News & Events




Press Release



July 5, 2006

Cowley PBL students do well at National Leadership Conference


Five Cowley College Phi Beta Lambda Business Organization students took home awards from their trip to the National Leadership Conference held June 23-28 at the Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN.

Alex Gottlob placed first in Job Interview, while Ely Behrhorst placed second in Job Interview. Behrhorst then teamed with Melisa Moon Beauchamp to place second in the team event Emerging Business Issues, while Dirk Talley placed second in Network Concepts, and Caleb Degraaf placed eighth in Computer Applications.

PBL’s mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs. The National PBL Association charters local chapters. 

This is the first time Cowley has had a first place national winner and this many award winners overall. Other Cowley students attending the conference were Jerrod Ketchersid, Kristine Thompson and Zachary Whitener. 

“I am proud of the students who represented the PBL chapter from Cowley College,” Cowley College Department Chair for the Business, Computer and Information Technology Department, and advisor for the Phi Beta Lambda Business Organization, Beverly Grunder said. “The professional leadership and citizenship skills students can obtain through PBL membership makes for a very successful school-to-career transition. It is a pleasure working with these students.” 

Approximately 2,000 students were in attendance at the conference, whose theme was “Unlock Your Potential”. The competition was tough as the students competed against students from four-year colleges and universities as well as community colleges across the United States.

To qualify for Nationals students had to place first or second at the State Conference held in March. This was the first year that the National Leadership Conference allowed students to participate in two competitive events.

The competitive events consisted of the following:

Computer Applications – the student takes a two-hour skills test and a one-hour written objective test illustrating their understanding of basic computer terminology and concepts; document formatting rules and standards; grammar, punctuation, spelling and proofreading and related computer applications knowledge. 

Emerging Business Issues — participants research a topic chosen by the National PBL Association and give a 10-minute preliminary presentation either as an affirmative or negative argument. A maximum of 15 finalists are chosen to compete in the final round and the opposite argument is presented. This year’s topic was on current Social Security reform.

Job Interview — consists of four parts: Letter of Application and Resume, Job Application Form, Writing Exercise and Interviews. Based upon the initial interview, letter of application and resume, 15 finalists are selected for a final interview. 

Networking Concepts — is a written objective test consisting of questions on general network terminology, equipment for Internet access, problem solving/troubleshooting, network operating system terminology and topologies. 

In Nashville, besides competing in the specific tests, students had the opportunity to attend leadership workshops and participate in the March of Dimes Walk. The walk was a special celebration of PBL’s 32-year partnership with the March of Dimes.

PBL students pictured are, from left, Caleb DeGraff, Alex Gottlob, Melisa Moon Beauchamp, Ely Behrhorst, and Dirk Talley.