Emily M. Socha

esocha2@bryant.edu

Hi Everyone! My name is Emily Socha and I’m a Global Supply Chain Management major and Data Analytics minor from Southington, Connecticut. I love being part of the Bryant community as a student, Resident Assistant, Admissions Fellow, and the VP of the Society of Global Supply Chain Management. As a Bryant student I had the opportunity to study abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France last spring and though I miss the Mediterranean coastline, it's great to be back home at Bryant. I've applied the skills and experience I've gained at Bryant to my internships at UTC Aerospace Systems as well as my numerous group projects, volunteering events, and other campus activities. I enjoy making free time to do what I love --- spending time with family and friends. Many times we will go kayaking, hiking, to the beach, or just hang out around campus. Fun Fact: I LOVE holidays and getting into the holiday spirit! I also like taking life day by day and making the best of every minute of it! I hope you enjoy learning about my experiences at Bryant and the experiences of the many other people that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with. Bryant is an amazing community that I’m very fortunate to be part of and I hope someday you get to experience too!


How I spent my last week of junior year…

May 7th, 2015

I'm a supply chain nerd.  Plain and simple! This semester I wrote about my trip to the Stop & Shop Distribution center, the simulations I've taken part of, and all my Supply Chain Management (SCM) classes because I love the field of study and continually increasing my knowledge on the subject.  Somehow over 50% of my blogs have some supply chain thread, it's only fitting that my last blog of the semester be about my trip to Phoenix, Arizona (during finals week!) to attend the 100th Annual Institute for Supply Management conference as a 2015 R. Gene Richter Scholar.

April 1st, 2015 I was notified that I was one of the recipients for the R. Gene Richter Scholar.  Additionally, I was informed that I was the first scholar from Bryant University to ever receive this prestigious award.  This scholarship is the largest scholarship in the field of supply management and it was awarded to 8 juniors studying supply chain management across the U.S.  The scholarship provides financial assistance for college expenses, access to an Executive Mentor (someone with years of experience in the supply chain field), and a junior mentor (a previous scholar from 2 years prior that is in their first, full-time position and able to offer advice on job searching and preparing for the annual conference).  Additionally, the scholarship provides the opportunity for recipients to attend the annual conference the year they receive the award as well as two years later to serve as a junior mentor.  Above all, the Richter scholarship provides access to a privileged network of individuals who've been involved in the SCM field with an abundance of experience as well as a family of previous scholars who can relate, rejoice, and connect as a Richter family.

Before I left for Phoenix I had already spoken with my junior mentor on the phone and she had given me the advice on what to wear, what to bring, and what to expect which helped boost my confidence that I was ready for an award of such high caliber.  I scheduled a meeting with my executive mentor, a highly successful Chief Procurement Officer from Chevron Corporation.  Additionally, I had started a group text with my fellow recipients, joined our Facebook group, and texted my roommate for the week who I was fortunate to catch a cab to our hotel with upon arriving in Phoenix.  Of course, this was after the 40+ email thread of previous scholars supporting our achievements saying "Congratulations! I graduated from this college and work at this company and let me know if you need anything!"  After all the personal attention and passionate stories being shared, I knew before even getting on the plane the Richter status was a worthy position to obtain and a notable family to be part of.

My roommate and I took a quick cab to the hotel where we stayed right across from the Phoenix convention center (very convenient for quick walks in the desert heat in a suit).  We got off the plane, got a quick lunch, and headed to our first obligation which was attending a session with the junior mentors and other scholars presented by A. T. Kearney.  The purpose of this workshop was to help us prepare for the networking that would occur during the 5 days of the conference and how to navigate job opportunities as a Richter scholar upon graduation. Then, we were off to dinner (delicious!) and resting for the next big day ahead.

