On May 15th, 2020 students from The University of North Texas, Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, Sam Houston State University, Southern Arkansas University and Stephen F. Austin State University came together to compete in an Applied Skills Competition hosted by the corporate sponsor Epsilon. This is year three of the competition and the first time that five universities were represented. The competition is designed to allow students on all five campuses to spend three months working on a business problem provided by the sponsor. Posters and presentations were judged by corporate mentors on each campus to determine the finalists for the final showdown hosted and judged by the corporate sponsor Epsilon. With COVID-19 disrupting the remainder of the spring semester, organizers scrambled to move the final competition to a virtual format. Competitors however, didn't miss a beat. Using Zoom and breakout rooms, the students showed true perseverance and mettle, adapting to the new format with ease. The final showdown consisted of poster presentations by all 6 finalists in Zoom breakout rooms and a boardroom competition where the students were placed in teams of three to determine a joint solution to the business problem and then deal with an unexpected twist provided by the judges. After both teams completed their boardroom presentations, the judges choose a top team and outstanding overall performer. The final results were:
Winning team: Austin McDonald (SAU), Jane Ballew (SFA), and Gwendolyn Squires (SHSU)
Outstanding overall performer: Cassidy Wray (UNT)
Read more on the Applied Skills Program and Professionalization with CLASS here.