MHEDA Congratulates Honor Scholarship Recipients

MHEDA would like to thank those who contributed to the 2023 Honor Scholarship in collaboration with the Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc. (MHEFI). We also congratulate the three winners who have worked hard and proven themselves as promising material handling professionals. Great job to Corbin Fowler, Jonathan Graves and Kelsey Kempes!

MHEFI ( is an independent nonprofit organization that has the goal of enticing students to pursue careers in the logistics, supply chain and material handling sectors by offering financial support. MHEFI has helped more than 1,000 students and educators fulfill their goals.

Corbin Fowler

Fowler is a senior industrial distribution student at Texas A&M University with a minor in business. He is a committee member of the Professional Association for Industrial Distribution. One of his professors named, Evan Vestal, recommended that he apply for the Honor Scholarship. This professor had served as a mentor along with the ID department at the university, supporting his academic journey. Whether it has been through letters of recommendation, advice or financial support, he’s been grateful for the relationships.

“I am so grateful to be receiving this scholarship. It is allowing me to focus on my academics and future career, and for that, I will forever be thankful,” Fowler said.

He takes pride in his accomplishment of being the treasurer for Beta Upsilon Chi (BYX) at his university. This is a Christian men’s organization where he established a scholarship of his own to help its members with any financial issues that may come up throughout the year, and this fund also covers any mental health or counseling they may need.

Fowler thoroughly enjoys building relationships and solving complex problems to make systems more efficient and effective. This is part of why he loves the material handling industry. Over the summer, while he interned with an electrical distributor, he learned that there were countless opportunities and plenty of career paths that the industry has to offer. He also loved that the people were genuine, humble and generally enjoyable to be around.

For young people, it can be difficult to know what direction to go in with so many opportunities and career options on their radars. Fowler is excited by the prospects that the material handling sector brings and plans to enter the workforce after graduating. First, he’ll complete an internship with General Electric this summer. After that, he’ll finish his degree while looking for the first job of his career. He’s hoping to hone in on the specific role and type of company he wants to work with and is planning to narrow down his options and get a little guidance on this before he graduates. In the long run, he has his sights set on an MBA and being a leader at the company he ends up with.

Jonathan Graves

Graves is a senior industrial distribution student at the University of West Florida. Like Fowler, he had a great professor who recommended that he apply for the Honor Scholarship. His path leading to supply chain management actually came from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. He was struggling to decide what to major in when thinking about college. He searched through the endless selection and had a piqued interest in supply chain management since he had been hearing about so many supply chain issues in his every-day life. Not only was it interesting, but he found on UWF’s website that the majority of supply chain students were able to get job offers before they even graduated college.

The fact that there would always be a job for him in the industry he chose was just an added bonus. He has always had a passion for problem-solving and logistics oriented projects; it only took a pandemic to realize what he could do with those skills and interests.

“I’m just really excited for the future of supply chain and to see how we come back from the COVID era where things were struggling for a while,” he said. “I’m excited to see how we can bounce back and build resiliency within our supply chains.”

He had the privilege to compete at Iowa State University in a supply chain competition sponsored by the National Association of State Procurement Officers. On top of this, he’s thrilled to have recently secured an internship with an Amazon fulfillment center in Lexington, Kentucky. He will work as an intern manager and will be shadowing the center’s manager as well as working on projects in the warehouse. After graduating, Graves would like to pursue a master’s degree in business analytics.

Kelsey Kempes

Kempes is a senior industrial engineering student at Bradley University with a concentration in supply chain analytics. She received a scholarship through MHEFI last year and was eager and motivated to apply for another this year. Another reason this spark was ignited was the excitement she felt after attending the ProMat show in Chicago in March. All of the technology, creativity and innovation at the show confirmed her passion for the material handling industry.

Her proudest accomplishment thus far is her college journey and the success she has had throughout it. She is the vice president of the American Production and Inventory Control Society chapter and vice president of Alpha Pi Mu, an industrial engineering honors society, at Bradley. She has completed two internships focused on industrial and manufacturing engineering. She works in her classes to make sure she’s getting the most out of her education and that it will carry her into her career.

Next for her is an internship with Caterpillar this summer in their manufacturing, supply chain and order-to-delivery program. She is excited to learn more from this internship and to grow.

The reason for her interest in supply chain management is that she enjoys how different teams have to come together to accomplish one goal. From her internships thus far, she’s learned the vitality of clear communication across departments and knows that it’s all the more important in material handling.

In the near future, following her Caterpillar internship, she is excited to return to college to complete her degree. Following graduation, she hopes to start her career in the supply chain industry. Although she doesn’t know what she’ll be doing or who she’ll be working with, she’s excited to see where the opportunities and the fruition of her hard work will lead her.

“I wanted to say thank you to the industrial engineering department at Bradley University, especially Dr. Chen and Dr. Yoo, for their encouragement and guidance in my academic and professional career thus far, and also to MHEDA and MHEFI for choosing me as the recipient of the scholarship. I’m very grateful for it,” Kempes said.

Want to Learn More about the Honor Scholarship?

One of the greatest challenges facing the material handling industry today is the skills gap and awareness among younger generations of the lucrative opportunities that await them within the industry. That’s why MHEDA takes part in this scholarship opportunity to spread awareness and encourage supply chain and manufacturing students, as well as those interested in getting into the industry, to continue on their path. It’s also crucial that manufacturers and distributors recruit only the best talent that can keep up with the fast-paced changes and technological advances that we see every day.

This scholarship not only identifies those who have a bright future, but it’s a great encouragement that gives them a boost to keep reaching their goals. Two to three $5,000 scholarships are awarded each year, depending on the donations that MHEDA receives from members. Traditional undergraduate students may apply, as well as staff members or close relatives of MHEDA member businesses.

Students who are studying areas such as, but not limited to, engineering, technology or business with a focus on supply chain management or material handling are eligible to apply. They must have above a B grade average and have been enrolled in the last full school year with no interruptions. The full parameters and requirements of the scholarship can be found at

Scholarship prizes, which vary from $1,500 to $6,000, must be utilized to cover the full-time student’s tuition, fees and books. Students can compete for one of the several scholarships the Foundation offers by submitting just one application. Scholarships are one-year scholarships, but past recipients are eligible to reapply each year.

For those who are interested in the 2024 scholarship, it’s never too early to start preparing! The scholarship process starts with a nomination and includes a resume, white paper or case study, among other options. The scholarship will open on Nov. 15, 2023, and close on Jan. 31, 2024. The winners will be announced on April 30, 2024.

If you’re not a student or an interested employee but still want to be involved, you can contribute a donation to the fund on the same scholarship program page listed above. Any amount contributed is tax deductible and greatly appreciated!