Student delves into supply chain issues, lands X-Force internship

The program is sponsored by the Department of Defense.

Businesses struggled to meet customer demand as products became difficult to access in the early days of COVID-19 as the pandemic shutdown overseas manufacturing or delayed or canceled shipping orders.

Conversations about “supply chain issues” gradually moved from the business arena to common talk among everyday people as the problems continued.

For Max Shuey of Farmersville, supply chain management would eventually become his college major.

“I went to Valley View High School and always stayed busy,” Shuey said. “I played sports, was in National Honor Society and had summer jobs.”

As graduation day drew nearer, Shuey was looking at colleges and ended up getting accepted to Miami University in Oxford. Though he had no idea what his major would be, he liked the idea of attending the liberal arts school – the second oldest in the state.

“I decided to declare my major as strategic communications in my freshman year,” Shuey said. “I had plans of double majoring or minoring but wanted to wait until the right time to decide.”

In 2020, during the second semester of Shuey’s freshman year at Miami, that time came. He and all of his fellow Miami students were sent home to quarantine as the nation dealt with the ravages of Covid-19 and it gave Shuey more time to think.

“I was home and all you would hear about was how messed up the supply chain suddenly was,” Shuey said. “People were losing their jobs and import and export was affected. I really wanted to dig in and do research on this subject.”

When Shuey was finally able to return to campus in person, he decided to declare supply chain management as his minor. Once he did, he searched for as many real world supply chain experiences as he could find.

He signed up for an opportunity to travel across the country for 22 days to breweries, distilleries and cideries to learn how they source, make and pack their products. He also earned six college credits.

“The trip was a great experience, and I learned a lot,” Shuey said. “I knew so much more about supply chain after returning back home.”

This summer, as Shuey prepares to begin his senior year, he is stepping up his experience by joining 139 other undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Defense, (DOD) X-Force internship program, which kicked off early last month.

“The 2022 NSIN (National Security Innovation Network) X-Force Fellowship is a summer internship program,” said Ian Haynes, who has been the NSIN University program director for the past year. “It provides students with a chance to serve their country by solving real-world national security problems in collaboration with the U.S. military.”

Fellows were chosen for the program through an application and interview process, and it is designed to give participants an idea of what it’s like to work for the DOD. Haynes said Shuey stood out both because he had an entrepreneurial background and had a strong interest in supply chain management. He was chosen to join a team at Wright Patterson Air Force base working on real world challenges affecting supply chain today.

“Now that I have this experience I would love to apply for a job at the base after graduation,” Shuey said. “It’s a real opportunity to solve problems and help people.”

Shuey’s fallback is law school since he said he has always been somewhat interested in that as well. He plans to also study for and take the LSAT (Law School Administration Test) late this summer.

“Going back to my supply chain classes after seeing real businesses run and solving real problems through X-Force has made everything make so much more sense,” Shuey said. “It’s been very eye opening.”

And since so much is affected by supply chain issues - from the final cost of products - to the time it takes to manufacture them - to whether or not companies can retain their workforces, young supply chain professionals are in hot demand for jobs.

Shuey’s X-Force fellowship has been almost entirely remote, and his team worked for 10 weeks on solving real world issues in the supply chain world while meeting via computer. Some of these included the problems with baby formula and paper supplies during the pandemic.

“If you think about it, supply chain affects just about any product people use,” Shuey said. “When unpredictable things like Covid hit, that’s when we really see the problems and flaws. People really struggled with this so I would love to work on the supply chain in times of need and solve problems like we see today.”

For more information about the X-Force fellowship program, log on to X-Force | National Security Innovation Network (

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