Data security proposal wins first PCMA North American Student Competition


Team from Kansas State University to present at 2019 Convening Leaders

A team of hospitality students from Kansas State University in Kansas won PCMA’s inaugural Business Events Industry Student Challenge for proposing how to protect personal data of people attending business events.

Members of the winning team were Brooks Hetle, Bailey Brown, Andie Contreras, Tia Gamble and Cameryn Rasmussen. They were advised by Kristin Malek, an assistant professor of hospitality management.

Nearly two dozen collegiate teams from across the United States submitted proposals for the competition, which tested student knowledge and understanding of issues and trends affecting the business events industry. Five finalists were selected to present their proposals in a live competition.

PCMA created this competition to engage students pursuing careers in the business events industry and provide a networking and mentorship platform for professional growth.

“It was powerful to see the passion and knowledge students in the meetings and business events industry put into their presentations and experience the engagement they have for the industry,” said Sherrif Karamat, CAE, president and CEO of PCMA, and one of the competition’s six judges. “It was difficult to choose a winning team as all five finalists have certainly impressed our panel of industry experts, but we felt the students from Kansas State University did an amazing job with their proposal.”

The Kansas State University Team

The Kansas State University Team

The Kansas State University team will be hosted by PCMA Education Foundation to present their proposal of using block chain to minimize cyberhacking at business events at PCMA University during PCMA’s signature event, Convening Leaders from Jan. 6-9, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Runners up to PCMA’s Student Challenge competition included two teams from Metropolitan State University in Denver, a team from Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) in Indianapolis and a team from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. The Metropolitan State University team of Julia Whaley, Kathleen Wilhite, Qiesha Lewis, Otto Jose, Jaycee Dahl, Christina Bekhova, Elise Teuber, Brieana Lewis and Stephanie Sianez, and was advised by Shinyong Jung, assistant professor of event and meeting management. The IUPUI team of Nick Fuchs, Ethan Garcia, Maria Jaramillo, Vijay Melwani and Allie Wigginton was advised by Godwin “Charles” Ogbeide, associate professor and director of IUPUI’s Events and Tourism Institute. The Iowa State University team of Caroline Ennes, Hallie Farrell, Dalton Wulf, Ali Baumann, Dallas Ott and Mallory Smith was advised by Eric Olson, assistant professor in the department of apparel, events and hospitality management.

Judges in addition to Karamat were Eduardo Chaillo, CEO of Global Meetings and Tourism Specialists LLC; Kati Quigley, senior director of partner marketing for Microsoft Corp.; Angie Ranalli, vice president of sales, Midwest region for San Diego Tourism Authority; and Carol Krugman, partner of Krugman Maller LLC. The live competition was moderated by Derrick M. Johnson, senior director of meetings for The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

For more information and to register for PCMA Convening Leaders 2019, visit conveningleaders.org.


For media queries from the Americas, APAC, EMEA, and requests for interviews with Sherrif Karamat, please contact:

Meghan Risch, PCMA Chief of Staff, Vice President, Corporate Communications

About PCMA

PCMA educates, inspires, and listens, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry. Our mission is to drive social and economic progress through business events. Headquartered in Chicago, IL PCMA has 17 North American Chapters, regional communities in APAC, EMEA and LATAM, and members in 59 countries. The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA), a PCMA subsidiary, advances strategic event marketing and marketing communications for senior-level event marketers and industry professionals. Visit us at pcma.org.

About PCMA Foundation

The role of the Foundation of PCMA is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant-giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the business events industry. Annually the Foundation funds over $900K in impact, and since 1985 has funded over 2,500 scholarships, 100 research studies and education programs, and $2.7M in charitable giving.