May 13, 2019

Not one, not two, but three majors

Muqing Li found a home-away-from-home at UW-Superior. "Everyone was so friendly and easy to get to know. Originally, I planned to start at UWS and then transfer to UW-Madison, but I liked it so much that I decided to stay."

Muqing Li found a home-away-from-home at UW-Superior. "Everyone was so friendly and easy to get to know. Originally, I planned to start at UWS and then transfer to UW-Madison, but I liked it so much that I decided to stay."

From Shanghai to Superior, Muqing Li found a whole new world of opportunity.

When Muqing Li crosses the commencement stage at Wessman Arena on May 18, she will graduate with not one, not two, but three majors. In four years, she has majored in transportation and logisticssupply chain management and international business.

Muqing’s accomplishments are impressive, but even more so when taking into account that she struggled with the English language and had to overcome a healthy dose of culture shock when she arrived at UW-Superior as a new student. She grew up in Shanghai, China, a densely populated city of more than 26 million people with temperatures that rarely dip below 38 degrees in the winter months. Imagine the shock of arriving in a northern Wisconsin community of less than 30,000 people, and only returning once to China during her four years of college.

“It was a little intimidating, but people here were so friendly and easy to get to know,” she said. “That helped a lot. Originally, I thought I would come to UW-Superior for my first year and then transfer to UW-Madison, but I liked it here so much that I decided to stay.”

Muqing not only discovered new people and a new community at UWS, she also discovered a new area of study that is now her passion – transportation and logistics, and supply chain management.

“I had never even heard of it before, so I went to the department office to talk to a professor about it,” she said. “I met with Professor Mei Cao and she answered a lot of my questions and even hired me as a student assistant. All of the professors in the transportation and logistics department are amazing. I feel like I’m here because of all of them.”

Muqing seized every opportunity while at UWS. She went on three study abroad trips to Poland, Scotland and Ghana, as well as several trips through the Transportation and Logistics Student Club. Among the highlights was competing with a team of students in the Council of Supply Chain Management Milwaukee Roundtable Case Study Competition in which they won first prize. She also completed a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), researching and presenting original research on autonomous trucking.

Last summer, she had an invaluable internship opportunity with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in Milwaukee, where she worked on the Foxconn project. While there, she came up with a process improvement idea that was implemented.

“I mainly worked with the construction management team,” said Muqing. “My supervisor gave me the opportunity to not only do research, but actually do some of the planning work, as well. I was really proud that they adopted my idea for a block mapping system to help better manage and track contractors’ work. That’s what I love about supply chain management — it’s all about problem solving and helping companies make improvements.”

Muqing said that one of the things she had to learn while in college was how to be independent.

“In China, our culture is very different. My parents planned out and took care of most everything for me, but once I got here, I had to learn how to take initiative myself and not be afraid to try new things,” she said. “Honestly, I think my biggest accomplishment is getting out of my comfort zone.”

After graduation, Muqing has another paid internship in Farmington with Peerless Plastic. She also plans to apply to graduate school.

“My ultimate goal is to become an expert in supply chain management,” like my professors. “They have truly been the best and I am so grateful to them for everything.”

UW-Superior’s Transportation & Logistics and Supply Chain Management program is among the most distinctive and highly-regarded in the United States, offering students rigorous preparation for careers in a rapidly growing industry. Students benefit from the location of the University in a major international transportation hub that serves world markets using all five modes of transportation.

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