I started my first full day having breakfast with my executive mentor.  (Still on East coast time, my 7am wakeup call was a piece of cake!) She was very insightful with both career and personal advice that will help me make the many important decisions about my first job, priorities, and career moves over the next few years.  I know I don't have all the answers - and I know I don't have the years of experience I may need to see why one option is better than the next, therefore, its wonderful aspect of the scholarship program to know I have a professional I can turn to for advice as needed.

 

The entire conference seems like a blur now.  Meetings, networking events, luncheons, and informational sessions — I learned so much in such a short period of time.  I attended sessions such as "So You Think You Want to be a CPO", "Power Negotiations", & "Sustainability & Ethics".  All the sessions I attended provided great insight into the field of SCM and great professional advice for my future.  We had our awards ceremony with supportive professionals in attendance and we were pinned as official members of the Richter family.  Additionally, we listened to two phenomenal keynotes.  First, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and later Sallie Krawcheck, owner of Ellevate.  Both their stories and keynotes were full of passion and great words of wisdom.

Receiving this distinguished honor is an amazing accomplishment.  Most importantly though, I arrived as a single 2015 Richter scholar and left as part of the Richter family.  Myself and the 7 other scholars bonded over our passion for SCM and our quirkiness for the field.  Unlike some of my friendships at school, our bond is a bit different.  We think similarly, we act similarly, and we relate on a level of deep gratitude for the program and appreciation to be part of something much larger than we had ever expected.  We all have had amazing internship experiences, we have big visions on where we see our career paths, and we have a nerdy passion for the field of SCM that we can't help but talk about, rave about, and mention in a typical conversation.  Over dinners, breakfasts, and short-lived breaks, we all became a family of scholars that will stay connected throughout our lifetime.  I only hope I get to see them all before we meet again in 2 years at the 102th Annual ISM conference in Orlando, Florida and many times after that.

~Keep Smiling!

Emily M. Socha

P.S. - I'm writing this blog on the flight from Chicago to Providence at midnight and have a final at 10am tomorrow for my SCM: Information Technology class. This conference was an amazing opportunity, but back to reality for the last full week of my junior year! #busybee #ProudBryantBulldog

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Study Abroad Reminiscing

April 27th, 2015

Almost exactly one year ago I was beginning my 4th and last month studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France.  The weather started warming up as it is here in Rhode Island, everyone from our program had finally gotten over the study abroad jitters and we were well-adapted locals to the town and university.  We had one last month to make it fun and exciting, and as I reminisce on those memories made the last few weeks abroad they make me wish I was doing it all over again.

I had just returned from my "spring break" last year in late April.  My friend Kaylen and I had hopped on a 4am bus to make our 6am train to Paris where we would stay and explore for three days.  We got to see all the major sites…Le Tour Eiffel, Le Louvre, Le Musee D'Orsey, and much more.  We explored for three days and then took a bus to Amsterdam where our main objective was to visit the tulip gardens in Keukenhof, Holland and then to London where we had our hearts set on taking a picture at Platform 9¾ and then visiting the Harry Potter studio to pretend we were actually at Hogwarts.

After our week long break of sight-seeing, I had a few classes left before finals.  But I was only abroad once right? So I decided to work with my professors, reschedule a final or two, and head to Tunisia with one of my friends Samah.  She had family friends there that were graciously offering to pick us up at the airport, feed us every meal, and be our personal tour guides around Tunisia.  I would have never gotten to see this part of the world had it not been for meeting Samah, a good friend I stay in touch with, and the kind-natured family I soon became a part of.  We took our flight back to France, Samah and I rushed back to the University where we took a final exam straight after we got off the plane, and then laughed about it and were so thankful for how everything worked out just right.

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We spent the last few days abroad having picnics in the park.  Taking photos of our favorite bakeries and lunch spots, and talking about how we were going to need to readjust to the "American lifestyle" that soon awaited us.  By this time last year I was most excited to see a Target again, but least excited to know I wouldn't be making daily visits to the bakery.

