Monday, March 31, 2014

Great to See So Many UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter Members at Analytics Boston

I am attending the great INFORMS Boston Analytics Conference and arrived yesterday.

The weather has not been compliant (it is cold and rainy) but the venue of the conference (the Westin Waterfront hotel), the talks (beginning with Tom Davenport's Keynote talk today), and the various networking events from the breakfasts to the lunches, etc., have been fabulous!

I am here with one of my doctoral students, Shivani Shukla, who is also the President of the award-winning UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. In addition, we have seen other students here both from the Isenberg School of Management and the College of Engineering, who are chapter members and this is great. I am the chapter's Faculty Advisor and it is so rewarding working with these terrific students.

Even one of our PhD graduates, Dr. Milad Ebtehaj, who now works at FedEX in Memphis,  is here.

The photos below  capture the smiles of our chapter members.

The talks that I have attended, so far, besides Tom Davenport's keynote, have ranged from those on supply chain themes to healthcare. It is fantastic to listen to practitioners' perspectives and to also have time to discuss deeply various issues and challenges that they are faced with.

I've had a chance to see Dr. Radhka Kulkarni of SAS, Dr. Les Servi of MITRE, Dr. Irv Lustig of IBM,  and even Dr. Larry Seiford of Michigan. Both Les and Irv were undergrads in Applied Math at Brown University as was I a while back.

This morning I took part in "Coffee with a Member," which passed by too quickly.

The Analytics conference is so educational and informative - I am very glad that some of our students could take advantage of this great opportunity!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Packing and Revising My Optimal Route to the INFORMS Analytics Conference in Boston

I  am blogging the INFORMS Analytics Conference in Boston and below I am reposting my first submitted official post.

It is a beautiful sunny day in Massachusetts and we are very excited about the INFORMS Analytics Conference which kicks off tomorrow in Boston at the Westin Waterfront hotel!

My talk on cybersecurity and financial services, which I am presenting there on Tuesday is all set, and I have begun to pack. There is no need for printing a boarding pass and making a seat assignment, unlike for my trip of just over a week ago when I flew back from Amsterdam to Boston Logan. 

Since I work on network systems, from transportation and logistical ones to the Internet, I have  always been  interested in optimal  routing of flows.

I had settled on a route from Amherst, where I live, to Boston, which I am very familiar with, and then the email arrived from EZPass last evening, which stated:

MassDOT has planned 3 significant weekend lane restrictions on Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) in Boston to remove the Prudential Tunnel ceiling over the roadway. The ceiling remains safe and secure, but has deteriorated beyond the point of repair and must be removed. The tunnel ceiling is owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA).

The restrictions will reduce traffic to one lane eastbound and one lane westbound inside the Prudential Center Tunnel on the following weekends:
March 28-30!!! (I added the exclamation points.)

Last Saturday,  my shuttle driver from Logan made a quick maneuver when he saw the stream of glowing car backlights in the same tunnel, which is just outside of Logan. This necessitated a diversion through Arlington and added about 40 minutes to the last leg of my journey back to Amherst, which had originated in Gothenburg, Sweden, 14 hours before!

But now I was forewarned, thanks to MassDOT!

So, since we are educated as operations researchers, my revised route to Boston is below:
This INFORMS conference should be very energizing with exciting interactions between academics and practitioners plus I am even bringing one of my doctoral students, who is the President of our UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. This will be an outstanding venue for introducing her to my favorite professional society and community!

Go INFORMS, Boston, and, always, Boston Strong!

Safe travels, everyone, and see you soon!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Terrific Talk on Transportation Science + Economics

Today we had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Eric Gonzales of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UMass Amherst in our INFORMS Speakers Series. Dr. Gonzales, who received his PhD from UC Berkeley, and then spent 2 and a half years at Rutgers, recently joined the UMass faculty.

His talk, "Coordinating Traffic and Transit Systems: Linking Transportation Science and Economics," was fabulous. He discussed system optimization and user equilibrium with tipping points of switching to transit. I especially liked his use of numerous images and graphs to display trade-offs as well as his discussions of different cities around the world. He emphasized how to capture congestion in cities in an aggregated way. Several of the students in the audience had taken my Logistics and Transportation class as well as my graduate class on Networks, Game Theory, and Variational Inequalities, so they could very much appreciate his perspective.

