Saturday, January 20, 2018

Collection of Advice on How to Get an Academic Tenure Track Job

Since now is a busy time in the academic job application submitting/interviewing/offer making cycle I thought it would be worthwhile to provide a compilation of job search and interview tips that I have collected and written about on this blog over the years. And, later this month, I will be marking 9 years of blogging, which is a big milestone!

I have chaired 20 doctoral dissertations and placed all students well, and, most importantly, almost unanimously they have all thrived and are very successful in their chosen careers. Plus, I have chaired multiple search committees, and served on others, so I do have a lot of experience on this topic. Sometimes, honestly, I wish we could have hired all those candidates that we interviewed!

This year I believe is one with a very dynamic job market for those seeking academic positions in operations research / management science / operations management (and related disciplines), so it is an especially exciting time.

Below is information on specific job-related blogposts that I have written over the past few years with additional tips and even presentations posted in each.
  • In the blogpost: Faculty Job Candidates need to be Resilient - Some Helpful Tips I emphasize that:  One has to be energetic, positive, and enthusiastic because the department is looking for a colleague and you are also being evaluated on how good of a fit you will be in terms of research, teaching, service, and collegiality! I believe that this advice has stood the test of time and is extremely relevant. The blogpost also contains a link to an excellent presentation that one of my former doctoral students, Dr. Jose M. Cruz, entitled: "The Myths and Facts of How to Get a Tenure Track Academic Job and How to Get Tenure" . Dr. Cruz is now a tenured Associate Professor at the School of Business at the University of Connecticut.
  • In the blogpost: Tips on How to Get an Academic Job at a Business or Engineering School,  which was based on a UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter panel,  The Process of Apply for and Securing and Academic Job, I summarized the highlights of the discussions. I also included a link to the presentation given by my former doctoral student, Dr. Amir H. Masoumi, now an Assistant Professor at Manhattan College. 
  • Another blogpost with lots of great advice was also based on a panel at the Isenberg School of Management: Getting that Dream Academic Job - What We Learned from Isenberg School Panelists.
  • And, in the blogpost (one of my most accessed ones): How to Ace the Second and the First Interview for an Academic Faculty Position, I include some useful links from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Searching for an academic job, applying, interviewing, and then waiting for the outcome, plus deliberating and negotiating to secure the best possible offer, all take time, but the destination makes this journey very worthwhile.  Best of luck in your job search!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What I Am Very Much Looking Forward to in 2018!

We are in the New Year and the frigid temperatures in the Northeast USA with a pending major snowstorm make this a good time to reflect on what to look forward to in 2018.

There is much on the horizon to be excited about and thinking of all of these forthcoming events and projects is warming me today!

I just signed off on a contract with Springer to produce another edited volume on Dynamics of Disasters, which I am co-editing with my great colleagues, Professor Ilias S. Kotsireas of Wilfrid Laurier University and Professor Panos M. Pardalos of the University of Florida. This volume is a followup to our conference in Kalamata, Greece last summer and already we have some terrific contributions, all of which will be refereed. We had previously published a Springer volume in 2016 based on our conference in 2015 but, given the number of disasters, as well as the associated challenges for both researchers and practitioners, another volume is clearly warranted. Plus, working on this volume is very synergistic with the course: Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare that I will, again, be teaching this spring at the Isenberg School and am very excited about.

This will be a very busy, event-packed semester. As part of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker Series we will be hosting Professor Hari Balasubramanian of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMass Amherst on February 9. Professor Balasubramanian is an expert on healthcare and we are very much looking forward to having him kickoff our "spring" semester Speaker Series. Then, on February 23, 2017,  I am thrilled that Professor Jim Orlin of the Sloan School at MIT will be the guest speaker. Professor Orlin is renowned for his work on networks and is an INFORMS Fellow and I (and the students) are delighted that he will be coming to Isenberg! On March 23, 2017, we will welcome Dr. Les Servi of Mitre Corp, who will be speaking in our series. Dr. Servi is an INFORMS Fellow and one of the most active INFORMS members that I know. We are eagerly awaiting his visit and presentation. We are also finalizing a speaking date for Dr. Davit Khachatryan, an Isenberg PhD alum in Management Science, who has worked at PWC and is now at Babson College.  The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter started a fabulous initiative last semester of interviewing our speakers and posting the interviews on youtube. We hope to continue this new tradition this semester.

