College of Business and Economics

UW-Whitewater DECA chapter earns international acclaim

May 03, 2021

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Collegiate DECA chapter ended its competitive season on a high note at the International Career Development Conference, held virtually April 13-17, 2021. Twenty-five Warhawks participated in the international competition, 15 advanced to event finals and 13 students were top-10 international finalists.

The central mission of collegiate DECA — and the focus of the ICDC event — is to prepare students for their careers by developing the skills needed to become leaders and innovators.

Michelle Anderson, a marketing major from Oconomowoc and the chapter’s vice president of external relations, earned second place overall in the Emerging Technology–Marketing Strategy international competition. She described DECA’s impact on her college experience and career development.

“I have been able to take concepts that I have learned in the classroom and apply them to real world case studies in competition,” she said. “The events also allowed me to explore different parts of business that I wasn’t sure I was interested in. Overall, DECA helped with my confidence, professionalism and ability to create marketing campaigns effectively. I believe that without my experience with the UW-Whitewater Collegiate DECA chapter, I would not have been able to secure my past internship and my future job.”

UW-Whitewater was distinguished for outstanding commitment and impact throughout the year. Earned by only seven of the 250 collegiate chapters in 2020-21, the Chapter Community Service Award recognized students’ work with statewide food banks, the local Warhawk Pantry and the annual toy drive for the Ronald McDonald House.

“Our vice president of community events, Evan Nightingale, was able to put on numerous events throughout the year,” said Treise Langhammer, chapter president and marketing major from Brooklyn, Wisconsin. “He was also able to give members a chance to get involved fully, instead of just attending weekly meetings.”

The DECA Leadership Passport Program celebrates chapter and individual activities that build personal and professional skills. UW-Whitewater received a Chapter Leadership Passport Award — a distinction that was given to just 20 chapters. Seven student members completed the Individual Passport Leadership program, including Michelle Anderson, Brendan Clementi, Tayler Jones, Treise Langhammer, Evan Nightingale, Lauren Reid and Devontae Sisk. Only 50 students from the 1,500 international collegiate members were able to complete the program this year.

Rounding out the non-competitive awards, Treise Langhammer and Evan Nightingale earned individual Student Leadership awards for their chapter leadership, community service and competitive success. Tayler Jones, Treise Langhammer and Devontae Sisk were each recognized with an Academic Honor Award for holding a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5.

Preliminary competitive events held April 6-8 took place with pre-recorded presentations followed by live interactions with judges. The final rounds at ICDC were conducted live by web conference. Despite this unusual format and an increased international presence drawn by the virtual performances, the chapter performed exceptionally.

“Competing at this level is stressful, but every member that gets there is ready for it,” said Langhammer. “We focus on teamwork and always provide resources for newer members. The hard work by our vice president of competition, Tayler Jones, also allows every competitor to succeed. We are proud of anyone who wants to step out of their comfort zone and try competition.”

UW-Whitewater DECA 2021 International Career Development Conference competitive award recap:

  • Michelle Anderson: 2nd place in the Emerging Technology–Marketing Strategies event
  • Team of Kelsey Clark and Lauren Reid: 6th-place tie in the Event Planning event
  • Brendan Clementi: 7th place in the Corporate Finance event
  • Mary Domich: international finalist in the Hotel and Lodging event
  • Lydia Forney: 9th place in the Advertising Campaign event
  • Grayden Gruchow: 6th place in the Human Resource Management event
  • Lauren Hanson and Treise Langhammer: 6th-place tie in the Event Planning event
  • Tayler Jones: 6th place in the Advertising Campaign event
  • Sammi Nelson: international finalist in the Corporate Finance event
  • Evan Nightingale: 5th place in the Entrepreneurship Operations event
  • Melanie Thiede: 8th place in the Advertising Campaign event
  • Team of John Weber and David Zehner: 4th place in the International Marketing event

Prior to the ICDC event, three DECA students also performed strongly in the national Stock Market Game, which simulates the global capital market to engage students in economics, investing and personal finance.

  • Victoria Celsor: 2nd place finish in the spring semester event
  • Evan Hoier: 8th place finish in the fall semester event
  • Zach Zaharias: 4th place finish in fall semester event

For information about the UW-Whitewater Collegiate DECA Chapter, visit

UW-Whitewater Collegiate DECA chapter ended its competitive season on a high note at the virtual 2021 International Career Development Conference. (Image courtesy of UW-Whitewater Collegiate DECA)