2021-22 Project and Supply Chain Management Newsletter

In This Issue

New Things Going On With The Major

Ray Venkataraman

Welcome to our 2021–2022 Project and Supply Chain Management newsletter! Enrollment in the PSCM major continues to remain strong. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Muhammad Odeh, a new faculty member with significant expertise in the field of project management. In addition, we were successful in recruiting yet another new PSCM faculty, Dr. Hafez Shurrab, who will be joining us this fall. We are also excited to report that efforts are underway to launch an online undergraduate program in PSCM through Penn State World Campus.

In this newsletter, we will showcase alumna Rachel Pier, who works in tactical operations at General Motors. We will also bring you news about PSCM activities, including PSCM Day and the PSCM Club Speaker Series.

Finally, we thank PSCM Club President Taylor Love, Vice President Mike Sharrer, Secretary Quincy Adams, Treasurer Lucas Saborsky, and faculty advisers Dr. Richard Peng and Dr. Jianing Zhi for their efforts in publishing this newsletter.

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

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Muhammad Odeh

Dr. Muhammad Odeh is an assistant teaching professor of Project and Supply Chain Management.

Muhammad Odeh, D.Eng.

What is your educational background?

  • Doctor of Engineering, Engineering Management, School of Engineering and Applied Science, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C, 2018
  • Master of Science, Computer Science, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, 1990
  • Bachelor of Science, Computer Science, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, 1987

What is your favorite part about being a professor?

My favorite part of being a professor, after spending more than 30 years in the industry, is being able to share my real-life experience with my students, including stories, lessons learned, and best practices, which I hope leave a good impression. Project management is a course taught to students who are nearing graduation, and I continuously tell them that I do not want this course to be a check-the-box exercise, but rather a valuable experience that will stay with them for a long time to come.

What do you enjoy most about Penn State Behrend?

Diversity, friendliness of fellow faculty and staff, and most of all, the students.

How would you describe your teaching style or method?

My style is based on sharing lessons learned and best practices with my students, and having them work on real-life projects. The fact that they work in teams and on real-life projects gives them a real opportunity to experience the challenges of managing projects, and a sense of real achievement when they present their findings and are challenged by me and other students. The experience helps enrich their collaboration and their communication and teamwork, and because each student gets a chance to lead the team, they work on their leadership skills. All of that gives me a sense of pride and joy that I am able to help shape their experience a little and prepare them for real-world challenges.

What is your favorite topic to research?

Project management innovation and the impact of emerging technologies on project management.

Alumni Spotlight

Rachel Pier '21

Rachel Pier

Since graduation, Rachel has been employed by General Motors in the GPSC TRACK Program. She is a Tactical Operations Coordinator in Propulsion and HVAC.

Which Behrend courses helped you the most in your career?

The most helpful class for me personally was SCM 445 Operations Planning and Control. I work closely with manufacturing in my current role, so knowledge of the ERP, understanding of MRP, and building BOMS are essential. I use it all the time!

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 uncertain the field of supply chain is, as well as how rapidly business processes surrounding it happen. I’ve had many experiences mitigating supply chain risks, but I had no idea how intense and detailed every part of it would be.

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

I would tell myself that you need to be your own advocate. No one else is going to stand up for you the way you can for yourself because only you know what you want out of your life. You know what you are doing and you have to believe in yourself and your values.

Student Spotlight

Joshua Claypoole '22

Joshua Claypoole

Joshua is graduating with a degree in Project and Supply Chain Management and will be working at Parker Hannifin as a Sourcing Specialist.

What has most surprised you about the study of PSCM?

I had no idea there is so much to learn about supply chain. I thought it was a relatively straightforward major, but there are so many different career paths to specialize in.

Why did you choose PSCM? What attracted you to it?

I was working in a manufacturing plant, the sourcing person quit, and I found myself in that role. I loved the dynamic nature of the job, and realized I should probably get a degree in supply chain.

What attracted you to Penn State Behrend?

I have several family members who graduated from Penn State, and the fact that I could get a Penn State degree locally was a no-brainer.

PSCM Club Update

This academic year, the PSCM Club was able to host virtual events as well as in-person events and participate in more activities.

First-Year Seminar

The club president and secretary joined Dr. Richard Peng to present at the First-Year Seminar to introduce the PSCM major, careers, and the PSCM Club, and to encourage involvement from first-year students.

Prep with the Academic Career and Planning Center

The Academic and Career Planning Center’s new director of Career Services, Kyle Danzey, talked to us about helpful tips for making a résumé stand out and preparing for in-person and virtual career fairs.

PSCM Club Bingo

This was an in-club event designed to get our members familiar with one another and to have a little fun. Prizes were given to the bingo winners.

Barnhart Transportation Event

Jeff Hollenbeck from Barnhart Transportation came in to talk to us about his company and possible recruiting opportunities.


The PSCM Club actively participated in PSCM Day. A variety of speakers discussed industry practices, challenges, and opportunities with PSCM and offered helpful tips for PSCM students in this virtual event.

Day in the Life of an Analyst: Erie Insurance

The PSCM and MIS clubs partnered to co-host this event. Erie Insurance employees came to talk to us about what a typical day in the life of an analyst looks like and about the company’s internship program and job opportunities.

Résumé Event and Scheduling Event

The PSCM Club participated in a school-wide résumé event in which students received résumé tips from the Academic and Career Planning Center. Following the ACPC presentation, students broke out into smaller groups to get résumé and career advice from professionals in their field of interest. The club also participated in a scheduling event to assist students in planning their schedules for the next academic year.

Internship Panel

We held an internship panel in collaboration with the American Marketing Association, with four PSCM students and two Marketing students as panelists. The panelists talked about the experiences they've had in their internships and gave tips to students for landing their own. The companies they represented were American Eagle, Cummins, U. S. Steel, Ameridrives, and more.

Alumni Panel

On March 30, our alumni talked to us about their work experiences and post-grad life. We had panelists representing General Motors, Erie Insurance, and Parker Hannifin.

Industry Panel

On April 6, industry professionals from Barnhart Transportation and Logistics Plus presented their insights on challenges and opportunities in logistics and supply chain management. They also discussed how logistics and supply chain management can help improve triple bottom line performance by including environmental, social, and economic metrics in an organization and broader industry practices.