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WKCTC Student Wins National Award Through Competitive Events Program

Asheley Thomas of Boaz recently took home a national honor from the Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference in Chicago, Ill., last month. She is a student at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Thomas was one of the more than 1,600 of America's best and brightest college students from across the United States that participated in the PBL Step Up to the Challenge conference in the Windy City June 24-27. The conference provided students with an outlet to enhance their business skills, expand their networks, and participate in more than 55 business and business-related competitive events. Thomas placed third overall in the macroeconomics category.

"It feels fantastic; I feel honored to have received this recognition for a great deal of hard work," said Thomas.

The award was part of a comprehensive national competitive events program sponsored by the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and PBL that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. For many students, the competitive events are the capstone activity of their academic careers. In addition to the competitions, students immersed themselves in educational workshops, visited an information-packed exhibit hall, and attended motivational keynotes on a broad range of business topics.

"We are very proud of Asheley. This is the 2nd year in a row she has placed in the top 10 in the nation in an event," said PBL advisor and WKCTC professor Tiffinee Morgan. Thomas also placed first in the macroeconomics and third in the microeconomics categories at the state competition in March 2015.

A 1997 St. Mary High School graduate, Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville before coming to West Kentucky. A business administration major at West Kentucky, Thomas wants to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and plans to transfer to Morehead University to complete that degree. She and her husband, Allen, have one daughter.

Thomas said participating in campus organizations helps build confidence and prepare for the future. "I would advise other students to take advantage of student organizations such as PBL. It's a great opportunity to meet new people and develop leadership skills," said 35-year-old Thomas, vice president of West Kentucky's PBL chapter. "You can get as much out of these opportunities as you put into them. It was my goal this year to go to nationals and place in one of my events and I achieved that goal. I wouldn't have, though, if I hadn't studied and worked hard..."