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Washburn's unique Leadership Challenge Event broadens impact

The Washburn University Leadership Institute’s annual student-run leadership simulation competition recently wrapped up its biggest year yet and already is planning for 2015.

The Leadership Challenge Event will take place for the fifth time on April 9-10, 2015 in Topeka.

The fourth-annual event was held April 3 and 4 on the Washburn University campus and at the Topeka Capital Plaza’s Heritage Hall. It brought more than 130 participants to town to compete on 27 teams. The college and high school students came from four states -- Florida, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska -- to compete in the two-day simulation. 

The real-time simulation is designed, created and coordinated by Washburn students. The simulation scenario is a surprise until it is announced during the event. This year, team members had specific roles in response to a natural disaster. Throughout the simulation teams were judged on a variety of leadership practices, from decision-making to presentation.

Three high school teams shared the championship this year. Should team members enroll at Washburn, each will receive a $500 scholarship for their accomplishment. Co-Champions hail from Louisburg High School, as announced in April, as well as Marian High School in Omaha, Neb. and Shawnee Heights High School. Shawnee Heights also received the team collaboration award. Wichita’s Northeast Magnet High School received the team communication award.

Among the college division, Tabor College was champion. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln received the team communication award and the team collaboration award went to Southwestern College. 

To learn more about the Leadership Challenge Event visit and click Leadership Challenge Event or watch this video:

Winning teams and their members:

High School Division

Louisburg High School  

  • Coach: Susan Moore
  • Amelia  Baumgardner
  • Michelle Henry
  • Tanner Myers
  • Matthew Parodi
  • Mason Wilde

Marian High School, Omaha, Neb.

  • Coaches Karen Brown and Ashley Thompson
  • Julia Griffin
  • Payton Ranck
  • Maggie Redding
  • Emmy Witzenburg
  • Ashley Yakopec

Shawnee Heights High School  

  • Coach: Laurie Crimmins Lauren Bergman
  • Zach Haney
  • Nick Latimer
  • Jessica Mechler
  • Sam Steuart

Wichita Northeast Magnet High School               

  • Coach: Carissa Wissman
  • Anisia Brumley
  • Jessica Cross
  • Kaylee Shadid
  • Tavian Smith
  • Caleb Soliday

College Division

Tabor College   

  • Coach: Jim Paulus, vice president of student life
  • Marissa Hiett
  • Ashley Kemling
  • Tena Loewen
  • Tristen  Long
  • Matthew Wiebe

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • Coach: Erin Burnette, assistant director, CBA Honors Academy
  • Stetson Heirigs
  • Caitlin Kunz
  • Alexander Lahargoue
  • Jared Maguire
  • Daniel Woodworth

Southwestern College 

  • Coach: Lindsay Wilke, assistant director of leadership
  • Michael Becker
  • Ryan Crowell
  • Maggie Dunning
  • Brianna Helton
  • Madison Hovey


Michael Gleason, director, Washburn University Leadership Institute, 785.670.2001
Lauren Edelman, associate director, Washburn University Leadership Institute, 785.670.2002
Michaela Saunders, university relations, 785.670.2154