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Summer internship ends with job offer for two Delta State Aviation Management students

Pictured, from left, are Carl Brinkley, instructor of Commercial Aviation; DGDC Human Resources Manager Joi Bass; Delta State Aviation Management majors John Sharp of Strugis, Miss., and Matthew Synder of Hattiesburg, Miss.; and Joe Saia, chair of the Commercial Aviation department.


INDIANOLA, Miss.—When students John Sharp and Matthew Synder entered the Aviation Management program at Delta State University, they knew little about logistics. Following a paid internship this summer at the Dollar General Distribution Center (DGDC) in Indianola, Miss., the two now have both experience and a job opportunity in the growing industry.

Sharp and Synder completed 10.5-week internships at the distribution center, which handles roughly $22 million in product each week.

According to DGDC Human Resources Manager Joi Bass, for the first six weeks, the students spent time shadowing managers within each department, providing them the opportunity to follow the flow of merchandise from check-in to ship out. In the final four weeks, the students were assigned to a specific department and gained experience as supervisor trainees.

As the internship concluded, the students were highly-praised and received job offers to continue gaining industry experience as they finish up their bachelor’s degrees in Aviation Management/Logistics at Delta State.

Joe Saia (center), chair of Delta State’s Commercial Aviation department, tours the Dollar General Distribution Center with Aviation Management majors Matthew Synder (left) and John Sharp (right).

“The logistic industry is going through a time of rapid and unprecedented transformation,” said Joe Saia, chair of the Commercial Aviation department at Delta State. “The future of logistics is paved with innovation and technology. The enthusiasm and dedication of our instructors and these students are a testimony to the success of the logistics program here at Delta State University”.

DSU Instructor of Aviation Carl Brinkley, who teaches courses for the Logistics concentration, said the department has been working to raise awareness of career opportunities within the industry.

“A lot of students don’t understand logistics, however with our close proximity to the logistics capital of the world, Memphis, there are a lot of opportunities,” said Brinkley. “We’re working to build relationships with our local partners to ensure our students leave us industry-ready, and internships are a critical part of our student’s growth. We’re proud of our students and our association with Dollar General.”

Both students said they gained valuable experience from the internship.

“It’s been a really intense learning experience,” said Sharp, a senior from Sturgis, Miss.

Synder, a native of Hattiesburg, has a background in counseling but decided to pursue a career change.

“Originally  I went to the Delta State for the Flight Operations program, but then I learned about the opportunities available within logistics,” he shared. “Mr. Brinkley saw that I was really working hard in class, and he went to bat for me and helped me to land this internship.”

For future students interested in an internship opportunity at the Dollar General Distribution Center, Sharp offered the following advice, “Take it day by day because the hours are hard but it’s a good challenge if you’re up to it. You can feel a sense of success every day you walk out the door, but it’s all about how much effort you’re willing to put in.” said Sharp

Strugis added, “You need to be flexible and willing to learn. There is a lot of learning, and there’s a lot more to learn after the 10 weeks.”

Delta State’s Department of Commercial Aviation offers a Bachelor of Commercial Aviation (BCA) in Flight Operations and Aviation Management with a concentration in Logistics, and a Master of Commercial Aviation (MCA).

To learn more about Commercial Aviation programs at Delta State, visit

For questions, e-mail, or call (662) 846-4205.