To many people, the discipline of “operations” calls to mind the mundane movements of assembly lines, or perhaps the landscape of boxes in a warehouse. But Dr. Sheneeta White sees operations differently, and brings her perspective to her students at both the undergraduate and MBA level.

Dr. White began her education in her home state of Louisiana, earning her B.S. in computer science from Xavier University of Louisiana. From there, she moved to North Carolina to work as an IT specialist at IBM. Though the job was good, White knew she wasn’t done learning. She used the company’s help to get her M.B.A. from North Carolina State, and then kept going to earn her Ph.D. at Virginia Tech.

So how did a southerner end up in the Midwest? As with so many things in life, it was through a professional connection. White is a member of the Ph.D. Project, an organization for minorities on the path to careers in management. As a program participant, White met Dr. Janine Sanders, a member of the OCB faculty. Through Sanders, White heard about the great programs and faculty at UST; upon visiting, she found not only that those claims were genuine, but also that St. Thomas “felt like a good fit.” She liked the UST atmosphere so much, in fact, that she accepted the job offer on the spot.

Dr. White’s passion for the field of operations is obvious from the first time you meet her, whether you’re in one of her undergraduate or graduate classes. She was initially drawn to operations during her own MBA experience, working as a teaching assistant for an operations professor at North Carolina State.

In introducing operations, White sets out to get students to see the change she saw when she first started studying the field. She loves the challenge and idea of getting students to see the world through a different lens once they realize that operations affects many of the processes around them on a day to day basis.

Though Dr. White has found Minnesota to be a friendly, welcoming place to live, there’s still something missing: southern food. Where Minnesota has cheese curds, Louisiana has cheese grits. We have walleye; they have catfish. Her devotion to good southern cooking even drives her to special-order spices to get just the right taste at home.