Given that I am the Faculty Advisor of the wonderful UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter I try to be present at all the speakers' talks and host the lunches as well. This always requires some juggling but as operations researchers we tend to be experts at scheduling. Below is a photo of this year's Chapter Officers and several members.


On February 16, 2018, I will be speaking at the Foisie School of Business at WPI, and was invited by my former doctoral student, Dr. Sara Saberi, who is now a professor there. She has terrific colleagues and I am looking forward to speaking there very much.

On February 24, 2018, the Isenberg Women in Business Conference will take place, always one of my favorite Isenberg events, which has become an annual tradition. The speakers, panelists, discussions plus lunch and snacks are all amazing!

And, on March 8-9, 2018, I will be a keynote speaker at the Vinepa conference in Italy and will speak on cybercrime and cybersecurity.
That will begin my "spring break" which will also include giving lectures at Lancaster University in England!

On April 6, 2018, I will be at the University of Wisconsin Madison to speak in the colloquium series at the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. What a marvelous group of speakers this department has lined up and I am deeply honored to be part of their series.

I may have one or two conferences in April - still undecided as to whether I will be going or will have doctoral students go.

In early May, it will be that joyful time of year in which we see our students obtain their degrees at the Isenberg School and UMass Amherst graduation ceremonies - a true highlight of academic and personal achievements  as well as a very celebratory time for all concerned.

And, on May 16-18, 2018, I will be giving a keynote at the Swiss Transport Research Conference in idyllic Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland. The conference organizers are flying me business class and providing accommodations for a week, which is humbling, to say the least.

The summer will be busy with other opportunities, conferences, and, of course, a lot of research and mentoring of students, and, come Fall, the wonderful academic cycle will begin anew. September 11-13, 2018, OR60 is taking place at Lancaster University in England  and I will be one of three plenary speakers. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

It Was a Great Operations Research Year!

As the New 2018 Year approaches, and the holidays are behind us, it is only fitting to reflect on the past year.

It was a great Operations Research Year!

When I look back, some of the highlights that come to mind, and also bring on a big smile, include:

  •  Seeing my 19th PhD student, Sara Saberi, receive her PhD at UMass Amherst commencement ceremonies:
 

  • Celebrating with my former Isenberg School undergrad OIM student Karen Li, on her receipt of the 21st Century Leaders Award from UMass Amherst, and then having our paper published in Operations Research for Health Care. Joining Karen and me in the photo below are: Isenberg Dean Mark A. Fuller, Amherst Fire Chief Tim Nelson, and Associate Dean of Engineering Tilman Wolf.


  • Having dinner at the UMass Club in beautiful Boston last summer with 3 recipients of the INFORMS Judith Liebman Award: Dr. Amir H. Masoumi, Dr. Michael Prokle, and to be Dr. Thiago Serra:


  • Spending 2 months as a Summer Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and getting to see many students (present and former), colleagues, and even relatives while living and working in Cambridge again; below I am with two of my doctoral students: Deniz Besik and Pritha Dutta.
 
  • Having my 20th PhD student, Shivani Shukla, successfully defend her PhD, and assume a tenure track Assistant Professorship in California: 


Enjoying speaking and seeing many friends and former students at numerous conferences including the humanitarian operations one in Vienna, Austria  (organized by my former doctoral student, Professor Tina Wakolbinger), the Dynamics of Disasters one that I co-organized with Professors Panos M. Pardalos and Illias S. Kotsireas in Kalamata, Greece, the fabulous IFORS conference in Quebec City, and the INFORMS one, which amazingly took place and was very successfully not that long after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston:

 





It was also a tremendous year for research for our supernetworks group with multiple publications in journals, interviews, and also publications in the popular press and interviews in the media.

And, of course, it was truly special to see our great UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter being recognized with the Magna Cum Laude Award at the INFORMS Conference in Houston!



I wonder what kind of Operations Research adventures and discoveries 2018 will bring!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Congratulations and Kudos to the Supernetwork Team at the Isenberg School of Management

Every year, at this time, as the Center Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks, I prepare a Congratulations and Kudos to the Supernetwork Team.
 
