Press release: GRCC students took top honors in national competition



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


May 29, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —Michigan surpassed all other states represented at the 2013 Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Leadership Conference, and the Grand Rapids Community College team took home many top honors among the six Michigan colleges competing.

Approximately 5,400 participants from more than 28 states and the territory of Puerto Rico attended the national competition, held May 8-12 in Orlando, Fla. The conference hosted over 5,400 attendees.

GRCC chapter adviser Peg Schoenborn, assistant professor of business, led the GRCC BPA Student Team of Alexi Bettig, Leyda Cruz, Kathy Davey, Sally Kulikamp, Jahaun McKinley, Eric Hren, Jacob S. Reeds, Derrek Saxton, Beth Steimel, Corwin Tobias, Kristy VanWagner and Shana Wheeler.

“GRCC’s luggage required some creative packing as it almost didn’t make the weight limitations at the airport with all of the medals, plaques and even a gaming system won by this year’s national team,” professor Schoenborn said.

First-place national honors went to the video production team of Corwin Tobias and Alexi Bettig. The administrative support team, consisting of Office Administration majors Kathy Davey, Sally Kulikamp, Beth Steimel and Kristy VanWagner, took a second-place spot. Ms. Davey also took second place in the fundamental word processing skills; Leyda Cruz earned ninth place in that same event. Third-place national honors went to the financial analysis team of Erin Hren, Jacob Reeds and Shana Wheeler.

Eight additional placements in the top 10 were taken home by GRCC at the Post-Secondary NLC Awards on May 11:

  • Alexi Bettig, fourth place in digital media production.
  • Corwin Tobias, fourth place in entrepreneurship, which required a business plan and idea pitch.
  • Sally Kulikamp, fourth place in business meeting management, an event that had 149 competitors.
  • Jacob Reeds, fourth place in prepared speech and 10th place in contemporary issues/extemporaneous speech.
  • Leyda Cruz, sixth place in basic office systems and procedures.
  • Shana Wheeler, ninth place in computerized accounting and third place in federal income tax.
  • Erin Hren, 10th place in financial math and analysis, an event with 112 competitors.

Five GRCC Office Administration majors competed in the Microsoft Office Specialist certification events: Leyda Cruz, Kathy Davey, Sally Kulikamp, Beth Steimel and Kristy VanWagner. All of them earned their Microsoft Office Special (MOS) Certification in both Word and PowerPoint while participating in the competition sessions. GRCC took MOS top honors with Ms. Steimel placing first overall in MS Word 2010 and Ms. Cruz placing third in MS PowerPoint 2010. Both are eligible to compete in the MOS World Series later this year.

Because of their placements at the national BPA competition, two GRCC students are eligible to apply for a full-ride presidential scholarship at Davenport University. In addition, eight GRCC competitors earned a $6,000 transfer scholarship, and two earned $3,000 in transfer scholarship eligibility.

“The team and I would like to thank the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation and Grand Rapids Community College’s Business department for supporting this amazing opportunity,” professor Schoenborn said.

“Business Department faculty and staff should also be thanked for their mentorship and preparation assistance to our competitors. Along with Jim Schafer, GRCC’s coordinator of video broadcasting and distribution, who served as a national secondary judge and team chaperone.”

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.