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ESU Student Places First at National Competition


An Emporia State student took first place in national competition, with four other ESU students picking up top 10 finishes during the 2021 Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference. With a total of seven top 10 finishes, Emporia State students brought home the most awards of any other Kansas university in attendance.

With COVID precautions still on the forefront, the conference was held virtually June 24–27. There were 871 attendees and 704 competitors who attended. During the event, participants could interact with workshops, listen to keynote speakers, watch presentations by corporations, and witness recognition of outstanding individuals and chapters.

Emporia State students who competed and placed in events were:

  • Ashley Cookson: 4th in Business Communication, 10th in Administration Support Technology
  • Michaela Forkenbrock: 10th in Business Communication
  • Mallory Kueser: 4th in Management Analysis & Decision Making - Team event
  • Ashley Rietcheck: 1st in Accounting for Professionals, 5th in Future Business Executive
  • Abby Rowden: 10th in Job Interview, 4th in Management Analysis & Decision Making - Team event

Students qualified for national competition by placing in those events at state. Students who have placed in an event at state or national can no longer compete in that event and must select new events.

PBL advisor Leticia Rust said, “This year was particularly difficult for our students. With all events being virtual, from school, groups, and clubs to even family events, students were tired of the impersonal environment. I am so proud of this group of students; they have endured so much in the last few months. It just shows the grit, determination, and drive our students have to be their best.”

The Emporia State PBL chapter was also recognized nationally for participating in a Membership Madness campaign where over 100 nationwide schools and six from Kansas were honored.

Phi Beta Lambda members can be from any concentration to participate, not just in business. It is the collegiate level of high school Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), where presentation, leadership, and academic learning are all a part of PBL.