Below are several photos that I took today at Dr. Gonzales' presentation at the Isenberg School, which attracted an audience also from the College of Engineering.

We are very lucky that Dr. Gonzales has joined the faculty at UMass Amherst! His dissertation advisor at UC Berkeley was Professor Carlos Daganzo, who was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

The Power of One

Yesterday, Nate Lare and I had the pleasure of attending the Hometown Heroes event at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, as guests of the Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, Mr. Rick Lee.

Mr. Lee, along with several other community leaders and experts in emergency and disaster preparedness,  have spoken this semester in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class at the Isenberg School. I recognized them in a Guest Editorial that I wrote and that was recently published on

The Hometown Heroes event was truly inspiring with about 600 in attendance!

Eleven area residents were recognized by the Red Cross for "selfless acts of courage." A nice photo of these extraordinary individuals, including teenagers appears on Their acts, whether by giving blood hundreds of times, starting a sports program for disabled children, or, in the case of several individuals,  saving lives after accidents, fires, or health incidents, are exceptional!

I took the photos below at the event yesterday and commend the Red Cross for all that it does! Mr. Rick Lee announced at this event, at which he also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Red Cross for his 30 years of extraordinary service, that he will retire as of this August. Who will replace him?

The ending video to the theme and music of The Power of One was especially moving with many in the audience tearing up. It featured such extraordinary women as Clara Barton, Rosa Parks, and Anne Frank, with a segment on Mr. Rick Lee (which was a complete surprise to him). What a difference he has made through his work ethic, integrity, energy, and the building of powerful friendships and relationships. Who can say no to this amazing man!

So if, at times, you feel that you are all alone, know that you can, as the above individuals have, and the Hometown Heroes, as well, through The Power of One,  make a big difference. You can provide your students, colleagues, neighbors, and even strangers with a helping hand, a kind word, spiritual and physical sustenance, a smile, a token of appreciation, a congratulatory note, a conversation. Perhaps, through additional actions, research, writings, and a book you might even change the world! Never lose the courage to do what is right.

And, since, regrettably, the photo of  Mr. Rick Lee, Nate and me together at the event did not come out, I repost the photo taken of Mr. Rick Lee when he spoke to the students in my class this past February.
Nate is on the far left. And, to emphasize the amazing students in our Operations & Information Management program at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst that I am privileged to teach, Nate was a Hometown Hero in 2011 -- simply awesome! Nate alerted residents when a fire gutted their apartment complex.

Although this year's closing video is not online yet, I urge you to view last year's, which includes images of Clara Barton, Rosa Parks, and Anne Frank:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hometown Heroes and Why I Wrote a Guest Editorial

Tomorrow morning, one of my Operations & Information Management students, who is in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class that I am teaching this semester, will be attending with me the Hometown Heroes event at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA.

We will be the guests of Mr. Rick Lee, the Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, who spoke in my class in February.

The Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross provides emergency response in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties in western Massachusetts and is also behind a model call center for servicemen.

According to a lovely article in The Springfield Republican: The chapter created the Hometown Heroes program in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Lee said. The idea was partially to help bridge gaps in funding left when so much charitable giving went to causes related to those attacks.
But the larger reason was, and remains, giving the community a way to honor people who go above and beyond to help others.

And in the beautiful words of Mr. Rick Lee:
"We are celebrating one of the most beautiful aspects of the human heart, which is kindness," Lee said.

This year 9 Hometown Heroes will be honored.

In addition to Mr. Rick Lee, this semester, we have hosted Mr. Jeff Hescock of UMass Amherst, Dr. Pierre Rouzier of UHS at UMass Amherst, Mr. Dave Madsen of WGGB, and even the other Dr. Nagurney, my husband, who gave a guest lecture on Disaster Communications.  The students and I were so inspired by these remarkable individuals that I wrote a Guest Editorial, Community Experts Enhance Disaster Management Education as Guest Speakers at the Isenberg School of Management at UMassabout their talks (with the exception of my husband's since he was guest lecturing when I was out of town), which was published the other day on

I had to thank these very special people in a public way and that is why I wrote the Guest Editorial, which also features a photo of Mr. Rick Lee with the students in my class.

