Winners of the ILA International Student Case Competition in West Palm Beach
Amanda Allen is a junior broadcast journalism major in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland with a minor in Business. She is an intern for the International Leadership Association and has an interest in marketing, broadcast, and multi-platform journalism. She is also the president of the Women’s Club Basketball team at the University of Maryland.
Each year, the ILA global conference holds an International Student Case Competition. In 2018, Christopher Newport University (CNU) emerged victorious in the undergraduate division and Robert Morris University (RMU) won the graduate division. The winning team members received a one-year ILA membership and each team split a $1,000 cash prize.
The International Student Case Competition, organized by ILA’s Leadership Education community, requires the participants to choose a socio-political-economic problem and display their knowledge for leadership by analyzing their chosen problem at the global or national level.
Teamwork and Playing to Each Other’s Strengths
Teamwork is an important aspect for any team to be successful. The undergraduate trio from CNU, Adam Stillabower, Nathan Hotes, and Jonelle Brown, made sure each team member contributed to their success. Nathan Hotes explained, “Jonelle knew information about Eritrean culture, my background in political science helped analyze that aspect of the problem, and Adams military experience helped him lead and keep us on track. Without all three of these we would not have succeeded to the level we did.”
Topic: Eritrean Censorship
The CNU team decided on this topic because they knew this was an international issue that many people would be unfamiliar with and they saw this issue as something leadership could resolve. Nathan Hotes explained that Eritrea is the second most censored nation after North Korea. “We learned a lot about international leadership and our own topic from the competition,” Hotes added. “Some of the presentations directly addressed how one should apply leadership in Africa, how to deal with scapegoating with an international regime, and the limitations of leadership theories.”
Virtual Teamwork – Practicing 21st Century Skills
This year the graduate team from RMU — Rebecca Barnes, Lynda Mayes, Sean Phelan, and Samantha Wockley — had a unique experience. They did not meet personally until arriving at the ILA conference in West Palm Beach! Their presentation was planned entirely virtually. According to Lynda Mayes, “We constructed our project through video conferencing, text messages, and emails. Most people struggle to work together face-to-face and we were able to work as a cohesive team from a distance. Each member of the team and our coaches were amazing. Everyone worked as one. We supported each other and had confidence in each other’s abilities.”
Topic: Global Literacy
RMU decided on the topic of Global Literacy because of a volunteer experience that Samantha Wockley had with her local library. She noticed the lack of reading that was occurring for young children in the library. “If this was happening in my neighborhood, I was interested to learn more about how global communities approached literacy. I wanted to see how successful leaders around the world had promoted literacy and what tactics worked to engage various cultures.” Team member Rebecca Barnes explained, “This was a topic that we knew everyone could get on board with, and virtually no one could argue with because lack of literacy affects employment, education, politics, and overall quality of life.”
Advice to 2019 Teams at ILA Ottawa
ILA’s 21st Global Conference will be held in Ottawa this October. If you’re signed up to participate in this year’s International Student Case Competition, take a look at some of the advice these students had!
“I would advise future participants to not lose sight of where they are — an international leadership conference where you are around some of the best leadership development minds out there — an incredible opportunity! Attend sessions, ask questions, and keep your mind open to new perspectives and ideas that you may not come across through your academic program. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage in a project with peers!” — Sean Phelan
“Listen to what the judges and speakers say if you do make the finals… one of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome was fear of not succeeding.” — Nathan Hotes
“Utilize your professors because they are a helpful resource who want to see you succeed. It was so rewarding seeing our professors proud of us and I am so happy we used their expertise and guidance.” — Rebecca Barnes
“When you research, write, and speak about the topic the audience needs to see your excitement…When you receive feedback from the judges, do not get disheartened. The judges are there to set you up for success.” — Lynda Mayes.