University of Minnesota Crookston’s Collegiate DECA chapter brought home bragging rights from April’s International Career and Development Conference (ICDC)  in Orlando, Florida as they were recognized as one of the top 10 chapters during the 2022-2023 school year. They were also presented with a certificate of affiliation and were recognized for being a new or renewed club. 

UMN Crookston brought back its collegiate DECA chapter after a 30-year absence and, in its first year back, held multiple events and fundraisers, attended the DECA Emerging Leaders Academy in Mankato, Minn., traveled to the Collegiate DECA Engagement Conference in Atlanta, Georgia; participated in the state competition in Alexandria, Minn., and moved on to the international conference. 

Seven UMN Crookston students participated in the conference: Annjelica Moreno-Englebrecht, Ashton Wold, Benjamin Griffin, Christopher Veres, Giaan Britney Le, Gracie Lunsetter, and Jenna Custer. They were joined by DECA Advisor Abbey Linstad, who is also the Residential Life area coordinator on campus, Business Senior Lecturer Craig Miller, and Business Lecturer Rachel Hawn, who is also the program director for Manufacturing and Quality Management. 

“We’re a first-year chapter and the students learned a lot by competing,” Linstad shared. “It was an honor just to go to the competition; to make it to the second round was really cool.” 

“I think we were all very humbled; though we didn’t place first, second, or third place, we gained a better understanding of DECA,” she added. “It was cool to watch the energy and be in-person at the conference. The exposure for our students was incredible. I hope it’s a driving force for the students, even if they’re graduating, to come back to the DECA program even as alumni.” 

UMN Crookston students joined over 1,200 other students from 33 states in competition at the conference. Their schedule at ICDC included attending the opening session, professional development series workshops, career exhibits, and Grand Awards Session, and participating in competitions ranging from human resource management, entrepreneurship operations, marketing management, restaurant and food service management, travel and tourism, and business to business marketing. UMN Crookston’s business-to-business marketing team was recognized as top 10 in the world for placement, which Linstad says, is a “reflection of what they’ve learned in the classroom and their classroom skills.” 

Students also got the chance to participate in the LinkedIn Portrait Studio, to “Shop DECA”, and for delegates to vote for international officers at the conference. In the time left over, they got to have a little fun with visits to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and Hollywood Studios during Disney’s 50th anniversary. 

Here’s what DECA students had to say about attending their first international conference:

“I learned more about my leadership style and skills along with how to capitalize on various networking opportunities.” - Chris Veres

“I learned better ways to network and how to be better prepared for the business world.” - Ashton Wold

“I learned how to have better time management when preparing my presentation as well as what type of leader I was and ways to improve as that type of leader.” - Annjelica Moreno-Englebrecht

And, here’s why they think others should join DECA:

“It gives you more insight of the business world.” - Britney Le

“It's a wonderful organization that offers a lot of opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the business field.” - Benjamin Griffin

“The International DECA conference was wonderful!” said Craig Miller. “Great weather and terrific events. Our kids all had an opportunity to compete in various events and two, Annjelica and Ashton, made the finals. I had the honor of judging the accounting competition.”

“The opportunity that DECA provides for our business students is second to none,” added Rachel Hawn. “I witnessed each student who attended building determination, tenacity and business acumen. The workshops were relevant and engaging; faculty, staff and students both had the opportunity to network with others from around the country and to learn how we can better prepare students for future opportunities and events. It was truly an honor to travel and support the group of students who attended from UMC.”

If you’re interested in learning more about UMN Crookston’s Collegiate DECA chapter or supporting its student members, check out their crowdfunding page

UMC Collegiate DECA chapter at the international conference

UMC Collegiate DECA members at the international conference
Craig Miller, Abbey Linstad, and Rachel Hawn
UMC Collegiate DECA at the international conference in Orlando, Florida
Annjelica and Jenna
UMC Collegiate DECA at Magic Kingdom
UMC Collegiate DECA members with their advisor and lecturers at the international conference
UMC Collegiate DECA at Walt Disney World

Story Contact: Abbey Linstad