2017 was a fabulous year for the Supernetwork Team, one in which we continued to have a global reach and impact! It gives me great pleasure to highlight below some of the accomplishments and achievements of the Center Associates of the Virtual Center for Supernetwork in the past year.
Congratulations to Center Associate Dr. Patrizia Daniele of the University of Catania in Italy on her promotion to Full Professor! Also, it is not very often that there is a paper with 4 female co-authors. I was delighted that the paper, "Cybersecurity Investments with Nonlinear Budget Constraints and Conservation Laws: Variational Equilibrium, Marginal Expected Utilities, and Lagrange Multipliers," co-authored with Gabriella Colajanni, Dr. Patrizia Daniele, and Dr. Sofia Giuffre,  is now in press in the International Transactions in Operational Research. Dr. Daniele took part in the 3rd Dynamics of Disasters conference,  in early July, 2017 in Kalamata, Greece, and jointly presented a paper with Emilio Alvarez-Flores, a former undergraduate Isenberg School alum, a student of Dr. Daniele's, Valeria Caruso, and me, on game theory and disaster relief.

It was a pleasure co-organizing the Dynamics of Disasters conference with Dr. Ilias Kotsireas from the Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and Dr. Panos M. Pardalos of the University of Florida. Also speaking at this conference were Center Associates: Dr. Dmytro Matsypura of the University of Sydney in Australia, whose recent paper, "Wildfire Fuel Management: Network-based Models and Optimization of Prescribed Burning," co-authored with Dr. Oleg Prokopyev of the University of Pittsburgh,  was published in the European Journal of Operational Research, and Dr. Ladimer S. Nagurney of the University of Hartford, who spoke on disaster communications. We had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Matsypura at the Isenberg School, his PhD alma mater,  through the UMass Amherst INFORMS Speakers Series on November 3, since he was on sabbatical this Fall.

Also presenting at the Dynamics of Disasters conference was Timo Gossler, a doctoral student of Center Associate Dr. Tina Wakolbinger of the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria. Dr. Wakolbinger was the organizer of the fabulous 2017 EURO HOpe conference, which focused on humanitarian operations and which took place at her university, shortly before the Dynamics of Disasters conference.

Center Associate Dr. Stavros Siokos, who is the Managing Partners of Astarte Capital Partners, based in London, England, deserves a big congratulations! His company was recognized as a "Most Innovative Manager of 2017" by the Institutional Asset Management Awards at a ceremony at the Pierre Hotel in NYC in November. And he was featured on the cover of the Finance Monthly with an interview in the November Issue!

Congratulations also to Center Associate Dr. Shivani Shukla, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation: Game Theory for Security Investments in Cyber and Supply Chain Networks, and assumed a tenure track Assistant Professor position at the University of San Francisco in California. She is my 20th PhD student to receive her doctorate. The paper, "Multifirm Models of Cybersecurity Investment Competition vs. Cooperation and Network Vulnerability," that we co-authored, was published in the European Journal of Operational Research in 2017.

Kudos to Center Associate Dr. Sara Saberi of the Foisie School of Business at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts, who is lead author of the paper, "A Competitive Multiperiod Supply Chain Network Model with Freight Carriers and Green Technology Investment Option," with Center Associate Dr. Jose M. Cruz of the University of Connecticut, her colleague, Dr. Joe Sarkis, and me, which is in press in the European Journal of Operational Research. Dr. Saberi presented this work at the MSOM conference at the UNC Flagler School in June. Dr. Saberi also received a grant from APICS joint with Dr. Sarkis.

Center Associate Amir H. Masoumi was again heavily involved in organizing the latest Business Analytics competition at Manhattan College, which took place last May and is now an international competition. Center Associate Dr. Dong "Michelle" Li of Arkansas State University, was one of the judges. Kudos to Dr. Masoumi on his publication, "Mergers and Acquisitions in Blood Banking Systems: A Supply Chain Network Approach," that we co-authored with Center Associate Dr. Min Yu of the University of Portland, which was published in the International Journal of Production Economics in 2017. Also, Dr. Yu was a co-author of our paper, "Consumer Learning of Product Quality with Time Delay: Insights from Spatial Price Equilibrium Models with Differentiated Products," with Dr. Li, which is now in press in the journal Omega.

