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Elise Chung Receives 2020 James R. Meindl Student Leadership Award

Elise Chung

Elise has established herself as a student leader and role model for the Global Supply Chain Management department at the CSUSM College of Business Administration. Not only has she dedicated herself to her studies and maintained a major GPA of 4.0, but she has also dedicated herself to serving her fellow students. Elise took the initiative to begin tutoring her classmates and underclassmen for free in order to help those who were struggling with the course material. She has activated the Global Supply Chain Management Society as the organization’s president, providing networking, speaker, and career recruiting events for its members. She has also personally mentored multiple students who have, ­­since receiving her encouragement, pursued active leadership roles in the student organization. In recognition of her servant leadership at CSUSM, she will receive the James R. Meindl award and a grant of $700 generously sponsored by Emilie and Mark Hersh. The CLIMB selection committee were impressed with Elise’s poise and maturity. “She showed an appreciation for learning from her leadership experiences, both good and bad, and evolving into an empowering young leader who mentored and others” observed Dr. Raj Pillai, Executive Director of CLIMB.  

Looking back at her academic success in CoBA, it is hard to imagine the circuitous path that led her to finding her home at CSUSM. From a young age, Elise knew that she wanted to pursue a career that would allow her to help others. Growing up in a household disrupted by family members’ addiction and substance abuse, she set out to become a doctor in hopes of being able to help others. She pursued a degree in biochemistry at the UCSD, where in her second year she began volunteering and interning at local hospitals. She soon realized the heavy emotional toll of working with terminally ill patients in the healthcare industry and decided that she needed a new career path. She explored many new roles which included a pharmacy tech, a marketing and events coordinator, and finally a lab position at a drug and pharmacogenetics facility. These new opportunities exposed her to the world of business and she soon realized her passion for supply chain and operations.

Elise began her second chance at her degree at Palomar College where she earned her associates degree and then transferred to CSUSM. To continue her pursuit of helping others, she began forming study sessions and offering free tutoring sessions to classmates. She volunteered at college events and also got involved as a leader in the Global Supply Chain Management Society. Offering guidance and assistance to her fellow students allowed her to make an impact. “I know exactly how it feels to struggle, to feel lost, to fail, and to not know who or where to turn to. I wanted to be that stalwart for success in others.” As president of the Supply Chain Society she has established herself as mentor and example for her classmates. In her senior year, she obtained a coveted internship at Thermo Fisher Scientific, where she also secured a proposal for her Senior Experience Project. She again is working as the student leader of her team project and is exposing her teammates to valuable networking opportunities at the bio-tech company.

Now that she is reaching the finish line of graduation, Elise is setting new goals for her career. “Tutoring, teaching, and helping others find their path in life has inspired me to continue my education further. My ultimate professional goal is to complete a PhD in industrial engineering or data analytics, with the intention of becoming a full-time professor. Hopefully, I’ll make my way back to CSUSM, the campus which has given so much back to me.”