Charlton students take first place at DECA international competition

Jacqulyn Sardina and Thomas Fitzpatrick won first place for Business Research, Collegiate DECA 2013 Jacqulyn Sardina and Thomas L. Fitzpatrick IV, two members of UMass Dartmouth’s chapter of DECA, earned first-place international awards in business research at the 2013 International Career Development Conference in Anaheim.

Membership in DECA has had an outstanding impact on my life and has provided me with opportunities to network, gain internships, make a positive impact on campus, and make an impact in the lives of other students. - Jacqulyn Sardina

DECA, the Distributive Education Clubs of America, prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.

Honors for UMassD chapter

The pair won the same competition in 2012, and UMass Dartmouth DECA member Matt Witzgall earned the second-place award for business research this year.

The chapter also received DECA’s Presidential Passport Award, its highest honor for collegiate chapters, in both 2012 and 2013, in recognition of the group’s community service. Their initiatives have included fundraising in support of the National 9/11 Memorial and volunteering for the Boys & Girls Clubs.

DECA members recognized at the conference included Christian Souza, Matthew Wiztgall, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Joseph Wheeler, Miranda Figueiredo, Katie Annis, Jacqulyn Sardina, Lisa Ben-Chaim, and Rachel Lamusta.

Additionally, Thomas was elected a national vice president for Collegiate DECA and will represent UMass Dartmouth and the state of Massachusetts internationally.

He said, “We compete against students from other top-notch schools such as Rutgers, Arizona State, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, NC State, and George Washington University, to name just a few—and we’ve had great success.”

Opportunities & involvement

Jacqulyn and Thomas were instrumental in founding Charlton’s DECA chapter in 2011, having both been active in the organization at Billerica High School. The club has already grown to forty members, the largest chapter in Massachusetts.

At UMass Dartmouth you can be anything you set your mind to be. If you’re willing to work hard at your goals, the faculty and the campus community will support you to the best of their abilities. Our faculty and students are truly world class.  - Thomas Fitzpatrick

"Participating in Collegiate DECA has helped connect me with faculty, administration, alumni, and other students," said Thomas. "It’s an organization that helps students get engaged with our campus. It’s all about friendship, personal growth, and preparing you for a future career.”

Thomas and Jacqulyn’s winning project was “UMass Dartmouth ARR! Attract, Retain, Rebrand,” a plan to increase student enrollment and retention—with a nod to UMassD mascot Arnie the Corsair. It included a written proposal, twenty-minute presentation, and question-and-answer session with professionals from companies such as Microsoft and the Project Management Institute.

Next steps

Thomas, a marketing major who will graduate—a year early—in 2014, is completing an internship with LW Robbins, a strategic fundraising agency, this summer. He will be a senior resident assistant in the fall, working with freshmen business and leadership students. He plans to pursue an MBA.

Jacqulyn is an operations management intern with Philips in Andover this summer. When she returns to campus as a senior operations management major, with a minor in management, she’ll focus on strengthening the DECA chapter on campus as well as applying to graduate schools. She aims for a career in higher education.

More information

Charlton College of Business

Charlton Student Organizations