Two Ilitch School Students received scholarships to attend an American Trucking Association convention in Texas

When Zoe Graves logged into her email address one night to confirm concert tickets, she wasn't expecting another email about a scholarship from the American Trucking Association.

“I had just gotten Taylor Swift tickets, so I was already just over the moon about that,” explains Graves. “I went to check my email for the confirmation, and I had another email from the A.T.A. saying congratulations you got in and that just made the day even better.”

Headshot of Zachariah Abdulnour
Zachariah Abdulnour

Graves will be one of two global supply chain management students in Texas this October to attend Trucking U, an educational event about the latest developments in the trucking industry at no personal cost. Zachariah Abdulnour received the same award. Graves and Abdulnour will have an opportunity to network with industry professionals and learn more about the $800 billion trucking industry.

Abdulnour initially applied for the conference for a chance to grow his professional network.

“I heard about Trucking U through Wayne State professors, and at a Global Supply Chain Management Association event Trucking U participated in,” said Abdulnour. “It sounded like a great opportunity to network and meet many professionals in the trucking industry and logistics area.”

Graves has always had an interest in the trucking industry. She started her education at Wayne State before transferring to Northern Michigan University. She returned to the Ilitch School one year later to finish her degree.

“I really like Wayne State,” says Graves. "It's a big school, but not in the way that others are. I think it doesn't feel as big because of the smaller class sizes at the business school. I decided to come back because there are so many opportunities in the city of Detroit, especially for business students.”

It was in part this location that helped Graves pursue her passion for supply chain that she developed through a long-held interest in trucking.

"I'm an intern at Ryder, a commercial trucking logistics company. They have a supply chain division and I've been there since December of 2022,” explains Graves. “I was interested because my dad works there, he was a mechanic and now works in management, so I've grown up around trucks and heard him talk about working on them. When I had the opportunity to do an internship it fit right into my interests.”

At Trucking U, Graves and Abdulnour will be paired up with a mentor in the trucking industry who can and the opportunities it holds. She will also be able to explore an exhibit hall filled with innovative trucking technology and innovations.

As Graves prepares for a career in this industry, she has a lot to look forward to.

“It looks like such a great networking opportunity. We get to go to a couple of policy sessions and get paired with a mentor. It's the perfect opportunity for me to find my way into exactly what I want to do after graduation,” says Graves. “I'm hoping to go into logistics, so I want to work with part suppliers or manufacturers to manage all the routes and transportation and drivers.

“There’s not a lot of places to learn and not a lot of people who are going to have that type of experience or that type of expertise. Getting to meet them is a once in a lifetime opportunity that then I would be able to bring into any position or role that I end up going into.”

As for Abdulnour, he would encourage every student to “apply to everything you possibly can! Professional organizations are always looking to include current students and interested participants in events like this. These events help build a solid network outside of school.”

View all news stories