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WCSU student organization places among top 15 overall at annual marketing conference: Western Marketing Association tops all small collegiate chapters

Image of members of the Western Marketing Association
Members of the Western Marketing Association

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Marketing Association at Western Connecticut State University received recognition as the top small collegiate chapter of the American Marketing Association in North America during the AMA’s 40th Annual International Collegiate Conference held from April 5 to 7, 2018, in New Orleans.

The WMA has risen steadily in the AMA’s rankings of its 382 active collegiate chapters, placing in the top 10 percent each of the past five years based on performance in professional development, social impact, planning, operations and external communications. During the 2017-18 year, the WCSU chapter ranked among the top 15 AMA collegiate chapters overall, reaching the top 5 percent in rankings of affiliates at colleges that include institutions with higher enrollments such as Penn State University, the University of Texas, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington.

Ten WMA members represented WCSU at the AMA conference, which brought together approximately 1,600 students from more than 200 colleges. The WMA chapter earned an invitation based on its conference accomplishments last year to make a presentation on professional development to other chapters in New Orleans. WMA members also participated in competitions, workshops, a career fair and featured talks during the conference. The WCSU chapter received a Commendable citation in the AMA Case Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Marketing Strategy Competition.

WMA representatives at the New Orleans conference included chapter president Caroline Chaves, of New Milford; chapter vice president Travis Schultz, of Winsted; chapter secretary Jacob Nimmo, of Danbury; Anna Adebambo, of Danbury; Allison Hall, of Litchfield; Hannah LaFontaine, of Thomaston; Nicholas Maro, of Danbury; Richard Merrill, of Torrington; Jared Randle, of New Fairfield; and Amanda Santos, of Danbury.

The WMA delegation was accompanied by chapter advisers Dr. Ronald Drozdenko, chair of the WCSU Marketing Department, and Donna Coelho, adjunct professor of Marketing and former coordinator of the Center for Business Research, who both serve on national AMA committees. Ancell School of Business Dean Dr. David Martin also attended the conference and participated in judging several competitions.

“Competing on the international level raises the bar for our students,” Coelho remarked. “Our active members are able to secure jobs because they already have professional experience and skills as a result of their involvement with the AMA.”

With a total membership of 24 marketing students, the WCSU chapter offers a diverse range of opportunities to gain hands-on experience in strategic planning and marketing, conceptualize and implement advertising promotions, and interact with marketing professionals in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.WMA “Think Tank” workshops afford an opportunity for local entrepreneurs and small business owners to brainstorm with WCSU students in designing strategies for marketing, advertising, content creation and other topics. Agency@Ancell, a WCSU student advertising agency managed and staffed by WMA members, has formed teams to work with clients in areas ranging from the music industry to food service and pharmaceutical products. The WMA also organized its first Regional Marketing Conference during the 2017-18 academic year.

WMA community outreach activities have shared students’ marketing skills with nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Jane Goodall Foundation. Other WMA-sponsored events include the Leader Workshop series, where successful business and nonprofit professionals meet in small group discussions with students; and the annual Marketing Week at WCSU, which includes the popular “Big Idea Competition” that challenges students to present entrepreneurial ideas and inventions to a panel of judges who award a $500 grand prize for the best proposal.

“Chapters that are this successful have very dedicated student and adviser leadership who spend hundreds of hours on chapter activities during the year,” Drozdenko observed. “Our dean, David Martin, is a great supporter of Ancell student organizations.”

For more information, contact Drozdenko at or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.




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.