Penn State Lehigh Valley names Alexis Havlicsek spring 2024 student marshal

a female student standing in front of the lion shrine

Alexis Havlicsek, a project and supply chain management major, will serve as student marshal at Penn State Lehigh Valley's spring 2024 student commencement in May.

Credit: Mary Kate Maguire

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — From the moment she took her first supply chain management class at Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV), Alexis Havlicsek, of Allentown, knew she’d found her niche.

“I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I knew it was for me. I really looked forward to going to my classes and learning about the various topics they cover.”  

Havlicsek’s hard work and passion for the subject paid off. In May, the project and supply chain management major will lead the graduate procession as student marshal at the campus’ spring commencement.  

As part of this distinction, she was asked to choose the campus’ faculty marshal. Havlicsek selected Maung Min, associate teaching professor and director of business programs, as the faculty marshal. 

“[Dr. Min] was the first person I came in contact with when I started my journey at Penn State Lehigh Valley,” said Havlicsek, “and from day one, he showed me unwavering support in my hopes and aspirations. He was someone I could always rely on during my four years and he was quick to help me whenever I needed it.” 

Min commended Havlicsek for her eagerness to learn and expand her academic portfolio throughout her journey at Penn State. 

“Alexis has taken advantage of the opportunities provided for our students at PSU-LV to the fullest,” said Min. “She will graduate with dual bachelor of science in business (management/marketing) and bachelor of science in project and supply chain management majors with a remarkably high GPA. As a peer mentor, she selflessly supports her fellow students with course content, projects and presentations.” 

Havlicsek started at PSU-LV as a finance major, but only a few classes in, she changed course, realizing she wanted to learn more about the various aspects of the supply chain industry — the movement of goods from one place to another. She was especially interested in the purchasing side and plans to make it her career.   

Thanks to the hands-on learning opportunities Havlicsek received at PSU-LV, she is ready to make her mark on the field.

“The project and supply chain management major is unique to PSU-LV. I remember one of my professors saying no other school combines these two programs into one major,” she said, noting PSU-LV’s small size, proximity to major Lehigh Valley employers, and strong industry partnerships that give its students a competitive advantage. “I truly appreciated how the professors are not just reading from a Power Point. They legitimately care about the classes and the students and provide their own firsthand experience from working in industry.”  

Havlicsek also named Mark Capofari, lecturer in project and supply chain management, as another of her instructors who regularly applied his own professional experience to the classroom. As a result, Havlicsek said, she and her classmates were able to collaborate with industry professionals — another advantage of attending a smaller school.

“In one of my supply chain classes, we were able to do a company project — we got to work directly with the company on a real project happening within their organization,” she said. “Each student was assigned a different company. If we were at a bigger school this would not be able to happen.” 

Her internship in the purchasing department at Mack Defense, a subsidiary of Mack Trucks in Allentown, gave her even more professional experience.

“They were in the production of three military vehicle prototypes, and I got to work directly on that project,” said Havlicsek. “It was also different working with everyone in the department — most were 50 or 60 years old. Learning about their different experience was awesome.” 

Besides her classwork and working full-time at Back Home Bagels in Schnecksville, Havlicsek was involved on campus, serving as the secretary and treasurer of the Project and Supply Chain Committee for the 14 Penn State Commonwealth Campuses, and as a peer mentor for the project and supply chain program. She wants to do her part to make more students — especially females — aware of the many career options within the industry.

“I feel it’s still up and coming,” she said. “It wasn’t talked about much prior to COVID, but then during the pandemic, it blew up. I also wanted to go into a male-dominated field to show even though I’m a woman, I can do it and be confident. That was a big driver for me.” 

Havlicsek views her role as student marshal as the culmination of four years of hard work.

“When I was notified I’d been chosen, I was happy — really excited,” she said. “It feels like all my hard work paid off. There were nights when I was so tired, but I stayed up to finish homework even though I had to get up early the next day for work. I’m a little nervous, too!”

Havlicsek has started her job search and is keeping her options open. 

In her early days at PSU-LV, Havlicsek made a promise to herself to take advantage of every opportunity. She feels she’s done that and would advise other students to do the same.

“I got out of my comfort zone,” she said. “You always learn from an experience, even if you didn’t like it. As a freshman, I was so nervous to speak in front of a group during my speech class, and here I am, getting ready to speak at graduation. It shows how far I’ve come.”    

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