2020-21 Project and Supply Chain Management Newsletter

In This Issue

New Things Going on in the Major

Welcome to the Spring 2021 Project and Supply Chain Management (PSCM) newsletter. Despite the unprecedented challenges faced by the students and faculty due to COVID-19, enrollment in the PSCM major continues to remain strong, and there is much exciting news to share. Here are some highlights:

  • In the fall semester, we had our first virtual PSCM Corporate Day. Many of our corporate partners and advisory board members, faculty, and students participated to make the event a great success. In particular, executive leaders from both the project management and supply chain management disciplines, in addition to sharing with our students their work experiences, also advised our students on the skill sets required to succeed in the corporate world. My special thanks to Dr. Peerasit Patanakul, associate professor of management; Dr. Varun Gupta, associate professor of supply chain management and analytics; Dr. Sourish Sarkar, associate professor of operations and supply chain management; and Eric Robbins, assistant teaching professor of finance, for organizing and executing the event.
  • We are honored to have Jeremy Chaffee, Director of North America Operations at Logistics Plus, as our Executive in Residence for the 2020-21 academic year.
  • We also are delighted to welcome Dr. Seth Powless, lecturer in project and supply chain management, as a new faculty member to our PSCM program. Dr. Powless has significant industry expertise in both supply chain and project management areas and has published articles in many journals in his field.
  • Our alumni are working in a variety of positions across the United States and have highly successful careers. We are pleased to showcase one such alumnus, Donovan Owens ’19.
  • Ray Venkataraman
    This newsletter also spotlights two of our students, Jacelyn Palmer and Rachel Pier.
  • The PSCM program’s most valuable assets are its most dedicated and highly skilled faculty. We are pleased to showcase one of those faculty in this newsletter—Carol Putman, assistant teaching professor of management.
  • Finally, we thank the officers of the PSCM Club: Grace Blackford, president; Desmond Hamilton and Michael Sharrer, co-vice presidents; Jeremy Lucas and Taylor Love, co-secretaries; and Dylan Deutsch treasurer; along with faculty advisers Dr. Richard Peng, assistant professor of project and supply chain management, and Dr. Varun Gupta, associate professor of operations and supply chain management; and Grace Martin, staff member in the Black School of Business, for their dedication and support in publishing this newsletter.

Dr. Ray Venkataraman, Professor of Management and Chair of PSCM major

Faculty Spotlight

Carol Putman, Assistant Teaching Professor of Management

Carol Putman

What is your educational background?

I double-majored in Paper Science and Engineering and German from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point (yes, it’s an odd combination) and earned an M.B.A. from Penn State Behrend while working full time at International Paper. A few summers ago, I was invited to teach at Rosenheim University in Germany, so my undergrad majors finally combined for a logical purpose. You can’t predict opportunities like that!

What is your favorite part about being a professor?

My favorite part about being a professor is helping students to prepare for their careers. No two students are the same, and it’s fulfilling to see each develop his or her potential throughout their college career.

What made you want to become a professor?

Before joining Behrend, I worked for 10 years as an engineer for International Paper. Although I didn’t start my career wanting to become a professor, I learned early on that I gained more job satisfaction from helping people versus helping a business grow. My dad was a teacher, and I grew up admiring the positive relationship he had with students in and out of the classroom. For 16 years so far at Behrend, I’ve been enjoying that same experience.

What do you enjoy the most about Penn State Behrend?

The culture of the Behrend campus is very supportive and student-centered. It’s small enough to be a strong community and big enough to be recognized for excellence with ties to industry via the Open Lab model. I have friends who are faculty, staff, and students across campus from working together on projects and events.

How would you describe your teaching style or method?

My priorities in teaching are to consistently provide a variety of ways to stimulate learning, include students’ input in shaping how they learn and make myself readily available to help. I plan each class to provide hands-on examples, encourage an interactive environment, and measure student learning in a variety of ways. Aside from my posted office hours, I have an open-door policy for students essentially five days a week and by email on the weekends for help. I think it’s important to continually expand and update the use of innovative learning in class meetings to align with dynamic business trends.

What is your favorite topic to research or other work that you do outside of the classroom?

Most of my work in research has been serving as a faculty adviser for interdisciplinary student research projects related to Industry 4.0. Sustainability is another favorite topic that I’m planning to get more involved with. Both are emerging business challenges that students need to be prepared for as future problem-solvers, so I thoroughly enjoy keeping up with the trends. On a separate note, I’ve given several conference presentations on pedagogical improvements.

What moment are you the proudest of in your teaching career?

It’s not a single moment that I’m proudest of in my teaching career but a collection of memories from students. I have received emails and comments from students thanking me for believing in them, building their confidence, and helping to prepare them for their first job. It’s a good feeling to know I have positively impacted a student’s future.

Alumni Spotlight

Donovan Owens

Donovan Owens ’19

Since graduation, Donovan has been employed by IBM as an Enterprise Application Consultant. Donovan has worked on multiple ERP projects for the Navy.

What would you tell your college self if you could go back in time?

I would tell myself to dual major in Management Information Systems along with Project and Supply Chain Management.

What do you miss most about being a Behrend student?

I miss being able to see my friends every day.

