WWU Students to Compete at DECA International Conference


Nine William Woods University students will travel to the DECA International Conference at Orlando, Fla., in April to compete with more than 1,200 other college students.


DECA is an international organization for college students preparing for a variety of careers. WWU College DECA programs engage students from a variety of educational disciplines, while maintaining a strong focus on business-related areas such as marketing, management and entrepreneurship. Activities promoted by DECA integrate with and enhance the student’s college curriculum.


The WWU students qualified for the international competition by their success in the Collegiate DECA State Career Development Conference Feb. 17-18. Those going to the international competition and the divisions in which they will participate are:


Greg Baker, St. Peters, Mo.; Gentry Coffman, Columbia, Mo., and Brad Whitcomb, Winfield, Mo. – Advertising Campaign (first at state)

Nikki Cole, Hermann, Mo. – Sales Representative (second at state, plus third in Entrepreneurship)

Danielle Costanza, Castle Creek, N.Y., and Liz Thomas, South Amherst, Ohio – Advertising (second at state)

Bridgette Doig, Escondido, Calif. – Sales Representative (first at state, plus tied for first in Website Design)

Melissa Smith, Fort Myers, Fla., – Entrepreneurship (first at state)

Amber Vieth, Holts Summit, Mo. – Website Design (tied for first at state)


Altogether 36 WWU students participated in the state competition, and they finished anywhere from first to 10th in 15 categories. In addition to those going to Orlando, others finishing in the top three were:

Alicia Claxton, St. Ann, Mo. – first in Human Resources  

Lisa Coppersmith, Houston, Texas – third in Website Design 

Ben Lifritz, O’Fallon, Mo., and Naomi Starr, Columbia, Mo., second in Sports and Entertainment Marketing

Olivia Nicholson, St. Louis, Mo. – second in Travel and Tourism and second in Hospitality


Others who placed at the state competition were Theresa Gregar, Louisburg, Kan.; Meghan Tosie, Fenton, Mo.; Aaron Lewis, Waynesville, Mo.; Ruben Ramirez, Homestead, Fla.; Matt Steiniger, O’Fallon, Mo.; Melanie Hemstreet, Issaquah, Wash.; Andrew Neudecker, Alton, Ill.; Marissa Ballard, San Carlos, Calif.; Amanda Iler, Union, Mo.; Carly Coulson, Kearney, Mo.; Marissa McPherson, Ashland, Mo.; Jada Bennington, Beloit, Wis.; Dacia Smith, LaGrange, Ill.; Rachel Moser, Kirkwood, Mo.; Kasey Radcliff, St. Peters, Mo.; Josh Jackson, Mexico, Mo.; Amy Faus, Waterloo, Ill., and Alycia Schreder, Waterloo, Ill.


Linda Duke, marketing instructor at William Woods University, was pleased with the students’ efforts and the results they earned.


“Missouri Collegiate DECA continues to grow,” Duke said. “This year’s competition had around 40 more participants than any prior years of DECA state competition. Even with the increased competition, our William Woods students continue to excel in placing at competition, which reflects directly on their own demonstrated assets and the valued education that William Woods has to offer.”


She added, “Each year I consider it an honor to advise this group of students.  I am very proud of all of our DECA students and appreciate the extra effort that it takes to represent William Woods.” 


CUTLINE: Members of College DECA at William Woods University with their sponsor, Linda Duke (second row, far right), instructor of marketing and business.