 

As the warm weather hits the Bryant campus and these last few weeks of junior year force me to reflect how I've spent my time at Bryant, I can truly say I've been making the best of every moment.  I miss being in Europe and getting a new experience but I love being on campus here with my friends.  I'll miss the Bryant community when I'm back home this summer, but it makes me happy to know I still have a year to continue making memories with my friends as a Bulldog J

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Keep Smiling!

~Emily M. Socha

Fun in the Sun! Finally!

April 19th, 2015

Goodbye winter and hello spring!  I can't believe it's taken this long to see the beautiful landscaping on campus and sit on the grass by the pond while waiting for class!

Now that the sun is finally out and students are spending more time outside than the quick walk to Salmo, the Unistructure, or the library, everyone is smiling and having a great time outside with friends these last few weeks of school.  I know I didn't need to do much homework over the weekend, but I sure worked extra hard these past few weekdays because I knew the weather would be so tempting.  I hope my friends are doing the same because hitting the books is important but enjoying the weather with friends these last few weeks are important too and something I sure don't want to miss out on!

Here's how I spent my first weekend in the sun!

1) Joining an intramural team! I may not be the best volleyball player, but my team and I sure do have a fun time doing our best to get the ball over the net and get in a few good laughs!

2) Partaking in the Relay for Life festivities held on campus Friday night.  We're glad the clouds cleared up for a 12 hour event with food, fun, and fundraising for such a worthy cause.

3) Going to Lincoln Woods State Park! It's an amazing park to lay and relax, walk, jog, hike, kayak, bike ride, and throw a Frisbee around with friends.  I was sure to stop at Jersey Mike's Subs for their delicious tuna-melt sandwich and some chips to have a nice picnic with friends!

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4) Going on a nice morning walk/hike with my friend! She showed me a cool hiking trail not far from campus we were able to walk to for a great way to start the day.

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5) Hitting the driving range.  My dad would be proud of my 100-125 yard drive because though it may not go too far, at least it goes straight!

6) Exploring Rhode Island by taking the back roads to a restaurant for dinner with the windows down and good tunes on the radio!

This year has been the first year that I've officially decided "goodbye east coast and hello sunshine".  As a junior in college living in New England for the past 20 years of my life, I've finally decided the sunshine states are where I'll be headed after graduation.  Good thing I'll have the summer to research job opportunities around the globe that may offer a bit more Vitamin C than I'm use to because that's the direction I'll be headed come May 2016!

Unfortunately this warm weather means the semester is soon to end, but at least I'll be able to make the most of these next few weeks with good friends in the sunshine! Fingers crossed for continued warm weather and the upcoming spring festivities on campus! It's always a great day to be a Bulldog!

~Keep Smiling!

Emily M. Socha

 

 

 

Dancing the Night Away! Velocity Expo 2015!

April 13th, 2015

We did it! After over 168 hours of practice time this past school year, we had an amazing show for this year's Annual Velocity Expo.  We sure did dance the night away for our show, as well as every single practice night leading up to our main performance.  The theme of this year's show was "A Night at the Movies" featuring songs from Footloose, Grease, Step-Up, Hairspray, The Breakfast Club, Fame, and more.  Upon arrival, audience members were given some popcorn and candy to enjoy during the show.

Velocity is a group of young women who dance because it's fun.  We have passion in our hearts and smiles in our eyes when we can dance with our friends and show off our hard work to our friends, Velocity alum, and family at the end of the year.  Our team is a bunch of girls who elect to come to practice 3 times a week and know that it's more than just dancing, it's making friendships and having a blast while doing that.

Throughout the year Velocity has performed at various events such as Mr. Bryant and the i2i Cultural Series on campus.  They also performed at the beginning of the Celtics NBA Basketball game in Boston.  At our Expo this past night, we performed a mix of 10 dances for over 150 of our close family members and friends and had a blast.  In between each of the Velocity performances, we had guests such as Framingham University Dance Team, the Bryant Singers, a few guitarists, and a good friend of Velocity from the MS Society.

