Monday, September 17, 2012

Our INFORMS Student Chapter Does it Again -- Magna Cum Laude Award

One of the best parts of being a Faculty Advisor of  our INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) Student  Chapter is seeing the students grow professionally, socially,  and personally.

This is my ninth year serving as the Faculty Advisor of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and we have hosted not only amazing speakers from Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America, from academics to United Nations employees to top executives of major corporations, but have also had numerous social activities, including our famous end of the semester parties with international cuisine.

Our student chapter was also heavily involved in organizing the First Northeast Regional INFORMS Conference that was held at UMass Amherst in May 2011.

Each year, in early September the members elect a new slate of officers. These students thrive in their leadership roles as President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Webmaster and this year two new roles have been created, due to interest and need -- two events coordinators.

The students also support one another and serve as sounding boards for research and for preps before presentations at conferences, including, of course, the Annual INFORMS Conference.

It has been such a joy to see this community of students work together to build up the chapter and, once they graduate, through this chapter, they have made lifelong friends.

Some of our former members are now tenured Associate Professors and one, Dr. Tina Wakolbinger,  is already a Full Professor! Tina, who was then a doctoral student in Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management, and whom I had met while I was a Distinguished Fulbrighter at the University of Innsbruck in Austria,  was instrumental in reestablishing the chapter with me back in the Fall of 2004. Tina contributed to the INFORMS Best Practices Guide for Student Chapters  and was also recognized for her work with the Judith Liebman Award of INFORMS as was another doctoral student of mine and member, who is now an Assistant Professor, Dr. Patrick Qiang.

Yesterday, on a Sunday, no less, we heard that our UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter will be recognized for its activities with the Magna Cum Laude award at 2012 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

We heard the great news from Dr. Olga Raskina, who is the VP of Chapters/Fora.

This year, for the first time, there will be a special Student Awards Ceremony and it will take place prior to the Student Reception, on Monday, October 15, at 7:30PM in the Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt Hotel in Phoenix. Previously, the awards were given out at a breakfast.

Many of our present and past Chapter Officers will be in attendance. This is the sixth year in a row that the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter has received either the Summa Cum Laude or the Magna Cum Laude Award, being recognized for its activities in each year that the award has been given. Both the students and I are thrilled by this great news. Above I have posted a photo of the recent election meeting of the student chapter.

More information on how to start a student chapter and tips on making it successful can be found on this INFORMS page.