In addition, the Isenberg School of Management posted a two-part series on this course focusing on the presentation of Dr. Rouzier and also that of Mr. Madsen. Many thanks to the Communications Department and especially to Mr. Lou Wigdor who attended these lectures and wrote them up so eloquently.

We have amazing people in our midst, which deserve special honors and recognition and among those I include the above individuals.

We look forward to seeing Mr. Lee of the Red Cross again tomorrow and honoring this year's Hometown Heroes for their exceptional courage!  Even two UPS drivers will be honored (perfect humanitarian logistics example!)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Save the Dates - Two Upcoming Techie Talks at the Isenberg School Thanks to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter

Spring break is over and we have only about 6 weeks of the spring semester left.

The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter and I, as the Chapter's Faculty Advisor, are quite excited about our upcoming speakers.

This Friday, March 28, we will be hosting Dr. Eric Gonzales of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UMass Amherst. He will be speaking on Coordinating Traffic and Transit Systems: Linking Transportation Science and Economics. Dr. Gonzales received his PhD from UC Berkeley and his dissertation advisor was Professor Carlos Daganzo, who is the most recent recipient of the Robert Herman Lifetime Achievement Award in Transportation Science announced at the INFORMS Minneapolis meeting last Fall. Dr. Daganzo was also elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2014.  Professor Gonzales was previously at Rutgers University and we are very happy that he is now, as of this semester, at UMass Amherst.

Also, on Friday, April 18, we will be hosting my colleague, Professor Ryan Wright of the Operations & Information Management Department. Professor Wright will be speaking on Towards a Behavioral Model of Online Deception Detection. This topic is also fascinating. Dr. Wright is a fellow Canadian and he and I spoke at the UMass Amherst TEDx event last November and were nominated by students, which was such a nice and pleasant surprise. He instructs the required information management course at the Isenberg School to an audience of hundreds.

I hope that you can join us for these talks. We have also invited another speaker so stay tuned!
For more information about the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, please visit its website.

Photos of Spring in Beautiful Sweden

As promised in my previous blogpost, in this post I am including photos that I took this past week in Gothenburg, Sweden, where I spent 10 days, as part of my contract as a Visiting Professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. This visit overlapped with spring break at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I am a professor at its Isenberg School of Management.

Given that there is more cold and snow in the forecast for Massachusetts this week even though spring has arrived, at least on the calendar, the below photos, taken in central Gothenburg and in Haga, which borders the Business School,  will remind us that, hopefully, we will eventually see some flowers and milder temperatures in New England!
Welcome back from spring break!

With best wishes for a great rest of the spring semester!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Great Flight on Delta - KLM from Amsterdam to Boston

Yesterday I got up at 3AM (Swedish time) since I had an early flight from the Landvetter Airport in Gothenburg, Sweden and wanted to make sure that I would not miss my taxi to the airport that was graciously arranged for me through Gothenburg University's Visiting Professorship Program.

I had been in Sweden for ten days and will be posting some photos in the next blogspot.

The flight from Gothenburg to Amsterdam Schiphol was smooth although I sympathized with the crying baby behind me (thanks for my noise blocking headseats purchased in Sweden).

After a several hour layover in Amsterdam, during which I managed to purchase lots of chocolates and have a nice coffee break, we boarded the flight to Boston. Security was thorough with every passenger being personally interviewed.

My seatmate with the window seat was a tall Dutchman who has a PhD and an MD, and who is also a professor at the University of Amsterdam, where I have several friends. He was traveling to a conference in Boston (at the Sheraton hotel) of world burn specialists and surgeons. I could not have had a more interesting seatmate and we have exchanged messages since we landed. Truly inspiring the work that he does to save lives and he will be flying back to do surgeries scheduled for this Tuesday!

The food was great on the flight - one of my favorite airplane meals is the cold chicken salad that Delta serves on this flight and I got the last one (did talk with the stewards before the flight to tell them about how much I liked this meal). It was accompanied by cantaloupe and pink grapefruit and was so fresh and delicious. Dessert consisted of chocolate biscuits and our snack just before landing was a type of calzone with veggies and a small ice cream sundae.

