WMU student among 10 nationwide to win coveted scholarship

Contact: Stacey Markin
Photo of student Hanna .


KALAMAZOO—A Western Michigan University business student is among 10 students from across the country selected to receive a prestigious nationwide business scholarship awarded by the Richter Foundation and the Institute for Supply Management's Richter Scholarship Fund.

Hanna Downs, of Novi, Mich., is WMU's sixth scholarship recipient in the past ten years, placing WMU fourth in the nation for the total number of students honored with Richter Scholarships in the past 10 years. The Richter scholarship provides tuition assistance of up to $5,000 and pairs the recipient with established executives and a former Richter Scholar who will serve as mentors. A number of other benefits are included in the award as well.

Now in its 10th year, the Richter Scholarship Program is the largest nationally recognized scholarship program for supply chain management students. It identifies future supply chain management leaders and helps fast-track these students into the field. The 2013 Richter Scholars will be honored at an April 27 dinner at the ISM Annual International Supply Management Conference in Grapevine, Texas.

'A great honor'

"Winning this scholarship is such a great honor, and I am so grateful for this opportunity," says Downs. "I'm excited to represent Western Michigan University at the conference. It is going to be a great opportunity for me to expand my professional network and mentor base. My professors here at Western have provided me with the knowledge, skills and training I need to make a good impression at the conference and show why Western is such an outstanding institution."

Downs is entering her senior year at WMU, where she is majoring in both integrated supply management and food and consumer package goods marketing, offered through the Haworth College of Business. She currently serves as an integrated supply management student mentor where she aids students in applying to the program and developing their portfolios of professional activities. She also promotes the ISM curriculum and study abroad with the program's students.

Downs spent a semester at Hogeschool Utrecht in the Netherlands, igniting a passion for study abroad and international business. While in the Netherlands, she was selected to be a part of a five-member leadership team that led 45 multicultural students in developing and presenting an export market entry strategic plan for De Wiltfang, an integrated Dutch gardening retailer.

Downs has completed two sales and marketing internships at Eastern Michigan University, where she has exceeded her goals for business recruitment for the Eagle Discount Card Program and increased home game attendance at sporting events.

Downs serves as vice president of membership in the student chapter of APICS—the Association for Operations Management—and vice president of social events for the Food Marketing Association. She has also been a recipient of additional merit-based scholarships.

"Hanna blew everybody's socks off," says Nancy Richter, president of the Richter Foundation.

"She was quite impressive academically, and her extracurricular activities and leadership on campus were impressive," says Sandra Lukasik, executive director of the R. Gene Richter Scholarship Program. "She was very well spoken, very prepared for her interviews and exhibited characteristics that display a solid commitment to the field. She came with the highest recommendations, and it is quite easy to see that she will be a future leader within the field."

For more information about the Integrated Supply Management Program, visit wmich.edu/supplychain.

For more information about the R. Gene Richter Scholarship Program, visit richerfoundation.org.