Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Celebrating the Return of My Academic Daughter to the Isenberg School

When family members get together, whether for holidays or other occasions, these are, typically, special events.

Who isn't happy to see one's child return from college for a break, from a trip abroad, or even from summer camp?

Today, we hosted one of my former doctoral students at the Isenberg School of Management, Tina Wakolbinger, who received her PhD with a concentration in Management Science in 2007 from UMass Amherst. After receiving her PhD she became an Assistant Professor at the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis in Tennessee and less than 4 years after, became a Full Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria. She is also the Head of the Research Institute on Supply Chain Management there. 

She skipped the "Associate Professor" part in the usual progression in academia of Assistant Professor to Associate Professor and then, hopefully, promotion to Full Professor.

Since I was the chair of Tina's doctoral dissertation committee, I am her academic "Mom." She was my 13th PhD student (in her case this was a very lucky number).

Tina was in Massachusetts for the Dynamics of Disasters Symposium that I organized for the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston and she very much wanted to come back to her alma mater. So, yesterday we drove back from Boston and she checked into the Campus Center hotel in the middle of UMass Amherst. She really enjoyed the spaciousness and comfort of the room. We dined at Arigato in downtown Amherst, since that is where she went to celebrate after getting the job offer from the University of Memphis.

It was really pleasant to stroll through downtown Amherst and to see what had changed in the past 6 years since she received her PhD.

Today, we had a celebratory lunch in honor of her visit at the University Club.

We took some photos in the Supernetworks Lab, where Tina also had an office as a PhD student.
Then it was time for her seminar: The Value of Information Systems for Product Recovery Management, which was based on a paper that she had co-authored with Fuminori Toyasaki and William Kettinger and which was just published in the International Journal of Production Research.

Her talk was hosted by me and the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and the attendance was great.Tina had been the former President of this Student Chapter and received the Judith Liebman Award from INFORMS for her terrific work. She also helped me with the Speaker Series and we used Room 112, which was the (revised) venue for her talk today, so the site was perfect.

We had a reception before the talk.
After her fabulous presentation, in which she discussed models that she and her co-authors developed that quantify under what conditions investments in Information-intensive Product Recovery Systems (IPRS) are economically justifiable for manufacturers and when policy-makers need to consider facilitating their implementation.She focused on PCs as an example and discussed different frameworks in different countries in Europe (whether centralized collection strategies were used or decentralized ones).

After the talk, we took some more photos and presented Professor Wakolbinger with a gift from the Isenberg School.
Then it was time to put Professor Wakolbinger on the Peter Pan bus since she was off to visit another former doctoral student of mine, Professor Jose Cruz, who is a tenured Associate Professor at the School of Business at UConn. She will be giving a talk there tomorrow.