Congratulations to Doctoral Student Center Associate Deniz Besik, who had two papers published in 2017, one in the Journal of Global Optimization and the other in Socio-Economic Planning Sciences. This year she was elected President of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.  The chapter was recognized with its 12th award, in as many years, at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Houston in October, with the Magna Cum Laude Award  for its activities in 2016. In 2016, Doctoral Student Center Associate Pritha Dutta served as the Chapter President. Kudos also to her for receiving the first place award by a PhD student at the NEDSI conference in Springfield, MA, in March for her presentation on a game theory model for blood donations.

We welcome Mojtaba Salarpour as a Doctoral Student Center Associate. Mr. Salarpour matriculated into the Management Science doctoral program at the Isenberg School in Fall 2017 and will be working on disaster relief.

The INFORMS Houston conference, October 22-25, 2017,  served as a great venue for many Center Associates to reconvene, with participants and speakers including Center Associates Professor Patrick Qiang of Pennsylvania State University Great Valley, Professor Trisha Anderson of Texas Wesleyan University, Professor Amir H. Masoumi of Manhattan College, Professor Min Yu of the University of Portland, Professor Dmytro Matsypura of the University of Sydney in Australia, Professor Jose M. Cruz of the University of Connecticut, Professor Dong Li of Arkansas State University, Professor Sara Saberi, and Center Associates Professor Shivani Shukla as well as Deniz Besik and Pritha Dutta.

Also, articles that we authored on topics from blood supply chains to investing in infrastructure to disaster relief and game theory to FirstNet in The Conversation were reprinted in many major publications outlets and I had the pleasure of being interviewed for multiple radio news shows in the US and in Canada. Finally, it was wonderful to be back at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University as a Summer Fellow and to also speak at the ORBerlin Conference in September!

Thanks for the support! We wish everyone a Marvelous New 2018 Year!

Below are links to examples of some of our recent publications.
 
Multifirm Models of Cybersecurity Investment Competition vs. Cooperation and Network Vulnerability,
Anna Nagurney and Shivani Shukla, European Journal of Operational Research 260(2): (2017), pp 588-600.
 
A Competitive Multiperiod Supply Chain Network Model with Freight Carriers and Green Technology Investment Option,
Sara Saberi, Jose M. Cruz, Joseph Sarkis, and Anna Nagurney, in press in the European Journal of Operational Research.
 
Quality in Competitive Fresh Produce Supply Chains with Application to Farmers’ Markets,
Deniz Besik and Anna Nagurney, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences 60: (2017), pp 62-76.
 
Mergers and Acquisitions in Blood Banking Systems: A Supply Chain Network Approach,
Amir H. Masoumi, Min Yu, and Anna Nagurney, International Journal of Production Economics 193: (2017), pp 406-421.
 

Cybersecurity Investments with Nonlinear Budget Constraints and Conservation Laws: Variational Equilibrium, Marginal Expected Utilities, and Lagrange Multipliers,
Gabriella Colajanni, Patrizia Daniele, Sofia Giuffre, and Anna Nagurney, in press in the International Transactions in Operational Research.
 


Hospital Competition in Prices and Quality: A Variational Inequality Framework,
Anna Nagurney and Karen Li, Operations Research for Health Care 15: (2017), pp 91-101.
    
               
 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

We Celebrated a Great Semester for the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter with a Fabulous Party!

In academic circles this is a very busy time of the year with the end of the Fall semester upon us, final exams ahead of us, and with both faculty and students finishing up numerous projects and classwork. 

At the same time, one needs to celebrate accomplishments of the wonderful community that is the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter! I have had the privilege and fun of being its Faculty Advisor since 2004, which means that I have seen many of our Operations Research and Management Science students graduate with their PhDs and some are even Full Professors now (Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, for example, who was my PhD student and helped to found the chapter in 2004).

This semester, the student chapter hosted spectacular speakers: Dr. Shannon Roberts, Dr. Renata Konrad, and Dr. Dmytro Matsypura, and  began an exciting initiative of establishing a UMass INFORMS youtube channel, which now has two videos of interviews with the latter two speakers. The interviews, thus far, have been conducted by this year's Chapter President, Deniz Besik, and last year's President, Pritha Dutta, with technological assistance in videotaping and video production provided by Rodrigo Mercado and Mojtaba Salarpour. Another highlight this semester was having the chapter recognized with a Magna Cum Laude Award from INFORMS at the Annual Conference in Houston, Texas, October 22-25, 2017!

