C of I students win at BPA state competition

The College of Idaho has a tradition of winning, with 23 athletic national championships since 2011. But success in competition isn’t limited to C of I student-athletes. Recently, College of Idaho sophomores Levi Orr and Hunter Brodt took first place in their respective categories at the Idaho Business Professionals of America state leadership conference.

The victory was gratifying for Orr, who is the Idaho state BPA post-secondary president, and for Brodt, who was competing in his first BPA competition.

“It was a great sense of accomplishment, not only being the state president, but also hearing my name get called as a winner,” Orr said.

BPA is the leading Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) for students pursuing careers in business management, office administration, information technology and other related career fields. The mission of the organization is to help prepare a world-class workforce through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic and technological skills.

For the state competition, Orr competed in the contemporary issues category and Brodt competed in human resources. After learning his topic, each student was given a short timeframe to quickly prepare a short speech.

“I really didn’t know what to expect at all,” Brodt said. “Once I saw the question prep, I got an idea of what they wanted.”

Brodt credits the College’s challenging PEAK Curriculum for helping him during the competition. PEAK requires students to obtain a major and three minors from the four knowledge “peaks” of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field.

“I think having the opportunity to explore areas other than your major helps a lot,” said Brodt, an accounting and political economy double-major. “Being forced into a lot of different areas allows you to see issues in a different way than if you were only trained in finance or accounting.”

Orr became involved in BPA in 2011 while he was still in high school, but giving presentations and speeches never came easy to him. He developed that skill by participating in speech and debate in high school and college, he said.

But BPA isn’t just for those majoring in business, accounting or marketing. The range of events students can compete in is all-encompassing

“[Participants] don’t have to be a business major—look at me,” said Orr, who is majoring in religious studies.

The organization also includes office general management, health science and computer science categories, such as C++.

The BPA chapter at the C of I is growing, and Orr encourages all students seeking professional or technical experience to join. For Brodt, joining BPA has also provided an opportunity to network.

“It seemed like a good opportunity to make some connections and do something you’re not familiar with on a day-to-day basis,” Brodt said.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars and 14 Marshall, Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College’s beautiful, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit