CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley student Hemil Patel was recently selected to receive a 2021 scholarship award from Sigma Beta Delta (SBD), the international honor society for business, management and administration students.
Patel, a fourth-year project and supply chain management student who will graduate in December, was selected from among thousands of SBD members from throughout the United States. The award includes $1,000.
PSU-LV has had an SBD chapter on campus for about 15 years. According to the organization’s website, its mission is to “encourage and recognize scholarship and accomplishment among students of business, management and administration, and to encourage and promote aspirations toward personal and professional improvement and a life distinguished by honorable service to humankind. Sigma Beta Delta was established to honor students who have attained superior records in business programs in schools and colleges with regional accreditation.”
Professor of Marketing Denise Ogden nominated Patel for the award. She noted this is the third time a PSU-LV student has received the award.
“Hemil exemplifies what Penn State is about. He gets involved, builds his skill sets and cares about other people — he is a well-rounded Penn Stater,” Ogden said. “He’s such a great student. He’s the kind of student who never complains about extra work or getting involved.”
Working hard to reach personal goals and giving back to others are two major motivators for Patel, who came to the U.S. from India in 2016 and recently became a naturalized citizen. He and his family settled in Breinigsville, where they still live.
All along, Patel planned to pursue a career in business, but wanted a specific area of study. Eventually, he said, he chose PSU-LV because of its Project and Supply Chain Management (PSCM) program and the field’s employment potential.
“It’s a unique major with high growth opportunities. There are so many warehouses in the Lehigh Valley, and PSU-LV’s supply chain program is so well known,” he said.
Ogden said Patel had some challenges when he started college, but worked hard to overcome them through his campus involvement.
“English is not his first language, and he got involved in activities to overcome his shyness and improve his language skills, including Lion Ambassadors, which helped him build his public speaking skills,” Ogden said.
“When I started and attended the New Student Welcome, the keynote speaker said one thing that stuck in my mind — get involved in many things on campus,” Patel said. “That’s the first thing I decided to do.”
Since then, Patel has held several leadership positions on campus, including founder and president of the campus Cricket Club, member of the Student Fee Committee, 2020-21 tour director for Lion Ambassadors, 2019-20 finance director for campus THON, and participant in the Regional Business Case Competition for three consecutive years, the last two of which his team finished in first place.
Patel served as a peer tutor for multiple classes in the PSCM program, and has also done work-study, providing administrative support for the Admission, Financial Aid, Registrar and Bursar offices. And, his involvement is not limited to the campus — he’s volunteered at both the Sixth Street Shelter and Saucon Valley Manor.
Patel said he is motivated to do as much as he can for others.
“When I came here from India, I reflected on how much need there is,” he said. “When I was presented with the opportunity to help at the Sixth Street Shelter, I said yes. It was on my birthday, and I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend it.”
Ogden said Patel’s good works outside the classroom will serve him well in the long run.
“During college, students have what are called high-impact experiences,” she said. “Extracurricular activities are high-impact experiences. Yes, they help build skill sets and resumes, but they are events remembered for years after graduation. Hemil will always remember the Case Competition and being part of the Lion Ambassadors. These are experiences that help students become leaders in the professional world.”
Patel said he is looking forward to life after PSU-LV. His summer 2021 internship as an area manager for Amazon’s Lehigh Valley distribution center led to an offer of a full-time position, which he will start in January 2022. At some point, he’d like to return to school for his MBA.
Extremely grateful for his time at PSU-LV and the opportunities he was given, Patel advises other students to get involved and get to know their professors in the same way he did.
“I was able to grow as much professionally and personally only because of my involvement on campus,” he said. “You get exposed to a lot of different people — you get their input and you try to process some of their best ideas. When a professor sees that you are a go-getter and involved, they will keep you in mind for opportunities. You never know when your connections will be needed. If you talk to and share your goals with the PSU-LV professors, they will put 100% into helping you make sure you achieve those goals. … I 100% made the right decision coming to Penn State Lehigh Valley.”