Spartans are renowned for our strengths in supply chain management through top rankings, impactful research and ongoing student success. With nine Spartans from the Class of 2021 winning MIT’s Supply Chain Excellence Awards, our legacy lives on.

Headshot of Lydia Whipple

Lydia Whipple (B.A. Supply Chain Management ’21)

“This is the third year that MSU has partnered with MIT to identify talented students for the Supply Chain Excellence Awards, and we had more recipients than any other partner college or university,” Kelly Lynch, director of corporate and student relations for the Department of Supply Chain Management, said. In past years, 13 MSU students have been honored with MIT scholarships.

Since 2013, the MIT awards have recognized exceptional seniors majoring or concentrating in supply chain management at nine select partner universities. Scholars are awarded tuition fellowships toward MIT’s supply chain management master’s program, with winners given $25,000 and honorable mention recipients given $10,000, to be redeemed within five years.

Four women make up MSU’s 2021 winners: Lydia Whipple, Caroline Szabo and Stephanie Sills, all hailing from the Broad College, alongside Elizabeth Slifkin from the College of Engineering. Honorable mentions from Broad were Ben Anderson, Anuj Malavia, Maddy Zettler and Charles Zhou, with Anna Mae Crowley from Engineering.

The selected Spartans are certainly in the top tier of their class. Take Whipple, who was one of Poets & Quants’ 100 “Best & Brightest” students in the Class of 2021 and represented her peers as a commencement speaker. She says the MIT scholarship was the best way to finish her undergraduate degree.

“Receiving the MIT Supply Chain Excellence Award was nothing short of an honor,” she said. “To be in a nationwide group of students, hear their amazing achievements and stand among them was truly humbling and exciting. I also have an MIT alum in the family, so I have always heard of how challenging and rewarding the school curriculums can be, as well as how intelligent and driven the students are. Four years ago, I never would have thought I could be considered to join that group in the future.”

Headshot of Caroline Szabo

Caroline Szabo (B.A. Supply Chain Management, Human Biology ’21)

For Szabo, the scholarship is paired with a Board of Trustees Award, recognizing her perfect 4.0 GPA, as she leaves the banks of the Red Cedar. She’s eager to keep this track record going and amplify her Broad degree to explore deeper areas in supply chain.

“The award provides an excellent opportunity to study among some of the brightest supply chain minds in the world,” she said. “I am thankful for the strong education that I received as a part of the Broad College at MSU, and I am looking forward to further developing this base of knowledge. I hope to use the scholarship money to enhance my business skill set in the future.”

Lynch explained that “the MIT program requires applicants have two to five years of professional work experience prior to matriculating; Supply Chain Excellence Award winners may apply once they’ve gained the work experience necessary to enter the program. In addition, it’s a 10-month residential and hybrid master’s degree programs offered through MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics.”

Although the awards are known publicly as the MIT Supply Chain Excellence Awards, the supply chain management department fondly calls them the Frank Wang Excellence Awards in remembrance of an alumnus who made the partnership possible.

Wang (B.A. Supply Chain Management ’18) was pursuing a graduate certificate at MIT when he learned about the awards and shared them with Lynch, leading to the successful partnership MSU has today. Although Wang died in 2019, his Spartan spirit endures.

Headshot of Stephanie Sills

Stephanie Sills (B.A. Supply Chain Management ’21)

“Unfortunately, my path never crossed with Frank Wang’s. However, it is extremely apparent how much of an impact he had on his professors, his classmates and the supply chain program at MSU,” Sills said. “I am extremely appreciative and forever grateful for the connection that Frank established for his future classmates with MIT during his time at MSU.”

In true Spartan fashion, Sills is not only excited about her future in supply chain but also willing to pass the torch and continue the legacy of Spartan success.

“This award means that the long hours of hard work and dedication that I put in during my undergraduate degree have opened the door to a multitude of possibilities when it comes to a future in supply chain. Furthermore, I will be able to utilize the knowledge and skills that I will gain throughout the master’s program to pay it forward and help others discover their passion for supply chain.”