Velocity is constantly giving back to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  This year, part of our ticket sales served as a donation and during one of the breaks at our show we had Cathy from the MS Society talk to the audience and thank them for their support in coming and donating as well as the benefits of donations.  Cathy's words were inspiring as she said "It gives me hope when I see the young generation like you hosting events like these and giving back to others.  I stand on the stage this year with my cane and events like this inspire me that next year I may be able to stand here again without my cane thanks to all your support and donations".  Cathy received a roaring applause.  Velocity girls couldn't imagine their dancing shoes being taken away by a horrible disease and donating to the MS Society is one of the small ways we can help make sure research and awareness is happening in hopes that everyone has the opportunity to dance someday.

We won't put away our dancing shoes yet! We still have a month left of the semester and we will be performing at this year's Relay for Life event on campus.  Additionally, we will elect the new Executive Board members to help lead our team to success next year.  Velocity is a great family to be part of here at Bryant.  We had an amazing time this past year at practices, shows, and our expo and I can't wait to do it all over again as a senior next year.

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Such an Honor to be an R. Gene Richter Scholarship Recipient - 2015

April 6th, 2015

In December 2014, before my semester break I was researching scholarships that recognized talent and dedication to the field of supply management in order to help fund my education and build my network of connections.  While searching, I discovered the R. Gene Richter Scholarship Foundation, a foundation that started in 2004 and partnered with the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) in 2005.  The foundation was created to honor Gene Richter, who left his mark in the field of procurement and the scholarship has grown to become the largest national undergraduate scholarship for supply management.

I submitted my application in February 2015 and hadn't heard from the committee in a few weeks so each day I would constantly refresh my email in hopes of hearing from the scholarship committee.  As I do each Sunday evening, I prepare my work for the week and check my calendar to see how to plan my time for the events ahead.  However this Sunday I was surprised to see a 9:00am Monday appointment when I normally don't have anything scheduled until 11:00am.  I clicked into the meeting notice and upon reading discovered that I had been chosen as a finalist and would be interviewing at 9:00am the next day.  I was so happy and shocked to see find out this way and after a few phone calls to friends and family and a quick dance around my room, I made time that night to prepare myself for the next day because I knew this interview was a big one.

I completed the phone interview the next morning and felt relieved after its completion.  I did my best, and that's all anyone could ask for.  I knew I was competing against many other young, talented supply chain students who were well-deserving of this recognition so I was happy and grateful to have made it this far.

March 7, 2015 - I left for a spring break relaxation vacation in the Dominican Republic.  I was soaking up the sun, enjoying the laid-back care-free happy-go-lucky attitude of all beachgoers I encountered, and just when I thought my vacation was at its peak and I was having an amazing spring break, I received an email that I advanced to the next and final interview for the scholarship.  (If anyone could have recorded the dance I did after reading the email it probably could have gone viral).  We celebrated that day and as I eagerly found a resort computer to use to schedule my final interview, no one could have taken the smile off my face.

I came back to snowy, cold Rhode Island and within a few days of leaving the sunny days and white sandy beaches I was preparing questions, researching my interviewer and her company, familiarizing myself with the R. Gene Richter foundation, detailing answers to potential questions I thought she may ask and overall getting ready for what was until this point the most critical interview of my life.  I don't think I was able to do any other homework that Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday until the interview was completed because it had been all I was thinking about.  I interviewed with the VP of Global Opportunities of IBM and her quick bio told me that not only was she an intelligent and vivacious leader in supply chain, she was a wonderful woman who had a personality that would shine. Many of her interests aligned with some of my career goals and I was happy to have gotten the opportunity to discuss my passions with her during our phone interview.  I received great advice from her and after hanging up and my second and last interview was complete, I knew I had given the application process 100% of the time and energy I had.  I was very pleased with myself, regardless of the outcome.

