Midland.

DECA is an association of marketing students that encourages the development of business and leadership skills through academic conferences and competitions. It prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.

Northwood DECA had 14 students qualify to compete against the best students from institutions all over the world in 11 different events at the international conference, which was held April 20-23.

Of them, four students placed in the Top 10 for their respective event, including:

• Charlee Simanskey of Midland and Molly Dickenson of Alpena for Business Ethics

• Clayton Scott of Grayling for Sales Management & Leadership

• Jessica Bromberg of Pinconning for Business Research

“We are beyond proud of these top 10 finishers, as well as all our chapter members who qualified to compete at internationals — a number of which qualified to move on to the second round of competition,” McElgunn stated.

The other students who qualified to move on to the second round of competition included:

• Lila Bolden of Petoskey, and Emma Balsinger of Boyne Falls for Business Research

• Sophia Schlatterbeck of Livonia and Andrew Coveyou of Petoskey for Marketing & Communications 

“We had a great time competing, making connections, learning from industry leaders during ‘Learn from the Pros’ sessions, and making memories,” stated Bolden, a marketing communications major and digital marketing minor.

Northwood University DECA continued its trend of having 50% or more of its competitors qualify and move on at each subsequent round of competition.

“Northwood DECA students have a passion and a fire to stand atop the podium in their respective events and I only see that competitiveness growing during my time here,” McElgunn stated. “We have a strong student leadership team in place that is already working on setting our chapter up for even greater success next year.”

Michigan DECA was among the top five delegations that had the most competitors qualify to compete at the last month’s international conference.

“The Michigan DECA Chapter, as a whole, continued to show why we are one of the most competitive states to be in for DECA,” Bolden noted.

For information about Northwood DECA, visit

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