COVID-19 Cancelled Panama Immersion Transformed to Undergraduate Research Opportunity

During the Spring 2020 semester, we (Stephen Day and Elizabeth Weiland) were enrolled in BA497: Special Topics/Global Logistics Seminar: Panama Immersion through the Smeal College of Business at Penn State. Throughout the first half of the semester, we studied the revolutionary impacts that Panama and its famous Panama Canal have had on globally intertwined supply chains. Unfortunately, COVID-19 changed our plans of traveling to Panama City over spring break to fully immerse ourselves in the culture and supply chain of the country.

Instead of traveling to one of the logistics capitals of the world, we transformed this challenge into an opportunity to study the impacts the pandemic has on the global supply chain. This culminated in co-authoring a research paper regarding the benefits and drawbacks of the “just-in-time” supply chain inventory strategy in a time of crisis. COVID-19 has forced us as a society to rethink much of what we do, and the same might be true for corporations running a JIT inventory system!

Throughout this process, we are thankful for the guidance and mentorship of Felisa Preciado Higgins and Jana Jaffa as well as the support of the Penn State community to pursue these learning opportunities.

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By Stephen Day and Elizabeth Weiland
Stephen Day and Elizabeth Weiland Undergraduate Students