Sources: Candice Hironaka, 785-532-6085, cpitts@ksu.edu
Hometown connection: Hutchinson, Overland Park, Salina and Topeka.
Photo: http://www.k-state.edu/media/images/nov11/leadership111111.jpg
Photo cutline: Pictured from left to right are Theodore Stavropoulos, Erika Williams, Bethany Caldwell and Chelsea Corkins.
News release prepared by: Stephanie Murray, 785-532-2535, media@ksu.edu

Friday, Nov. 11, 2011

Leaders of the pack: Kansas State University team wins international leadership competition

MANHATTAN -- A team of four Kansas State University students won the International Leadership Association's Case Study Competition, a part of the association's annual conference recently in London.

The K-State team included: Chelsea Corkins, senior in biological and agricultural engineering, Hutchinson; Bethany Caldwell, senior in psychology, Overland Park; Theodore Stavropoulos, junior in human resource management and pre-law, Salina; and Erika Williams, junior in theater and leadership studies, Topeka. The team is coached by Candice Hironaka, senior associate director forstudent, alumni and community relations for the university's School of Leadership Studies.

The team chose to research and study the urban water crisis in Ghana.

"The Ghana urban water crisis spoke to us because there is not a lack of water in the region, but a lack of leadership in getting the water distributed to the people," Williams said.

"We analyzed the factions involved and made suggestions toward addressing the situation on the ground in Ghana," Stavropoulos said.

The competition consisted of three rounds. For round one, team members prepared a brief analyzing their case, and for the second round, they prepared a poster to accompany their written analysis.

"The hardest part was working with the time restriction," Caldwell said. "The judges gave us three weeks to research, develop our case, submit the written proposal, and construct the academic poster. It was a fun process, but it definitely became stressful when it came down to making sure we had everything submitted at the correct times."

Kansas State University was among the three teams to earn the highest scores over the first two rounds and move to the final round of competition, an oral presentation. Also moving to the finals were Claremont McKenna and Georgia Tech.

"The level of research the K-State team did and their written brief were truly exceptional," Hironaka said. "It showcased just how articulate and intelligent our students are in making progress on challenging leadership issues. The student team reflected how well they have learned, and also how they have used their innate gifts to showcase their level of understanding and application of leadership theory and practice."

To prepare for the final round, team members spent the week of the conference attending sessions and gathering material to build on their case analysis for their 15-minute presentation to a panel of judges.

"The presentation was my favorite part," Corkins said. "Compared to the other two teams in the finals, our team really acted like one unit, instead of competing against each other."

"They were such a connected team and truly enjoyed being together and working as a group," Hironaka said. "What made me most proud was just seeing them engage with the people from the conference and the other student teams. They were so excited to share their findings."

Stavropoulos said that the team was grateful for the support they received from the School of Leadership Studies and the entire university.

"The most invigorating and motivating part was thinking about all the amazing people at home who got us there and were cheering for us the whole way through," he said.

K-State also won first place in the 2006 competition, in Vancouver, British Columbia, the first year a university team competed in the event.