2018-2019 Texas DECA State Officer Candidates

Below are bios provided by the 18 candidates for Texas DECA State Office. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order. 

Emily Barragan

Emily Barragan is a student at Mission High School and an active figure in her community. Aside from DECA, she is also in National Honor Society, the STEM Academy, Color Guard, Drill team and Robotics. Despite her busy schedule, she always makes time to give back to her community, and volunteer wherever she can. She is pursuing to give back to her DECA community and chapter that has opened up a world of opportunities for her. She wants to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and is looking forward to doing anything she can for all the DECA members everywhere. 

Larissa Cerda

Larissa Cerda is currently a junior at Edcouch-Elsa High School. This past year, Larissa was Vice President of Campaigns for District 1 and currently her chapter’s president for two years. This year marks Larissa’s third year in DECA. Larissa looks forward on building upon the great success that current state officers have created and moving forward to reach new heights. From serving as her chapter’s president to district officer and state officer hopeful, Larissa will work diligently to take Texas DECA to greater endeavors. If elected, Larissa would like to make a difference in increasing membership, networking, and stronger communication. 

Emily Gao

Emily Gao is a junior at Westwood High School in Austin, and a third-year DECA member. During her time in DECA, Emily has served as Vice President of District 5, helped create a district-wide President’s Council, and competed at ICDC as a freshman and sophomore. She is also a nationally qualified debater and a member of the National Honor Society. Emily’s goals for Texas DECA include competitive success for members at ICDC, statewide community service, and member outreach. Emily’s greatest passion is DECA, and she hopes to EMpower Texas DECA by serving as your 2018-2019 state officer.

Dhruv Gomber

Dhruv Gomber is currently a junior at Clements High School, one of the largest DECA chapters in the nation, and the former District III President, leading over 2,000 DECA members. Throughout his entire life, he has been passionate about business, expressing this through measures such as co-founding an organization that teaches finance to underprivileged children. Furthermore, Gomber is an active Eagle Scout and a diligent student with sincere dedication for DECA. He has qualified twice to the International Career Development Conference, ranking 9th and 15th among 4,000 Stock Market teams in addition to placing 2nd at ICDC last year.

Haven Henning

Haven Henning is the VP of Community Service at DECA’s Chapter within the Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning. Through BCTAL DECA, Haven has organized/assisted with community service projects, chapter events and helped manage her school-based enterprise. Haven has strengthened her leadership skills and gained further appreciation and passion for DECA through her attendance at Ultimate DECA PowerTrip, District 7 LDC and competition in District 7 CDC. Haven aspires to become a Texas DECA officer and work to give DECA Members as many opportunities as possible to grow, be limitless and create their own legacy.

Aarish Jamal

Aarish Jamal is a junior at Allen High School and passionately participates in its DECA Chapter. Last year, Jamal advanced to the State level while competing in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Promotion Plan. Furthermore, Jamal participates in numerous organizations as he strives to make an impact in the community. As a Boy Scout, Jamal has acquired leadership skills by advancing through ranks, attaining various leadership positions in his large troop, and ultimately achieving his Eagle Scout Rank. Finally, Jamal possesses a tremendous passion for DECA and hopes to inspire his peers in going above and beyond.

Kara Lehnert

Kara Lehnert is a Junior at Sweetwater High School. She is very passionate about her faith in God, and aspires to become a foreign missionary. She has demonstrated strong leadership and dependability with her missionary service for those in need. In addition to her mission work, she has also served as a leader in DECA for the past two years through Chapter and District officer positions. She advocates for DECA by running DECA booths at nearby school district’s events to recruit new DECA Chapters, and provides communication for her District and local chapter by managing their social media accounts. 

Alejandro Martinez

Alejandro Martinez is a junior from the Veterans Memorial High School DECA chapter and is representing District One in his candidacy. Alejandro has been a member of DECA for three years, he has advanced to State CDC and experienced International CDC as an alternate. DECA has molded Alejandro into the individual he is today and he desires to dedicate himself to this organization such as it has to him. When Alejandro grows up he aspires to join the field of Environmental Engineering to save our planet. He hopes to incorporate his business and marketing skills to bring the needed awareness.

Oscar Ortiz, III

Oscar Ortiz III is a Junior at Naaman Forest High School in Garland, Texas. He has been a DECA member since his freshman year, and currently holds the position of VP of Visual Media in his school’s chapter. He has been competing since his sophomore year and was a State Finalist in the Retail Merchandising event. While at Naaman Forest, Oscar has been a student in the Global Business Leadership magnet program, focusing on business and leadership skills. As a Texas DECA State Officer, Oscar looks to maintain Texas DECA’s high membership count, and motivate more members to compete. 

