YORK, Pa. — Fourteen Penn State York students from the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Collegiate group participated in the FBLA National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and each student won at least one national award, for a total of 18. This is the fifth consecutive year York students and their adviser, Megan Lorenz, have won numerous awards, including four first-place honors. This has been a record-breaking year for the group. To date, York students have brought home 70 state awards and 50 national awards.
“The students keep amazing me,” said Megan Lorenz, adviser to the York Chapter of the FBLA Collegiate and assistant teaching professor in business at Penn State York. Her FBLA Collegiate group brought back 18 national awards including four firsts, a second, and 13 awards fourth through 10th.
“The students just keep raising the bar for the next group,” she said. “It really takes a village to make this happen and the support from the campus is phenomenal. I am very blessed to be a part of such a wonderful campus community that puts students first.”
Lorenz has been involved with FBLA for 13 years and during that time students under her guidance have won 221 national awards.
To compete at nationals, students had to place first or second in a presentation event, or first through third in an exam at the state competition held in April. The group earned 18 awards at the 2023 state competition.
In addition to the competition awards, the group earned the Gold Seal Chapter Award at states and was named the Most Outstanding Chapter at nationals.
National competition winners:
1st Place – Business Presentation
- Caitlan Hevener and Nakhaiya Jacobs
1st Place – Macroeconomics
- David Lin
1st Place – Project Management
- Pradynesh Bhoir
1st Place – Small Business Management
- Rebecca Mauck and Lawrence Williams
2nd Place – Public Speaking
- Polina Bolotnikovo
4th Place – Future Business Executive
- Ryan Dellinger
4th Place – Sales Presentation
- David Lin and Neeraj Patil
5th Place – Business Law
- Nhi Nguyen
5th Place – Marketing Concepts
- James Ye
5th Place – Microeconomics
- Polina Bolotnikovo
6th Place – Foundations of Finance
- Nakhaiya Jacobs
6th Place – Information Management
- Pradynesh Bhoir
6th Place – Social Media Marketing
- Omar Elhasany
7th Place – Business Law
- Caitlin Hevener and Nakhaiya Jacobs
7th Place – Sports Management and Marketing
- Cole Luckenbaugh
8th Place – Impromptu Speaking
- Omar Isaiah Morales
9th Place – Macroeconomics
- James Ye
10th Place – Foundations of Accounting
- Neeraj Patil
For Mauck, a junior with a double major in business with a marketing management option and project and supply chain management, the 2023 state and national conferences were her first time competing.
“I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to meet new people and network, not only with students from other schools, but also industry professionals,” she said. “I also loved growing closer as a chapter. I feel like we were all able to bond and set ourselves and our chapter up for a successful upcoming year.”
The excitement of hearing the names of everyone from York announced at least once was an extraordinary experience for Mauck. “I actually ended up losing my voice the next day from yelling and cheering for everyone. It is extremely rewarding to know that we broke our chapter’s record for winning awards and won half of the awards for the Pennsylvania FBLA chapter as a whole.”
“I strongly believe that our chapter owes its remarkable success to our hard-working adviser, Megan Lorenz. Without her, none of us would have been able to attend the conference,’ she said. “We all greatly appreciate her patience, and the fact that she truly cares about all of her students and FBLA. She has always believed in us and provided us with the resources to succeed.” Mauck’s sentiments are shared by all the FBLA members.
Mauck served as the vice president of public relations for the chapter and has also been named to the FBLA Executive Board for 2023-24 as the Pennsylvania FBLA Collegiate state reporter. This board runs FBLA Collegiate for the state, and this is the first time a student from the York Chapter has received this honor.
The 2023 conference was Dellinger’s second time competing at the state and national level. Dellinger, a junior majoring in information technology with a business minor, served as the group’s president.
“The thing I liked best about the conference and competition was seeing each and every one of our members grow in their professional ability by challenging themselves to compete in presentation categories, even if they were previously less confident with their presentation ability,” he said. “Our chapter’s performance was incredible. Everyone pushed themselves extremely hard to prepare for the moment and we all showed up with our A-game.”
Dellinger also shares his accolades for the group’s adviser, Megan Lorenz, who he says pushed the group to perfect and refine their presentations. He also calls her a fantastic role model as a leader and notes that she represents what FBLA is all about. He also believes the group’s success is because of the mentality of the students who are determined and focused on professional development.
“It was a great experience to lead our chapter into a record-breaking national competition. Our members have shaped me into a better leader throughout this past school year, and I will continue to learn with and learn from our members to become a better leader.”
Another first-time participant in the FBLA nationals, Bolotnikova, a junior with a double major in business, with and marketing management option, and project and supply chain management, only joined the group in spring 2023.
“The thing I liked the most was the representation and unity of our chapter. By talking to many other chapters and their presidents, I realized how good our chapter was, like a family.”
Bolotnikova recalls rehearsing presentations all together at night before the preliminary round at nationals. She notes that all the time she spent with the group was the best time at the conference and there was a true sense of unity. She credits the success of the group to the leadership of the president, vice presidents, and the adviser.
Omar Isaiah Morales
Another first-time participant in the competition, Morales, a sophomore majoring in finance, had the unique experience of competing in a category, Impromptu Speaking, which required him to speak on the spot and convey a clear message when speaking in a prescribed amount of time. He liked how he could challenge himself and step outside of his comfort zone.
“I learned to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable,” said Morales. “I did not want to participate in the competition at first but thought about how it could help me learn and grow professionally, so I did. I don’t regret saying yes to compete.”
He considers himself lucky and honored to have met other like-minded individuals who value personal and professional growth. He also believes the chapter is so successful because everyone is enthusiastic about learning professional skills and didn’t take the opportunities for granted.
“We practiced, mocked, and were successful because we also have an adviser who wants the best for us and set time aside to ensure we were ready for the competition. Her passion for helping others grow and develop was evident throughout this experience.”
Students who competed at the FBLA National Leadership Conference are Pradynesh Bhoir, Polina Bolotnikovo, Ryan Dellinger, Omar Elhasany, Caitlan Hevener, Nakhaiya Jacobs, David Lin, Cole Lukenbaugh, Rebecca Mauck, Isaiah Morales, Nhi Nguyen, Neeraj Patil, Lawrence Williams, and James Ye.
Eleven of the 14 students were part of the Graham Fellows Program for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Penn State York.
Funds to send the group to state and national FBLA events came from the Women’s Philanthropic Network, the Graham Fellows Program for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the campus Student Activity Fee, and the Penn State York Academic Affairs office.