Friday, September 1, 2017

Amazing INFORMS Judith Liebman Award Winners and Student Volunteers

Today is the deadline for submitting your nomination for the INFORMS Judith Liebman Award. 

According to the INFORMS website: The Judith Liebman Award has been established to recognize outstanding student volunteers who have been "moving spirits" in their universities, their student chapters, and the Institute. The award will be an 11x8 mounted certificate signed by the Vice President for Chapters/Student Chapters/Fora, and a letter of congratulations, in a form suitable for sending to each recipient's department chair.

The full list of recipients, to-date, beginning with 2004 until 2016 can be found here.

And what a truly impressive list of amazing student volunteers they were (and some still are students). Many have gone on to much prominence at their places of employment and also at INFORMS.

Today was also the day that the official notification went out to the recipients of the 2017 INFORMS Service Award, and, since I had the pleasure of serving on that committee, with Dr. Lauren Davis as Chair, I am reflecting on the importance of volunteerism. Clearly, Hurricane Harvey has also put us in a frame of mind of  "volunteering" in whatever way feasible. Last year I was among the group very honored to receive the first set of INFORMS Service Awards. The recipients of both the above awards will be honored at our Annual INFORMS conference, which is supposed to be in Houston in October, but we will see if the location is moved. 

I have met Dr. Judith Liebman, after whom the award is named. She was a contemporary of my PhD advisor, Dr, Stella Dafermos, and both were PhD students in Operations Research at Johns Hopkins University together. A wonderful blogpost on Dr. Liebman, and some of her impact, can be found in a post by her granddaughter Lauren.

Speaking of the dynamos who have received the Judith Liebman Award and that I have had the pleasure of interacting with, I mention Thiago Serra of CMU, a 2016 recipient, with whom I had  dined not long ago at the UMass Club in Boston. Joining us was also Dr. Michael Prokle, a 2015 recipient of the award, who recently received his PhD from UMass Amherst. Michael is a Data Scientist at Philips Research North America working on health care related projects.
Plus, Dr. Amir H. Masoumi, who received the Judith Liebman Award in 2013 (and was one of my PhD students), and who is now an Assistant Professor at the School of Business at Manhattan College, also joined us. Amir has been heavily involved in the School of Business' annual Analytics Competition, which, in 2016, had, as its keynote speaker, Dr. Anne Robinson of Verizon,
who not only is a previous President of INFORMS (I believe the youngest one ever) but she was also a recipient of the Judith Liebman Award the very first year that it was given, back in 2004!

Below is a photo of Dr. Robinson being thanked by Dr. Masoumi after her keynote speech.
I would be remiss not to acknowledge Dr. Kayse Maass, also a recipient of the Judith Liebman Award, the same year as Michael Prokle, and now a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis. Kayse is doing extraordinary work in healthcare modeling as well as battling human trafficking. I had the pleasure of seeing Kayse at a workshop sponsored by NSF on Disrupting Illicit Supply Networks last May at the University of Texas Austin. Below is a photo taken at the workshop in which also Dr. Georgia-Ann Klutke, the NSF Program Officer, and Dr. Renata Konrad of WPI, who has written with Kayse, appear.
In 2006, there were two recipients of the Judith Liebman Award, Dr. Burcu Keskin, an extremely active INFORMS member, and my former doctoral student (I had nominated her) Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, who is now a Full Professor (having achieved this status only 4 years after her PhD from UMass Amherst) at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in beautiful Austria. The photo below of Tina and me was taken in Vienna this past June at a conference on Humanitarian Operations organized by Tina. Tina was instrumental in helping me to start the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, and she, along with Burcu, wrote up guidelines, on how to do this for INFORMS.

In 2009, Dr. Qiang "Patrick" Qiang received the Judith Liebman Award. I had nominated Patrick, who was my PhD student, and whose dissertation received a national transportation award. He is my co-author of the book: Fragile Networks: Identifying Vulnerabilities and Synergies in an Uncertain World. Patrick is now a tenured Professor at the Graduate School of Professional Studies at Pennsylvania State University Great Valley. 

And to show the kind of support Patrick and Amir provide to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, which they were all part of and their extraordinary efforts garnered them the Judith Liebman Award, below is a photo from the Nashville INFORMS conference in November 2016 taken at the student chapter award and Judith Liebman Award ceremonies. They come back to support the students and for this I am eternally grateful.
Above I have only highlighted those Judith Liebman Award recipients that I know personally. All recipients deserve a big round of applause for their hard work, selflessness, and energy!

I might mention that just being nominated is an honor. And, since some have asked, yes, you must be an INFORMS member for two years to be considered eligible for this award, which is only given for work as a student volunteer. In addition, you can receive the award shortly after receiving your PhD.

Looking forward to hearing this year's recipients.