Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Academic Summer Highlights - What Are Yours?

Next Tuesday is the first day of classes of the new 2016-2017 academic year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and students have started to arrive back to campus and the town.

It was a terrific summer and I thought it would be fun to share some of the highlights.

In late April, after teaching my last classes at the Isenberg School of Management, I flew to England to begin my Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College at Oxford University. The experience of being at Oxford for two and a half months (during the trinity term) was magical and many times I felt as though I was living in a novel. Below is a photo of the Visiting Fellows, who hailed from Israel, Australia, England, and the US, along with our Dean, Dr. Simon Hornblower.

While at Oxford, my new book, Competing on Supply Chain Quality: A Network Economics Perspective, was published, and when I returned to Amherst, I celebrated with my co-author, Dr. Dong "Michelle" Li.

I also had the pleasure of making a very short (4 day) trip back to the US in late May to see my daughter, Alexandra, graduate summa cum laude and with honors from college. I am especially happy that she was a STEM major and had an incredible educational experience at Lafayette College, which is also her father's alma mater, serving as President of the crew team, to start.
Back at Oxford my husband and daughter joined me for a while and we visited one of my former doctoral students, Dr. Stavros Siokos, who is a very successful financier in London.
While in England, it  was also very special to give invited seminars at Imperial College in London and at Lancaster University. Our operations research colleagues tend to be the best hosts!
While in Europe, I also had the pleasure of traveling to Poznan, Poland to speak at the EURO conference, which was fabulous and I got to see former students and many colleagues from around the world.
One "lowlight" as opposed to highlight of this summer was waking up in Oxford the day after the UK voted to leave the European Union - known as Brexit. Everyone was walking around Oxford as in a daze and we were so upset that we penned an OpEd, Why we are stronger together,  that appeared in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Coming back from Europe I was delighted to see that the STEM Gems book, authored by Stephanie Espy, on 44 women role models in STEM (and I am one of the women featured), had been published and my copies had arrived. My daughter and nieces are the happy recipients of some of the copies and I also gave one to the Isenberg Dean Dr. Mark A. Fuller and to deserving doctoral students for inspiration!
In late August, it was time to drive my daughter to grad school, where she will be working on her PhD.
Then it was time to celebrate with my academic daughters. My doctoral student, Deniz Besik, successfully passed her core exam in Management Science at the Isenberg School on April 5,
and Sara Saberi became my 19th PhD student to successfully defend her PhD, which she did on August 12. She is now an Assistant Professor at the Foisie School of Business at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
And, of course, no academic summer would be complete without getting some research papers written and, hopefully, accepted for publication! Two highlights were having the paper, Physical Proof of the Occurrence of the Braess Paradox in Electrical Circuits,  Ladimer S. Nagurney and Anna Nagurney,  published in  EPL (Europhysics Letters) 115 (2016) 28004, and having the paper,  A Generalized Nash Equilibrium Network Model for Post-Disaster Humanitarian Relief, Anna Nagurney, Emilio Alvarez Flores, and Ceren Soylu, accepted for publication in Transportation Research E. UMass Amherst posted a nice article on our latest Braess Paradox paper.

Working with other members of our great Supernetwork Team this summer has also been a big pleasure!

This summer the Olympics also took place in Rio and I would be remiss not to mention that one of the highlights was watching Michael Hixon, who is a student at Indiana University, and who also grew up in our neighborhood in Amherst (his parents live up the street from us),  receive a silver medal in diving,  I watched the competitions that he was in via videostream and I was mesmerized and as nervous as when my daughter competed in figure skating.

And, as educators, this is always an exciting time of the year during which we anticipate what will the new academic year bring?!  I have been working on my course lectures and am looking forward to meeting new students and new colleagues.

As for this summer, it will be hard to have a better one, but who knows what kind of adventures await next year!