Also, during the flight, while standing and doing stretches, I met a female chemistry professor from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands who was going to another conference in Boston on nuclear magnetic resonance, which is taking place at the new Westin Waterfront hotel where, coincidentally, I will be next Sunday through Tuesday for the INFORMS Analytics conference. She is expecting her third child in July and we had a nice conversation on work-life balance and parental leaves in Sweden, Holland, and the U.S.

My burn specialist colleague told me that there were at least 3 of his colleagues going to his conference in Boston including an intensive care physician. Luckily, however, there was no call needed for a doctor on the plane! He told me that it can be very tricky to respond to such a request.

There were a lot of brains on that flight but not so unusual given that Boston and Massachusetts, in general, are quite centers of the academic universe!

Thank you, Delta and KLM, for such an enjoyable flight. Some of my fellow travellers hope that we encounter one another on a future flight of yours.

Nice when it's not just about the destination but the journey itself is such a pleasure!

However, the shuttle ride from Logan to Amherst was not very smooth since as we left Logan we saw the tunnel under the Prudential Center stuffed with cars with red backlights and my driver did a quick maneuver.

We had to take the Mystic Parkway through Arlington (rather than the MA turnpike) and then ended up taking Route 2 back to Amherst (a journey that took about 40 minutes longer than expected).

Upon arriving in Amherst my husband told us that there was construction in the tunnel with the ceiling being replaced. Hence, the congestion!

Friday, March 21, 2014

What a Spring Break in Sweden

Tomorrow morning I am headed at 4:30 AM to the airport in Gothenburg, Sweden and then off to Amsterdam Schiphol, which was recently selected as one of ten top airports in the world (and I agree),  and then onwards to good old Boston Logan.

The past ten days here in Gothenburg, Sweden have been filled with many impressions from the crocuses blooming, to the flower displays outside many shops, to the seagulls flying outside my office window and chirping away, and to terrific conversations with colleagues, an editor, and friends that I have made in this very special community.

This is the third year that I have been appointed a Visiting Professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg and I am so grateful for this very special program! I spend about 44 days here each year.

I have enjoyed working at my standing desk, while sipping cappuccino from the new coffee machine in our office suite, sampling Swedish cream puff pastries with marzipan, which are traditional at this time of year, with students, staff, and colleagues, and brainstorming on various research projects.

Evenings, when the rain is falling and I am in my top level apartment that looks like a turret in a castle, I do more research with many beautiful math equations while I gaze at a watercolor painting, to the music of the rain.

Everywhere I walk - to the foodstores, to work, to downtown, and the gorgeous parks, especially Schlottskogen.

Plus, I discovered that, at the Press Stop close to the grand Central Train Station, I can get a New York Times, printed on demand - now how cool is that!

I will be leaving with a heavy heart because I really wish that the United States could be more like Sweden!

Also, this has been a difficult week in many respects, since our great benefactor, Mr. Eugene Isenberg, after whom the Isenberg School of Management is named, passed away on March 16.

In addition, the takeover of Crimea, such a beautiful part of Ukraine, that I have written about, since I was there a few years ago at a Network Science conference, has shocked us all.

I take some solace (see photos below) that here, in Gothenburg, many of the trams and trolleys fly the Ukrainian flag, so no wonder that  I feel so at home here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Very Sad News - Mr. Gene Isenberg, Nabors Industries Leader and Philanthropist, Has Passed Away

This morning, while seated in my office at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, where I am a Visiting Professor (and spending spring break), I received the very sad news.

In checking my email, there was a message to the Isenberg School community from our Dean, Dr. Mark Fuller, that Mr. Gene Isenberg, the former CEO of Nabors Industries, had passed away on March 16, 2014. The announcement included the link to the Houston news.

I remember fondly multiple wonderful meetings with Mr. Isenberg and his lovely wife, Ronnie, over the years, even before they made the huge donation and now we have the named Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst since the late 1990s.

One of my fondest meetings was at a lunch I had with them in the Dean's suite and I brought over photos of our time in Sweden, back in 1996, when I was a Visiting Professor at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, and my daughter had attended the local daghes (daycare). The Isenbergs had lived in different countries and have two daughters and we had wonderful conversations about living abroad and how important such experiences are. Very soon after, and the then Dean, Dr. Tom O'Brien, can confirm,  the Isenbergs signed the big check. Tom O'Brien had nurtured wonderful relationships with the Isenbergs which made this magnificent gift come to fruition.

