Service, Education, Progress: Strong Signs of a Thriving PBL

Jocelyn Clayton

by Annali Dolman, University Engagement Coordinator, September 2019

Park University English and Secondary Education major Jocelyn Clayton saw the sign.

 Literally.

 During the 2017 Activities Fair held at the beginning of her freshman year at Park University, Jocelyn noticed a message posted at the table where Dr. Donna Ehrlich, Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems, and fellow classmate Sam Culver sat.

 “The sign at their table read that they were interested in starting a PBL chapter at Park,” Jocelyn recalled. “I stopped by and expressed interest, so Sam and I decided to work together to create it.”

 “PBL,” or more specifically, Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc., is an organization that Jocelyn already knew quite a bit about. She first became involved with FBLA-PBL as a high school student in Burlington Junction, Mo.

 As the largest career student business organization in the world, FBLA-PBL helps over 230,000 middle school to professional-aged members prepare for careers and leadership experiences every year. The organization offers leadership coaching, academic competitions, educational programs, community service opportunities, and awards and recognition programs.

 Although getting the chapter started at Park wasn’t exactly a simple process in the beginning (“We had to jump through a few hoops,” Jocelyn recalls), Park’s FBLA-PBL chapter has seen a great deal of success in a short amount of time. During their first year, membership grew to nine members, and seven of those members who participated in FBLA-PBL academic competitions qualified for nationals. The team came home with five trophies and scholarship awards.

 During their second year, membership grew to 13 members. Nine of Park’s FBLA-PBL chapter members qualified for the National Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Seven of the nine qualifiers, Kylee Carpenter, Jocelyn Clayton, Samuel Culver, Henry Franklin, DaniGrace Greenway, Jacob Gray, and Austin Spoor, traveled with Rose Hochstatter, Park University Assistant Director of Operations for the College of Management Graduate Programs to compete. All of Park’s members qualified for finals in at least one of their events and received nine trophies and $1,100 in scholarships from national sponsors in 2019.

 Jocelyn has also made some extraordinary headway of her own within the organization. In January 2018, she was elected 2018-2019 Missouri State Secretary for PBL—and in April 2019, was elected the 2019-2020 Missouri State President. In her current role, Jocelyn manages four state officers, and ensures that all duties and goals are fulfilled by their leadership team. She coordinates monthly video meetings and in-person collaboration sessions, and reaches out to four state chapters per month to support recruiting, networking, leadership development, and volunteer opportunities. Jocelyn also coordinates the attendance of state officers at multiple conferences throughout the academic year. She will serve on the FBLA-PBL Board of Directors for this academic year and next.

 Although she is making impressive strides at the state level, Jocelyn remains especially proud of the chapter at Park U. Park’s chapter is a representative cross-section of students, whose fields of study include business (undergraduate- and graduate-level), history, biology and graphic design. Their club’s diversity is important to Jocelyn because the organization has value for everyone.

 “We are considered a business organization, but I like to portray PBL as a leadership organization,” Jocelyn said. “The values we hold are necessary for all majors. All college graduates need people skills, public speaking skills, and the other soft skills that are developed through participation in PBL programs.”

 This year, the national organization has set a goal of 2020 new members in 2020. To contribute to the national goal, Park’s chapter will continue recruiting by visiting freshman LE100 classes and business classes.  Jocelyn believes Park’s chapter will continue to grow in membership numbers, as well as in achievement and recognition at the national level.

 And, if past performance is an indication of future trends, all signs look promising.  

Are you a current student interested in learning more about Phi Beta Lambda, or other student clubs at Park U? Visit crew.park.edu to learn more!