Hi everyone! My name is Carolyn Zedalis. I am a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh studying Supply Chain Management. I am also pursuing a Certificate in Leadership & Ethics (CPLE), as well as Data Analytics. I chose Supply Chain as a major because my high school, State High, worked closely with Penn State’s professors to build classes for us to take to introduce us to the field. I took all three classes offered. One of them required me to do a job shadow, which I completed at a Henkel distribution center in Hazelton, PA. The other class was a selective class where I completed a 16-page paper for LBrands, who owns Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, and other similar companies. The exposure to the supply chain field was what convinced me to change my original plan of being an elementary school teacher to a business professional – and I don’t regret it!
I am from State College, PA, which is always a big talking point. My parents met at Penn State and two of my three older brothers went to Penn State. My whole family, immediate and extended, are huge Penn State fans. But my parents, brothers, and extended family all grew up in New Jersey. While I was born there, I was raised in State College, so we didn’t have the same experience with the town. Due to this difference, I was drawn to move away from the college town and somewhere more urban. When I first visited Pitt, I was conflicted because I had been raised a Penn State fan, so it felt like I was betraying my hometown. But as time went on and a decision needed to be made, Pitt was the only college I could see myself at. The city was right there, but not so overwhelming. It was far enough away from home, but not so far that it was intimidating. It met all my criteria. Not only was the campus a perfect fit, but so was Pitt Business. It really struck me from the first minute I walked into Sennott Square. The slogan of From the Classroom, To the City, To the World resonated with me. After multiple presentations from the study abroad office, I knew going abroad was a priority for me during my college career.
I have always been a motivated student, mainly because I have to work hard in order to do well. Academics has never come easily for me like it does for others, but I have learned over time how to adequately keep myself accountable for my schoolwork and myself personally. While college was a bit of a learning curve for me because of all the free time, I believe I have managed my time quite well. This can be shown through my extracurricular activities. I have been an active member in Pitt Women in Business since my freshman year and have been recently voted onto the executive board as Vice President of Operations. In this position, I manage an extensive spreadsheet, which tracks active member engagement. I also am responsible for sending weekly emails to update members about upcoming events, as well as creating QR codes to track attendance at said events. I am also a member of Pitt’s Supply Chain Management Club, where I have also recently been voted onto the executive board as Vice President. In this role, I plan site visits to local Pittsburgh company locations, oversee networking events, and manage communications with the Katz Center of Supply Chain Management. These roles specifically have sharpened my communication, time management, and Excel skills. My involvement in these organizations has shaped me into the enthusiastic leader I am today.
Professionally, I will be traveling to Sydney, Australia this summer for the Global Business Institute Program. As part of this experience, I will be paired with a company to complete an internship. This will be my first professional experience and I am so excited! My past work experience includes working as support staff at an after-school program, Community Education Extended Learning (CEEL). I have been working here since the fall of 2016. This role gives me a taste of a dynamic workplace, as I help supervise over 100 children between Kindergarten and fifth grade. This role specifically sharpened my problem solving and communication skills. Additionally, I worked at a summer program (Sports & Shorts), where I individually supervised a group of 13-15 children and co-led group of 24-30 children. This role enhanced my planning skills, as I had to plan various kinds of group activities, as well as my problem solving and communication skills.
I heard about the Global Service-Learning trip in my CPLE class and I was immediately interested, specifically in the Trinidad location. I thought it was a very unique destination and I know people who had traveled there in the past for this program and highly recommended it. This trip will be my first time out of the country, and I cannot wait! Professionally, this trip focuses heavily on consulting, which has become an area of interest for me. Last semester, I worked with a group of CPLE students where we were consultants for the University of Pittsburgh Police. They were interested in expanding their active shooter training program. This experience was extremely rewarding because not only did I get a taste of the consultant life, but the officers we presented to were extremely grateful for the information we presented. I specifically focused on the insurance aspect of the training. As a result, I am looking forward to getting real-life, hands-on experience in the field of consulting. This program is also so unique since there is an additional challenge of our clients being abroad. Due to this, the Global Service-Learning trip will increase my global competence, both professionally and personally. Professionally, I will be able to apply what I learned in the classroom and in-country to situations in the workplace, since business is global. Personally, I will be immersed in a culture very different from my own in the way business and social interaction are done. This will allow me to be more flexible and adapt to numerous situations that may arise. Academically, I believe the various aspects of the program (a class, a project, and travel) will enhance my academic motivation and strength.
Overall, I am thrilled to be a part of this academic endeavor to build a global perspective through research, projects, and travel. I am already sure that I will thoroughly enjoy this experience and it will be something I talk about for the rest of my life. I look forward to meeting our Trini clients and continuing Pitt Business’ relationship with them, as well as building personal relationships with my peers. I look forward to updating you all on the progress of the project throughout this semester!