Jace Ramos

Jace Ramos was born September 3, 2000. At the age of 3, Jace found the love of soccer and has been playing ever since. Growing up she was involved in everything the school had to offer. Coming into high school she made the varsity soccer team freshman year along with being on the dance team. Sophomore year she was introduced to an organization called DECA. There, she found her true passion for businesses and gained leadership skills that put her forth as a district officer. She is now 17 years old and is working for a State officer position.

Kendra Roberson

Kendra Roberson, a junior at Stephenville High School, enjoys strumming her ukulele and game nights with friends during her free time. She’s involved and participates in activities including FCCLA, choir, and debate. While enjoying these organizations, DECA has a special place in her heart. Having participated at all levels of competition, Kendra has experienced the well-rounded set of skills and opportunities DECA offers which she can acquire nowhere else. Between this, and her love of DECA, Kendra would be honored to serve as a state officer and be able to impact, inspire, and give back to this organization. 

Yasmeen Said

Yasmeen Said currently serves as the Chapter President at Byron P. Steele High School in Cibolo, Texas, and the Vice President of Campaigns for Texas DECA District II.  She has actively participated in DECA throughout high school, and aspires to stay involved in college.  Yasmeen has consistently been selected by her peers to represent various organizations, like DECA, in a leadership capacity, and has developed skills in critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving as a result.  Yasmeen appreciates the limitless opportunities provided by DECA, and will eagerly contribute the time, effort, and leadership necessary to further enhance Texas DECA’s mission! 

Lily Sethre-Brink

Lily Sethre-Brink’s goals for Texas include: growing DECA by facilitating chapter success, increasing chapter interactions, creating a pre-high school DECA mentor program, and expanding DECA members' interaction with professionals. She promises to work tirelessly to see DECA’s reputation and activity expand in each chapter’s community. Lily’s had numerous leadership roles, including being the President of the “The Tiger Shack” store, VP of NAHS, treasurer of TPUSA, chair of her 4-H riding department, a student council representative and a mock trial board member. Lily is active in theatre, varsity lacrosse, debate, NHS, horseback riding and with her marketing internship at Intry.          

Oliver Shi

Oliver Shi is a junior at Wakeland High School in Frisco, TX and a third-year DECA member. Oliver Shi has held the positions of VP at Wakeland HS and District VII President. He is an avid iOS, web, and database developer, who has developed both personal and professional apps and websites, as well as having held software internships at local startups. Through these professional and DECA-related experiences, Oliver has cultivated a passion for business, prompting him to run for TX DECA State Office. He would truly appreciate it if you would stop by his booth and visit his website www.olivershi.com.  

Nihant tallapaka

Nihant Tallapaka is a student at New Tech High @ Coppell from the class of 2019. He competes in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team Decision Event. He is an active member of his DECA chapter and has been his chapter’s Vice President of Competitive Events and Treasurer.  In addition to DECA, Nihant is an active student at his school and community. He is a member of Community Service Club, New Tech Motorsports Club, Student Council and Networking Team Captain. He holds officer positions in his school’s Outdoor Adventure Club and National Honor Society Chapter as well.

Jamie Treadwell

Jamie Maverick Treadwell is a 17 year old Junior at Christoval High School. He is the Vice President of student council, VP of Christoval DECA Leadership, member of 4H, NHS, FFA, FCA, UIL, and plays for Christoval's varsity tennis team. Jamie is involved with San Angelo First Presbyterian Church and has participated in numerous youth program mission trips across the country. Jamie believes in giving every commitment his best, and his record of dedication and determination knows no bounds. Jamie would love to proudly represent Texas DECA and show that DECA members have no limits to their potential or success.

Ashley Wilson

Ashley Wilson has held several substantial leadership positions since a young age. Whether it be as the captain of her gymnastics team, the class president, or as both the district and chapter DECA president, Ashley’s time maintaining these positions has taught her valuable leadership skills that she wouldn’t have otherwise obtained. A few of these valuable leadership skills include her ability to work with differing leadership styles, ensuring every member of the groups feels valued and has a voice, and understanding how and when to delegate tasks if it is in the best interest of the organization as a whole.

Andrew Yu

Andrew Yu is a junior from College Park High School and a two-time ICDC competitor. As College Park DECA’s 2016-2017 Vice President of Membership, he boosted membership to a record high and coordinated personalized competition training sessions. In 2017-2018, he represented and supported chapters in north Houston as the District IV President. He also founded the DICE Initiative, a program that guides aspiring high school entrepreneurs through the startup process. Andrew is eager to use his skills and passion for business to serve Texas DECA on the state action team. A vote for Andrew is a vote for Yu!