Sunday, April 24, 2016

Celebrating a Great Year for the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter

This past Friday, we celebrated the end of the semester and the end of the academic year with our UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter party.

The officers and members have done an outstanding job this year bringing speakers, two from Europe, from both academia and industry, to share with us the latest on the challenges in the electric power industry, disaster management, healthcare and electronic records, cybersecurity workforce optimization as well as community-based operations research. In addition, the students, who come primarily from our doctoral program in Management Science at the Isenberg School of Management as well as the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in the UMass Amherst College of Engineering, also organized several social events.

This has been such a great year - and as the chapter's Faculty Advisor since 2004 I can attest to that - that we needed a special celebration at our party.

To honor this year's chapter officers whose esprit de corp, positive energy, innovations, plus logistics knowhow, which allows for such great parties (but, then again, these are operations research and management science students who practice what they preach), I presented the officers with a special award. Last Fall the chapter was honored with the Summa Cum Laude Award from INFORMS another truly memorable accolade.

Below is a photo of the group of officers with their award plaques, to which I also attached personal notes of appreciation for their hard work.
The cuisine at the party included pizza, fresh fruit, chicken wings, Ukrainian food, Indian food, many salads, and healthy sandwiches, and, of course, numerous delicious desserts. Faculty came from the Isenberg School as well as from Engineering even though the party began with a thunderstorm and lots of rain. Last year's chapter President, Michael Prokle, who received the Judith B. Liebman Awad from INFORMS at our annual conference in Philadelphia last Fall, traveled from Boston to the party.
The party began about 4:30PM and ended close to 7PM. There was a lot of laughter and great conversations and it is so rewarding to see everyone having such a great time and supporting one another. The friendships continue after the students receive their PhDs and graduate from UMass Amherst. Even undergraduates enjoy the event and one of my students, who successfully defended his undergraduate honors thesis in humanitarian logistics earlier that day, Emilio Alvarez Flores, also made it to the festivities and enjoyed talking with graduate students and faculty.
Thanks to all the faculty and students who came. The energy and enthusiasm are fabulous.
Clearly, given that next week is the last week of the semester we are all so busy but building our great community is very meaningful.

Below are photos of several of the individual award recipients.
The full roster of officers is recognized below.

 And one of my favorite photos is the one below, which truly captures the spirit of this great group!
Looking forward to another great academic year next year.

Best of luck to all those who are graduating - the class of 2016!