What came as a surprise to you at your first post-Behrend job?

What surprised me the most once I started my job after graduation was how well Behrend had prepared me for my career compared to the other new hires at IBM.

Student Spotlights

Jacelyn Palmer ’21

Jacelyn Palmer

Jacelyn is studying Project and Supply Chain Management along with International Business. She also had an internship at Lockheed Martin and has since received a job offer from them.

Why did you choose your major? What attracted you to it?

I always knew that I wanted to travel abroad and have a business focus internationally. My father is also a project manager, which introduced me to the business side of PSCM, so I had a bit of insider information on that front. So, to me having a dual major in International Business and Project and Supply Chain Management made sense.

What is one of the most interesting/unique aspects of your internship?

Getting to work for Lockheed Martin in the Skunk Works® division of Aeronautics was already a unique experience. I had to obtain a secret security clearance from the Department of Defense and due to the pandemic, I did less work than I would have onsite. This internship was extremely unique, and I was thrilled to accept a full-time offer for the same position.

What attracted you to Penn State Behrend?

I was looking for a college that offered project management as a major for study as I knew that I would enjoy learning more about project management, and when I saw that International Business was a mandatory dual major it seemed like the perfect fit. I accepted a place in the class of 2021 before seeing the campus, but once I had come up to visit, I knew that I had made the right choice.

Rachel Pier ’21

Rachel Pier

Rachel is studying Project and Supply Chain Management, and she has recently been offered an internship with General Motors.

What is one of the most interesting/unique aspects of your internship?

I will be at the GM Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, this coming summer as a global purchasing and supply chain intern. I enjoyed a wonderful internship at Logistic Plus this past summer, and I am extremely honored to be selected and excited to work for another amazing company. One of the most interesting things that I look forward to being a part of at GM is their goal of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, and Zero Congestion. To live in a world where you don’t hear about car accidents and how they plan to reduce the emissions that are negatively affecting our Earth is something I want to be a part of.

Why did you choose your major? What attracted you to it?

I chose Project and Supply Chain Management for many reasons. First, there is a demand for businesspeople who can effectively run a project and run a supply chain and adapt it to our ever-changing world. It is sure to be a fast-paced career where there is room to learn and help create positive change in the way our supply chains are run.

What attracted you to Penn State Behrend?

I could not be happier that I chose Penn State Behrend for the quality of the education, small class sizes, and interactions with great professors. Add clubs and activities and friendships to the mix as well as a beautiful campus, and it makes Behrend my dream school. As a Lion Scout Tour Guide on campus, I can share my experiences at Behrend, and hopefully it helps prospective students in their college search. In the end, I am so glad I chose to come to Behrend and major in Project and Supply Chain Management.

Club Updates and More

PSCM Event Poster

This semester the PSCM Club was able to host virtual events as well as attend the PSCM Day.

PSCM Meet and Greet

Our first event was a PSCM Meet and Greet, where students were able to see the PSCM faculty and ask any questions they might have at the beginning of the school year.

Career Fair Prep

Our second event was a Career Fair Prep session, where we invited Danielle Taft from the Academic and Career Planning Center to talk to us about our resumes, cover letters, navigating a virtual career fair, and even some interview tips.

Meeting with Alumni

Additionally, we hosted a panel with a few Behrend PSCM alumni about their experiences in the field post-graduation as well as any advice they would have for students to maximize their college experience. At this meeting, we spoke with Felicia DePrator '19, global operations team member at Logistics Plus, Inc., and Anthony Matuga '20, procurement assistant at Advanced Controls and Distribution.

PSCM Alumni Zoom Session
Clark Food Service Equipment Logo

Clark Associates

In October, we were also able to host Clark Associates. McKenna Aleksivich ’17 spoke with us about interview tips as well as the opportunities Clark Associates has in the logistics field.


This year was the very first PSCM Day, where professionals and alumni participated in several panel discussions moderated by Black School of Business professors. Students heard from companies including Deugro, Erie Insurance, IBM, Logistics Plus, Oracle, Rolls-Royce, UPMC, and Wabtec.

PSCM Day Zoom Session

PSCM Day Zoom Session
From top left, Jeremy Chaffee of Logistics Plus; Dr. Varun Gupta, associate professor of supply chain management and analytics; Dr. Sourish Sarkar, associate professor of operations and supply chain management; and Brittany Dhayer of Berlin Packaging.

Credit: Penn State Behrend

PMI Chapter

Project Management Institute of Erie

The PSCM Club also participates in the local PMI Chapter whenever possible. Students attended a few chapter meetings, including “Managing a Community Think Tank: The Story of the Jefferson Educational Society,” as well as their annual end of year meeting. The PMI Chapter allows students to network with local professionals and learn more about project management.

Upcoming Activities

During the spring 2021 semester, the PSCM Club will continue to host virtual events where students can learn more about PSCM, as well as network with industry professionals. A few events we have planned are:

  • Learning about employment opportunities with Deugro
  • Chatting with Behrend PSCM alumni
  • Meeting with Parker/Lord
  • Attending PMI Chapter meetings
  • Hearing from professors about certificates and the PMP.

Students can join our GroupMe to stay up to date with the PSCM club activities: