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Broadening Students’ Horizons with Supply Chain STEM

Director Academic Outreach, APICS

Tuesday May 9, 2017


This week we celebrate Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day honors the influential role mothers play in our lives and our society. For me, the holiday also serves as an opportunity to reflect on the influence of my two daughters, Lily and Abby, have had on me. They sparked the creation of the Supply Chain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program and changed my world.

I always cherished being a volunteer in my daughters’ classrooms. I wanted to be an inspiration to them. I wanted my girls and their classmates to know from an early age that they could grow up to be anything they dreamed of – or maybe even something they hadn’t thought of yet. My hope was that they’d be fully aware of their options and choose a career path that was personally fulfilling, meaningful and exciting to them.

Since I was an engineer, it was important to me that my daughters were exposed to science and math in a way that was fun. I worked in all aspects of semiconductor manufacturing and had recently moved into supply chain as a technical program manager. I brought this experience into my daughters’ classrooms as the designated “science mom” and led a weekly kitted activity. I hoped to show the first graders that science could be “cool,” but my thrill lasted all of 3 weeks when Lily sweetly asked me, “Mommy, next time you come into my class, can you do something FUN?” Yikes! I was intending to inspire, but the kids were getting the message that science was boring. This had to change.

Incentivized, I created a fun hands-on activity, Intel Day, that encompassed my real-world work experience as an engineer in supply chain. Lily’s class dressed up in clean room suits and studied the source of computer chips – ordinary beach sand –with a magnifying glass. Then the students designed engineered wafers using cookies, frosting and sprinkles, and happily ate their creations. At the end of the activity, the kids were so fired up they all wanted to work for Intel. It was then that I realized this could be the start of something great, both students and for the future of the STEM industries.

Supply Chain STEM

Start with a program inspired by enthusiastic students, then pull in supply chain experts from Michigan State University, Arizona State University, MIT and Intel— what do you get? The creation of a K-12 outreach program that proactively addresses Supply Chain and STEM industry talent gaps; one that has grown globally to reach over 15,000 students in the last five years; one that gains multiple industry recognitions and appears in TIME magazine; one that wins Intel’s Shark Tank, and then gets adopted by APICS.

With the support of APICS, the Supply Chain STEM program is poised to make an even bigger impact.

Help us achieve our goal of reaching 100,000 students by 2020.

Let Mother’s Day serve as a special reminder that it’s our privilege as parents, mentors and role models to help guide younger generations and prepare them for a bright and promising future. Supply chain management can offer a rewarding career path to young people. Unfortunately, most students never even consider these careers, simply because they don’t know their options in the field. Help us change this by joining the Supply Chain STEM story:

Learn more about the Supply Chain STEM program at apics.org/stem.

Volunteer to share the Supply Chain STEM program locally. Volunteering is simple! Each activity is easy to deliver and can be hosted in virtually any school, club, organization or community program. Complete guidelines, kit lists, and classroom presentations are available on the APICS website. Visit apics.org/stem to volunteer.

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  1. Carolina Sanders June 13, 2017, 05:47 AM
    Happy belated mothers day! Wish to all mothers strong health and happy eyes!

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