Yesterday, our wonderful end of the semester party took place at the Isenberg School. The terrific Chapter Officers, led by Deniz Besik, prepared the lovely poster below announcing the party.
In my "spare" time (while chairing a faculty search committee, finishing up two papers and working on another one, plus getting ready for a dissertation proposal defense, in addition to teaching and various other service commitments and writing letters for 5 job candidates), I was getting ready for the party.

I managed to bake some goodies:
and my husband, after spending most of the day at his Engineering School's student design project presentations,  helped to arrange and heat up the pierogies/varenyky and the sausage, which are always very popular. He also helped me to carry the food to the Isenberg School from our car:
The students had extended personal invitations to many faculty and the turnout was fabulous. Since the students are operations researchers, they are also excellent when it comes to the logistics of  procuring various dishes and refreshments for the party and even had a special cake!
Faculty and students  came from my Operations and Information Management Department, including the Department Chair, Dr. Agha Iqbal Ali,  and my colleagues: Dr. Ahmed Ghoniem and Dr. Senay Solak, as well as from the College of Engineering from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, including Dr. Ana Muriel, Dr. Erin Baker, and Dr. Hari Balasubramanian,  and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and from Computer Science! It was very special to also see Dr. Peter Haas, one of our newest faculty members, who spent decades at IBM, is an INFORMS Fellow, and is now at UMass Amherst!  Given that both Computer Science and the College of Engineering are on the opposite side of the UMass Amherst campus from the Isenberg School, and that it was quite cold yesterday, the great attendance speaks to the special community that the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter is part of and has also helped to build. The students at the party are from the US, Mexico, Turkey, China, Greece, Scotland, Iran, Pakistan,  India, Sierra Leone,  and Iran - a true United Nations.
 
The camaraderie was fabulous as were the appetites.

A big thank you to the amazing UMass Amherst INFORMS Student  Chapter Officers for such a warm and fun event! Below is one of my favorite selfies ever, thanks to Destenie Nock!
Best of luck to everyone on a great end of the Fall semester and early wishes for a Fantastic New Year!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Great Isenberg Transportation Class Field Trip - Driving Simulator and Human Performance Lab

A few years ago, a student in my Transportation & Logistics class told me that a highlight of his college career was going on field trips in my course. I truly believe that, if at all possible, a course should include such experiences. Scheduling may be an issue, but where there is a will, there should be a way!

Today, the students in  that Isenberg School course of mine had the pleasure of a field trip to the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Lab, which is way across the UMass Amherst campus in Engineering Lab 1. Our wonderful tour guide was Professor Shannon Roberts, who is an MIT and University of Wisconsin alumna, and an expert on human factors.

My students found the lab (one showed up 48 hours early but made it today) and were surprised to see a car inside the lab. I had told them about the great work of the lab, which was established in the 1980s and the long-time Director was Professor Don Fisher. The research of the lab focuses on driver behavior and safety. Its impact has been immensely positive - an example being Distractology 101.

Professor Don Fisher, among his numerous earned accolades, was the first ever (inaugural, that is) speaker in our UMass Amherst INFORMS Speaker series, which we started back in 2004.

Since the students in my class include both Operations and Information Management majors as well as Industrial Engineering majors, the experience was not only educational but also fun. All students (except for one who was worried about getting dizzy) got a chance to drive the simulator or be a passenger, which is a real car, courtesy of Ford (a big shoutout to Kevin Koswick, who is an Isenberg alum, an Exec at Ford, and who was in the first class that I ever taught at UMass Amherst!).
The students also heard from Dr. Roberts of the fascinating ongoing studies, some of which focus on young drivers, since they are especially prone to accidents. She was even throwing out a carrot for students to participate as subjects on the driving simulator. I was surprised that there are only about 20 such systems in the US for research.

Many great questions were asked by my students. With so many dynamic changes in transportation, this field never fails to fascinate! And the research conducted at the Human Performance Lab has relevance to auto companies, insurance companies, various suppliers in the auto global supply chain, as well as departments of transportation, and even driver education operators.

