CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State students interested in taking a deep dive into project and supply chain management (PSCM) operations can learn what the field has to offer and meet like-minded peers and colleagues when a new PSCM club launches at the University College (UC) campuses, including Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV), this fall.
The club’s goal is to give students the resources and opportunities they need to enter and advance in this thriving field, said Mark Capofari, lecturer in project and supply chain management at PSU-LV, who is part of a faculty group leading the initiative.
“What’s unique is it will be available at all UC campuses,” he said. “This is the first time a club has encompassed many of the University campuses. Working with faculty from other campuses, we have created a constitution, elected officers — three of which come from the PSU-LV campus — and had two Spotlight Speaker series events. In addition, we have benchmarked with Penn State Behrend, which has the only other [PSCM] student club outside of University Park.”
Although PSU-LV already offers PSCM-related programming and works directly with operations professionals in various capacities, the club will give members the opportunity to take these relationships to the next level through internships or job shadowing and be a conduit to a full-time position.
Capofari expects to offer programs on specific topics, networking and career development opportunities that will reach beyond the borders of the Lehigh Valley campus. By offering the club at all UC campuses, Capofari said officers and members can utilize the experience of each club’s officers to ensure a smooth transition and facilitate the onboarding process. In addition to the Spotlight Speakers series featuring insights from industry leaders, the club is working on a workshop with SAP, a student competition against other schools, and a study abroad program. A business, IT and PSCM job fair also is planned for Nov. 9 at PSU-LV.
Thanks to technology, the club will be able to stream programming across the campuses simultaneously.
“Between all of the teachers on the campuses, there might be 30 to 50 students in a class at a time. So, as an example, we can have our career counselors come in and speak to the whole group about resume writing or improving your LinkedIn profiles,” Capofari said. “Also, we broadened the reach to all UC campuses and now include Abington, Behrend and Harrisburg in the program. This has created countless opportunities. It’s given us a plethora of shared knowledge, best practices, learning insights, and conversation among the faculty.”
PSU-LV graduated 12 students from the PSCM program this past spring. Capofari expects enrollment to increase in subsequent semesters. He anticipates the campuses in close geographic proximity to collaborate or at least attend each other’s programs and events.
“Our goal for the students is to increase their subject-matter awareness, augment technical skills, enrich our PSCM program curriculum, and find innovative ways to develop and deliver course content,” Capofari said. “This direction has been approved at the University Park level. We have a direct line to ensure we are doing everything properly and it is above board at the UC campuses.”