Calhoun’s Irene Kowalski Nabs Second at DECA Conference

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After finishing in first place at the Distributive Education Clubs of America State Career Conference, Calhoun High School senior Irene Kowalski traveled to the DECA International Career Development Conference in Nashville, Tennessee and took home the second-place award.

Kowalski, who is currently the president of New York State DECA, selected the Start-Up Business Plan Event. The purpose of the event is to provide an opportunity for the participant to develop and present a proposal to form a business. The event allows the participant to develop and demonstrate a mastery of essential knowledge and skills as they apply them to the analysis of a business opportunity.

It is the first year that DECA has offered this type of event that focuses on a Lean Entrepreneurship Model. Kowalski's start-up is known as Generation, a bio-informatics company that stores genetic barcodes in a compatible format so that laboratories worldwide can collaborate more easily and efficiently.

“Generation's main goal is to provide an interface for geneticists that helps them research effectively to come up with more personalized medicinal techniques in less time,” said Kowalski.
“Irene was well-versed and extremely knowledgeable on her business model and her entrepreneurship skills truly shined,” added Peter Palazzo, a business teacher at Calhoun.

Irene is a member of the National Honor Society and enrolled in various advanced placement and college level classes. She has been a member of DECA since freshman year and plans to attend Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan this fall.

DECA is unlike any other club offered in high school. It is a nationally recognized business organization that brings the work world into the classroom.