Because of the Isenbergs' philanthropy and generosity also with time and ideas we have our beautiful business school, with high tech classrooms, and great breakout areas and offices.  And the Isenberg School of Management graduates about one quarter of the undergraduates each year at UMass Amherst. Such is the demand for our programs!

Mr. Isenberg had such a great sense of humor, such energy, and an incredible vision - building Nabors Industries over his 24 year tenure there into the biggest company of its kind.

He had received an undergrad degree from UMass Amherst (in economics and not in business) and then went on to Princeton where he got a Master's degree.

He would say that Princeton has a big endowment and his funds could go further at UMass Amherst - something we are very much grateful for.

Bricks and mortar are not the only impact that the Isenbergs had on UMass Amherst. They also funded numerous scholarships and, most recently, one of my PhD students, Sara Saberi, was selected as one of ten recipients of the 2014 Isenberg Scholar Awards. There were 3 awardees from the Isenberg School this year.

This substantial financial fellowship promotes interdisciplinary research among science, engineering, and management - a theme that I love - and aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

Gene, if I may, I thank you and your family for the legacy of yours that lives on through business education and also industrial innovation!

My deepest and sincerest condolences to the Isenberg family on this great loss.

The Isenberg School of Management posted this article on Mr. Isenberg's passing.

Palm Beach Post Obituary

Friday, March 14, 2014

Back in Sweden

Some head south for spring break and, no wonder, given the winter that we have had this year in Massachusetts!

I get my muse in Sweden, where I have written several books and where the natural beauty, architecture, people, and culture, plus food, I never get tired of!

I am now back in Gothenburg, Sweden where I have been reappointed a Visiting Professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. This reappointment enables me to finish up some projects (and, of course, start some new ones) that have evolved from my time here while on my sabbatical.

It always feels wonderful to be back - to see my great colleagues here and to catch up with many friends.

The crocuses have been blooming here and there is green grass (unlike the snow back in Massachusetts)!

I am especially excited about some research on intermodal transportation and sustainability as well as different business models for freight which I believe also may be of relevance to the Future Internet Architecture NSF-funded project that we have been working on. Just last week our group submitted a revision of our paper to a special issue of a journal that will feature different such architectures.

The big news in my group here in Gothenburg is that we got a new coffee machine and the cappuccino I just had was delicious!

Plus, they have hired a new senior faculty member, Professor Kevin Cullinane, from Great Britain, who will be arriving on May 1. This is a fabulous addition.

I've already had several meetings with both faculty and doctoral students here in Gothenburg.

While in Sweden I heard the sad news that Dr. Bertil Liander, who interviewed me for the position at UMass Amherst and was the MBA Director at the School of Management when I started out as an Assistant Professor,  passed away. He was Swedish and such a charming and pleasant individual. He will be missed! He had studied at the Stockholm School of Economics and received his PhD from what is now the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. He was 87. We enjoyed seeing him and his lovely wife periodically at Whole Foods.

Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 Isenberg Business Leadership Awards Announced with Supernetwork Center Alumna as a Recipient!

Last year the Inaugural Isenberg Business Leadership Awards were given out in Boston at a special banquet and the recipients were: Ben Cherington '97 M.S., the high-profile general manager of the Boston Red Sox,  and J.P. Morgan's Alex Ambroz '05, who  received Isenberg's Young Alumni Award.

This year, on June 18, 2014, we will be again back in Boston at the Colonnade Hotel to honor this year's Business Leadership Award recipients and they can be found on the announcement below.

The recipients are David Fubini, BBA, '76, Director of McKinsey & Company, Inc., and Christina Calvaneso, '03 BBA.

Christina graduated summa cum laude from UMass Amherst and worked as an Undergraduate Center Associate at the Supernetwork Center that I founded. I chaired her honor's thesis and nominated her for the 2014 Business Leadership Award. She also received an independent nomination from Bonnie Dowd of Development.  Since this is only the second time that these awards are being given this is a very special honor and great that it is going to one of our very own Operations Management Majors!

I last saw Christina at the Women in Business event in February at the Isenberg School, which I wrote about on this blog, and I included a photo of Christina and me.   

Christina started her professional career at GE and has also worked for Deloitte and Rent a Runway. She is now Eyeview's Senior Vice President of Finance & Business Operations, based in NYC.

