The atmosphere at the 2018 Pi Sigma Epsilon National Convention in San Diego, CA was tense. The 48 members of Miami University’s Gamma Gamma chapter of the business fraternity huddled around one another. They were awaiting the results of which school would win the Lewis F. Gordon Top Chapter award that Friday afternoon on April 13.

After losing to Ohio State University (OSU) at nationals last year, tensions were running high when, all of a sudden, in a combination of nerves and good-natured stress relief, the chapter started a dance circle in the middle of the 10 minute bathroom break during the awards ceremony.

“It’s hard to put into words, but it was one of those rare moments of ‘this is what do you do this type of thing for,’” said Brian McDonald, sophomore and PSE’s director of recruitment.

PSE president and junior Michael Murray recalled taking a step back with other senior members of the executive board during the height of the dancing.

“We stood there and just thought, ‘this is incredible,’” Murray said. “There’s something really special here.”

Upon re-taking their seats, the Gamma Gamma chapter was announced as the winners of the 2018 Lewis F. Gordon Top Chapter award for the 13th time, as well as the recipients of eight individual and smaller team awards.

These additional awards included first place for Top Management Team, first place for Top PSE Salesperson to senior Shannon O’Connor, second place for Top Project Manager to senior,Amy Auble and first place wins for the Top Market Research project and Top Sales/Marketing Project.

PSE Miami also secured first place in the Case Competition Study and second for Chapter Recruitment Team, respectively. Sophomore Sara Foley was recognized as a finalist in the National Speakers Competition while O’Connor and seniors Mitali Kulkarni and Lauren Boyd were named finalists in the Pro-Am Competition.

“After losing to OSU last year, just knowing all the hard work that came to fruition for everyone individually and as teams, and to win top chapter for the 13th time on Friday the 13th, was amazing,” Murray said.

It was especially rewarding for Pravali Kothakota to experience a team win as a senior after spending her four years in PSE.

“Every single accomplishment that I have achieved at Miami has been through PSE,” Kothakota said. “That experience and sense of professionalism is not something that can be replicated in class, and it was so exciting to be on the forefront of things as a senior.”

McDonald said the bond he has experienced with the people in PSE during college is unforgettable.

“At the end of the day if we don’t win that doesn’t change the relationships we built or the work we’ve done.

“But then we did win and that was awesome,” he added with a laugh.

The members of Miami’s PSE chapter have been working toward this win since last year’s loss to OSU and have been preparing for the presentations at nationals since January.

“It was really amazing a new member to see so much growth that happened over the course of the year,” McDonald said. “Everyone worked toward this constantly with an aggressive and committed approach after last year’s much more lackadaisical attitude.”

Murray is looking forward to repeating April’s success at nationals next year and is honored by how much his organization care about one another.

“The hard work they put into this is what really matters,” Murray said. “They care about this organization, but more importantly they also care about people and each other.”