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Clarkson Women Compete in Negotiations U. Contest

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The "Negotiations U." project at Clarkson University concluded with a negotiations contest and dinner in February. Twenty-five contestants competed for $2,500 in prize money by completing a reflection essay and by presenting their cases for $10,000 more in starting compensation to their peers and executive and faculty judges.

Six contestants progressed to the finals, which required an on-stage, interactive role-play in front of their peers. The evening followed a three-hour, student-led training session and an intense week of individual participant preparation.negotiations-u

Everyone -- the student team leaders and the student participants and the faculty/staff leaders of the project -- gained a great deal of knowledge and confidence regarding the negotiations process, said Mary Graham, associate professor of organizational studies, one of the co-leaders of the project. "We hope to continue the project in future years."

I was impressed all of the students from beginning to end were so engaged on this project, said co-leader Cathy Clark, director of Student Support Services at Clarkson. "Early in their collegiate career they recognize the importance of learning how to negotiate."

The project was funded by a $5,000 competitive grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The local AAUW liaison on the project is Laura Ettinger, Clarkson associate professor of history.

The keynote speaker at the dinner was IBM executive Jennifer Howland, who graduated in1985 from Clarkson University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. She discussed the negotiations skills she uses daily and in everyday life in her job as director, Systems Development Process Transformation for the Innovation & Technology Group at IBM Corporate Headquarters.

Howland also stressed the importance of give and take in the negotiations process using "currencies" that are often times not monetary. She responded to questions on the topics of challenges for women in negotiation, whether or not to negotiate for starting compensation packages, and on knowing when to retreat in the negotiations process.

I was not expecting the high skill level and confidence that the students displayed in their negotiations, said Howland. "It was a pleasant surprise and their performance is a testament to the program, the sponsoring professors and student team leads that made the project such a rewarding experience for all the participants. With the skills learned in the Negotiations U. project, the students have a marked advantage when they head out into the business world."

"We were extremely fortunate to have Jennifer work with the students and share her experiences with them," said Clark.

Finalists included senior Cara Claflin, E-Business, of Cohoes, N.Y.; sophomore Nicole Etzel, engineering & management, of Bloomfield, N.Y.; sophomore Lisa Gorczyca, liberal arts & business, of Manlius, N.Y.; and sophomore Alicia Harris, psychology, of New York, N.Y.

Honorable mention winners were junior Samantha Hadley, e-business, of Carthage, N.Y.; senior Lisa Nkonge, engineering & management, of Greensboro, N.C.; sophomore Juae Son, engineering & management, of Gimpo City, Republic of Korea; and junior Ashley Williamsen, e-business, of Wells, N.Y.

The student team leaders who developed and presented the negotiations training: Claflin; Williamsen; sophomore Benjamin DeMuth, business studies, of Dansville, N.Y.; senior Kimberly Cook, computer science, of Utica, N.Y.; and sophomore Story Elliott, biology, of Cornwall N.Y. The MBA assistant on the project was graduate student Emily Kennavane of Wantagh, N.Y.

Clarkson University crosses the boundaries of disciplines, nations and cultures in order for discovery, engineering innovation and enterprise to come together. As a result, faculty and graduates grasp the full impact of their calling, direct their research to the world's pressing issues and lead with confidence and distinction. One in seven alumni is already a CEO or other senior executive. Located in Potsdam, N.Y., just outside the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, Clarkson is home to 3,000 students preparing for rewarding careers through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, science, and health sciences, as well as unparalleled outdoor recreation and life experiences beyond the classroom.

Photo caption: The "Negotiations U." project at Clarkson University concluded last month with a negotiations contest and dinner. Front Row (l-r): Lisa Nkonge, Alicia Miller, Juae Son, Nicole Etzel. Back Row: Mary Graham, Emily Kennavane, Samantha Hadley, Amy Wormsley, Cara Claflin, Lisa Gorczyca, Andrea Gatas, Cathy Clark, IBM Executive Jennifer Howland. Not Present: Ashley Williamsen.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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