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Sweet 16 — UW-Whitewater marketers maintain historic run at the top

April 03, 2020

Written by  Jeff Angileri and Dana Krems

Students celebrate at the AMA conference.


Before the COVID-19 pandemic halted collegiate competitions across the nation, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater American Marketing Association chapter retained its premier position as International Chapter of the Year at the 2020 AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans on March 12-14, 2020.

This is the 16th time that UW-Whitewater AMA has won or shared this title, and the ninth year in a row.

To receive the recognition, students needed to compose a stellar chapter plan and annual report — documents that outline the chapter's goals, strengths, weaknesses, professional development, community service, fundraising, membership data and communications. Students started collecting data and writing sections at the beginning of the academic year.

UW-Whitewater won International Chapter of the Year last year, and an AMA rule prohibits a victorious chapter from technically competing against other schools the following year for this specific award. However, if the report is of high quality, a two-year reign is awarded.

“This level of success is due in great part to our wonderful university, faculty and staff, marketing instructors, AMA advisors, our partners, and most of all, our students. To be widely acknowledged as the best chapter in the world also comes with it the responsibility of ensuring that our standards for excellence remain high, and increase every year,” said Jimmy Peltier, professor of marketing, chair of the Department of Marketing and longstanding advisor to the AMA team.

Competing against more than 370 chapters worldwide, Warhawks exhibited professionalism and determination in another historic performance that fortifies UW-Whitewater’s ultra-elite status as a marketing powerhouse.

Warhawks students won several coveted individual and group awards:

  • Jackie Sticka, a marketing and general management major from Sherwood, competed with 11,000 students to win the prestigious Sales Student of the Year Award.
  • Audra Sonntag, a marketing major from Janesville, won first place in the Perfect Pitch Competition.
  • Marketing majors Sam Wanezek of Greendale and Rob Koenen of Grafton won first place in the International Sales Competition.
  • Led by marketing major Lauren Roloff of Shawano and December graduate Taylor Miller of Two Rivers (B.A. Journalism), the UW-Whitewater chapter won Best AMA Recruiting Video.

AMA leadership includes co-presidents Kate Amerling, Lauren Tripoli, Roloff, and Stick and faculty co-advisors Andy Dahl, Pavan Chennamaneni, Dan Herlache, John DeGraff and Kenyatta Barber.

More than 1,700 people attend the annual AMA International Collegiate Conference for professional development, career advice, competitions, networking and fun. The conference is specifically geared toward undergraduate marketing students looking to learn from industry professionals about careers and cutting-edge marketing and sales practices.