The Aurora University chapter of the American Marketing Association was named International Collegiate Chapter of the Year at the AMA’s 2017 International Collegiate Conference earlier this month in New Orleans.
Some 1,500 students and faculty from more than 200 universities converged on the Big Easy from March 16-18 for three days of professional development, competition, and networking with peers, industry professionals and potential employers.
In addition to winning overall international honors, several AU/AMA students won individual accolades at the conference.
Kelly Hauge, AU/AMA president, a senior from Oswego majoring in business administration and marketing, was selected as the 2017 AMA Student Marketer of the Year.
Junior Caitlin DeRuiter, a marketing major from St. Clair, Michigan, and AU/AMA’s president-elect, took home a $5,000 scholarship as the winner of the 2017 EBSCO Marketing Scholar Award.
Senior Bradley Kigyos received an honorable mention in the Sales Student of the Year competition. The Aurora native is the chapter’s vice president of professional selling and is majoring in psychology.
“It’s a great achievement for everyone involved,” said Hauge. “I am most proud of the fact that this was a team effort. It would never have happened without everyone working together.”
This is the first time since its creation in 2009 that the 85-member strong AU/AMA chapter has been recognized as the nation’s No. 1 chapter. AU/AMA placed among the top five chapters internationally the last two years. The AMA, the world’s largest professional marketing organization, has 370 collegiate chapters and more than 11,000 student members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Chapters are judged on their yearly activities in areas such as professional development, community and social impact, and communications as presented in a chapter annual report.
The AU/AMA chapter won recognition in four other categories as well: Chapter Communications, second place; Website Competition, second place; Outstanding Marketing Week Activities Competition, honorable mention; and Community and Social Impact Video Competition, second place.
For the final category, AU/AMA produced a video about pet adoption for Kane County Animal Control. AU’s Jane Davis, chair of the biology department and Kane County Animal Control’s deputy director, helped make the video possible, according to Kyle Friedrich, of Aurora, AU/AMA’s vice president of media production and a senior majoring in marketing and communication.
Ten AU/AMA chapter members joined their longtime faculty advisor, marketing professor Brian Vander Schee, at the event.
“Dr. Vander Schee is the reason that our chapter has been able to compete so effectively with the larger state schools,” Hauge said. “His dedication is really the backbone of our success.”
According to Hauge, AU students who participate with the AU/AMA chapter benefit from its relatively small size, which allows more opportunity for students to get to know each other better, hone skills and participate together on projects and competitions.
“For me, one of the most valuable aspects of being a part of AMA is that it constantly pulls me out of my comfort zone,” said Kigyos. “The sales competitions are as close to real-world situations as you can get. You are competing at a high level with people who know what they are doing.”
Hauge would agree. “AMA has provided me with endless opportunities to network with students and also with potential employees,” she said.
In February she landed a job as a marketing administrator with SPEC Engineering of Plainfield, a full-service process engineering firm that provides the latest in technology to the food, beverage and chemical industries. She begins full time in May.
“I’m excited to learn all about a new industry and put my marketing skills to the test,” she said.
For more information about AU/AMA, visit auama.org.