Wednesday, November 4, 2015

UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter Shines at Award Ceremony at Annual Meeting in Philadelphia

I am back from the great INFORMS conference, which took place in Philadelphia, November 1-4, 2015.  It was an exceptional conference and one of the many highlights was the Student Chapter Award ceremony that took place this past Monday evening.

As readers of this blog know, our UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter received the summa cum laude award for its activities and it was wonderful to see other chapters recognized with both the magna cum laude and cum laude awards. More information on the selection process is here.

The UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter is now in its 12th year of operation and I have enjoyed serving as its Faculty Advisor during this period. The members (graduate students as well as some faculty) and officers hail primarily from the Isenberg School of Management (ISOM) (principally from the Department of Operations Management) and from the College of Engineering (mainly from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE)).

Needless to say, the students (and I) were so excited about the evening ceremony. The news had spread and quite a few of our alums, who are now professors at various colleges and universities,  also stopped by to help us celebrate.

Below are some photos that I took of the event.
Last year's UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter President, Michael Prokle, received the Judith B. Liebman Award from INFORMS for his exceptional service to the chapter. I had nominated Michael for this award because he had worked tirelessly for the chapter and we had many terrific events, including our 10th anniversary celebration. Michael was given the award plaque by incoming INFORMS President, Professor Ed Kaplan of Yale University, and Dave Hunt, the VP of Chapters / Fora.

Michael is the 4th recipient of the Judith Liebman Award from the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter with the others being: Dr. Tina Wakolbinger, Dr. Patrick Qiang, and Dr. Amir H. Masoumi. The latter three were my PhD students in Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management, and they are now are very successful professors.

It was very exciting to see our student chapter receive the top award and to see the Chapter Officers (several present and past ones)  on the stage.
Joining David Hunt and Ed Kaplan on the stage were: this year's Chapter President, Zana Cranmer of MIE, Tulay Varol of ISOM (a former chapter officer), Michael Prokle, Pritha Dutta of ISOM, Shivani Shukla of ISOM and past President, Sara Saberi of ISOM, who has held many offices in the chapter, Heng Chen, also of ISOM and a past officer, and Amirhossein Alamdar Yazdi of ISOM and past chapter officer.

After the awards were given out, we posed with some of our alums and with Professor Hari Balasubramanian of MIE, and then it was time to go to the reception next door with sumptious food and fabulous desserts.
Joining me in the above photo are Isenberg School of Management PhD alums, who came to support our students, and they were all very active members of our student chapter: Dr. Ameera Ibrahim of St. Mary's College in CA, Dr. Farbod Farhadi of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island (they were both Professor Ahmed Ghoniem's doctoral students), and my former PhD students: Dr. Min Yu of the University of Portland in Oregon, Dr. Michelle Li of Arkansas State University, and Dr. Amir H. Masoumi of Manhattan College in NYC.

After a very special night, some of us got together the next morning for the Chapter and Fora breakfast. I always emphasize the importance of showing up to students!
Many thanks also to Courtney Biefeld of INFORMS and to the official photographer for all that they do to help us with making activities with our students a success! Also, many thanks to the administrators at the Isenberg School of Management and the College of Engineering for their support of the chapter.
Congratulations to everyone and keep up the terrific work!