MSU-Meridian students to represent state at DECA International

Casey May placed first in Business Research and Melissa Hamilton had a first place finish in Marketing Management at the DECA Winter Leadership Academy in Raymond. MERIDIAN, Miss.—Two Mississippi State University-Meridian students qualified to represent Mississippi in international competition in Anaheim, California, next month after recently earning first place recognition at the state’s DECA Winter Leadership Conference and Competition in Raymond.

Casey May of Meridian took first place in the business research category. May is pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Technology degree in healthcare services at MSU-Meridian and is a benefits analyst at Anderson Regional Health System. Melissa Hamilton of Collinsville, who placed first in the marketing management category, is a business administration student.

May and Hamilton join four other MSU-Meridian students—Steven Miller of Waynesboro, Anthony McOlgan and Lynette Cockrell both of Meridian and Michael Costa of  Toomsuba—who placed first in their respective categories at the state competition in Natchez in November 2016. Miller is currently DECA president for the local chapter and also has been named the 2017-18 collegiate DECA vice president for Mississippi.

Since it was founded in 1946, DECA has impacted millions of students, educators, school administrators and business professionals by preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the world. For more, visit

“I’m extremely proud of our students for all earning a first place designation,” said Natasha Randle, associate professor of management and DECA adviser. “This is a true testament of their hard work, determination, preparation and their ability to effectively synthesize concepts learned in the classroom with real-world practical experiences, as well as good old-fashioned critical thinking.”

MSU-Meridian’s collegiate DECA organization was formed two years ago under the leadership of Randle and co-advisers, Yingge Qu, assistant professor of marketing, and Paul Spurlin, assistant professor of finance. 

Nearly 5,000 DECA students will compete in the international competition April 19-22 at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel. This is the second year the MSU-Meridian organization has been represented at the international competition.

For more about MSU-Meridian, visit

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Photo:  Casey May (l) of Meridian and Melissa Hamilton of Collinsville pose with their first place awards they earned in the state DECA competition last month in Raymond, Mississippi.


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