Rachael Larson

Each year, the Industrial Supply Association awards $10,000 to a senior in an undergraduate industrial distribution program recognized for its significance by the association. This year’s recipient of the Gary L. Buffington Memorial Scholarship is Western Michigan University senior Rachel Larson.


The scholarship, which was also awarded to a WMU student last year, is a memorial to the

Industrial Distribution Association’s Executive Vice President Gary L. Buffington. Buffington dedicated three decades of service and leadership to industrial distribution. The ISA hopes to find scholarship candidates that reflect Buffington’s ideals of high educational performance, leadership and community service; the ISA found all of these qualities in Larson.


The award will be given to Larson on April 14 at the ISA’s national convention in Denver, Colorado, where she will be able to network with roughly 1,500 industry representatives.


“It is truly an honor to be associated with Gary L. Buffington,” Larson, an integrated supply management and computer information systems major looking to graduate in May of 2018, said.


Larson is actively involved with Bronco Force, Alpha Lambda Delta, APICS and mentoring.


Larson interviewed for the Buffington scholarship at 7:10 a.m. on March 10 over spring break. Around noon that same day, she received an email of congratulations from the ISA community that she received the award.


“I was with my family upon receiving the email, so tears and congratulatory noises erupted afterwards. I felt completely validated and supported when everything sunk in,” Larson said. “Up until this point, I was forming a path that interested and reflected who I am as a person and it feels incredible to have a large, successful community publicly and financially support you.”


For someone who has worked so hard and been so involved with her coursework and studies, a moment like this can be incredible involved in that student’s journey, Larson said.


As mentioned before, Larson is heavily involved in various organizations on campus.


“The opportunities Bronco Force has given me has definitely set me apart from others. Currently, I have my Six Sigma Green Belt, and I was a Bronco Force Consultant all before the age of 21,” Larson noted about her accomplishments. “These are accomplishments supply chain enthusiasts strive for after graduate school.”


In addition to her extracurriculars, Larson’s class involvement was just as important, she said.  


“Beyond my resume, the education and relationships I have with professors helped form me into the person I am today,” Larson said. “During my conference call, I was asked five questions within a 20 minute time frame, so there was very little time for thinking or hesitation. Without my education and professors, I would not have been as exposed to this industry as much as I have now.”


As Larson now approaches the end of her undergraduate years and is gaining national attention, there are a lot of different directions she could go after graduating.


“As I approach graduation, I have an open mind for the rest of my life,” Larson said. “The world changes within seconds, and I can only hope to continue to pursue my passions and enjoy the opportunities and experiences that present themselves.”

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