DANBURY, Connecticut — Thirteen Western Connecticut State University students and two faculty advisers returned from the International Collegiate Conference of the American Marketing Association (AMA) held earlier this month in New Orleans with a multitude of accolades and awards, including being named the Top Small Collegiate Chapter in North America for 2022-23.
The university’s collegiate AMA chapter, called the Western Marketing Association (WMA), has been the leading contender in this category for more than six years, having previously received the Platinum Circle designation. It is one of more than 330 collegiate AMA chapters in Canada and the United States that has less than 25 members.
During the conference, collegiate chapters participated in numerous competitions, including the prestigious Wall Street Journal International Case Competition, the purpose of which was “to provide AMA undergraduate members the opportunity to work together on a real-world marketing challenge while providing the case competition sponsor direct input from the very best marketing students to find solutions to their marketing problem.” WCSU’s WMA chapter was a top-10 finalist for the third time in five years from a field of 77 schools that included Ivy League and large R1 universities. This outcome earned the WMA the opportunity to deliver an in-person presentation to the WSJ, which resulted in Third Place overall in the case competition.
An Exhibit Booth Exposition that was evaluated on several categories earned WCSU Second Place for Best Educational Value in an Exhibit Booth. The WMA also received Honorable Mention for its Marketing week activities last October, and served as the host chapter of the New Orleans conference.
Student Shane Klesh was a finalist in the Perfect (Elevator) Pitch competition and was recognized for creating and delivering the Top Chapter Speaking Session, while student Dominic Cassarino served as a Career Panelist Co-Host.
Donna Coelho, co-adviser for the Western Marketing Association chapter, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the AMA. She has been an adviser for the chapter for 15+ years and served on the AMA Collegiate Council for eight years; three years in a presidential role. The Collegiate Council is the governing body for all AMA collegiate chapters and oversees programming and policy for competitions and collegiate events. Fellow faculty adviser Dr. Ronald Drozdenko also received this award in 2021 — making it the first time two professors from the same school have received this prestigious award.
Patrick Moody, a senior Digital & Interactive Marketing major, is president of the Western Marketing Association. He summed up the experience he and his fellow students had in New Orleans.
“The chapter is elated to bring back many awards and recognition back to the WCSU community from the AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans,” Moody said. “The group was able to network with other students and companies from around the world and compete in academic competitions to enhance our skills and knowledge as marketers. We have worked hard since last semester to reach our goals and show the AMA and other universities what WCSU is made of.
“We would like to thank our advisers, Donna Coelho and Ronald Drozdenko, for their dedication to their students and the AMA to make this entire experience possible,” Moody added. “We would also like to thank another member of our community, Adjunct Marketing Instructor Rich Feldman, for his support in our chapter and advice for our case team, and the WCSU Student Government Association for its continued financial support. It is because of all this support from our community that we were able to achieve Top Small Chapter, which has been our goal all year, as well as the many other accolades we received.”
The WCSU students who participated in the trip to New Orleans included WMA President Patrick Moody, a Digital & Interactive Marketing major from Bethlehem; Agency Director Dominic Chiodi, a Marketing major from Mahopac, New York; Secretary/President-Elect Shane Klesh, a Supervisory Management major from Brookfield; Vice President Sophie Leeds, a Marketing major from Trumbull; Vice President Declan Halloran, a Supervisory Management major from North Salem, New York; Treasurer Nicholas Varbaro, a Marketing major from Carmel, New York; Social Media Chair Briana Beekman, a Communication Studies major from West Sayville, New York; Fundraising Chair Molly Bell, a Small Business Management major from Southbury; Exhibit Booth Lead Ryan Denmark, a Theatre Arts-Design Tech major from Brewster, New York; Case Lead Dean Saccardi, a Marketing major from Cornwall Bridge; Undergraduate Research Lead Julie Hoff, a Digital & Interactive Marketing major from Shelton; Agency Account Lead Mia Martovich, a Marketing major from Southbury; and Graphic Design Lead Dominic Cassarino, a Digital & Interactive Marketing major from Tolland.
The students were accompanied to New Orleans by faculty advisers Donna Coelho, AMA Collegiate Council Member; and Dr. Ronald Drozdenko, WCSU Marketing Department chair.
“These outstanding achievements are a real testament to the strong marketing program developed at WCSU,” Drozdenko said.
The annual International Collegiate Conference of the American Marketing Association drew 1,300 students from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Guam, and 200+ faculty advisers and professionals.
For more information, contact Dr. Ron Drozdenko at firstname.lastname@example.org or WCSU Public Relations at email@example.com.
Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.