This is not the first award that Christina will be receiving. Back in 2003,  I nominated her for the then newly created Leaders of the 21st Century Awards, which were given to 11 graduating seniors at UMass Amherst at the graduation ceremonies, and Christina was one of the recipients!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Great New Concentrations in Our Operations & Information Management Major Including Supply Chain Management at the Isenberg School

We heard the news at our departmental meeting this past Friday at the Isenberg School of Management. Our proposal to have 3 concentrations in our Operations & Information Management major has been approved!

Students who are majoring in Operations & Information Management (the name of my new department) can now select from 3 concentrations: Integrated Operations & Information Management, Supply Chain Management, and Information Systems. These concentrations are even relevant to our May 2014 graduates, provided that they fulfill the requirements.

The official document can be found online.

Having these distinct concentrations provides better academic preparation for career paths and job opportunities.

I teach two of the courses in the new Supply Chain Management track - my Logistics and Transportation class in the Fall and my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class in the Spring, which I am now teaching and have also been writing about in this blog because we have been hosting amazing guest speakers. The students have been writing about the lessons learned and their reflections.

Below is the full list of courses in our Supply Chain Management concentration:

 It's very exciting to see advances in our curricula that benefit both students and faculty, who love what they teach since they also do research in these areas!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Our Legislators' Vision Good for Healthcare and National Security

The below blogpost was written with Professor Ladimer S. Nagurney, Professor of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, University of Hartford, CT.

Several years ago, we became interested in the Supply Chain of the Medical Nuclear Isotope Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) that decays into Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is used for countless medical tests, especially for cardiac symptoms and cancer diagnostics. At that time, no US reactor was generating Mo-99. As a result, this critical radioisotope that is used in over 50,000 procedures per day in the US with over 1000 procedures per year at Cooley Dickinson Hospital (our local hospital in Northampton, MA) had to be imported from reactors in Canada, Western Europe, and the former Eastern Bloc countries. In addition to the potential security problems caused by reliance on foreign sources, most of the isotope was generated in reactors using Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) fuel, which could, if not properly secured, be diverted to nuclear weapons.

Concern about the security of the supply of this radioisotope from medical professionals, scientists, and nuclear security experts led the House of Representatives in the 111th Congress to pass the American Medical Isotope Production Act, sponsored by Representative (now Senator) Ed Markey (D-MA) and co-sponsored by Representative James McGovern (D-MA), whose district, after the 2010 census, now includes Amherst and Northampton.

Just over two years later, the results of these efforts are closer to being realized. Their legislative initiatives were fulfilled with the passage of Public Law 112-239 in January 2013, which includes Subtitle F —American Medical Isotopes Production as part of the Department of Energy National Security Programs.

In September 2013, NorthStar Medical Technologies, of Madison, Wisconsin, a manufacturer and distributor of domestically-produced radioisotopes for the nuclear medicine industry, was able to raise $13.5 million from private investors to begin production of Mo-99 at the Missouri University Research Reactor. According to a recent article in Physics Today, production will begin, following FDA approval, in mid 2014 and, by late 2015, Northstar should be able to produce 3000 six-day curies of Mo-99 per week, approximately half of the US demand for this critical radioisotope.

In November 2013, NorthStar was awarded a $21.8 million cooperative agreement that included $10.9 millionfrom the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear SecurityAdministration (NNSA) as part of its Global Threat ReductionInitiative. Currently, a large portion of Mo-99 is produced in reactors using Highly Enriched Uranium, HEU. The Global Threat Reduction Initiative aims to accelerate the development of a reliable, domestic supply of Mo-99 while reducing the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian applications worldwide. NorthStar plans to develop non-uranium-based production of Mo-99 via neutron capture.

This funding will reduce potential supply shortages, address national security concerns associated with the use of HEU for civilian applications and reliance on foreign sources, and simplify the logistical complexities of the shipping and disposal of a highly radioactive isotope with long life byproducts. We discussed these issues in our book, Networks Against Time: Supply Chain Analytics for Perishable Products, co-authored with then UMass Isenberg School of Management doctoral students Min Yu and Amir Masoumi, and published in 2013.