Thanks to Professor Shannon Roberts for sharing her research experiences, including hands-on ones, with my students.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Great Time Speaking on Cybersecurity at the University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Commerce

The message came from Mary Magrogan, the INFORMS Director of  Membership, Subdivisions,  and International Programs, in mid-September, asking me whether I would be able to speak at the University of Alabama sometime in November. A request had come from the INFORMS Student Chapter there through the INFORMS Speakers Program, which I am a huge fan of (and we, at UMass Amherst, have also availed ourselves of this wonderful program). INFORMS covers the cost of travel (if needed) and the host covers on-site expenses, including overnight lodging, if necessary,

Even though I am more than the usual "busy," since I am also chairing a faculty search in my department, I very quickly agreed to this kind invitation and the date for scheduled talk was this past Friday, November 17. This would be my first time in Alabama, and the Department of Information Systems, Statistics and Management Science at the Culverhouse of Commerce has such distinguished faculty, that I was very excited about this speaking engagement and visit. Plus, I am a huge proponent of INFORMS Student Chapters, and wanted to support the University of Alabama one.

My amazing host was Dr. Karthik Murali, who is now the Faculty Advisor to this INFORMS Student Chapter. Dr. Burcu Keskin had served previously in this capacity for 10 years. Dr. Murali not only drove me from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa and then back to the airport but also arranged for a very rich visit and experience.

Below is a photo of Dr. Murali with the Alabama INFORMS Student Chapter officers.
I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Dr. Murali Friday morning at the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham, which I highly recommend.
My schedule included meetings with faculty and another highlight was a one hour meeting with several officers of the University of Alabama Student Chapter. I very much enjoyed hearing from the students the kind of research that they are doing and to answer their question, which ranged from selection of research topics to time management. I loved their enthusiasm and energy!

Then it was time for my talk and, amazingly, some of the students had anticipated what I might mention in my presentation.

I have posted my slides here. Usually, when I am asked to give a presentation I will provide a list of topics and ask the host to select one; cybercrime and cybersecurity was the winner! The audience had fabulous questions, which will lead to more research on this very timely topic.

Then it was time for lunch and, would you believe, while it was cold and rainy back in Amherst, Massachusetts, we got to dine al fresco at The River Restaurant with a great view and even better food!
The lunch with Dr. Burcu Keskin, Dr. Sharif Melouk, and Dr. Mesut Yavuz was simply fabulous!

Afterwards, I could not resist being photographed against a backdrop of red roses with Dr. Keskin.
I have known Dr. Keskin for quite a while now, since she is a contemporary of my former doctoral student, Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, and both of them received the INFORMS Judith Liebman Award! In fact, they wrote the document on how to run a successful student chapter. They are true leaders in the profession now.

There was no time for a tour (and the U. of Alabama was getting ready for another football game) but I did get to see the Dean's boardroom and room next door, both of which were so elegant.
I give many talks but believe that this is the first time I have seen multiple chandeliers in a Business School!

A big shoutout also to the MIS faculty, some of whom are in the photo above, for taking the time to speak with me on their multiple exciting initiatives in cybersecurity! And, of course, it was special to hear them mention some of my MIS colleagues at the Isenberg School.

Although I did not get a chance to see Dr. Jim Cochran (who is now an Associate Dean) and was recently elected an INFORMS Fellow, as well as Dr. Emmett Lodree, who was out of town, I felt that they were there with me "in spirit."

Many thanks also to Dr. Mesut Yavuz, Dr. Nick Freeman, and Dr. John Mittenthal (who is the academic grandson of the one and only Professor George Dantzig, and his advisor at the U. of Michigan was Dr. John Birge, the new Editor of Operations Research) for taking the time out of their very busy schedules to meet with me individually. This department is interviewing candidates for 7 faculty positions and they also, like UMass Amherst, have this week off as a Thanksgiving holiday break.

The journey to the airport took  a while because of the traffic. It was interesting to see the Charlotte airport at 10PM packed with travelers  (my connection from Birmingham) and I arrived back in Amherst at 1:30AM Saturday morning.

A BIG thanks to Dr. Karthik Murali, to his colleagues, to the University of Alabama INFORMS Student Chapter, and to the INFORMS Speakers Program  for such a delightful visit and speaking engagement.

And, I leave you with a photo that I took early Friday morning of the Galleria Mall that was attached to the hotel, complete with a festive carousel and holiday decorations.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and safe and enjoyable travels!

And, one day, I may blog on a fascinating international businesswoman from Alabama that I sat next to on my flight from Charlotte to Birmingham. We had such an amazing conversation that we exchanged hugs upon departure.