Congratulations to the Newest Cohort of DTI Graduates
On June 11, DTI awarded its 18th cohort of executive master’s degree students an MS in Transportation Management with a concentration in Supply Chain Operations. This group had to complete their degree, like so many other students in higher education, as they navigated the difficulties of the pandemic and quarantine. They used modified, virtual residencies and online discussions. These students, along with those from the previous cohort, are being offered the chance to make up their missed domestic and international travel seminars in the next year.
Fortunately, the group was able to meet twice at in-person residencies before travel restrictions took hold. These two residencies were the opportunities the group needed to forge bonds that helped them navigate the unusual academic situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Travis Lawrence of The Home Depot said, “There was a silver lining to COVID impacts, it made our Cohort even more committed to each other. From day one, we clicked and the more challenging it got the more committed to each other's success we became.”
This connection was a key to their success as they transitioned to Zoom sessions and distance learning. Importantly, the relationship was more than academic, they also supported each other as professionals.
“The pandemic was a challenging time for those of us in the transportation sector and it was great to have access to the perspectives of so many different parts of the supply chain,” said Maquiling Parkerson of the UP Railroad. “I'm looking forward to seeing what lessons stick with us after the threats associated with pandemic subside. The work-from-home lessons and the technology that we quickly adopted to permit remote collaboration are a couple of things that are probably with us to stay.”
Ultimately, the lesson learned was that a pandemic and a quarantine could not break the bonds formed through the cohort experience. The group was able to gather in person for their final student activity: walking across the graduation stage to accept their diploma. Class valedictorian, Keith Crenshaw of Matson Logistics, gave parting remarks:
“…[The group] embarked on a journey together in faith… during a global crisis that challenged our businesses and our families. We became the ‘COVID cohort,’ and persevered through a pandemic which challenged us with uncertainty, adversity, and grief. But we also saw the impact of the pandemic crystalize our purpose in the supply chain. We led our teams to find new ways to work. We adapted to financial distress, supply disruptions, rollercoaster demand, and modal shifts. We found ways to continue to deliver by plane, train, truck, and sea for the communities we serve.”