As we look forward to the production of Mo-99 in Missouri and Northstar's new technology, we see the efforts of many scientists, engineers, medical professionals, public policy makers, and our outstanding elected officials bearing fruit (or Mo-99/TC99m, as it be). 

Our OpED of a few years ago, emphasized the severity of this issue.

Very glad to see such great progress made, thanks to our legislators in Massachusetts!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Terrific Insights on Teaching from Our UMass Amherst INFORMS PhD Students

Today we had a very special event at the Isenberg School of Management, that was organized by the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.

It was a panel on teaching.

The panelists were 4 of our doctoral students in Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management who have taught anywhere from one semester to over four semesters (the latter by choice), and I did not include courses that some of our doctoral students may have taught in their home countries

Attendance at this event was great with even doctoral students coming not only from the Isenberg School but from several departments in the College of Engineering from across campus.

The panelists were: Heng Chen, Tulay Varol, Ameera Ibrahim, and Farbod Farhadi, who is defending his doctoral dissertation next week and who received the Isenberg's 2013 Outstanding Teaching Award. He has accepted a very nice tenure-track faculty position offer in a beautiful location.

Below are some photos from the event today.

My doctoral student, Shivani Shukla, who is serving as the President of this Student Chapter this year, organized the panel and did the introductions.

The advice offered and experiences exchanged were fascinating as was the discussion that followed.

The pizza that was provided was yummy and it got consumed quickly after the panelists spoke and the Q&A!
What impressed me most was the devotion and dedication to teaching exhibited by all the panelists and they have been teaching a required Operations & Information Management class that is now taken by all students at the Isenberg School.

They shared experiences from nervousness and how to conquer or at least  reduce such feelings by coming to class early and greeting students as they come in, to having a bottle of water to take a refreshment break, realizing that you are the leader and that you know the material well.

They also related some wonderful personal stories about students that, at first, they thought that they were not reaching but these students actually (as they found out later) very much appreciated their instruction but may have been dealing with late work nights, early class times, and a multiplicity of other issues.

The panelists told the audience how they engage our undergraduates through class exercises, always bring real world examples to illustrate the theory and concepts, relate to the undergraduates as to their interests and try to "customize" the material is best as possible.

Farbod, our award-winning instructor,  on the blackboard (more of a brown board), told the audience that for every lecture (and this he noted is also very useful advice for giving seminars and conference presentations), know your objectives, identify the strategies for covering the objectives of the presentation, and practice, practice, practice!

They discussed the importance of handouts of the lectures (something I have always done) so that the audience is listening to the instructor and not just busy trying to write everything down.

Lucky will be the next generation of students who will have our doctoral students as professors after they receive their PhDs and lucky are our undergraduates who have also learned so much from such dedicated teachers.

Below are  some group photos of both the officers present and many members of the audience, who then joined the officers
As the Faculty Advisor of this UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, I could not have been prouder than I was today of this amazing group of doctoral students.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter Presents Panel on Teaching

This semester I have been very busy teaching my course on Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare and a Management Science seminar on Variational Inequalities, Networks, and Game Theory. Both of these courses are interdisciplinary with students from the Isenberg School of Management, the College of Engineering, the School of Public Health, and the Computer Science Department.

In a recent exchange with the President and CEO of the America Red Cross, Ms. Gail McGovern (we were communicating about the great guest lecture of Mr. Rick Lee in my course), she said many things that resonated with me but the below was especially beautiful:

Having come straight from teaching MBAs to the Red Cross, I know firsthand that yours is such a noble profession.  I still keep in touch with many of my students, and I'm proud of  every one of their accomplishments.  It's truly the gift that keeps on giving.

How very  true!

And, this Friday, our great UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter will be hosting a special panel on teaching in which our very own PhD students in Management Science will be sharing their experiences with a lot of exciting Q&A and discussions I am sure.

Refreshments are at 11:00AM with the panel and discussion from 11:30-12:30 in Isenberg Room 128.

Please join us if you can.

The students  prepared the poster below. In this day and age, we need to all also be graphic artists.
 Some very valuable teaching also takes place outside of the classroom!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ukraine on the Brink of Disaster and Why We Wrote to President Obama and Our Congressmen

Just over  year ago I took part in the Dynamics of Disasters AAAS Symposium in Boston that I had organized and which featured several of our superstars in the profession.