They told us we would learn the results by the beginning of April.  Of course, being an eager finalist I was hoping to hear sooner.  Each day I would constantly check my email in hopes I would see something with the "R. Gene Richter" title in it.  On April 1st, as promised, I was overjoyed to receive an email from one of the women who conducted my first interview announcing that I had officially become a 2015 R. Gene Richter Scholarship Recipient.  (My dance after receiving this email was MUCH longer, larger, and most likely funnier than the first two combined)!

Receiving this scholarship is a huge honor for me because it is a great reinforcement of the effort I've put in my entire educational career to do well, excel, and always strive for excellence.  Not only is it an honor for me, but I'm proud to be a Richter Scholar and represent Bryant University, our Bryant University Global Supply Chain Management program, ISM Greater Rhode Island, and my family who has raised me with proper ethics and values to succeed.

Upon receiving this scholarship I've been invited to attend the ISM International Conference in Phoenix, Arizona this May (2-6) where I'll have the opportunity to network with industry professionals and meet the other 2015 Richter Scholars.  Additionally, I'll be paired with a junior mentor (a 2013 Richter Scholarship recipient) and an executive mentor (previous mentors from companies such as IBM, Dell, Aetna, P&G).  I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity knowing when I graduate from Bryant in May 2016, I'll be entering the field of supply chain with a great education, a vast network of professionals, and confidence in myself knowing I can make a difference in a supply chain capacity for the company where I'll begin my career.

More information on the R. Gene Richter Scholarship, past recipients, and the Gene Richter foundation can be found on the following link: http://www.richterfoundation.org/

~Keep Smiling!

Emily M. Socha

 

Stop and Shop Distribution Center - Technology at its finest!

April 6th, 2015

You may not think touring a 1.1 million square foot distribution center (DC) is cool, but being the supply chain nerd that I am, this was a highlight of my week!

I visited the Stop & Shop distribution center this past Wednesday, April 1st in Assonet, Massachusetts with my "Information Technology in the Global Supply Chain" class.  It was an easy 50 minute drive with a few of my classmates and upon arrival, we were greeted at the security desk and directed upstairs to a seminar room where we started with an informational session about the facility.  Because our class is focusing on technology in the supply chain, this was the main focus of our tour.

After learning a bit more about the facility we were able to take an hour-long tour and see many of the technologies mentioned in the presentation.  This particular distribution center was built 11 years ago, and as we know, technology continues to change at a rapid pace.  Therefore, this DC was built when some of the latest technologies at the facility were considered state of the art.  As we learned, it's now 11 years later and Stop & Shop is continually reviewing which elements of their DC need to be updated, changed, or are safe to leave the same.  Two of the major technologies discussed on our DC tour were the following: 1) unmanned crane storage devices and 2) Vocollect voice-directed warehousing pick system.

The first technology we were able to see were the use of unmanned cranes to store pallets of inventory.  First, employees must take the goods off the truck and pack the pallet appropriately.   Then, the pallet is brought to the outside of the two storage rows and placed in the inbound storage pallet location.  The employee scans the pallet to the inbound location area in order to send the correct data for that pallet to the crane.  From there, the crane that's located in between the two storage lanes recognize a pallet has been dropped off and is ready to be stored.  Based on the information transferred when the employee scanned the crane station, that information is transferred to the crane and the crane then picks up the pallet and stores it accordingly.  The storage location can be anywhere within those two rows and various heights of storage space.  We were able to watch these cranes move back and forth putting away pallets and it was very clear how this method saves the company time and money.  We also witnessed one of the cranes experience technological issues.  A red light came on indicating there was something wrong with that crane.  Simultaneously, an electronic message with more detailed information about the issue was sent to the mechanics on duty. Within 2 minutes we witnessed a mechanic arrive to the crane and safely make changes to the machine which allowed it to complete its job correctly and then continue its job again with the next pallet.  Although a bit difficult to see in the image below, the yellow crane labeled "crane 15" depicts the cranes that move inside the two storage lanes moves up and down the aisle placing the pallets accordingly.  The larger aisles are used for pickers to pick individual cases for store shipments.

