Zelbst Named COBA's First Female Distinguished Professor
Feb. 9, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Campbell Atkins
Exploring Pamela Zelbst’s full body of work throughout her innovative career can be a daunting task. Her diverse roles in multiple fields and the vast impact she has had on members of those communities has earned her Sam Houston State University’s Distinguished Faculty Member award, making her the first woman in the College of Business and Administration (COBA) to earn the distinction.
“I love to teach because the students excite me,” said the professor of supply chain management. “It is great to be in a classroom and look at your students as they nod their heads and understand what’s going on. I really try to let them know that the sky is the limit.”
On top of her role as professor, Zelbst is also the director of the Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship, which she founded in 2014. In this role, she engages with the community and various businesses in an effort to assist them with their marketable products and point them in the direction of resources available to them.
“We are focused on the technologies that impact our businesspeople, such as 3-D printing and robotics, and that’s primarily due to my expertise,” Zelbst said. “Forming those collaborative relationships and building that synergy is what’s most important about the center. It doesn’t matter what discipline you are in, you are always going to go to work for a business. This is a good opportunity to work with others and try to find commonality between us all.”
Her other areas of expertise include research and service. Her extensive work in the latter was recognized in 2020 when she received SHSU’s Excellence in Service Award. In addition to serving the university in many capacities, she has dedicated multiple hours to mentoring students and the younger faculty members in her department.
Zelbst is also a seasoned researcher and author with over 3,000 citations. She has collaborated on over 40 publications and her book “RFID for the Operations and Supply Chain Professional”, which she co-authored with SHSU Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Management Victor Sower, is now in its third edition.
“My philosophy is that the richest research results come from collaborations,” Zelbst said. “This philosophy helped me to contribute my field as well as to realize successful academic publication.”
Zelbst named Sower as one of her greatest mentors throughout her career.
“Pam is one of the most intelligent and hard-working individuals with whom I have been associated,” Sower said. “I am fortunate to count her as a former student who has exceeded her professors, a tireless research collaborator, a friend and a valued professional colleague. When we collaborate on writing books, conducting research, writing the reports of that research for publication, developing innovative ideas—whatever form our collaboration takes, she is always tirelessly at work to produce high quality results.”
Zelsbt was overwhelmed by the nomination, selection and ultimate feedback she received from her former students throughout the process, including Scott Golightly and Luis Alejandro Anazco Villarreal.
“What is not reflected in my resume is what Dr. Zelbst instilled in myself and other students,” Golightly said. “She created not only a hub for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking, but a space for students to work on those foundations of success.”
“Dr. Zelbst is an outstanding human being, with true appreciation for her students and all the willingness to help them succeed,” Villarreal said. “As a mentor, she encouraged me to apply for opportunities through the Center for Innovation and Technology. She helped me navigate the new environment of a new country and its job market.”
Zelbst is a non-traditional, first-generation student. She credits her husband, Charles, with encouraging her to pursue higher education after she had already started a successful business in real estate.
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