Who would have thought that, in a year, not only did we have the Boston Marathon bombing, but now we are witnessing at terrifying speed the arrival of Russian military troops in Crimea, Ukraine, the site of the Network Science conference, at which I was an invited speaker a few years ago. I even blogged about my great taxi driver, Igor, and the lack of security at the Simferopol airport, one of the sites of what I can only call an invasion of sovereign Ukraine, whose people have suffered over generations. Over the past several months they were demonstrating in Kiev and beyond when Yanukhovich refused to bring the country closer to the West and, specifically,  to the European Union.

In the height of irony or, should I say, perspicacity, the Boston Strong colors look like the Ukrainian flag, with brilliant blue on top, and yellow on the bottom, which I photographed and posted here.

So what is an academic to do when the freedom of  a country is at stake, its sovereignty, and the will of its people, and when international laws are outrightly violated?

Honestly, I was reminded of the movie, which I saw in a drivein one summer, as a child: The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming! and which I have written about.

As I have shared with my readers, my first language is Ukrainian, since I immigrated to the U.S., having been born in Canada. I do have a degree in Russian Language and Literature from Brown University (and 3 more in Applied Math, because I love Operations Research).

I have many Russian friends and I love the language, its literature, the ballet, art, and music and we share similar cuisines. I have been to St. Petersburg - magical!

I wrote about my heritage recently and we have written to President Obama as well as to our Congressmen (including Senators Ed  Markey and  Elizabeth Warren).

President Obama has started to speak out and our former great Senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry, who is now the Secretary of State is doing so as well.   Kerry is expected to arrive in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine,  soon.

I speak Russian - does this give Putin the right to invade the U.S.?

Even the Swedes, in one of my favorite cities on the planet, Gothenburg, where I will be very soon, are expected to support a Ukrainian demonstration for freedom.

I thank all the outstanding journalists who are covering the news from Ukraine. I have tried to personally thank them as well.  Special thanks to The Washington Post and to the BBC and CNN for expert coverage and numerous OpEd pieces in support of Ukraine and freedom-loving people everwhere.

And, would you believe, I was invited to speak recently at a conference in Moscow at the beginning of April, and I would have accepted this great invitation, but I am committed to speaking in Boston at the INFORMS Analytics Conference.

My husband wore the tie below to teach today with the Ukrainian flag and tryzub emblems for solidarity with Ukraine.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Congratulations to President Hanno!

Isn't it wonderful when great things happen to really good people?!

This blogpost is to celebrate the selection of Dr. Dennis Hanno, former Associate Dean of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, and an Isenberg PhD '90, who also served in various top administrative posts at Babson College, as the newly selected President of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts!

One of my favorite photos, which I have in my collection in my home office in Amherst,  is the one below.
It was taken in our beautiful Massachusetts State House in Boston on April 11, 2007. We were there to celebrate the selection of our former Dean of the Isenberg School, the one and only Dr. Tom O'Brien, who was being recognized, with several others, with an annual Distinguished Alumni Award from the UMass Alumni Association. I am in the above photo along with Tom O'Brien, who has his arm around Dennis Hanno.

I had nominated Tom O'Brien for this award, which he received (I also nominated Dr. Tony Butterfield, who got the award a few years later).

When Hanno was our Undergrad Dean, one could never say no to him - whether it was to participate in "Pizza with a Professor" or any other activity or event. His energy, charisma, love of students we miss even today. He gave so much of himself - never missing one of our INFORMS Student Chapter parties and coming even to the dedication of our  Supernetwork Laboratory for Computation and Visualization, which was founded in the Fall of 2003 with support from Dean Tom O'Brien and then Associate Dean Dr. Jane Miller (who, would you believe, is back to being an Associate Dean again -- she is terrific)

Plus, Dr. Dennis Hanno was a neighbor of mine in Amherst and his pool parties were great! We all missed him and his wonderful family when they left our area.

Wheaton has posted some great videos introducing its new President.

Wheaton has produced some great leaders, including Ms. Shelley Borror Jackson, the Head of the fabulous Bement School, where my daughter went to elementary school. Several of her classmates from Bement are now at Wheaton. and, before too long, should be receiving their college diplomas from our great former colleague, President Dennis Hanno.