Coker SIFE Places in Top 40 in National Competition

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – May 25, 2012 – Following a win in the regional competition in New York City last month, Coker College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team placed in the top 40 in the national competition in Kansas City, Mo., yesterday.

“To be named among the top 40 of 160 SIFE teams in the country, particularly in just their second year, is an outstanding achievement for our students,” said Coker College President Robert Wyatt.

“The competition at the national level is especially difficult and highly competitive and no other second-year team placed as well this year,” Wyatt added. “While I am exceedingly proud of our team’s continued efforts and expansion over this past year, I am equally appreciative of the support of our campus and Hartsville community, whose collaborative efforts made an important difference.”

Last year, Coker College’s SIFE team placed in the top 60 of the nation and won Rookie of the Year.

SIFE USA is the oldest and largest of the 39 SIFE country operations and with some 4,000 students, faculty and executives in attendance, the SIFE National Exposition represents the largest gathering of SIFE network members anywhere in the world.

Coker’s presentation, a 24-minute multimedia production, features highlights from many of the projects they supported during the 2011-12 academic year, which include, for the first time, an international service project.

Three SIFE students, Cody Ellison, Kaitlynn Jessup and Lindsey Allen, traveled with College staff to Muhuru Bay, Kenya.  While there, they helped open a Learning Resource Center for the community.  A renovated building purchased by Coker SIFE to house a library and multiple vocational training classrooms, the Center is the only facility of its kind in the town. The project was originally developed through a contact of Associate Professor of Communication Richard Puffer and now includes a partnership with Maseno University in Nairobi and two other SIFE Teams: SIFE Maseno and SIFE Kenya.

This year, Coker SIFE’s campus programs included launching a recycling program in the residence halls in conjunction with Sonoco’s recent community-wide recycling effort; teaching Finance 199, a financial literacy course for both evening and day students at Coker; and hosting College to Career, an event designed to help students develop proficiencies in professional etiquette and protocols.

Local programs the team supported this year included:

• Kalmia Gardens Second Annual Duck Cup;

• Marketing support for Hartville downtown businesses;

• Pee Dee Mobile, an iPhone business directory for Hartsville and Florence, S.C.;

• SAT Prep, a program to help college-bound high school students prepare for college admissions examinations; and

• Freedom Schools, a reading-based program administered by the Children’s Defense Fund to provide summer programming for elementary school students that will begin in Hartsville later this summer.

Six students served on the presentation team: Brianna Fowler, Kaitlynn Jessup, Eren Moses, Tyler Senecal, Tyler Staub and Timothy Strickland. The other team members include Lindsey Allen, Adam Bedard, Lucas Britt, Jessica Covington, Cody Ellison, Leslie Hanna, Austin Harper, Sarah Kinsey, Matthew Kreider, Noah Lascell, Mark Nankervis, Halee Polson, James Sweeney, Jasmine Brown, Steve Marciano and Amy Nelson. They were accompanied by Wyatt and SIFE Director Benjamin Chastain and advised by Brianna Douglas, Coker College human resource manager.

For more information about Coker’s SIFE program, contact Chastain at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  To learn more about the SIFE network, visit


Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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