Friday, May 13, 2022

Celebrating My 23rd PhD Student - Dr. Mojtaba Salarpour

Now is the time of the year in academia, when we mark major milestones, such as the completion of degrees by our students. Yesterday, was a very special day, during which we had the Isenberg School PhD robing ceremony of the class of 2022.

It was wonderful to take part in the ceremony and to speak about my 23rd PhD student, now - Dr. Mojtaba Salarpour! It was the first such in-person ceremony in 3 years because of the pandemic.

The program is below and includes the names of the 6 students from the Isenberg School that received the PhD this past year and the names of their dissertations and their PhD advisors. Impressively, 3 of the 6 are from my Operations and Information Management Department. Mojtaba's concentration in our PhD program was Management Science.

It was nice to see my Department Chair, Professor Senay Solak, at the ceremony and also my 24th PhD student - Dana Hassani.

Mojtaba is from Iran and, while at UMass Amherst, he taught several courses, and was President of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter for 2 years, including 1 1/2 years during the pandemic. He was instrumental in organizing several very interesting virtual panels - one of which was with healthcare researchers from Mass General Hospital and another one was on a career panel. Plus, we had the honor of hosting Dr. Mauricio Resende, Principal Research Scientist of Amazon, in the Chapter's Speaker Series that I help the chapter to organize. Under his tenure as President, the Chapter was recognized with the Magna Cum Laude Award from INFORMS!

Mojtaba's PhD dissertation, "Essays on Supply Chain Economic Networks for Disaster Management Inspired by the Covid-19 Pandemic," constructed several highly relevant game theory models with applications, literally, "drawn from the news." His research, while at UMass Amherst, yielded 4 published papers and 1 published book chapter. I am delighted that he will be an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) at Texas A&M Commerce, starting this Fall. Below, are first pages of his papers.

As I said in my speech about Mojtaba at the ceremony, Mojtaba Salarpour is "standing on the shoulders of giants," since my academic genealogy, by way of my PhD advisor at Brown University, Professor Stella Dafermos, goes back to Maxwell, Newton, and Galileo - so- "no pressure!"

After the ceremony, it was great to enjoy the delicious food provided by UMass Amherst and to see many colleagues, students, and friends!

Congratulations to all the students, Class of 2022, now alums of their alma mater! With best wishes to you on your new journeys with a special congratulations to Dr. Mojtaba Salarpour! I remember fondly the delicious pistachios he brought for me from Iran when he arrived and after he landed in Boston Logan.