Saturday, March 13, 2010

United Nations of Students and a Mini Reunion

This past week, a group of my present and past doctoral students gathered in my Supernetworks Lab at the Isenberg School at UMass Amherst for a mini reunion. The occasion was that it was the week before the UMass Amherst spring break and a former doctoral student, who had arrived from Australia, had joined us as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Dmytro Matsypura, who received tenure at the University of Sydney and is on sabbatical now, will be with us through mid-May. He received his PhD with a concentration in Management Science in 2006 and joined the Faculty of Economics and Business at Sydney in January 2007. Dr. Matsypura is originally from Ukraine.

Another former doctoral student of mine, Dr. Jose M. Cruz, who is now an Assistant Professor at the School of Business at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) in Storrs, drove up with his wife and gorgeous, almost one year old, twins (a boy and a girl). Dr. Cruz received his PhD from UMass Amherst (also with a concentration in Management Science in 2004). He has 5 degrees from UMass Amherst (in engineering, computer science, applied mathematics, an MBA, and a PhD) and is one of ten children. (His parents in Cape Verde deserve multiple trophies!) Two of my doctoral students were also able to join us for some conversation, exchanges of advice, and serious "catching up."

I have chaired the dissertations of 15 doctoral students and you can find the complete list of their names, graduation dates, and the titles of their dissertations on this academic genealogy website.

What impresses me most about my students is their congeniality and support of one another and their respectful natures. They come not only from the US but from many different countries. Even after graduation, they continue to collaborate and support one another. Quite a few continue to be active Center Associates of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks that I direct. They have written journal articles together, shared rooms at conferences together, and congratulate one another when notable goals (both personal and professional) are achieved.

For example, Professor Jose Cruz told us at his visit this past week that he had just received the annual undergraduate teaching award from the UCONN School of Business as the best undergraduate teacher (and this evaluation was done over a three year period)! The congratulatory messages were flying but especially thoughtful was one from a Full Professor, Dr. Ding Zhang of the State University of New York at Oswego, who is originally from China, that stated that Jose was not born in the US but in Cape Verde (islands now part of Africa) and in a different culture. Hence, Dr. Cruz's receipt of an undergraduate teaching award at such a big business school is truly impressive. Plus, he was even a finalist for the graduate teaching award!

My doctoral students (present and past) have come from (as already mentioned) Ukraine and Cape Verde, and from Japan, Korea, China, India, Austria, Greece, and the US. I call them the United Nations and they realize the benefits and personal satisfaction of working together, sometimes struggling together, always supporting one another, and laughing together. The synergies that are created benefit education, research, as well as personal and professional growth and success.

Above I share with you a photo taken in my Supernetworks Lab at our recent mini reunion, where many friendships have been made! Each of us in the photo was born in a different country and only the twins were born in the USA!