Saturday, October 29, 2016

The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter Recognized by INFORMS 11 Years in a Row

The message arrived this past Thursday morning and it said:

Congratulations! The INFORMS Chapters/Fora Committee is delighted to notify you that the University of Massachusetts Amherst INFORMS Chapter has been selected as a winner of the INFORMS 2016 Student Chapter Annual Award at Cum Laude level. All awardees are listed below. The purpose of these awards is to recognize the achievements of student chapters. The award will be presented at the Student Awards Ceremony at the upcoming INFORMS Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. If you are at the meeting, we hope you will join us and be recognized at this event. The Student Awards Ceremony will be held on November 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm in the Omni – Broadway EF, 2nd Floor.  Please try to arrive at least 15 minutes early.   If you cannot attend, we will mail the award to you so please let us know if you are planning to attend.  There will be a reception immediately following the ceremony with refreshments which we hope you will stay for as well.

Thank you for your commitment to INFORMS student chapters!

Best regards,

Michael Johnson
VP for Chapters/Fora   

Michael Johnson is a Professor at UMass Boston, and, coincidentally, we had hosted him in our Speaker Series last spring and I wrote a blogpost on his great visit to the Isenberg School of Management. The message came to Zana Cranmer, who had been last year's UMass Amherst INFORMS Chapter President. 

The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter we established back in 2004 and I have been its Faculty Advisor since then. The members include primarily doctoral students from the Isenberg School of Management at the College of Engineering. However, we sometimes also have undergraduate and Master's students joining us as well as students from other departments at UMass Amherst. The Chapter has, every year since INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) started recognizing student chapters, beginning in 2006, received an award from INFORMS. This year marks our 11th award in as many years. The total award tally: 3 Summa Cum Laude awards (one of these we got last year), 6 Magna Cum Laude Awards, and now 2 Cum Laude Awards.

The student chapters at Carnegie Mellon University and at Northwestern University are this year's Summa Cum Laude award recipient, so congratulations to the chapters, their student members and officers, and their Faculty Advisors!

In the photo below are this year's officers in my Supernetworks Lab at the Isenberg School of Management standing in front of some of the award plaques. Other award plaques grace the Isenberg School's beautiful atrium.
The below three photos were taken at the chapter award ceremony at the INFORMS conference last October in Philadelphia, when the chapter received the top award. Also, that evening, a former President of the chapter, Michael Prokle, was honored with the INFORMS Judith Liebman award. Kayse Maass of the University of Michigan also received the Liebman award last year. Other UMass Amherst Student Chapter Presidents who have received this award (I nominated all of these extraordinary students)  are: Amir H. Masoumi, Patrick Qiang, and Tina Wakolbinger, who is now a Full Professor! The latter 3 were my PhD students.  This year Pritha Dutta assumed the leadership position of President of the student chapter.

It was extra special last year to have the INFORMS President the one and only Ed Kaplan of Yale University recognize the students along with Dave Hunt the then VP for Chapters/Fora.

Given the wonderful experiences that the operations research and management science students have with this chapter in hosting speakers, organizing special events and tours, hosting parties and social events, and supporting one another in numerous ways, many UMass Amherst alums and former chapter members come to celebrate with us at the INFORMS award ceremonies.

We are looking forward to the INFORMS conference in Nashville next month! Congratulations to all the award-winning student chapters and continue your great work and support of your members and officers.