Pictured: Sara Hitch, Manuel Medina, Julie Johnson, Hunter Harris, Haylee Behne, Loren Breon, Jayden Valdez, Kim Smith

Jul 7, 2022

Panhandle State Communications

PBL Success Starts at NLC 2022

Students of the Gamma Mu Chapter of Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) created their success story as they competed at the 2022 National Leadership Conference (NLC) over June 24-27 in Chicago, Illinois with nearly 1,000 students in attendance from across the nation.

The four-day FBLA-PBL NLC helps students prepare for careers in business and technology by focusing on academic competitions, leadership development, and networking opportunities.

Professor and Department Chair of Business Administration, Dr. Sara Hitch and Assistant Professor of Business Administration and Interim Department Chair of Accounting, Kim Smith, accompanied six students to the conference.

University President, Dr. Julie Dinger commented, “We are proud of these PBL students and their accomplishments at the National Leadership Conference. It’s fantastic to see them apply what they’ve learned in competition.”

Students from Panhandle State placed in the Top 10 in four different events throughout the conference. Loren Breon placed 8th in Information Management. Haylee Behne placed 7th in Business Decision Making. The team of Loren Breon and Jayden Valdez earned 4th place in Network Design. Jayden Valdez earned 3rd place in Cyber Security. Additionally, Manuel Medina was one of 50 students selected to receive a PBL NLC Scholarship.

Dr. Sara Hitch commented, “We are so incredibly proud of all the students who participated in NLC 2022. This event has been virtual for the past two years, and so this was new for all of them, and several of them really stepped out of their comfort zones to attend. Their success definitely started here!”

Outside of the conference, the students were immersed in various cultures through food and local markets with dishes such as Deep Dish Pizza, Harold’s Chicken, Dim Sum, Chicken Feet, Rolled Ice-Cream, Bistek, Bibingka, Mediterranean Sea Bass, Ravioli and Tiramisu. The trip also included visiting the Cloud Gate sculpture (more popularly known as ‘the bean’) as well as a team building exercise at the Chicago Escape Room.

Kim Smith stated, “Traveling with students is one of the highlights of my role as a PBL adviser. I especially enjoy helping students step out of their comfort zone and realize their potential while also enhancing their resumes and leadership skills.”

The full list of participating students and their events is listed below:

Business Communications: Haylee Behne

Business Decision Making: Haylee Behne

Cyber Security: Jayden Valdez

Computer Concepts: Hunter Harris and Julie Johnson

Help Desk: Hunter Harris

Management Concepts: Manuel Medina

Marketing Concepts: Manuel Medina and Haylee Behne

Network Design: Team of Loren Breon and Jayden Valdez

Networking Concepts: Manuel Medina

Programming Concepts: Julie Johnson

Public Speaking: Loren Breon

PBL President, Jayden Valdez reflected, “It was priceless to have this experience and opportunity to represent OPSU PBL on the national stage and experience many Chicago cultural items such as Harold’s Chicken.”

Thank you to the generous funding support received from the OPSU Student Government Association, OPSU Programming Team, and the Guymon Rotary Club.

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