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USI Romain College of Business student team places second at 2023 AMA International Collegiate Conference

April 6, 2023

The University of Southern Indiana American Marketing Association chapter made history at the 2023 AMA International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, March 30 through April 1.  

A student team of seniors, Courtney Bourne and Jaeden O’Dell-Schultz, from the Romain College of Business placed second in the Undergraduate Research Competition. The conference included over 1,300 students from 360 different chapters of universities across the globe, including teams from institutions such as Arizona State University, University of Florida, University of Kentucky and Penn State University. USI was the only college in the state of Indiana to place in the competition.  

This is the first team from USI to win a competition at the AMA conference, just a little over a year and a half since becoming a full-time member in fall 2021. It was the second international conference the chapter competed in. 

“USI has only been affiliated with AMA for one and a half years, so when it was announced that Jaeden and I placed second, it was a dream come true,” said Bourne, who is also the President of USI’s AMA chapter. “It was an honor to represent USI, and I cannot wait to see what this chapter achieves in the future.” 

USI's AMA chapter currently has over 20 students and was led by faculty advisors Dr. Sabinah Wanjugu and Dr. Nicolas Jankuhn, both Assistant Professors of Marketing. This trip was made possible thanks to financial support from the Romain College of Business, the USI Foundation, the Student Government Association, the Provost’s Office and Heritage Federal Credit Union.  

“Attending the 2023 International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans was an exceptional experience for our AMA members by providing them with invaluable opportunities to learn from marketing experts,” said Wanjugu. “The trip was a joy to see some of our students fly for the first time, experience new culture and compete courageously to represent USI.” 

Bourne’s and O’Dell-Schultz’s research presentation focused on the application of neuroscientific techniques, such as eye-tracking, to learn about students’ emotional responses and visual attention when viewing different social media accounts.  

The USI team had to be selected to present after submitting a research abstract. At the conference, they went through two rounds of judging where they had two minutes to present research and three minutes to answer questions. This took place seven times with seven different judges. 

Applying my marketing knowledge to a unique project provided insight into the daily responsibilities of professional marketers. Our team's second place win at an international conference demonstrated the quality of our education and the value of our efforts,” said O’Dell-Schultz. “Overall, this experience was amazing and helped me gain a better understanding of my future profession.” 

In addition to the second-place honor, another USI student got to be a member of a panel at the conference. Senior marketing major Diego Socorro, Vice President of USI’s AMA chapter, was the only student in the country selected to be a part of the AMA’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Marketing Panel. It’s an experience he was grateful to be a part of.  

“It meant so much to have the opportunity to speak about topics that every company, college and government should care about,” said Socorro. “I shared personal thoughts but also reflected the passion I have for marketing as an international student from Venezuela. This conference is something I will never forget.” 

There were also workshop opportunities, panel discussions and keynote speakers from a variety of companies such as Bose, Pearpop and The Wall Street Journal. Students also got to meet peers from universities across the globe and gained valuable new skills while networking with other marketing students and professionals. 

The students and faculty spent plenty of late nights and weekends preparing for this trip and wanted to make the most of the opportunity. They were able to rise to the challenge of fitting work around their class schedules and other activities.  

“Thanks to the generous support of the University, we were able to take 13 top-performing AMA members to the 2023 International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans,” said Jankuhn. “Overall, the trip was an unforgettable experience that showcased the talents and dedication of our students.” 

With the necessary resources and unwavering dedication, our AMA members continuously strive for excellence,” Wanjugu added. "We are confident our students will continue to push boundaries and make a positive impact in the field of marketing.” 

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