Four WWU Students to Compete at International DECA Conference

Four William Woods University students will compete at the International Collegiate DECA competition April 17-22 in Orlando, Florida, after recently placing first or second at the state competition.

Twenty WWU students entered events in the 2015 Collegiate DECA State Competition in Jefferson City, Missouri. Five of them placed first, one brought home a second place and two took third.

Altogether 150 students participated from Columbia College, Lincoln University, Missouri Southern State University, Moberly Area Community College, Southeast Missouri State University, University of Central Missouri and the University of Missouri.

WWU Collegiate DECAA student-driven organization, Collegiate DECA values leadership, innovation, integrity and teamwork. It prepares students for careers by integrating skills learned in the classroom into real-world experiences.

Although all of the competition events relate to business, students have a wide array of events to choose from—all of which provide an opportunity for them to gain experience and network opportunities.

“I hope that competing in the state competition assists students in gaining experience in the field, confidence in themselves while obtaining future employer contacts and opportunities, ” Dr. Linda Duke, WWU assistant professor of marketing and business and the DECA adviser, said.

First-place winners competing at the international level are: Kara Eikenbary of Independence, Missouri, and Tori Brandt of Fulton, Missouri, in Entrepreneurship; and Taylor Finkel of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in Hospitality.

Rochelle Garcia of Yukon, Oklahoma, who placed second in Travel and Tourism, also will compete in Orlando.

Emily Nichols of Hannibal, Missouri, and Lissy Wedell of Batavia, Illinois, took first in Advertising Campaign at the state level, but are unable to make the trip.

Kaitlyn Wilson of Arundel, Maine, and Louisa Geyer of St. Louis, Missouri, took third place at the state level in Entrepreneurship: Starting a Business.

“The biggest benefit for students who participate in Collegiate DECA,” Duke said, “is the networking opportunities that they have with other professionals in their career paths and with fellow business students.”

Students do not need to be a business major or minor to compete in Collegiate DECA, and any student can join since there are a variety of competition areas.

For more information, contact Duke at or (573) 592- 4305.