11th Annual UW Tacoma Case Competition on Social Responsibility

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Nine teams participated in this year's 11th annual Case Competition on Social Responsibility


Last Friday, January 27th, nine teams from UW Tacoma competed in the annual UW Tacoma Case Competition on Social Responsibility. This annual event is run by the Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility. Participating groups presented innovative proposals for Microsoft to improve workforce diversity, a current challenge faced by companies in STEM related fields.

The case was distributed to participating teams on Friday, January 20th. Teams had only 72 hours to research and develop a proposal. Final presentations were due at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, January 23rd. Teams presented their final proposals that following Friday, January 27th, in front of a group of volunteer judges representing businesses around the Puget Sound region.

In total, nine teams of three to four students presented in the preliminary round. The preliminary round took place in three separate classrooms, each with three of the nine groups. The winning group from each classroom participated in the final round.

The first team to present in the final round was the team from the A group (pictured on the right). They centered their case around developing a unique mentorship and internship program to attract students by tailoring to their specific needs. They recommended expanding DigiGirlz, a program that Microsoft currently offers by focusing on getting middle school and high school girls involved with the STEM field.

Following shortly after was the finalist team from the B group (pictured on the right). They also focused on expanding current high school programs like DigiGirlz. Additionally, they advocated for adding university programs that provide STEM scholarships, internships, and technologies like the Surface Pro for students to better prepare these students for career opportunities at Microsoft.


Last to present was the finalist team from group C (pictured on the right). The recommendations that this group made were to re-evaluate Microsoft's marketing and communications strategy, enhance diversity opportunities, and to anonymize the hiring process.

(Group A-2 from left to right: Samuel Holloway, Sungwoo Hong, and Brendan Studebaker)

(Group B-3 from left to right: Sharon Smith, Dain Yoshizumi, Adriann Legaspi, April Lai)

(Group C-1 from left to right: Natalie Garces, Yen Le, John Smith, and Nhan Hoang)

The judges (named below) then deliberated on picking a winning team to go onto the Milgard Invitational Case Competition to represent UW Tacoma, taking place on March 3rd. The teams placed as follows:

  • 1st Place - Team B-3:
    • April Lai, Adriann Legaspi, Sharon Smith, Dain Yoshizumi
  • 2nd Place - Team C-1:
    • Natalie Garces, Nhan Hoang, Yen Le, John Smith
  • 3rd Place - Team A-2:
    • Samuel Holloway, Sungwoo Hong, Brendan Studebaker

(Center Director, Joe Lawless, pictured with the first place team [from left to right: Sharon Smith, Dain Yoshizumi, April Lai, Adriann Legaspi])

Each presenting first place team member will receive $500 in addition to accompanying Joe Lawless, the Center’s executive director, on a half-day visit to a Puget Sound company that is a leader in CSR. They will also have lunch with that company’s CSR director.

Two members of the first place team were also a part of last year’s first place team. Sharon Smith and Dain “Yoshi” Yoshizumi both represented UW Tacoma in the Milgard Invitational Case Competition in 2016. The upcoming Milgard Invitational Case Competition will be held in various locations around UW Tacoma on March 3rd.

Special thanks to the following who volunteered as judges for the event:

  • Wes Carter, Account Executive – Brown & Brown Insurance
  • Chris Cellars, Program Manager – Key Bank Professional Development Center
  • Cybrina Cooper, Talent Acquisition Specialist – Enterprise Holdings
  • Bryan Flint, Executive Director – Greater Metro Parks Foundation
  • Sherry Hammond, Principal – Hammond & Ebersole, LLC
  • Gwen Kohl, Program Coordinator – Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
  • Tessa Levine-Sauerhoff, Account Director + Strategy - Artefact
  • Bev Losey, Senior Vice President – Brown & Brown Insurance
  • Laura Miles, Community Volunteer
  • Sean Morrin, Development Manager – City Year

Congratulations to all the teams that placed in the final round. Thank you to all volunteers, judges, and peers who participated in the event. Learn more about the 2017 case and about the Milgard Invitational Case on Corporate Responsibility.

Written by: 
Tara Knutsen / January 31, 2017
Media contact: 

Joe Lawless, Executive Director of the Milgard School of Business Center for Leadership & Social Responsibility, 253-692- 5685 or jlawless@uw.edu.