Supply Chain Summer Camp Helps Create Pathways to Success for High School Students

Providing such opportunities to students who are traditionally underrepresented in supply chain management helps level the playing field and drive positive change within the industry.

July 14, 2023

This week (July 9 through July 14), more than a dozen high school students from Tennessee and three other states participated in the first-ever Supply Chain Management (SCM) Summer Camp at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The six-day camp is organized in partnership with the Haslam College of Business’ Office of Community and Diversity Relations and aims to introduce rising high school juniors and seniors from underrepresented communities to the dynamic world of supply chain management.

Cole Burns, the Haslam director of SCM career management, said that providing these opportunities to students who have traditionally been underrepresented in supply chain management helps level the playing field and drive positive change within the industry.

“It is through initiatives like the SCM Summer Camp that we can actively bridge the diversity gap, fostering a more inclusive and vibrant university and business community,” he said.

Learning From Supply Chain Leaders and Through Immersion

Camp participants attend interactive lectures and participate in activities led by UT’s highly regarded business faculty. Sara Hsu, clinical associate professor of supply chain management, teaches students about procurement and negotiation, while assistant professor Justin Kistler presents on the topic of manufacturing. Alex Scott, recently named the Gerald T. Niedert Professor, leads sessions on distribution and transportation. The keynote speaker is Ryder Professor Yemisi Bolumole, a prominent transportation researcher and leading woman in supply chain management. Beyond learning from faculty, students gain insights from successful business leaders like Wendi Gentry-Stuenkel, vice president of procurement for Caterpillar Inc. They also participate in a captivating case study led by representatives from Ryder, which combines all of the week’s lessons. Finally, participants learn about the benefits of majoring in business from George Drinnon, Haslam’s assistant dean of undergraduate programs, and participate in ACT and college preparation sessions.

One of the camp’s highlights is the immersive site visits to Supply Chain Forum partners Bush Brothers & Company, PepsiCo and Axle Logistics, where attendees witness firsthand the real-world applications of the camp’s lessons. In addition to these enriching learning opportunities, participants engage in teambuilding, leadership and recreational activities each night, and have  the chance to connect with current SCM students who serve as peer mentors throughout the week.

Learning Made Possible by Generous Sponsors

The Global Supply Chain Institute team recognized Ryder, Caterpillar and Tractor Supply Company, the sponsors whose generous support has made the SCM Summer Camp possible.

Thomas Deakins, Global Supply Chain Institute (GSCI) director, said, “We are immensely grateful for our sponsors who have stepped up to support high school students, enabling us to create potentially life-changing opportunities. With the access they’ve been given to college and business learning environments, we hope we’re empowering the next generation of supply chain leaders.”

About Haslam’s Department of Supply Chain Management

The Haslam College of Business has one of the most comprehensive, forward-thinking and highly regarded supply chain management programs in the world. U.S. News & World Report and Gartner consistently rank Haslam’s supply chain program among the global top four. An advisory board of more than 40 industry professionals informs its curriculum, and students develop applied skills to help improve organizational performance through supply chain management.


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist,