Logistics Conference Supports Student Scholarships

Rebecca A. Eckland

Shanna Hoffman discovered the TMCC Bachelor of Applied Science in Logistics Operations Management when she began to think about changing her career path to one that would be more conducive to family life. For twelve years, Hoffman had worked as a high-limit blackjack dealer. She worked the swing shift, which meant her typical “workday” didn’t end until 5 a.m. A former servicewoman in the Air Force, Hoffman had a background in logistics. So when she considered a new career, TMCC’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Logistics seemed like a natural next step. 

“I was originally just going to take my core curriculum classes from TMCC, but when I learned there was a logistics program here, I decided to complete my degree here,” she said. Yet, there were challenges. 

“It was extremely difficult, a lot of time the thing that kept me going was that I was setting an example for my daughters. Education is important no matter how hard it is. I would wake up at 2 a.m. every morning to do my homework and then taking my nine classes, and getting up every day and doing the same thing over and over. And every weekend, I was in my office doing my homework. It was a lot to juggle, and in the end, it’s been so nice to have my family’s support,” she said. 

Another factor in Hoffman’s success was the support she received from scholarships. The Logistics Conference helps to support scholarships for students in the two- and four-year degree programs in Logistics Operations Management. This year, the day-long Logistics Conference was hosted at the TMCC Dandini Campus on April 29. Guest speakers included Vice President of Global PG&A Paul Eickhoff, ITS Logistics CEO Scott Pruneau and Associate Professor of Operations Management Dr. Ron Lembke, among several other industry leaders and experts. 

Hoffman attended the morning sessions of the conference; as a recent graduate, Hoffman is already working in the logistics field for a local company in an aspect of the industry she discovered while a student in the program. 

“The classes I took my senior year directed me toward the career I have now, which is in program management. Right now, I’m an associate program manager, and my goal is to become an actual program manager one day,” she said.  The support she received from scholarships enabled Hoffman to focus on her classes, and during the COVID-19 pandemic to be able to quit her full-time job in order to more fully focus on her education, her future career and providing a positive example of perseverance to her children. 

The Logistics Conference—and the scholarships it funds—supports students like Hoffman looking to begin new professional lives in an industry that is growing both locally and globally.

Supporting Student Success

Shanel Pistorius knows firsthand the value of finding a rewarding career. A Distribution Center Manager for Nature’s Way, Pistorius has been an integral part of the establishment and ongoing development of the Logistics Program at TMCC since its inception in 2015.  

Logistics is a line of work that she’s been involved with most of her life, and one that enabled her to be a single mom while developing herself into a professional in a field that continues to grow and evolve. “[Working in logistics] has enabled me to learn and grow while taking on new responsibilities. It’s a fascinating industry, and my education has opened so many doors. My success is defined by what I give back to the community and by providing opportunities for others to achieve their goals,” she said. 

A member of the Logistics Program Advisory Board, Pistorius has also been involved in planning the annual Logistics Leadership Conference that brings together industry leaders, professionals, and students while providing an opportunity to learn more about this rapidly growing industry, develop leadership skills and foster connections. 

Registration fees from the annual conference are also used to support ongoing scholarship opportunities. For students and professionals alike, the event offers an insider’s glimpse into one of Reno’s largest and fastest-growing industries. 

“There are so many opportunities in the state of Nevada, specifically the Reno/Sparks area for a student that is pursuing a degree in logistics,” Pistorius said. “There’s a lot of opportunity at the college, and a lot of community support.”

A Future in Logistics

As a working professional with two children, Hoffman admits that the journey to the 2022 commencement ceremony has not been easy. In addition to waking up at 2 a.m. to complete homework assignments before her children were awake, she also made a point to meet regularly with academic advisors to make sure that she was on-track to meeting her academic goals. 

“I made sure I kept in touch with my advisor. I would sit down with her and go through the list of all the scholarships that were available, and focus on the ones for which I was eligible, and I would apply for all of those. The one I was awarded each year was the Bender Scholarship. I’m honored that they supported me throughout my education that way,” she said. 

Hoffman admits that the struggle was certainly real; despite the help from scholarships, at times she and her family struggled financially. And yet, to students who are just starting out their journey to commencement, Hoffman advises to take the journey as best you can: one step at a time. 

“Take it one class at a time,” she said. “Don’t get overwhelmed by all the things you need to do. Just focus on the present and getting through each semester.” 

Hoffman walked at the 2022 Commencement ceremony on May 20, where her daughters and other members of her family will watch her cross the commencement stage. “It’s a huge accomplishment,” she said. “We all sacrificed for me to get this degree. I think that anybody who has the commitment to complete their degree should walk at the commencement ceremony.”

For more information about studying Logistics Management at TMCC, contact the Business Department at 775-673-7132.