Supply chain management student uses past experience to excel in her field

Published on: February 7, 2024
Jessica Vazquez head shot
GTCC student Jessica Vazquez is combining her talent in supply chain management with her passion for baking, with the hopes of one day opening her own cake decorating business.


Jessica Vazquez has been part of the Guilford Technical Community College family for many years. She attended GTCC briefly in 2015 before joining the Marine Corps. However, after her time serving, Vazquez would return to the college and finish her education.

It was Vazquez’s time in the Marine Corps that gave her an idea of what she wanted to pursue once she returned to school. After making it through bootcamp, Vazquez was assigned to managing the logistics of ammunitions on the west coast, where she was stationed.

“They threw me in it,” said Vazquez, explaining that she had no prior experience with logistics before her assignment came through. “But I discovered I was good at it, and I enjoyed doing it.”

Vazquez spent four years in the Marine Corps, where she was stationed in Japan as well as the United States. In Japan, she was the logistics manager on base and helped with operations of any personnel, ammunitions, vehicles, and more. While in Japan, she also gave birth to her son.

After returning home to the United States, Vazquez turned toward education once again. Unsure of her future path, and a new mother, she decided two things: first, that she needed a hobby, and second, that she would pursue nursing at GTCC.

Only one of these goals panned out, but it was for the better. Vazquez enrolled in GTCC’s nursing program, but after one year, she realized it wasn’t for her.

“They say you have to have a passion for nursing, and I didn’t,” said Vazquez. “When I was getting out of the Marine Corps, I panicked, and nursing was kind of a go-to for me. I jumped on it too fast, but I’m glad I slowed it down and realized it wasn’t for me.”

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During her time as a nursing student, Vazquez decided to make baking her hobby, as it was something she enjoyed and was a way to spend time with her son. Baking eventually turned into cake decorating, and before long, Vazquez was creating custom cakes as a side business.

Once Vazquez decided to switch gears from nursing, she realized she could take her logistics experience and combine it with her passion for baking. It was then that she decided to enroll in GTCC’s supply chain management program, with the long-term goal of starting her own cake decorating business.

“I was good at logistics, so I figured, why not?” explained Vazquez. “And with the business I want to create one day, I realized I could be my own logistics manager.”

Vazquez is set to graduate from the program in Spring 2024. She will graduate with her associate degree in supply chain management. She is also enrolled in the baking and pastries certificate program within the culinary department, and she will graduate from that program in 2025.

Once she graduates, Vazquez hopes to find a job in supply chain management, with the help of GTCC instructor Karen Pentz.

“Dr. Pentz is really there for you,” said Vazquez. “The program is very hands-on, it’s very organized. And with her, she is always willing to work with you. She’s a very realistic teacher, and she sets you up to succeed.”

With a supply chain management degree under her belt, Vazquez foresees a promising future in the field, with the eventual hopes of starting her own business and using her education to propel her dreams forward.

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