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Diagnosed with a medical condition half-way through Penn State, Mehreen Khan was forced to leave college. Upon her recovery two years later – eager to return to school — she noticed universities across the country had begun to offer a degree in Supply Chain Management.

“It was a degree that mixed business, science and engineering – the perfect major for me,” she says. “I’d taken business classes before and been interested in sustainability since I was a little kid. Now, finally I’d found a field that fit the vision in my head to make or move products. All the pieces were coming together.” And so, Khan entered VCU.

Regional Supply Chain Competition through the Institute of Supply Management

First prize – “Validating”

Before she knew it, she was competing. It was the first time VCU had entered this event, and she was the only female on the team. They won first place. “That competition put me on the map with my department,” she says. “Before, I was very doubtful of myself.”

Analytics Challenge

First prize – “Confidence building”

“I was on a roll,” Khan grins, as she describes her second win. “I felt really good. Also challenged.” 

University of Maryland Energy Summit

Speaker – “Humbling”

Meanwhile, Khan was writing a paper for her Environmental Science minor about the meat industry. “When I got asked to speak about my paper at the Energy Summit, it wasn’t even finished. But my advisor looked out for me and approved the abstract. My department supported me all the way.”

International Consulting Program

Prague – “Eye-opening”

Because Khan had won cash prizes in both competitions, she was able to realize her dream of studying abroad. “It was my first time traveling out of the country. I learned so much. It was amazing actually going to work in a country I never even thought I’d visit. Supply chain is so international, I think study abroad is necessary.”

International Business Forum

Speaker – “Inspiring”

Khan came back from Prague feeling “re-inspired.” She signed up for independent study, and before she knew it, she was speaking at an international forum along with her mentor, David Berdish. The subject was water distribution in southern Africa. “We got lots of positive feedback,” Khan says. “I finally felt like I was tying things all together.” 

Young Men’s Association in Fashion Scholarship Fund

Competitor – “Gratifying”

“My advice is to say yes to everything, because it will help you figure out what you want to do.” This may explain why Khan recently ended up in a fashion competition, writing about how to transform Macy’s supply chain. She was the only student outside the fashion department who participated.

“VCU is so invested in students,” she grins widely. “I can say that because of what happened to me. They have so many resources, but it’s up to you to seize them. If you do, the sky’s the limit.”

To support students like Mehreen Kahn or the Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics, contact Shannon Duvall, 804-828-1035 or

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