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The second technology we were able to see in-use was the use of Vocollect voice-directed warehousing units.  Before employees at the Stop & Shop DC had these hand-held devices they had a two-sided pencil to complete their picking orders for their 8+ hour shifts.  One side of the pencil was red, the other side blue.  They would pick up their "pick list" packet at the beginning of their shift and it would be a list of all the items they needed to pick and store in the proper units in order to be shipped out for delivery.  The employees would go up and down the list and up and down the aisles on their fork lifts picking up the needed materials.  They would check of the item in blue when it was loaded properly and check it off in red if there was a quantity or quality concern with the stated item.  As you can imagine, this is a time consuming and highly unreliable process when items may not be located as mentioned on the paper.  Thanks to Stop & Shops' investment in voice-directed warehousing units, the employees' jobs are much easier and can be finished more efficiently.  Each employee picks up their Vocollect unit at the beginning of their shift and after entering their ID code, they're able to get their "to-do" list for the day.  The devices give instructions to the employees who can use their free hands to complete the task.  Employees have the devices set to their user specifications and the devices are trained to recognize employee accents, dialects, and different languages.  Therefore, although the directions are given in English, an employee can speak to the device in their native language to confirm, if needed.  The device gives employees directions such as "you have 3 minutes to pick 3 cases of Dannon yogurt located in aisle 14, row 10".  This type of structured instruction allows the employee to know how much time he/she has to complete the task and keeps people on schedule.  In addition, these devices have fatigue factors built into them. Therefore, they have all the tasks for the 8 hour shift outlined and understand that a human worker will be tired in the 6th/7th hour of their shift versus the 1st/2nd hour and can therefore be sure to give the heavier lifting items in the beginning of the shift rather than the last few hours.  Also, the fatigue factor builds more time into tasks at the end of someone's shift rather than the first few hours to account for fatigue as well.  For example, the same picking situation above given 3 minutes may be needed later in the shift as well but instead of 3 minutes allotted time, 3 minutes and 40 seconds may be given.  This slight increase in time is a huge help to the employee and also accurately gauges how much the company can pack.

We were able to see the cranes and vocollect units in use as well as a quick look at the banana ripening rooms that the bananas transform from green to a nice green-yellow before reaching stores.  We also got to experience the chilling temperatures of a 34 degree warehouse that keeps the refrigerated food chilled.  (I was happy to see the employees had nice and warm Stop & Shop jackets because my jacket wasn't doing much justice during our tour and I couldn't have imagined having to focus for a work shift in those temperatures!)

Technology is a huge part of supply chain.  Some people believe warehousing is still about moving boxes in and out and that's it.  Although that is the principle concept, supply chain has advanced so much over the past few years to make certain that it's about moving boxes in and out in the most efficient way possible to add value for the entire customer experience.  I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to the Stop & Shop Distribution center this past week.  I had an amazing time learning about all the little things that go into the simple task of getting food to the stores so people can push their carts up and down the aisles and find the items they desire.

~Keep Smiling!

Emily Socha

 

I was just appointed VP of Procurement for TFC!

March 30th, 2015

I was just appointed VP of Procurement for TFC! What's TFC?! TFC stands for "The Fresh Connection" which is an online business that sells 6 different orange juice products.  As VP of Procurement I'm responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships with TFC suppliers, negotiating customer service level agreements, monitoring supplier quality standards, assessing capacity constraints, analyzing costs, and working to forecast collaboratively with the supply base to meet the demand of our end customer.

I couldn't be more excited.  I've learned the concepts in class, but now I get to experience first-hand what it's like to make decisions that will either positively, or negatively, affect the bottom line for our company. Right now the company isn't doing so well, it's actually in debt, but I'm hoping with my supply chain experience gained from my courses and overall business knowledge, I'll be able to change this within the first quarter.

