Hanna Downs of Novi, Mich., was one of only 10 students nationwide this year to pocket a coveted business scholarship awarded by the Richter Foundation and the Institute for Supply Management’s Richter Scholarship Fund.
The Richter scholarship provides up to $5,000 in tuition and pairs recipients with established execs and former Richter scholars who will serve as mentors, as well as other benefits.
“I was really shocked and very honored, because it’s a very competitive competition,” says Downs, who graduates in April. “I was competing against students from ASU, Michigan State, Penn State, just programs that are really strong and really well known in supply chain.”
When Downs first came to WMU, she was considering sales and marketing and finally settled on food marketing. With time, she began to see how supply chain management dovetailed nicely with the food industry.
“I saw how interconnected the two industries are and how vastly complicated the supply chain is in the food industry,” she says. “The opportunities presented themselves almost instantly. There’s a lot of room for creativity.”
Downs completed internships with both General Motors Powertrain in Pontiac and Eaton Corp.’s vehicle group in Galesburg on her way to graduating. She says her WMU education served her well.
“I couldn’t speak more highly of Western,” Downs says. “The professors teach you to think strategically and make big decisions and to also have the evidence to back up what you’re thinking. They push you to step outside your comfort zone, and you start to build a lot of confidence in yourself.”
Downs says she’s also well prepared for life after graduation. She has accepted a job at GM, where she will be a buying in indirect machinery and equipment at the Warren, Mich., Vehicle Engineering Center.
“I’m pretty excited about that,” she says.