Northeast business students compete in virtual competition


NORFOLK– Northeast Community College business and information technology students are not letting the disruption in their education due to the COVID-19 pandemic stop them from showcasing their skills.

Several members of the College’s Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) Team placed in several areas in the 2020 Nebraska PBL State Leadership Conference and Business Competition, which was a virtual competition this year.

Angie Shaffer, Northeast business instructor and PBL Club adviser, said due to COVID-19 concerns, this year’s State Leadership Conference was done virtually using Zoom videoconferencing.

“Students were able to compete individually or with their team using a webcam and their computer or smartphone. The competitors and judges were placed in a Zoom breakout room and presented just as they would in person,” Shaffer said. “The virtual conference went very smoothly over the course of the two days that attracted over 150 competitors from across the state. I was so impressed with how the administration of the event went and how well my students adjusted to the new virtual environment. It was a great experience for them to see technology connecting us in these troubling times.”

In all, the Northeast students earned 37 awards; which includes four first place and three second place honors.

“Our competitors, who placed at the top of their respective categories, will be moving on to compete during the National Leadership Conference this June,” Shaffer said.

The Northeast team competed against many four-year schools including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of Nebraska-Kearney, Doane University, Midland University, Chadron State College, Peru State College, Wayne State College, and York College Other two-year colleges at the conference included McCook Community College, North Platte Community College and Southeast Community College.

Shaffer said Phi Beta Lambda focuses on developing leadership, communication and team skills in its members as well as giving members an opportunity to meet and network with other PBL members at the local, state and national levels.

“PBL places an emphasis on helping students transition to the business world,” she said. “There are approximately 11,000 PBL members on college campuses across the country.

Students placing first and second at the conference automatically qualify to compete at PBL’s National Leadership Conference in Salt Lake City this summer.

Northeast students competing included Austin Bruzek, Norfolk; Benie Buzi, Norfolk; Anthony Cayax, Grand Island; Meredith Christensen, Holdrege; Brittney Dederman, Norfolk; Zamani Green, Norfolk; Morgan Haschke, Spalding; Kali Hyde, Norfolk; Jenna Jochum, Norfolk; Elsie Magwire, Spencer; Randall Nunez, Norfolk; Joshua Santiago, Norfolk; Sarah Santiago, Norfolk; Amber Schaad, Columbus; James Spencer, Norfolk; Dawson Weber, Pierce; and Nick Wood, Bertrand.

Northeast students who received awards during the Nebraska Leadership Conference and Business Competition include:

Accounting Analysis and Decision Making

1st – Jenna Jochum, Joshua Santiago, Sarah Santiago; 3rd – Beni Buzi, Brittney Dederman, Morgan Haschke.

Accounting for Professionals

4th – Sarah Santiago; 5th – Dawson Weber.

Accounting Principles

7th – Weber.

Business Communication

6th – Amber Schaad.

Business Decision Making

2nd – Buzi, Dederman, Haschke; 3rd – Austin Bruzek, Kali Hyde, Randall Nunez; 4th – Meredith Christensen, Sarah Santiago, Schaad.

Business Presentation

1st – Bruzek, Christensen, Schaad.

Client Services

1st – Nunez; 4th – Dederman; 5th – Christensen; 7th – Haschke; 8th – Bruzek.

Contemporary Sports Issues

2nd – Jochum.

Cost Accounting

3rd – Weber; 4th – Joshua Santiago; 5th – Sarah Santiago.

Cyber Security

5th – Nick Wood.

Entrepreneurship Concepts

7th – James Spencer.

Forensic Accounting

3rd – Weber, Joshua Santiago, Sarah Santiago.

Help Desk

3rd – Wood.

Hospitality Management

1st – Hyde, Nunez, Joshua Santiago.

Impromptu Speaking

5th – Zamani Green.

Job Interview

6th – Joshua Santiago.

Justice Administration

2nd – Anthony Cayax.

Management Analysis and Decision Making

3rd – Buzi, Bruzek; 4th – Christensen, Jochum, Schaad; 5th – Cayax.

Marketing Analysis and Decision Making

3rd – Cayax, Jochum, Joshua Santiago; 6th – Christensen, Schaad.


6th – Elsie Magwire.

Networking Concepts

3rd – Wood.

Public Speaking

4th – Green.

Retail Management

5th – Christensen; 6th – Bruzek.

Sports Management and Marketing

3rd – Jochum.

The Northeast PBL Chapter earned the highest number of points among two-year colleges in the competition. In addition to individual and team competitions, the Northeast PBL chapter was recognized with a Gold Excellence Award. Northeast also had the largest number of students participating in PBL.

Joshua Santiago was named to Who’s Who in Nebraska PBL and was elected as one of the state chapter’s officers – vice president of communications.