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A picture of one of the dorms at Cal U.A picture of one of the dorms at Cal U.

SMA chapter, adviser win honors

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Dr. Shirley A. Lazorchak

Posted on April 23, 2010

Cal U's Student Marketing Association (SMA) and its adviser, Dr. Shirley A. Lazorchak, won recognition last month at the American Marketing Association's 26th annual International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans.

Lazorchak received the Hugh G. Wales Award for Outstanding Faculty Advisor, which honors the recipient for chapter guidance, training of chapter officers, planning assistance, motivation, communication and general support for the chapter.

The SMA was named an Outstanding Collegiate Chapter for the second consecutive year. This distinction puts Cal U among the top 25 schools out of approximately 200 that entered.

For Lazorchak, the individual award is the culmination of the effort she began when she came to Cal U in 2001. The following year, she changed the Marketing Club into the Student Marketing Association and applied for affiliation with the American Marketing Association. The student marketers began competing with the AMA in 2004-2005.

Allison Harsh, a senior marketing major and SMA president, nominated Lazorchak for the outstanding adviser award.

"I was very surprised, grateful and humbled by the faith that my students and peers have in me," Lazorchak said. "The runner-up was the faculty adviser from the Wharton School (at the) University of Pennsylvania, a truly deserving individual. So we are keeping great company."

"Dr. Lazorchak has been a great adviser and mentor," Harsh said.  "She has helped our club grow and mature. She has real-world experience (as an apparel buyer, district retail manager, writer on retail issues and the host of a career program while on the faculty at West Virginia University). She has a lot of things to teach us."

Both said the international chapter competition was even more competitive this year.

Chapters are judged on the development of a strategic plan and the events and other activities that each chapter participated in to fulfill the requirements of that plan. The Cal U SMA, which has about 25 members, planned events such a seminar on dressing professionally and a business-dining tutorial.

"I estimate the quality of our strategic plan increased about 15 to 20 percent," Lazorchak said. "This win means that Cal U is recognized internationally, first of all, as we were an unknown entity prior to reaching the elite status of the awards last year.

"It increases the confidence our students have in their abilities, and that translates into stronger accomplishments reported on their resumes - accomplishments that set them apart from the competition - to increase their chances for employment with organizations promising growth and potential."

Harsh agreed, also citing the experience SMA members have gained by working with local businesses on marketing needs such as logo development and other branding projects.

"A lot of students just go to class and learn about marketing, but in SMA you actually do it," she said. "It gives students such an advantage in building their resumes."