Thursday, October 26, 2017

Congrats to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter on Its Magna Cum Laude Award Received in Houston

The INFORMS Houston conference, which took place October 22- 25, 2017, will be one for the history books not only in that there was record attendance - about 6,000 conferees from around the globe but also that the conference took place in a city battered by Hurricane Harvey less than two months ago.

Clearly, operations researchers and management scientists as well as analytics professionals were drawn to this conference and it did not disappoint. Plus, we even raised thousands of dollars to provide personal hygiene products that were then distributed to those in shelters. Technologists have a heart and, as Dr. Bill Klimack, the organizer of the conference, stated: We Solve Problems.

I was an official blogger for the conference and enjoyed the talks, seeing friends, going to business meetings as well as the social events immensely. The conference venue, the Convention Center in downtown Houston was also stunning with a beautiful park nearby.
However, most definitely, a high point of the conference for me was the student chapter awards event this past Monday night. That evening, the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter was honored with a Magna Cum Laude Award for its activities in 2016, based on an annual report. Amazingly, this is the 12th award, in as many consecutive years, that this student chapter has received from its parent society of INFORMS, a record that I think we singularly hold. This speaks to the amazing work ethic, sense of community, as well as creativity of the student chapter officers and the members of this chapter. I have served as this chapter's Faculty Advisor since its inception in 2004 and it is extremely rewarding to work with our great students at the Isenberg School of Management and the College of Engineering.

A special shoutout to last year's officers, including the Chapter President Pritha Dutta, for leadership and for numerous exciting activities, from speakers to community service, panels, and social events.

Below are some photos from the event and the wonderful reception that followed.


In the above photo are: Ekin Koker (Webmaster for several years), Sayeeda Cebnet (Chapter Secretary),  Pritha Dutta (past President), Deniz Besik (the new Chapter President), and Rodrigo Mercado Fernandez (Communications Director).

It was special to see chapter alums, now Professors, after earning their PhDs, also come to support the students. Below are Dr. Heng Chen and Dr. Sara Saberi.
Finally, celebrating with other award recipients added to the special atmosphere of this awards event.
And, thanks to Carlos Wachzetina and Thiago Serra, we managed to even get a big group of tweeps together for the group photo below at the awards event.
The students that we have in operations research and the management sciences and analytics will ensure the continuing strength, vibrancy, and impact of INFORMS.

Congratulations to all the INFORMS Student Chapters receiving awards at the Annual INFORMS Conference in Houston and keep up the great work! Congratulations also to the Judith Liebman Award recipients.