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K-State Today

March 14, 2013

Leaders of the pack: School of Leadership Studies team wins Washburn competition

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

A team of Kansas State University students led the way at the 2013 Washburn Leadership Challenge Event, March 7-8, at Washburn University in Topeka.

The challenge is sponsored by the Washburn University Leadership Institute and offers competition at the high school and collegiate levels. The event challenges students to address a variety of problems and situations that simulate real-life experiences, with their leadership decisions determining the competition's outcome.

Members of Kansas State University's team are all leadership studies minors from the School of Leadership Studies. Team advisers were Lori Kniffin, adviser of academic programs, and Bethany Miles, special projects assistant, both from the School of Leadership Studies.

For the collegiate competition, which had eight teams, each team represented a particular mayoral candidate in the simulation. Team members selected a leadership role best suited to their strengths. Roles included public relations, compliance director, campaign manager, political analyst and director of field operations.

"In our case, the mayoral candidate was named Kim Martens. During one of the simulation rounds, it was revealed that the candidate was accused of embezzling funds from a local community foundation," Miles said. "The team had to work together to address this situation in accordance with their campaign values of honesty and transparency. Additionally, the team was tasked with communicating with constituents, working together to create a campaign, and engaging in a debate at the end of the simulation."

Teams were judged based on their ability to work as a team, how they interacted and communicated with their constituents and candidate in the simulation, and their presentation at the debate.

Members of Kansas State University's winning leadership team and their team roles include: Magen Witcher, junior in pre-professional secondary education, Elkhart, director of compliance; Grant Goodack, senior in economics, Olathe, campaign manager; Collin Huerter, junior in political science, political analyst, and Avery Simecka, freshman in arts and sciences-open option, director of field operations, both from Topeka; and Ryan Haxton, freshman in pre-journalism and mass communications, Valley Center, public relations director.