Whitney Koehn national award

Elmwood-Murdock graduate Whitney Koehn smiles with her second-place trophy at the Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference in San Antonio. The Nebraska Wesleyan University student captured the prestigious honor in the Project Management contest at the conference.

SAN ANTONIO – Whitney Koehn has used her work ethic and intelligence to capture many business awards during her high school and college careers.

She added a major item to her trophy case in late June at a national conference.

Koehn earned second place in the Project Management contest at the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) National Leadership Conference in San Antonio. More than 1,300 college students from across the country traveled to Texas to take part in dozens of business events. PBL is the collegiate equivalent of the Future Business Leaders of America program that is offered at many Nebraska high schools.

Koehn said she was thrilled to secure the prestigious honor. The Elmwood-Murdock graduate finished in the top five of a national contest for the second straight year. She collected fifth place in the Marketing Concepts category at the 2018 conference.

“I was very excited to be on the stage at all for this!” Koehn said. “During the award they bring all top ten on stage and announce winners backward from tenth to first place. The top three actually win a scholarship so the most exciting part was when I broke the top three, so I knew I had won a scholarship. That was my goal, to place in the top three.”

The Project Management test took place on the second day of the conference, which was held June 24-27 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Students had to answer 100 questions about project management issues during the 60-minute exam.

Some of the topics covered in the test included developing a project plan, evaluating risk management, creating project time and cost estimates, detailing progress and performance measurement plans, obtaining resources for projects and providing audit materials for project oversight.

Some of the terms students had to know included scope verification, analogous estimating, contract closure, stakeholder analysis, risk mitigation and configuration management. Students could not bring any materials to the testing site and they had to turn off all electronic devices.

Koehn learned she had performed well on the test when she attended the PBL Awards of Excellence Program June 27. She stepped on stage to accept her second-place trophy after PBL officials announced the top ten winners.

Rachel Franzen of Northern Kentucky University, Drew Schreiber of Rutgers University, Madeleine Rabi of Florida International University and Allison Baker of Southwest Baptist University finished in the top five places with Koehn.

Koehn also competed with Nebraska Wesleyan teammate Bradley Ernesti in the Business Ethics category. The duo advanced to the finals of the competition and finished just outside the top ten.

Preliminary rounds of the Business Ethics contest took place on the second day of the conference. Teams competed in the finals the following afternoon.

Koehn served in an officer role for Nebraska Wesleyan’s PBL chapter this past school year. She will be the chapter vice president for 2019-20.

Koehn was one of four NWU students who took part in the national conference. She and her classmates participated in many activities during their trip to San Antonio. They listened to motivational speakers, took part in educational workshops and toured several sites in the city.

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