I may have forgot to mention…TFC is an online supply chain management simulation sponsored by APCIS, a non-profit international educational organization that offers certification programs, training tools, and networking opportunities in the field of operations management.  Our association advisor informed us of the opportunity to participate, and Bryant has two teams competing in the case competition with the dream of attending the global completion in Las Vegas in October.  Although only one team from each continent can make it to the final round, we still have our hopes set high!

Online business simulations are a great way to explore course concepts and apply them to a "real-world" scenario.  Understanding the textbook concepts is one thing, but applying them to a scenario with data and decision-driven results is a real test.  Simulations are becoming more popular in the educational environment.  I've already completed one simulation before in my marketing 201 class.  The simulation helped understand how marketing professionals make decisions regarding advertising, promotions, selling price, and channel distribution.  I'm extremely excited for this case because it'll be the first supply chain simulation I'm involved in and seeing how all the pieces pull together will be a fun experience.

As VP of Procurement I have my own responsibilities.  However, TFC could not operate with other key players.  Therefore, I'm working with a team to make my decisions.  My three team members hold the position of VP of Supply Chain Management, making decisions about safety stock levels, replenishment, and overall operational strategies.  The VP of Operations is responsible for the production of the juices as well as monitoring the raw material and finished goods inventory.  Lastly, the VP of Sales is responsible for all customer relations and ensuring the product reaches the customer with the appropriate shelf-life as this is a critical component of the case.

We are all excited to take part in this learning opportunity. Participating in case competitions is a great way to get involved, test our skills, and have fun. I'm very excited for this opportunity and fingers crossed we are heading to Las Vegas!

Here's a link to the TFC homepage as well as a promotional video to learn more about the case this year!

http://tfcstudentchallenge.org/?utm_source=TFC%20website&utm_medium=Website&utm_campaign=Inchainge%20Network

 

March Madness is Here! Get Your Bracket Ready!

March 23rd, 2015

Although the Bulldogs aren't one of the 68 teams in this year's NCAA March Madness Series, that doesn't stop Bryant students from making a bracket and following what remains of the basketball season. Even with it officially being "spring time", the snow continues to fall and watching basketball with friends is a fun way to spend time and see whose bracket will come out on top.

Right now it's still early on in the tournament but by April 16/17th, the Sweet Sixteen series games gear up with the Final Four teams playing against each other on April 4th.  The championship game is hosted on April 6th which will prove to be an exciting game for everyone to see.  The majority of my friends and I have brackets we follow and it's always an intense line-up at this point in the season. My best friend had Iowa State, a team many thought would go far this season, but is now out of the season with a loss to an underdog.

Kentucky is favorited to win the entire tournament this year and they are currently an undefeated team.  Kentucky played UCONN last year in the championship game, but they fell short and UCONN took home the win.  If Kentucky wins this year, their team will be the first team to go 40-0 with a perfect season.

I asked one of my friend's what his favorite part of the March Madness series was and he said, "The upsets.  When a 14-seed team like Georgia State comes out of nowhere and beats a favorite 3rd seed team like Baylor, it always adds excitement to the game".  He also said it was fun to make and follow his bracket with his friends as healthy and fun competition.

Bryant Athletics are a huge part of the student community.  Of all sports at Bryant however, I feel like basketball gets the most student support.  With a love for the game and the season heating up, students are definitely enjoying the fun!

For more updates on March Madness, check out the official NCAA web page!  http://www.ncaa.com/march-madness

Spring Break 2015: Fun in the Sun!

March 16th, 2015

My professor told us if we got a sunburn over spring break she would deduct 10 points from our exam.  I am happy to say I won't be losing any points AND had the time of my life with great friends in Punta Cana this spring break.

I believe I've said this in previous blogs, but we can't get time back! Money, material objects, and certain opportunities all come and go but time is one thing that just keeps ticking.  We'd like to hope that our time lasts 80+ years, but sadly this is not the case for everyone.  One way I make sure to spend my time wisely is to take advantage of as many opportunities to travel, see the world, experience different cultures, and enjoy quality time with friends, family, and new faces.

