For Taylor Shaughnessy '22, joining the Curry College DECA Chapter is as much an opportunity for skill development and resume building as day-to-day work in a traditional internship.
"I've learned just as much on presentation skills and networking from my time with DECA than I have in my business classes," says the business administration major.
The newly formed Curry DECA Chapter is a small but mighty group. In its first two years, the students have competed in six business categories and earned six medals in marketing, human resource management, entrepreneurship, finance and business ethics. The team also qualified to compete in the International Career Development Conference. The signature event, which was held virtually last month, brings together roughly 1,500 Collegiate DECA members from all over the world to compete in a series of business simulations.
Shaughnessy and other business students including Nic Clark ’22 spearheaded the launch of the DECA Chapter at the College and partnered with Dr. John DiCicco, a senior lecturer in the Department of Business. As the Chapter's faculty mentor and Shaughnessy’s advisor, Dr. DiCicco has been instrumental in her success at Curry.
"Professor DiCicco is one of the best professors I've ever had because he goes beyond teaching terms and facts in class but also incorporates valuable life lessons," she says. "He creates a very welcoming environment in his classroom where you feel comfortable asking questions and speaking up."
The 22-year veteran of the College teaches Introduction to Business to first-year business students and Organizational Systems and Processes, where students begin to understand the dynamics of organizational culture and its impact on productivity and profitability. As part of the new DECA Chapter, as well as in his classes, Dr. DiCicco's approach to teaching is rooted in career preparation. "My wish is that students can apply what they learn to the real world," he says.
"To me, learning is not memorizing a bunch of paragraphs out of a textbook and paraphrasing an author's text material into an answer on a question I ask on a text," he adds. "Learning is gathering resources from the instructor, textbook, research materials from multiple sources and apply those resources to their careers after they graduate."
As the graduating seniors conclude their collegiate careers this month, the Curry College DECA Chapter is inviting all interested students to join the award-winning team.
"We're hoping to build our chapter and grow DECA to win many more competitions," says Dr. DiCicco.
Shaughnessy believes Curry students, regardless of major, have a lot to gain from joining DECA. "Creating this Chapter while working with Professor DiCicco and my fellow teammates has been not only very exciting but also a great learning process that has provided me with many life lessons and leadership opportunities that I will be able to apply to not only to my academic career but also my occupational career in the future. I can't stress enough how large of an impact mock business interviews, and sales pitches can have on your academic and occupational careers. DECA is an amazing addition to a resume."