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WCSU student organization is in top 10 of 388 international collegiate chapters; ranked No. 1 in New England: Western Marketing Association wins multiple awards at international conference

(back row, l-r): Jake Nimmo, David Cawley, Anna Adebambo, Alejandro Calderon, Mike Hess, Henry Ruck, Adviser Ron Drozdenko; (front row, l-r): Genesis Hernandez, Natalie Carnazza, Fatima Izzat, Hannah LaFontaine, Caroline Chaves, Adviser Donna Coelho, Allison Frenz

DANBURY, CONN. — The Collegiate Chapter of the American Marketing Association at Western Connecticut State University (WMA) received numerous recognitions for the 11th consecutive year at the AMA 41st Annual International Collegiate Conference held in April 2019 in New Orleans.

The WMA has progressed in the AMA’s rankings of its 388 active collegiate chapters, placing in the top 5 percent each of the past five years based on performance in professional development, social impact and philanthropy, planning, operations and external communications. Most of the other institutions in the top 10 have higher enrollments, such as Penn State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, the University of Wisconsin and Temple University.

Thirteen WMA members represented WCSU at the AMA conference, which assembled approximately 1,600 students from more than 200 universities. This year, WMA was one of the three host chapters for the conference. The WMA chapter earned an invitation based on its conference accomplishments last year as Top Small Chapter of the Year, and made a presentation on building a Top Small Chapter to other chapters in New Orleans. WMA members also participated in competitions, workshops, a career fair and featured talks during the conference. In addition to the top-10 ranking, the WCSU chapter received awards for the following accomplishments: Wall Street Journal Case competition, recruitment video, chapter website, marketing simulation competition, exhibit and Marketing Week activities.

WMA representatives at the New Orleans conference included Caroline Chaves, of New Milford; Jacob Nimmo, Alejandro Calderon, Jennifer Alvarado and Anna Adebambo, of Danbury; Hannah LaFontaine, of Waterbury; Genesis Hernandez and Henry Ruck, of Norwalk; Michael Hess, of Brookfield;  Allison Frenz, of Greenwich; Natalie Carnazza, of Ridgefield; Fatima Izzat, of Bethel; and David Cawley, of Bethlehem.

When asked about her takeaways from the conference, president Caroline Chaves said, “Overall it was an incredible experience to not only compete and win awards for our chapter, but to be able to bring and motivate new underclassmen members to feel that same spark of passion that all of us seniors have for this amazing organization.”

Chapter Advisers Dr. Ronald Drozdenko, chair of the WCSU Marketing Department, and Donna Coelho, adjunct professor of Marketing and director, Ancell Community Impact Collaborative, accompanied the WMA delegation. Coelho also serves on the International Collegiate Council of the American Marketing Association that directs the conference and all collegiate chapter activities in North America.

“Competing on the international level raises the bar for our students,” Coelho said. “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.” She added, “Our dean, Dr. David Martin, is a great supporter of Ancell student organizations. The accomplishments of our AMA chapter contribute to the Ancell School’s commitment to Community Social Impact, which is one of the requirements of maintaining our AACSB accreditation.”

With a total membership of 20 students, the WCSU chapter offers a diverse range of opportunities to gain hands-on experience in strategic planning and marketing, conceptualizing and implementing advertising promotions, and interacting 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 online service organizations. The WMA also co-hosted its second Regional Marketing Conference during the 2019-20 academic year.

WMA community outreach activities have shared students’ marketing skills with nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and a regional organization for young entrepreneurs. 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.

“The accomplishments of our collegiate AMA chapter highlight the quality of our academic program and the engagement of our students outside the classroom,” Drozdenko said. “To achieve this level of excellence our students and advisers invest hundreds of hours on chapter activities throughout the entire year. These efforts have resulted in not only the international recognition, but also life-changing opportunities for our students.”

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.