I decided to travel this Spring Break to Punta Cana with friends and when the week was over, I had made many more.  We stayed at an all-inclusive resort and had the time of our lives.  We participated in activities throughout the day such as beach volleyball, Olympic Games, water aerobics, and yoga, as well as relaxed on the pool side.  Each time we participated in an event, we got "funny money" which we then used at the auction the last day of our stay to win ourselves a cool prize! Our dinners included specialty cuisines from different restaurants.  They had a Lebanese, Italian, French, and American restaurants among a few others.  Although we didn't take part in the Lobster dinner on the beach, it was an option for guests.  Each night there was a featured show.  A few shows they had were a magic show, a circus, and a tribute dance concert with the professional dancers at the resort.

One of the most humbling parts of the entire trip was interacting with the hotel employees on a daily basis.  We came to know our housekeeper, waiters, and the entertainment team and dancers very well as we continuously saw them throughout the week.  No matter what time of day, they were always "magnifico".  And though being friendly is part of their job, getting to know and talk to these people you realized that they truly loved their job and interacting with the guests each day.  We got to know about their husbands/wives, kids, how they learned English, where they lived, how they choose to spend their vacations, etc.  These wonderful people made our experience at the resort a million times better and their positive attitude was always a reminder of what it meant to be happy doing your job.

I'm very grateful to have spent a week in paradise as a college junior.  Returning to snowy, cold, and dreary Boston has got me seriously considering a location change (haha).  But for now I am going to grab my Uggs and keep persevering through the last few weeks of the semester.  I'm hoping I have a great group of friends who plan to go somewhere fun and beautiful as well next year because all the studying and all the career planning is extremely important, but celebrating with great friends and making lasting memories is part of the college experience too.

 

 Keep Smiling!

~Emily

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Yoga - A Nice Change of Pace

March 4th, 2015

You may not see me in the gym every day, but I do make an effort to work out and live an active and healthy lifestyle.  One of the ways I do this is by attending Yoga on Monday's in the Group Exercise Room on campus.  I find yoga to be a good break from the 25 minute treadmill climb or the 20 flights of stairs on the stair-stepper.  Not to mention, it's relaxing and good for your muscles.  Lucky for me, I'm able to attend the Monday yoga session because sometimes getting back into the groove of a hectic work week can be daunting.  However, Monday afternoon yoga is a good way to reposition myself and get ready for the rest of the week ahead.

Today's class there were students (both male and female) as well as the Women's Volleyball team.  Many coaches have yoga classes built into their practice schedule to help keep their athletes limber and reduce injuries.  We did a series of moves for beginners (as this is where most students fall).  Nevertheless, the instructor would always give options for ways to make each pose either easier or more difficult depending on how each individual wanted to exercise.  The instructor is a certified yoga instructor that comes from off-campus to teach these classes and offers a fun, friendly, and relaxed environment to really help get into the lesson.  Today, I looked at the clock and I was shocked to see it was already 35 minutes into the lesson because I was enjoying the series of poses so much.

Yoga may not be for everyone, and that's why there are other fun classes in the Group Exercise Room as well.  Spinning is one of the most popular sessions, where participants work their legs on a stationary bike to loud music and a motivating instructor.  There's also kick-boxing, abs workouts, and other interactive circuit workouts such as T25/RushFit and Jillian Michaels.  I find coming to certain classes a good break from the traditional workout in the gym and a great way to stay active.

One of the ways I'm working on helping my residents stay active is by partnering with Res Life and the Boiler House in Providence to host a Hot Yoga session for some of the girls on my floor.  I'm super excite to see how this program pans out and hope the girls on my floor are just as excited as I am.

I'll keep you posted on the Hot Yoga program and in the meantime, try your best just like me to stay active in this cold weather! Have to keep our muscles lean and get ready for the spring time!

~Keep Smiling!

Emily

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