The strength and intellectual vitality of any college or university depends on the quality of its students and faculty, as well as programs.
In the case of a university, in particular, doctoral students add to knowledge discovery and generation and bring energy in terms of curiosity, ideas, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
I continue to be impressed by the quality of the doctoral students at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and, in particular, by those in the Management Science track that I work closely with. To-date, I have had the joy of chairing 17 doctoral dissertations and am now supervising 3 doctoral students, all of whom, coincidentally, it just so happens, are females, from 3 different countries.
Having returned recently from the INFORMS Annual Conference, which was in San Francisco, I can attest to the professionalism, creativity, and cameraderie of our PhD students, both past and present, who make up our academic family. They support one another professionally, enjoy one another's company, and some even share a room (fun and cost-wise) at conferences. They exchange tips with one another, whether in regards to teaching or research, collaborate on challenging problems, and even attend one another's weddings. And, when it comes time to celebrate achievements, such as the awarding of promotion and tenure, a special award, or even promotion to Full Professor (3 of my former PhD students are now Full Professors), we do it with style and joy. Just to mention some recent achievements: my doctoral student, Dong "Michelle" Li received the 2014 Outstanding Doctoral Student Researcher Award from the Isenberg School, and my student, Sara Saberi, received the 2014 Isenberg Scholar Award (one of twelve) for $10,000 and recently had this award renewed. Together, one of our papers, written with Professor Tilman Wolf, and published in Netnomics, was recognized by the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) with a Notable Paper Award for 2013. Professor Senay Solak's student, Heng Chen, also received a 2014 Outstanding Doctoral Student Researcher Award, as well as a prestigious FAA research award. In addition, Professor Solak's student, Yueran Zhuo, had her poster tie for second place at the Advanced Cyber Security Annual Conference. And, as I always say, "Apples don't Fall Far from the Tree," Farbod Farhadi, who received his PhD last May, and whose advisor was Professor Ahmed Ghoniem, last year was recognized by the Isenberg School with an Outstanding Doctoral Student Teaching Award!
It takes a community to solve tough problems and to also make the academic journey more pleasant.
Below is a photo that my former doctoral student, Professor Min Yu, took at the INFORMS Student Chapter Award ceremony in San Francisco last Monday evening. So proud of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter receiving and yet another national award from INFORMS for its activities. The chapter is truly in the Isenberg model and vision with officers and members from the Isenberg School and the College of Engineering.
Below, I have posted some more photos of the Management Science PhD students, both present and past, taken at the INFORMS conference. Other photos are on previous blogposts on this blog.
Dong "Michelle" Li, seated in the front, was the first presenter and you can find our presentations on the supernetwork center website. My doctoral student Sara Saberi is seated behind Professor Qiang. I have co-authored books with Professor Dong and also with Professor Qiang, whose dissertation received the Charles Wootan Award from the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC).
In the photo below, I am with my former doctoral student, Dr. Padma Ramanujan of SAS, whose dissertation received the Transportation Science Section (now the Transportation Science & Logistics Society) of INFORMS dissertation prize, Dr. Deanna Kennedy, one of our former doctoral students in Management Science, and Dr. Min Yu. Deanna was recruiting for a faculty position at the University of Washington Bothell and it was wonderful to see her again!